Category Archives: media

Don’t forget TED for teaching

Engagement in the middle years of school may well be an oxymoron.

This was recently confirmed for me when starting off a year 9 class of boys in their research for an effective speaking competition. We gave them a brief: talk about an event which has had a significant impact on society or has stood out in history.

Hmmm….  reading long chunks of text wasn’t something they were going to do willingly, especially during the last period of the day. What about videos? Yes, miraculously focus was rediscovered, and the boys managed to maintain their concentration for almost an hour as they browsed the list of videos I’d prepared.

Fact known by all: young people respond well to information presented in video format.

That’s why TED is such a great teaching tool. I forget about it sometimes, but really, there’s so much information to spark thinking, discussion and debate.

Today the TED blog recommended the childish thinking playlist.

Today’s playlist is about kids and their brains, which hold the dreams and possibilities of our future. How can we teach them … and how can we learn from them?

TED recommends, amongst other videos,  Adora Svitak, who makes the case that grownups have lots to learn from “childish” thinking — creativity, audacity, open-mindedness.

Here’s another one:

Who are the leaders of tomorrow? Joachim de Posada shows how to find them — with a marshmallow

Dave Eggers thinks like a child to create a massively popular after-school tutoring club — starring pirates, superheroes, time travel …

Then you’re invited to share your favorite stories about kids in the TEDTalks archive -

Add your suggestions for this playlist to the comments below, or email contact@ted.com with the subject PLAYLIST: KIDS. (Jog your memory with the TEDTalks spreadsheet.)

A brilliant way to share best TED content within a theme.

The spreadsheet is seriously informative, and lists the name of the TED talk, the speaker, a short summary, duration of video and publishing date. Very nice. I really like seeing, at a glance, the shorter videos because they are often just what I’m looking for to show students.

I found Sirena Huang, an 11 year old prodigy on violin, playing beautifully and talking about her instrument.

TED’s format is satisfying, providing biography and links, as well as transcript. Excellent for teaching purposes. It also provides relevant websites, you can bookmark the speaker on the site if you like, and you also get a list of related speakers and themes.

I think I should plan to use TED in teaching regularly.

Has anyone used TED talks in teaching? Would you like to share your experiences?

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, film, media, teaching

Images can change the world

Recently I came across this TED talk by co-founder of Getty Images, Jonathan Klein. Jonathan Klein talks about how images have the power to shed light on understanding, to transcend borders, religions, and to provoke us to take action. It’s a powerful talk using powerful images.

Although we’ve used images as communication since the beginning of time, it seems that our use of images has increased with services like YouTube, Flickr and other image-sharing applications. The internet enables easy access to images through online museums, image libraries and image-based search engines.

How much more powerful and persuasive is a cleverly created film compared to a similar text?

Currently this advertisement is showing on TV; I think it’s very clever.

And how amazing is it to see a video of historical event?

What’s an example of powerful imagery or film that you’d like to share?

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Filed under media, photos

How far will an author go?

How far will an author go to fuel a readership?

Will he go as far as to don a soft-toy unicorn head to get people to read his book?

Well, John Green will and has. He and his brother, Hank, have created an internet video gameshow which he explains here:

Okay, so here’s how this works. First, play the video. Then, click on the answer you think is right, and it will lead you to a series of more questions and answers about my books. (That is, unless you have somehow turned off youtube annotations, in which case it won’t work at all. But it should work.)

And in case you’re thinking this is just a cheap trick, a quick trick to boost book sales, think again, and look first at the many, many hours John invests developing a relationship with fans. Writing his blog, for one.

Updated every single day except for Saturdays and Sundays and some other days, John’s blog frequently explores the following issues: Conjoined Twins, place in literature; Dental surgery, discomfort of; Suveys, benefit of as procrastination tool; Tennis, getting beaten by wife in; Young adult literature, purpose and definition of; Books, enjoyment of; and Writing, perks and drawbacks of.

