Tag: change

Old Hong Kong

Causeway Bay 1955The older I get the more interested I seem to become in the history of the place where I grew up: Hong Kong. Having read a few books on the subject (Hong Kong, History of Hong Kong, Diamond Hill and Gweilo), …

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Global Issues Competition 2013

Cracked EarthToday saw the finals of the Global Issues Competition 2013 take place at International College Hong Kong. In its third year, the competition featured 60 competitors from 6 Pearl River Delta schools (GNIS, Harrow HK, ICHK, LPCUWC, RCHK and …

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Technology=Idiots?

There is plenty of speculation that technology is making us less intelligent. Certainly, in the classroom, I am seeing evidence that it is hindering the development of social skills, especially in boys. As per usual, it seems like Einstein knew exactly where we were headed: Einstein Note: image of unknown origin, not covered under this site's Creative Commons license.

Visual Compare & Contrast

Personally I really like asking students to observe two artifacts or phenomena, and ask them to compare and contrast what they have encountered. I have found that students usually come up with excellent observations, and that these can be used to prompt further discussion and to encourage deeper, more critical thinking. This is especially true when the observations are visual in nature, such as a videos, physical artifacts and real-life events. I recently did this with my Year 8 pastoral group, using 15 minutes to watch and discuss the following two videos: I find these two videos fascinating on their own, but together they let the students cogitate on and discuss some of the following ideas:
  • Times have changed - look at the advancement in materials, tools, techniques, and compare the resulting products: what a different 70 years can make. It seems white work overalls are here to stay though.
  • Media has changed - the way we tell stories has become more sophisticated and much more subtle. Less use of voice, and more use of imagery, implying a more sophisticated/educated audience capable of making their own deductions.
  • Technology obsessions - the two videos show how much technology amazes us, and how we marvel at pushing boundaries and creating new things. Both focus on technologically-empowered people ("wizards") at work, as these are people that are held in high esteem.
  • The cutting edge - what seems advanced and sophisticated at one point in time (e.g. the planes and music in the first video) soon becomes outdated and comical to some degree. The same will happen to the second video over time, even if that seems unlikely to contemporary viewers.
  • Non-metal - both videos celebrate the use of non-metal materials, which flies in the face of what we see every day in terms of how most cars, planes, trains and boats and constructed.
  • Purpose - media is made for different purposes: in the first case it is as propaganda to boost moral and promote unity, in the second it is to further brand image and as artistic/creative expression.
There are a myriad other ways to look at these two clips, but this article is limited to a narrow point of view: can any readers suggest alternative perspectives or ideas?

Copyleft: A Teacher’s Guide To Sharing

This short movie, introduces copyright and sharing from a teacher's perspective. It is aimed at students and teachers, and will hopefully help viewers to understand copyright, and inspire them to create and share more. In making this film, I remix Brett Gaylor's "RIP!: A Remix Manifesto" to produce something similar but different. If the video won't play within this page, try it here on YouTube.

Digitally Driven Cultural Evolution

In the 19th-century, the Ludittes famously objected to steam-powered manufacturing, the technology of the day: they made their feelings clear by breaking mill machines. Of late I have started to think of this as representative of something that every generation goes through at some point …

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Normal, Old & Fat

Face transformation software is a great way to get students thinking about how they will change during their lives, and what that might look and feel like. I use the above image as a stimulus to get my students to laugh at me: I find …

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Press Pause Play

Press Pause Play is a feature-length documentary that is part inspiring, part demoralising and all stunning. Using a patchwork narrative, it explores the constantly evolving landscape of digitally-empowered creativity. A lot of amazing new work is set against the views of industry veterans, who spend a lot of time bemoaning the demise of creativity as the domain of the cultural elite. A typical tale of freedom and choice pitched against the profitable machine. The juxtaposition of hope and inspiration played against maintaining the status quo, was extremely powerful. In my opinion, creating, as an active endeavor, is generally more fulfilling than consuming, and I see nothing wrong with a world full of individuals and groups creating in earnest. In the end, the best talent will still rise to the top, as there will always be plenty of consumers with an ear and eye for what is great. After all, being a producer does not prevent me from consuming: rather, I think it makes me a more thoughtful, engaged consumer. Thanks to David Dworsky and Victor Köhler for producing such an entertaining and thought-provoking piece which will hopefully lead to a lot of interesting conversations within education.

High Tech Stuff Visualisation

I created this visualisation for my students as an example of how their work on the High Tech Stuff unit might come out. Feel free to use it under the Creative Commons license.

Education Revolution

It seems as if there are plenty of people in the world who believe that education is “broken”. I totally disagree with this statement, and believe that there are plenty of excellent schools, students and teachers doing great things. However, I still believe there is …

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