computers, classroom, climbing, etc.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A new look at Little Red Riding Hood

The graphic feel of 'Remind me' used on a fairy tale produces some real humour. Also an example of how unknowns can do great stuff.

This is a great video. Enjoy!

SlagsmÄlsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Queen Rania

Everything is different.

If you don't believe this, let me redirect your attention to Exhibit A, Queen Rania of Jordan's YouTube award acceptance video. If you don't remember it or missed it, here it is.

Well? A couple of things pop to mind.

1. This woman is a queen. One of the only real queens left on the planet. Look at her presentation of herself here.
2. She is assuming that everyone watching recognizes the format. Letterman as a cultural universal. The mind boggles.
3. She also assumes a good knowledge of YouTube. OK thinking of her original audience, but as we know, these things move around.
3. Unable to appear in person, she makes a video. If you think YouTube is a natural form of expression solely for pimply 14 year-olds who never leave their basements, then this video is a sharp answer for you.

I hadn't intended to use this in class when I first saw it, but watching it again, I think I will use it. Tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Devolution - becoming what I hate.

You'd expect that when someone opposed to schooling becomes a teacher, the classroom gets turned upside down and strange and wonderful things happen. I do it for three years and then write a book. Hollywood makes one of those annoying school movies.

Didn't happen. At first, I had no idea I was going to stay, so I just did my job in a simple way and observed. I quickly became so fond of working with teenagers that I could see myself staying, however, and then strange things did begin happening in the classroom. I got lots of fantastic feedback from the kids, who (interestingly enough) often refused to consider me a teacher. Not that they didn't learn anything. They said they learned more in my classes. I was weird, I was funny, I was engaged. I knew lots of strange things. They did things in my class they hadn't done before. I took them seriously.

Now a few more years have gone by and I don't get much positive feedback, just the bored looks and low-level conflict that are so typical in school. When I look at myself, it's not hard to understand why. I've become one of those self-important, disorganised, unimaginative, impersonal, discipline-obsessed teachers that made me hate school so much in the first place. How did this happen?

Research shows that pedagogical education and teacher training have little effect on praxis. I have interviewed a few teachers (and talked to several hundred) and what amazes me is what a clear idea so many of them have of what it is they are supposed to do. I have had teachers admit to me that they haven't had time to read the curriculum for their course, or that they find the Education Act or other parts of the regulations a hindrance that they may actually ignore. So this must mean that they have a clear idea from somewhere else of what it is that they are supposed to be doing. Huh? Come again?

Well, we've all been to school and learned what school is. That script we've learned seems to be stronger than any kind of educational theory or law or curriculum. Even in my case, where I do not remember a single good teacher from my many years at school and where I have no desire to recreate the idiocy that wasted so much of my childhood, this script seems to be stronger than my own idiology.

How did I let this happen? Well, I've got three small kids and never get enough sleep. My wife works more than I do. I'm always behind and when I no longer have a burningly clear idea of what I want to acheive - whamo - I become what I hate.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Le grand content video

This is really the best!

It took me a while to discover Jessica Hagy and her wonderful blog Indexed, so I had missed the video that has been made from her graphs. Here it is, although I'm so far behind the times that I'm really showing how outside the loop I am by posting it here now.