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Posts Tagged ‘youtube

This week’s Crash Course’s video on navigating digital information focused on evaluating images and videos.


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Host John Green provided examples of how images could be used to represent and misrepresent both context and context. If it is easy to fool someone with text, it is even easier with images.

When presented with any image we might verify its context and content by a) seeking its source and determining its reliability, and b) searching laterally for its validity. If links or cues are not available in a suspicious image, we might use Google’s image search or Tineye to evaluate its worth.

How about videos? The principles are the same: Determine the veracity of its source, the reputation of its creator(s), and whether or not is was altered. It might be difficult to do the last item nowadays, but difficult is not impossible. What works for text also works for videos — search, read, and watch laterally.

This week’s Crash Course episode on navigating digital information focused on evaluating evidence offered by online creators.


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Anyone who says anything online needs to back up any claim with evidence. But not just any evidence.

Some might offer claims as evidence. Host John Green highlighted a claim about a new and supposedly deadly spider that had already killed five people in the USA. That claim (in all caps, no less) was made without reference to any other resource.

Others might offer wrong evidence after making a claim. Green provided the example of a US senator who brought a snowball into the senate floor and offered it as evidence that there was no global warming. This was evidence of winter and short term weather, but nothing against long term climate change.

In Green’s own words, not all evidence is created equally. So what are we to do? Ask two questions:

  • Does the information make sense?
  • Does the information merely confirm my pre-existing worldview?

Answers to both questions require value judgements and this can be a subjective process. To make things more objective, we could evaluate evidence by finding out how valid and reliable it is.

Validity is about how relevant and credible the information is; reliability is a measure of how much or how often that same evidence shows up.

I do not know how often I have uttered this phrase — I enjoyed that video about mathematics — but my guess is not often.

But here is one video and it claimed to tell you where math symbols come from.


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I learnt a few things, e.g., the origin of the “+” and “=“ signs. There was no explanation for the “-“ and “÷” symbols. As a result, I also learnt that you cannot take a video’s title at face value.

Thankfully I had to figure out how to input the “÷” symbol in my reflection and a simple Google Search provided some insights.

It is fact that self-directed Googling is how many learn at work or at home today. It is also fact that this is still not how many learn in schools today.

So when I read articles like this…

… and pull quotes like this…

… I say that things do not add up.

The digital exams are not likely to mirror how we actually learn. Despite the claim that “students can more readily cut and paste, edit their essays, move paragraphs around. They can be asked to respond to an e-mail, write a blog or social media post”, I doubt that they will be encouraged to do this authentically in an exam.

In other words, they will not actually be connected to the Internet as we know it today or in the near future. They will not be allowed to “cheat” by Googling or cooperating or teaching. The medium for exams might change, but the method will barely budge.


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Part 5 of the Crash Course series on digital literacy focused on using Wikipedia.

Host John Green pointed out that Wikipedia was almost 18-years-old, and as it matured, was behaving more like a responsible adult.

Wikipedia has long policed itself with three guiding principles for editing articles:

  1. Content should be represented from a neutral point of view
  2. Cired research should come from published and reliable sources
  3. Readers and editors should be able to verify the sources of information

Despite these operating principles and research about the accuracy of Wikipedia [example], some still wrongly dissuade others from using it.

Green recommended that Wikipedia might be relied on for breadth of information and links for fact-checkin: Use it like “a launch pad, not a finish line”.

The depth of research and fact-checking could come from the hyperlinks from Wikipedia to other resources. One caveat: Resources are never perfect or objective because a) they were made by imperfect people, and b) they are used by imperfect people.

Wikipedia is not the problem; we and how we use it are.

I enjoyed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The storyline and animation were excellent.

I did not realise just how much backstory there was even to one of the more ordinary segments of the movie. Thankfully its creators shared insights and rationales for their choices.


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Their reflection reminded me of a theme I revisit several times a year on this blog. Products are obvious, but processes that created them often are not. People see the products and not the processes, leading them to stick to their own assumptions or perspectives.

The same could be said about teaching and learning. We might focus on the products like lesson resources and grades, but conveniently forget the more important processes that drive them.

As schools here try to focus more on learning and improvements to assessment, I hope that they take advantage of an old tool that combines both — e-portfolios. I remind those that do to remember that the products showcased in portfolios should be gateways into reflections and evidence of learning processes.

One thing I do to sense changes in my field is watch relevant YouTube videos. YouTube’s algorithms take note of what I am interested in and recommend similar videos.

For example, in 2017 I watched and archived in a playlist this video about how an engineer explained virtual reality (VT) to learners at five different levels.


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Last week, YouTube recommended the video below to me.


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Not only was this one way of staying current with technological trends in education and training, it was also a useful resource for a Masters course I will be facilitating soon.

Some folks like to complain about much current technologies seem to know about us. They might forget that strategically letting some information go can be a good thing.

This week’s episode on being literate today focused on reading laterally.


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Reading laterally is not about reading articles from top to bottom, it is about reading sideways via other open tabs.

John Green recommended we do what teachers might still dissuade: When in doubt, check Wikipedia and its links to resources. The writeups and hyperlinks can be corrected much faster than other media.

Superficial consumption is not enough if we are to be critical readers, listeners, or watchers. It takes effort to go deep, but it pays off in the form of habits of critical literacy.


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