Creating one Vlogbrothers video after another with his brother, Hank. How’s that for devotion. And it works. As I’ve previously mentioned in another post, John has a phenomenal readership and fan base. But apart from that, he writes well. Really, really well. And apart from his unashamed nerdiness and quirky sense of humour, John has a way with honesty. Here’s a recent blog post which gives you an idea of what I mean. The post is called ‘A book reader’s apologies’. John says he’s written hundreds of book reviews in Booklist Magazine, but after reading a blog post by Shannon Hale – book evaluation vs self-evaluation - which asserts

that contemporary reviewers often place way too much emphasis on whether they “like” a book–as if the only thing a book can do is be likable

made him rethink his convictions in a couple of his book reviews. This is what I like about John; he’s not afraid to be up front with his readers. This is, as far as I’m aware, a relatively new phenomenon (if you can call it a phenomenon). Firstly, authors ‘showing their face’ to readers outside of their books (and book signings or public appearances) – online, and using blogs, videos and the such. I’m really enjoying this. Take, for instance, James Roy’s blog, or Scott Westerfeld’s blog, or that of Justine Larbalestier. These are not people just talking books, these are just people -who write books – talking!

Yes, strange and wonderful things are happening in the name of fiction. What about the Digi-novel? The  Digi-novel combines book, movie and website.

Anthony Zuiker, creator of the “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” U.S. television series, is releasing what he calls a “digi-novel” combining all three media — and giving a jolt to traditional book publishing.

“Just doing one thing great is not going to sustain business,” he said. “The future of business in terms of entertainment will have to be the convergence of different mediums. So we did that — publishing, movies and a website”.

 Is convergence of different media the way of the future? What do you think? Is the relationship between authors and their readers changing for good?

This post also appears at Fiction is like a box of chocolates.

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Filed under author, blogging, Literature, media

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

michaeljackson

Today the world was saddened by the news of the two celebrity deaths – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Celebrity popularity is a fact of life, and in this instance Michael Jackson stole the limelight, if you can call it that.  Sometimes the best way to remember a life and career is through pictures. LIFE Magazine is a good place to revisit Michael Jackson’s life.

Stars remember Michael Jackson is an interesting visual record.

Equally as interesting is the album of Michael Jackson covers.

mj

Equally as interesting is the album of Michael Jackson covers.

MJcovers

Then there’s Neverland in all its glory

Neverland

Michael Jackson live – best pics

moreMJ

And, to be fair, have why don’t you stroll down Memory Lane with Farrah Fawcett?

farrah

Since I was on a roll, I decided to check out Michael Jackson’s website.

mjwebsite

 The New York Times has a long post of updates on Michael Jackson and the world’s reaction to his death.

 YouTube has its own tribute to Michael Jackson’s talent.

Given the recent interest in all things Vampire at a time when books like Twilight are more popular than sliced bread, I think it’s time to revisit Thriller.

 

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Filed under media, music, photos

Hitler freaks out over Comic Sans

With the recent public antipathy towards the font Comic Sans, I thought I’d share this video which made me laugh

If you’re still in the mood for a laugh, you may want to check out Hitler has Vista problems.

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Filed under humour, media

Will Richardson speaks in Melbourne

willnetwork

 Will  Richardson’s networks

I’m guessing there will be several blog posts about the SLAV conference, Perspectives on learning V2 today. I have considered whether to leave it to others, but a post always deconstructs my own thinking, and creates an archive for later reference.

Will Richardson was the keynote speaker, and he spoke about Network literacy: leveraging the potential of a hyperconnected world. There were concurrent sessions by Jenny Luca (Now you know Web 2.0, what next?), Adrian Camm (Why create a virtual learning community), and John Pearce (Projecting passionately with Web 2.0). The Plenary session was presented by Kerry Rowett and Judith Way (Web 2.0 and resources for you), who write the SLAV blog, Bright ideas.

SLAV is to be congratulated on providing cutting edge professional development, and also on providing links to the presentations on their Bright Ideas blog.

What I’m not going to do is summarise the talks. The slide presentations will give clues, and the podcasts to follow will provide the detail. What I’m going to do is pull out of Will’s keynote speech some of the main points that resonated with me.

