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Posts Tagged ‘youtube

I put three seemingly unrelated videos in one of my private YouTube playlists for watching or use later.

The first was about chocolate. The second about non-digital special effects. The third was about an autistic man. While they seem unrelated, they are linked to what and how I watch on YouTube.


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I watch SciShow religiously — I also subscribe to their podcast — so the first video is not surprising. This video feeds my need for nuanced views and to correct misconceptions.

The second might have appeared on my feed when I searched for current examples of augmented and virtual reality for a Masters course I am currently facilitating. This video appeared in my feed after that session was over and it was about neither AR nor VR, but it emphasised the importance of tactile manipulation in learning. It is something I can use in the closing session to highlight contextual use.

The third was a welcome surprise since I also facilitate a short course on ICT for inclusive education. The course stopped for a while as administrators worked out funding issues, but now that it is back I am glad to have another possible resource to spark discussion.
 

 
The link between these videos was how YouTube algorithms learnt my preferences and habits. While such algorithms are design to serve up videos and ads that might be relevant to me, it does not always do this well.

The ads are driven by more than personalisation. There is the brute force push and sell of products and services that have no relevance to me, e.g., how to be a Carousell or Amazon top seller. Those algorithms, if they apply at all, do not have my interest in mind.

The recommended videos are better. I help the algorithms out by occasionally deactivating my watch and search history. I might also use an incognito browser window. I do this to prevent the algorithms from thinking that I am interested in something new.

I also visit my watch history and delete videos listings that might misinform YouTube’s algorithms. This also helps me receive more relevant content.

The lesson is about taking control of your feeds. Do this and your feeds provide you with relevant content and serendipitous surprises. Don’t do this and you become a pawn in someone else’s game.

The FBE YouTube channel released a video about the preponderance of “Florida man”.

For the uninitiated, “Florida man” is a frequent prefix that appears in ridiculous newspaper headline or news chyrons. The video below provides numerous examples.


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While entertaining, the video is also an example of exploring nuance.

When trying to answer the question “Why does Florida seem to have so many crazy people?” it might be tempting to assume that there is something in the air or water there that makes people crazy.

The crazy thing is that a tongue-firmly-in-cheek report actually reveals the root of Florida man. This is the segment that matters.


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There is a law in the state of Florida in the USA that requires governing bodies (the police in this case) to provide access of records to the public (news agencies, for example.)

So there is something in Florida that makes Florida man so ”common” — it is the law that requires the sharing of information. There are not necessarily more crazy people there. There is more open reporting of crazy people.

This is a simple example of nuance. It is going beyond anecdotes and assumptions. It is about digging deeper and making connections.


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The video above seems to have little, if anything, to do with being an edtech champion. But the words of historian Rutger Bregman ring true.

Bregman gained attention at the most recent Davos summit when he emphasised taxation of the ultra rich over philanthropy.


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Change agents who take their roles seriously might take to heart his reminder:

We can’t afford to just be tinkering around the edges. If history teaches us one thing, it’s always that change never starts in the centre, but it always starts on the fringes, with people who are first dismissed as crazy and unreasonable and ridiculous. Every milestone of civilisation, the end of slavery, democracy, equal rights for men and women, the welfare state. All these ideas were dismissed once as unreasonable and crazy. Until they happened.

Be crazy. Be unreasonable. Be ridiculous. But only you have your head screwed on right and are a student of the history of your field. You can project only if you have depth, and that comes from the past. For change agents, this past does not hold back; it anchors to realities that need to change.


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I have a habit of reflecting on my blog every day. How did I form this habit?

According to this SciShow Psych video, a habit is an automatic action that develops from a contextual cue. My cue seems to be anything that I read, listen to, or watch in my RSS, Twitter, podcast, or YouTube feeds.

But relying on such cues makes such habits extrinsically-driven. So how did I make the writing an intrinsic habit?

Again according to research condensed by the video, I might have piggybacked on some other task.

I started blogging in earnest right before my son was born in an effort to journal his milestones. Back then, I was also writing my Ph.D. thesis and maintained an online journal for that journey as well.

Despite then returning to Singapore and working as a professor, lecturer, and head of department, I kept the daily writing up because it had become ingrained. I have left those hallowed halls for almost five years, but that habit has stuck with me.


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This SciShow video addresses a trend by asking a simple but critical question: Is alkaline water really good for you?

The bottomline is that drinking alkaline water does not make much of a difference. The human body is a giant homeostatic machine designed to keep it operating within narrow margins so that we stay alive.

I would wager that any immediate feel good factor on the part of the consumer of such water is psychological, not physiological. The feel really good factor on the part of the seller is financial, not ethical.

The uncritical consumer is not just poorer financially, but also developmentally. They would rather believe hype than consider bitter truths.

I wish there were more videos like this one. It presents the facts, but passes little or no judgement.

Consumers are left to make their own decisions. This reminds me that good educational videos are like the best teachers: They show you where to look, but do not tell you what to see.

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see. — Alexandra K. Trenfor

It has taken me a while, but I finally used an old example to illustrate to future faculty how to start with the concrete to build up to the abstract.


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In 2015, this ill-informed lawmaker brought a snowball as evidence against climate change. But he is not a model for using the concrete to illustrate the abstract.

No, the video is the concrete anchor with which to start student discussion on the abstract principles of weather, climate, and the difference between them.

Why start with something concrete? It is relatable, easier to understand, or otherwise meaningful.

Why link the concrete to something abstract? Learners need to develop higher order thinking — conceptualising, linking, extending, and the like — and it helps to provide some scaffolding.

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.


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