Y’know What’s Cool?

PechaKucha.

In a PechaKucha presentation, there are rules. Twenty images, twenty seconds each. No text. What a neat way to share stories, right? There’s something really intimate about these presentations. I feel like I’m in a stranger’s living room, on their comfiest couch, having tea and looking in on a slice of

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life. Someone’s REAL life…not the Hollywood crazy housewives of New York or whatever. It’s voyeuristic, but not in a creepy or overdone way. It’s honest and at times really heartfelt.

 

Now that’s just good clean fun, eh? 😉

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What Does the Grok Say?

Hmmmm….

Whoah…this is one weird tool! From what I gather, it’s kind of like Mendeley, which is a place to keep track of research sources and share knowledge with others, but more visual? Have a peek at this “how to video,” which initially made me think Grok has street cred.

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A question I have about this tool is, how accurate is it? My spidey sense tells me it might be lacking based on initial search results for the terms “Instructional Media.” Another crazy-weird thing is that in the video the presenter defines “the verb” Grok as, “to understand thoroughly and intuitively.”  What language is that? I looked it up in an English dictionary to double check and there is no such word.

 

Very cool name, very cool idea…leaves me feeling a little suspicious. 🙂

Oh Good. There’s a School For That

No one teaches us social or emotional intelligence. And no one really talks about it. Okay, my next comment is kind of geographical, so you may need to be Canadian to understand. Picture this:

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Two guys in toques pass under a rack of antlers to go into a bar. One turns to the
other and says, “So, did you get your mindfulness meditation in today?”

The other sits down, pulls off his lumberjack sweater and says, “No man, I did yoga today instead.”

 

Uhmm….no.

In the UK, there is a place called the School of Life where folks can learn about things like, how to be in a relationship, or the importance of friendship, for example. This is really important stuff! These are the kinds of soft skills that get us through life and make us better humans. If we could make social and emotional intelligence courses mandatory as part of first year English say, the learning from that could make our society more tolerant, happier, and connected.

No?

One Thing Everyone Knows about Web 2.0

 

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Soooo…yah. There is good news and there is bad news. 

The good news: I was right about Web 2.0 being old school jargon.
The bad news: Web 2.0 was deleted sometime in the zeros. 😦

Please take a moment of silence for Web 2.0.

As you know from Wednesday’s post, I am annoyed by the “Web 2.0” jargon that folks throw around. A commenter responded by email (not wanting to embarrass me publicly) with this video:

We here in 3.0, Peeps. I calculate by the speed of my processor we should be landing in Web 4.0 any day now. I’ll meet you there. Oh…and I’ll have my spin gear on…SUCKAH!

Sorry Not Sorry…

…saying “Web 2.0” isn’t cool. Picture this. You’re filling your reusable water bottle at office cooler. Two colleagues walk in and you overhear one say to the other,”Oh, that’s a great WEB 2.0 tool, Johnny.” You’re confused, right? You cringe a little because the term “Web 2.0” went out with the late 90’s. No? Aren’t we all going to spin class so we can stay young and NOT walk around with old terminology on our tongues?

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I’ve noticed the term is thrown around like chalk stubs amongst aged faculty members in smoking jackets reminiscing about the time they challenged Deep Blue or whatever. UGH. Since my goal in life is to be the coolest old person EVER, I’m still suspicious of the term and feel uncool when I use it myself.

 

HowEVER, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a lifelong student is that you should always check your assumptions. So I did. Check out this super-illuminating video about what Web 2.0 actually means.

So…what do you think? Is the term legit? I’d love it if you’d share.

 

Get Yer Game on, Teach

 

Warning: thdifferent-nationalities-1743400_640is post is long, but it’s worth the read. Trust me…muwahahahah.

There are two camps of students. Those under perceived pressure to be perfect and those who eke their way through perceived mandatory drudgery. I use the word ‘perceive’ in italics because it doesn’t have to be that way: there is a third camp i.e., glamp, that life is like a game. (Bowen, 2012) asserts in chapter four that, “Empirical evidence confirms that the combination of high expectations and low stakes (exactly the conditions of a good video game) matter for learning” (Bowen, 2012, p 93). Fact: gamification + school = learning and maybe even deep learning (K. Bain, 2004; K. (University of the D. of C. Bain, 2012).

The idea that gamification promotes deep learning is not new. More than twenty years ago Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said as much in his book Flow, “The more a job inherently resembles a game – with variety, appropriate challenges, clear goals, and immediate feedback –
the more enjoyable it will be regardless of the worker’s level of development (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990 p. 152).” Csikszenmihalyi was talking about work, but the same concepts apply to students in their chosen programs.

(Bowen, 2012) says that college should be like a video game (p 75). This statement took me back to my teens. Back to a time where if I wanted to hang out with my boyfriend, I had to watch him play endless hours of Pong. BOOOO-RING. Sure, that was the 80’s and sure, totally different situation, but my initial reaction to this reading was that video games are not a learning tool. I’m old; I can’t relate to video games. Bah-humbug.

Okay, so, having said that one thing the years have taught me is that bah-humbug is not a place to live. So I dug deep, kept reading, and realized that I have a narrow-minded view of gamification. Turns out it’s already how I live my life. I belong to the third camp: I’m a glamper!
Prospective students often picture a student life plagued by squeaky blackboards and rows of those awful plastic chairs and, “when we feel we are investing attention in a task against our will, it is as if our psychic energy is being wasted” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, p 160). Students won’t continue invest in something they don’t enjoy or feel forced to sit through.