Firstly, anyone who has read Will’s blog or looked through his Delicious tags, will know that network literacy is a leitmotif throughout his writings. If you compare the idea of network literacy with our traditional concept of literacy (at its most basic, reading and writing), then you have an idea of how Will stretches the idea of literacy, and also where his focus is. The hyperconnected world he speaks of is a connectedness which is made  possible by technology, but which is not focused on technology itself, but on a connectedness with people and people networks. And these networks are the source of information for Will. He doesn’t Google when he needs information, he goes to his Twitter or Delicious communities. When he wants to know what ‘s going on in the world, he doesn’t just read newspapers, he prefers to go to his personally designed sources in his Google Reader (RSS feeds), or to his favourite bloggers when he wants deep conversation. He connects with people who share his passions, with experts far and wide, and he urges us to do the same.

And so we shouldn’t be surprised when Will speaks of schools as places which need to change. He quotes Clay Shirky (Here comes everybody) who says we have to get outside of our physical spaces which define our schools and learning, and connect with people and networks globally. He reminds us that our students have already made it out to networked activity through social media sites like Facebook and MySpace. He pre-empts our concerns that Facebook is trivial and uneducational by pointing out that kids are already moving beyond the superficial and using social media to form interest-based groups, where their interaction is based purely on passion and transcends physical space, time zones and cultures. We are impressed when we realise that these experiences place kids in a position of being teachers as well as learners. We really get the point when we hear that this all happens outside of school, when it hits home that self-organised learning and teaching activities driven by pure passion are taking place outside of our learning institutions. While we have the problem of increasing disengagement in our classes. The point hits home with some discomfort.

Here are some points that came out of Will’s talk:

  • learning is an ongoing process, not something that fits neatly within a measured time frame
  • blogging allows us to rethink what it means to read and write; it becomes a connection, a conversation with an authentic audience
  • literacy is malleable and will evolve further in the next few years
  • multimedia texts expand literacy to include critical thinking and analysis
  • we need to create and navigate our own personal learning network, and teach our students to do the same
  • network literacy cannot be taught as a one-off course
  • we need to help our kids create a digital footprint, so that they have positive results when googled

Listen to the podcast when it comes onto the SLAV website for the rest of the talk.

Jenny Luca’s talk was a passionate account detailing her journey from Web 2.0 to making a difference to the lives of many people with the help of individuals and communities around the world. Amongst other projects, she spoke about Working together to make a difference which she is most proud of, since it is testimony to the best of people’s collabortive efforts.

I could go on; all the talks I attended were extremely interesting and relevant to educators. It’s the kind of resource and ideas list that could keep you going for a very long time. I’m already using most of the Web 2.o tools and applications that were mentioned, but I’m trying to integrate them into relevant and creative learning and teaching. What I have learned from hearing people like Will and Jenny speak, has not centred on new tools, but shifted me into a different direction, provided me with a new perspective.

What I’d love to find out now is how the audience received these talks, how people felt, what they thought, what resolutions, if any, did they make as they walked out of that conference. Did it make a difference? Please leave your honest comments here, and perhaps we can have a conversation. Did the talks effect a shift in your perspective and teaching direction, or did it just make you shift uncomfortably in your seat?

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, media, network literacy, technology, Web 2.0

Earthquake in Melbourne: Twitter beats breaking news

Sitting on the couch earlier this evening, I felt a strange sensation of moving with the couch, as the bookshelf behind me creaked. Melbourne had experienced a light earthquake. Did it happen or did I imagine it? After a while I tweeted it in the form of a question, hoping to ascertain whether it really happened or not. Sure enough, Twitter exploded with tweets registering similar experiences.

Meanwhile, the TV was on, but no news about an earthquake. Look at ABC news online – nothing. Channel 7 Breaking News remained unbroken – just a repeat of the stories that had been broadcast several times already this evening.

Gradually, traditional news providers came on board. Channel 7 finally acknowledged the quake at 10.27 pm. Very slow, considering John Connell had already completed a post about the Melbourne quake from Scotland.

Here it is, and he has an image of the first 18 twitterers – I’m there on the right. I would have been quicker but my laptop was doing its usual slow-loading.

 

As Craig has pointed out in a comment below, Breaking Tweets (World News Twitter style)  reported 800 tweets before media jumped in.

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Filed under media, networking, news, Web 2.0