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Technology is the toolset that wields that power. The title and the last sentence were what I took away from watching the video below.


Video source

Neil deGrasse Tyson has a way of using plain speak to explain science. In emphasising the importance of scientific literacy, he told a story about Christopher Columbus and opined the outcome of a theoretical alien visit.

He told a story of how Columbus fooled native Americans with his knowledge of a lunar eclipse. He also explained why intelligent life in the form of aliens, not just movie versions, would beat us flat if it came to that.

Knowledge becomes power when you have something that someone else does not. However, that power is empty until the knowledge is embodied in technology as a form of delivery.

If that principle holds true, then why are some teachers still withholding technology from (or using older technologies with) their students? Might they be trying to cling on to power as misguided practice?

Tell anyone to watch a YouTube video and ask them what they think. You are likely to get different answers from different people.

I watched the video below through the lenses of an educator.


Video source

The video was a reminder that we are not mind readers. So we need to be the learner to deeply understand and empathise with the learner. There is no substitute.

Today I continue my reflection on the CNA article and video, Regardless of Class.

The video segments on what kids thought about the “class divide” caught my attention the most. There were clips of children aged 9 to 11, and older students aged 15 to 17.


Video source

The whole video is proprietary on CNA’s site, but most of the segments featuring both sets of kids are in the YouTube video above.

The footage and editing sent a clear signal: The younger kids were perceptive and honest about the class divide; by the time they were older, the gaps were
brutally obvious.

The video, particularly in its longer form, made for uncomfortable viewing. Rightly so because the full video was designed to create cognitive and emotional dissonance.

Such dissonance might lead to questions like:

  • How is our schooling system creating and perpetuating such class divides?
  • What might we do to mitigate this?
  • If schooling is, as one teacher pointed out, a symptom and not a cause of social divides, what other contributing factors of social divides might we also need to address?

After repeated and reflective readings of the article and viewings of the videos, I am convinced that what happens at and to the family unit is crucial.

Disadvantaged adults pass their status on to their children and it is difficult for the latter to break out of their structural and social strata. Adults with greater means not only pass their privilege to their offspring, they also find ways to boost what they have.

Fundamental to what adults and parents do is their attitudes and mindsets. Are they defeated by or defiant to their lot in life? Do they believe they have a right to a better life and is this right reserved only for some?

So I wonder simplistically: We have SkillsFuture now; do we need AttitudeFuture and MindsetFuture as well?

Recently I have been reflecting on the frailty of our memories and ability to recall events [example] because of current events.


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Memories are imperfect not just for victims and witnesses of events. The same could be said of all of us. With the exception of very few, most of our brains are designed to forget, not to remember.

Justice systems might learn from cognitive and psychology research. How about those that reinforce the building that is old school and hunker down in it?

Even as some folks cannot get beyond the basement of Bloom’s Taxonomy and push content, shortcuts, and memorisation, here is research on the fallibility of sheer recall.


Video source

Our memories are imperfect. Our brains are wired to forget instead of to remember. Yet some people insist that we reach for the low-hanging fruit of recall. Why? This is the easiest to measure.

Since we cannot run away from this necessary evil, how might we improve memory retention with research?

This segment offers some clues:

  • Leverage on recency by testing memory without distractions
  • Warning the learner of misinformation (fallacies, misconceptions).

Samantha Bee is a comedienne and talkshow host. In the video below, she was interviewed by another talkshow host, Seth Meyers, on various topics.

The topic that pricked my ears was Bee’s app for promoting the midterm elections in the USA.


Video source

After watching the video, I had to ask: Does it take a comedian to plainly state the goal of gamification? Here is the segment where she made this point.

Bee conflated games with gamification — after all, she is not an expert in the field — but she also made a point that designers, developers, and users sometimes do not openly admit.

Gamification relies largely on extrinsic motivation to trick the user into doing things. This principle is also often applied in gamified teaching. The questions that instructional designers, teachers, and learners need to ask themselves might include: Is this good in the long run? How does this distract from nurturing independent and critical learners?


Video source

Hank Green described how one group of students were directed to make a “perfect pot” out of clay while another group was told to make as many as possible.

Spoiler: The perfect group could not find or make their pot while other group was messy but made many good pots.

If I were to show this video to a group of teachers and educators, I am certain to get many different responses. I have my own: The first process is one modelled on the expert teaching model, while the second reflects the messiness of learning.

Teaching is neat. Learning is messy.


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