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Posts Tagged ‘youtube


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As I watched this YouTube video about a maker-cosplayer building his own K-2S0 “costume”, I wondered about what “maker spaces” represent in schools.

Are these places good-to-haves or must-haves? Are they PR showcases or actual tinkering spaces? Are activities driven partly by curriculum, or largely by passion?

What are the honest answers to these questions? What are the hard truths and blatant lies we have to face up to about maker spaces?

In my opinion, maker spaces should be built on just one foundation: Learner passion. This allows any learning environment to be a “maker space”, even a conventional and seemingly resource-poor one. Learners make and make do in these circumstances and in any subject.

I am not just making this up. Reflect on what is important about maker spaces and you might arrive at a similar conclusion. 

This video with the clickbait title follows the Betteridge Law. This is any headline asked as a question that can be answered no.


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The answers are more nuanced. After reviewing some research, Hank Green concluded by pointing out that the differences of gamers and the nature of games mattered first.

Something similar could be asked of and answered about any technology enhanced or enabled process, e.g., do iPads improve grades, does access to social media harm socialisation, do algorithms boost teaching?

The nature of people and what they do matters. Let’s not be tricked by the press squeezing the low-hanging fruit and vendors leveraging on what you do not know.

Just as video games do not cause the type of violence you read about in newspaper headlines, the good that you see in technology-mediated interventions are not the due to technology alone. It is part of a socio-technical system and the social part is too rich and complex to have a simple answer.

Thanks to YouTube’s algorithms, I discovered a talented musician named Andrew Huang.

This is the original 24K Magic music video by Bruno Mars.


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This is Andrew Huang’s take on the same song with carrots as instruments.


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His creativity stemmed from a challenge to recreate the song about 24 carats with 24 carrots.

There is much more of Huang’s work. The videos below are Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd and Huang’s version using instruments at his dentist’s office.


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This creative expression could have been a combination of making the ordinary less so and learning from a painful experience. You might not feel your face after receiving numbing agents from a dentist.

Huang is undoubtedly talented and we might pick up lessons on creativity. Creativity often:

  • originates from a challenge.
  • emerges from the mundane.
  • is a different way of looking at the same problem.

Creativity might also include being able to see useful links between different domains, e.g., entertainment and education, or personal and professional. 


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The video above summarises this week’s flogged horse on social media. The tweet below was just one of many responses.

Was this tweet timely? It was, given how the news broke about how a passenger was bloodied and dragged out of a United Airlines plane because it was overbooked.

Was the tweet funny? Yes, if you have any semblance of humour and appreciate dragging in two contexts (plane floor and phone screen).

Was the app description real? It was not, and there are at least two major clues that the text was faked to get a laugh.

First, an airline app is unlikely to feature drag and drop on a phone screen. Drag and drop is typically done with a computer mouse on a desktop. The phone or slate equivalent is tap and hold, but there is no this does not force the joke.

Second, a quick search of the Apple app store for United Airlines brings up the app and its development notes. There is no “drag and drop” update.

Why make a mountain out of a molehill?

First, the tweet could be an example of a hook for a workshop or class on detecting fake news or other questionable online content. Such an ability is important whether it is a tweet from a US President or a local funny man.

Second, it begs the question: Why create the image, tweet it, retweet it, or favourite it? Answering this question provides insights on why people create such content. It gets to the root of the issue instead of dealing with the symptoms.

I appreciate the joke, but I appreciate the need to educate people on this type of critical thinking even more.

So when is funny not actually funny? When it is based on a false premise. When are facts not actually factual? The same answer as before.

What would prompt Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, to weigh in on Pepsi? It was an advertisement so ill-conceived and reviled that the company had to withdraw it [NYT] [Wired].

Stephen Colbert gave this withering but humorous critique of the ad (click here for the segment).
 

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It would be easy to accuse Colbert of being mean because he was making fun of the company in the name of entertainment. However, such critiques are deeper and more important than we might think.
 

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Vox unpacked what Colbert and others do: They inform in an easy to digest manner and they leverage on not being neutral.

While proper news channels might try to report just the black or white facts, we recognise today that most issues are subjective and nuanced greys.

Satirists use fun and laughter, and in doing so, disarm their audiences and combine emotion with logic. They inform and educate in ways that not many teachers have been taught or believe in.

They embrace subjectivity and make a stand. They combine creativity with critical thought. They call bullshit when they see it.

The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something. -- Jon Stewart.


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As I watched this neuroscientist explaining “the connectome” to five people at five different levels of prior knowledge, I thought of how:

  • This was a great example of how good teachers attempt to personalise instruction.
  • Just about anything can be taught to anyone if you empathise with the learner first.
  • Anything worth teaching should be taught to a wide spectrum of learners.

Personalised teaching is about going to where the learner is first, not trying to pull them where you are or where the curriculum dictates.

If you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them.

 

The saying, “Pics, or it didn’t happen” is wiser than it appears.

The phrase is a quick way of saying show me evidence, specifically photos, because what you claim to be a truthful or factual account may not be valid or reliable.


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Our memories are imperfect. The majority of us do not have “photographic” memories, and those that do are exceptional talents. Even then, captures are not facts devoid of colouring, contrasting, or other manipulations.

Any teacher who still thinks that drill and rote memory are still the best ways to teach and learn needs to reconsider or retire.

What you capture today might not be relevant tomorrow in the age of social media. There is as much point to objecting to such circumstances as there is blowing raspberries at a tornado.

Instead, “pics, or it didn’t happen” could be one principle to base change on. It could be the foundation for dealing with fake news. It could start the line of questions against learning styles, digital natives, “best” practices, and extrinsic gamification. It could shift the focus away from just learning-about (content) to learning-to-be (contextual thinking). It could spur the search for evidence-based practices, and personal and professional development.


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