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Browsing youtube

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m messing around on youtube.  Here are some gems I’ve stumbled cross.

First up, what might an honest and upfront conversation with a particular type of student look like?  Oh dear, oh dear!  Go on, admit it, you smiled, just a little bit…..

Second up: there are a number of these type of videos blowing about on youtube and to say they annoy me is putting it mildly.  No, I don’t have a problem with the message.  There is a lot of truth in the message.  I have a problem with how it’s put across. Isn’t it ironic that the kids are using hand-written cards to get across the message that they want to use more technology?  And why are they so glum?  Cheer up, for crying out loud, and go read a book.

Actually the video reminded me of a comment I read recently (apologies, I cannot remember the site) from a first year undergraduate complaining that they don’t do anything interesting in IT class  Instead they spend the time doing the ECDL syllabus. While I commiserated with the student’s position, the student needs to know that syllabi are not always decided by the teachers who deliver it, quality control procedures typically mean that a syllabus cannot be deviated from much, what one student considers boring is highly stimulating to another, and finally, ECDL is a good foundation in IT. A problem is that ECDL might not been studied by all students in their prior learning while others proudly show off their certificates.  This causes particular problems for a teacher – what do you do when the majority of a class have already done all the material while it’s brand new for a sizable minority – without causing feelings of inferiority / superiority, without operating double standards, etc?

Third on the list: I quite like the ideas in this one, even if the whole thing is meant to be a parody.  The iPaper is an interesting idea in and of itself.

Fourth is another futuristic one.  This one takes a pot shot at the nonotechnology movement. How small can things really get?  Have we reached the practical  limits on size?   Or, the more likely scenario, are there applications out there for tinytech that we are still exploring – those applications are just not the ones we already have?

And, finally, a century of educational technology chronicled in one youtube video. The early part of the 20th century had the radio, gramaphone, and the silent / talkies movies but not all educators used them.  Then along came WW2 and things really sped up technologically but to what extent did the tools make it into the classroom?  By the time the 1970s calculators were the cool learning toy of the day.  Yet, as I recall, it was to be many years later before students were allowed use them in exams. Scroll on further and you have youtube and Facebook and a whole lot more social media, and many educators don’t use those either.

The lesson: new media, its applications and levels of usage are relative to the time. Technology has never really had a fundamental effect on or caused a radical overhaul of how school/college based learning and teaching takes place.  It’s still predominantly desks and chairs and a teacher delivering.  New technology comes along and supplements or complements what’s already there. As tools (Sony walkman, anyone?) go out fashion they are replaced by others (Apple ipod, anyone?).

The words educational reform have been heard for years and years.  Technology has been changing and evolving for decades.  Yet there hasn’t been any fundamental change in how teaching and learning takes place. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?


and so this is Christmas….

… and what have we done, another year over…

No, really, seriously, what have we done??

This is the downside to this time of year. The student work has all been marked and filed away for a fortnight, the classroom’s locked up and everyone goes there merry way for a little while. The self-reflection on achievements (or lack thereof) for the year kicks in.

Now, I’m not going to bore you with my own self reflection but this time of year make me wonder. Time just marches on and on and relentlessly on. It’s 2009 in a few weeks, the end of the first decade of the new century. Back in 2000 did you think you’d be where you are now – and I dont mean up to your elbows in holly and tinsel literally right now.

What’s changed for me is the connectivity. Back in 2000 there was no Facebook or MySpace, no electronic chatrooms. The only people living abroad that I knew were relations or friends who had emigrated. Now, electronic tools keep me in easy touch with the world at large, I’ve got e-friends who have come to be important to me, yet I’ve never actually met them.

What’s next??  What will the next 3 or 5 or 10 years bring?

There you go, something to ponder while you relax after over the few days off work that’s called Christmas.

Get with the program

Haven’t the foggiest how I stumbled across this but it’s interesting and builds on the recent posts in here.

(the creator, Aurcaen, doesn’t seem to like embeds)

I love the maze example. The typical, expected, tried and tested method of getting through a maze are ditched and instead the as-the-bird-flies method is chosen and why not? After all, where is the rule that says this isn’t allowed? And you get to knock down a few walls on the way!

Do students believe everything they see / read?   I’m not convinced it’s as black-and-white as this.  I think many do form their own opinions but they might struggle to discuss and critiques them in the depth to which their instructors would like them to.

Where did the syntax for text messaging come from? Who originated it?  Something I hadn’t thought about but you must admit it’s a creative solution to the challenge of getting a message across using as few characters as possible and so save some cents.

All in all, the vid points out the fact that students are forging ahead in preparing themselves for their future. We, in education, have a role to play. By not embracing modern technology, innovative communication methods, allowing students to practice the softer skills of negotiation, interactivity, managing company culture, etc, we might be depriving them of something valuable in that future.