The 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), I am always delighted to find video footage to put images to text. Despite not being born until 1980, I feel a strange affinity for images and footage from the 1950s and before. Recently, my father-in-law (a Hong Konger from way back) shared the presentation below with me, and I thought it was worth sharing:
Whilst searching for an embeddable version of this file online, I also found the videos below, which are very interesting. Sadly, the two best videos, could not be embedded, but you can watch them here and here.
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what seems advanced and sophisticated at one point in time (e.g. the planes and music in the first video) soon becomes outdated and comical to some degree.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?
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 this makes them more likely to get into the lesson, and less likely to be shy. Some students seem really uncomfortable will looking at an old version of themselves, and often it seems to be something that has never crossed their minds.
If you are interested in this, look at the following sites:
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.
I am an ICT teacher. I run ICT at my school. I am seconded to another school to help them with their ICT development. I have a computer science degree. I used to work in ICT. I blog, I tweet, I tag, iPad (sometimes). I develop a free school management platform (Gibbon). I encourage my students to use ICT to make them better students. I help my colleagues to use ICT to make them better teachers. I simply enjoy the experience of using a computer.
But for all of that, I do not count myself as a nerd. I lead a full life as a husband, father, son and teacher. I think a lot, I write a little too. I have great friends. I am a man of varied interests. I do yoga, I hike, I play golf, I love music, I read (paper) books, I play ultimate frisbee. I love rollerblading really long distances. I’m a landlubber who aspires to surf. I jump off waterfalls and occasionally cliffs. I love hot weather and warm ale. I would like to believe I am an inspiring, caring and interesting teacher.
Yet, for all the range in my life, I suspect that most of my colleagues and students see me as a “computer guy”. I am sure some of them suspect that I have a “knack” for using computers, perhaps even a little magic in my finger tips. But the truth is I have simply spent time accumulating a range of skills, understandings and interests.
How then can I convince others that they too can be empowered by technology? That the barriers to becoming a tech savy, innovative teacher really aren’t that high? That they can create, share, lead and help others. What are the key skills and attitudes I need to pass on in order to inspire others to be and do better with technology?
Sadly, I do not yet have the answers to these questions, but at least I have asked them. Hopefully, with time, the answers will come.
Thanks to: all the amazing teachers I am encountering on Twitter, who are making me think, do and change. Special thanks to @intrepidteacher for this video, which really got me thinking:
I just put the finishing touches on a new ICT unit looking into the past, present and future of ICT, and how technology made us the species we are today. My aim is to get students away from the idea that high-tech is the only tech. Technology is everywhere in our lives, and we only live the way we do because of it. In short, without technology we would most likely be just another species of primate.
All the files need to run the unit are listed below. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or just want to have a chat.
- ICT Unit – Y8 – High Tech Stuff
- ICT Unit – Y8 – High Tech Stuff – Rubric
- ICT Unit – Y8 – High Tech Stuff – Punched Cards
- Example Visualisation (this is not a “perfect answer”, but something to get students thinking.)
The way I run this unit allows students to use any number of tools to present their final answer to the four guiding questions. Whilst many students opt for a simple word processor or presentation application, others are more adventurous. In the past students have used tools as diverse as Tiki-Toki, EdCanvas, Storify and Prezi. The work below is a very strong piece of work submitted by one of my students, Adrien. What makes this work stand out is the excellent understanding Adrien shows for the big picture concepts covered in class, and his feeling for the effect of technology upon us. My feedback for improvements was for Adrien to include his sources and a Creative Commons license, and also to proof-read for minor errors.
Creidts: Thanks to marfis75 on Flickr for the thumbnail.
This collection of 10 interesting photos can be used to stimulate students in a variety of ways. For instance, in small groups they can be asked to produce a story based around any 5 of the pictures, in any order, which can then be presented to the class (with the pictures in a multimedia presentation). This is useful to get students working together as a group, using a short time to apply some pressure.
Download the file.
Klok is a free desktop application that allows you to track your time. This can be useful for seeing where your days go, but also for tracking project time in order to bill customers. In ICT projects, students can be asked to track their team’s time, in order to analise and report on their own working practices.