So, I shook the humbug and realized that games help students learn. Why? Because in a game, they are willing participants in their own process. Concepts are taken into individual contexts and students put their own stamp on learning they alone create. “Picking a textbook and a list of topics was never a learning strategy, and ignoring that the world has changed will not impress your students.” (Bowen, 2012 p 126). The implications of bah-humbug are that nobody wins. At the end of the day, I value my students. I value their time, and I value where they are at. So to that, I humbly say: let the games begin.
So, I’ve decided to incorporate games into my work. So what? So, I feel lost in terms of where to start, but (Bowen, 2012) shares a ton of resources in chapters 5-8. I’m not a traditional teacher in front of students every day and the work I do is outreach-based. I think a place to start is to do some research around digital tools that can teach the basics better than I can. I will think about how to incorporate game-like elements such as play, challenge, rules, interactivity, inconsequential failure, feedback, and emotion (Bowen, 2012; Kapp, 2012) into my group sessions. I won’t be afraid to try things or ask students what works for them. I will experiment and practice. I will find ways to create and deliver content digitally without compromising authenticity and functionality. The options truly are endless. So what? So, the bah-humbug can’t stop me from getting my game on.

 

References

Alexas_Fotos. (2016). Different_Nationalities_Children. Image, Pixabay. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/different-nationalities-children-1743400/

Bain, K. (2004). What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press.

Bain, K. (University of the D. of C. (2012). What the Best College Students Do. Creative Non-Fiction, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from http://www.bestteachersinstitute.org/kenbain.html

Bowen, J. A. (2012). Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Kapp, K. M. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and … – Karl M. Kapp – Google Books. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=M2Rb9ZtFxccC&oi=fnd&pg=PR12&dq=does+gamification+improve+learning%3F&ots=JwOh54aH7K&sig=ch-2EW5crP-aWTNuqfUeBJKhq-o#v=onepage&q=does gamification improve learning%3F&f=false

 

 

This’ll Blow Your Socks Off

Let me preface what I’m about to say by getting all Oracle in your face. This is the future: younow

Nod to the actual Oracle, the lovely, Sacha DeVoretz for bringing younow into my mental hemisphere at her super-fun blogging course.

NOTE: It is NOT a YouTube spinoff. younow takes JenniCam to a whole ‘nother level and is actually pretty creepy from a GenXr’s perspective.

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I can see it’s obvious instructional uses, like showing people how to rebuild their chainsaw in time for Halloween, but seriously? It’s a little weird. AND. I think it would be so boring to use it in a lecturey kind of way. So, I’m curious…would you use this tool? What are some ways you could get creative with it?

Peace Owt Peeps.

Now You See Me…

I’ve thought a lot about my online persona as a teacher. (Bowen, 2012) gives us some sense of how to “behave” as teachers in the virtual realm, but I felt much of that was kind of no-brainer stuff (p 34-37) . I feel like we are entering an era of not only having two or three people inside our own heads (think back to the last time the voice in your head argued about whether to go to the gym or eat chocolate and then screamed at your voices to quit arguing about it and just eat the damned chocolate), but we now have to manage a physical personality and a digital one. Weird eh?

To take that a step further, we also have a digital teacher personality/reputation and a digital personal personality/reputation. Ok…my head is spinning now. ;S

So, I’m thinking about that ONE (seriously one) photo in which I am smiling and innocently hanging out with my little sister. There is no alcohol in the photo, but it is somewhat apparent that she and I have had a drink or two. Would I want a student to see that? HECK NO! I keep it up there because it truly is a nice shot of the two of us, but I often question whether I should take it down. So…I had a looksee on the good ol’ interweb and found an article about how to avoid being, “found” online.

I now have my virtual sunglasses and cap on…can you see the “real” me? NOPE! Okay…maybe you can. Can you? #amlearning

References

Bowen, J. A. (2012). Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.

Get Ur Grammar On Peeps!

Check out Grammarly. As a creative writing student, adverbs were the revered as the most naughtiest of no-nos. So that’s why I find it funny that a grammar-checking app is adverbarial in nature. The name aside, this tool is way too cool for school.

I think it functions as one of those “Web 2.0” tool thingies. It is a two-way communication between what you’re writing and/or uploading and the app. Grammarly checks your grammar while you write. So for a writerly type like me (har, har), it’s super-funtastic to use.

Check course outlines before handing them out to those keener English students or make sure students’ grammar is Grammarly next time you have to read a twenty-page paper. 😉

Be A Zero

Have you ever been to space?
I have.
Okay, that’s a lie.

Even though I haven’t been to space, I have learned a lot from astronauts. Well okay, that’s a lie. I learned one very important thing from one super-cool Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield.

In his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Hadfield said that whe4YahBXk68P-2never you’re starting a new job, “be a zero.” I’m paraphrasing here, but his advice is to try not to contribute much until you have your head around what the team is trying to accomplish. There is a lot of wisdom here. I am currently imbibing this wisdom with every pore while I navigate space (a.k.a. my new job).

Picture this:
You’re in a new environment. Maybe they gave you a fancy office. You’re used to being busy. You know the answer when you’re asked a question. You’re confident when you make decisions and take on projects. You get tons of positive feedback. Over the years your head has grown as big as an astronaut bubble head. You go into a new gig thinking you’re some kind of visionary spacewalker, but guess what? You’re SOOOOO not. Take a breather. It’s going to take a year before you can even think about super-spacewalker status again.

My advice? Listen to your new team. Don’t try to contribute too much at meetings. LISTEN! Did I say that again? It’s because you weren’t listening. This in itself is one of the most difficult yet most useful strategies. Ask a zillion questions. Get your head around the shared vision and get a sense of what the team is trying to accomplish. Then and only then, humbly make your contributions from a place of understanding. 😉

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