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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Ok, everyone knows that the teacher teaches and lectures in the class and kids get homework assigned to do at home..  That’s how school goes.  At least that’s how I went through school and how I’ve figured that my students will go through school.  How  absolutely unimaginative of me.  Well you know, this isn’t the first time I have realized that I’m not where I want to be when I eventually teach on my own.  That’s alright, it means I’m learning.

So what else is to be done.  Flipped classrooms of course! Or something.  I saw a couple tweets about it the other week and forgot about it until now when I have a couple minutes.  So basically, lectures or pre-information (recorded lecture of yourself or other video introducing or explaining content) are assigned for students to view at home or before class, wherever they want.  Most kids have a computer in their pocket, so they really don’t have an excuse, although many still won’t do it.  Much like not doing homework.

And then, when the class comes together, hopefully a large portion of students will have watched the lecture portion already, and you can focus the time on allowing students to work with the content you shared.  Activities that will reinforce the lectures and bring the information to life.  I like this idea.  Doing activities to reinforce the lectures vs doing homework to reinforce the lectures.

Many of you reading this, may have experienced this in school.  And maybe I did too, in a different way, but I don’t think so.  I think it’s a strategy that can be employed along with the traditional format, being balanced as to hit all the different types of learners, etc.  I really like this idea.  For one, kids spend more time doing in school, and for another, I spent more time doing and less time talking as well!

Have you heard of this? Have you experienced this?  What do you think?

Nature Deficit Disorder or NDD is apparently something.  Wikipedia says so right here.  I mean, it’s not a real something as far as medical professionals see things, but an author made it up in 2005, so it’s that sort of something.

He’s probably right though.  Technology has narrowed many people’s focus down to this television show, that video games, or the millions of other time consuming activities on the internet.  This has resulted in children spending progressively less time outdoors.  It’s a shame.  I love the outdoors, and I feel like I have a nature deficit when I’ve logged far too many hours on the computer.  A big part of the hours people put in on technology is the ability to connect with people and form relationships.  We are relational in nature and the ease and scope of the relationships we can form on the internet is amazing.  But without sounding too new age-y, kids need to understand their relationship with nature.

Education has the task of balancing new technologies with the great outdoors for students, and I think for the most part, it’s done well.  More First Nations teachings regarding the interconnected roles of humans and the environment are taught.  Outdoor education is a growing discipline in schools.

Do you think NDD is valid or bunk?  Are schools doing enough to balance nature and technology and the possible effects of NDD? Are you suffering and you don’t even realize it!?!?!

If you haven’t seen this film, i think you should… RIP! A Remix Manifesto

“Before the radio and the record came along, the only way that people made money from making music was by standing in a hall and being charismatic.” Do you think the business model for professional musicians has changed in the last few decades?

Clearly, the business model has changed.  Like he said in the film, there used to be one broadcaster for information, and now through the internet there is an unlimited number real time connections.  Similarly, there was/still really is a period where musicians would make their money through concerts, records, and royalties, but with technological advances and accessibility to music and learning music growing, the sheer volume of musicians and mash ups is growing.

As the volume of music continually grows, and the reworking of old-into-new material continues, money involved in the music industry will likely be spread far thinner.  If the industry’s ability to sue to living crap out of people is somehow diminished in the future, it will be impossible for them to maintain the revenue, status, and power they currently have.  It’s easy to understand how Lars Ulrich and others are up in arms because of lost revenue, it’s probably millions! I figure they and other like-minded musicians are alright with going down in history as one of the bad guys so long as their retirement is cushioned by several extra million dollars.

So, the model has to change and is changing.  When Radiohead released In Rainbows in 2007 and asked buyers to pay what they want, it was ground breaking.  And people loved it.  Terribly unfortunate for EMI however.  Other sites and musicians are moving in the same direction.  Bandcamp.com let’s musicians set minimum prices for single song or full album downloads, and buyers pay on average 50% over the minimum.  Now I know some still wouldn’t want their music remixed, but this is an example of musicians being more in control of their product and sharing user to user opposed to through large companies.

The growth or remixes is such a good thing.  Copyright was first introduced to encourage creativity and innovation in arts and science, but the current model severely hinders that.  Just  as the original laws were changed to more so benefit the authors and less so the creativity of the public, it could use some tweaking as remixes become larger, as they most certainly will.

The laws seem ridiculous as they stand. That GirlTalk would/should have to pay upwards of 4 million to release a record with far more originality than any Nickelback album to date. I loved the part where the music industry spokesman is intimidating the children on a field trip with $25,000 fines and one boy asks, “Isn’t that a little overboard?” and he confidently answers,”no.”  Wow, what messed up priorities.  It’s ludicrous and feels insanely petty for something as simple as music. The whole concept of copyright gets absolutely disgusting when applied to medicine, in the the case of Brazil breaking laws to affordably produce AIDS medication.  How dare they!  And how the US has pumped billions into anti-copyright efforts that definitely should have been spent on education, healthcare, etc.  Why?

This film was very well done and super entertaining.  There’s no simple answer that comes out of it though.  Copyright has a place, incentive is a large motivator to innovation.  I greatly believe that being rewarded for a job done well is the right thing to do, but if pirate media is everyone’s answer then there’s no real reward.  So does cutting the length down to 5..10..? years solve anything? Probably just makes everyone slightly less of a criminal.  As for remixing, would remix artists actually respect those 5 years before cutting and reworking the material?  I highly doubt it, what’s new is what people want to hear.

Maybe the business model of the future will revert back to being charismatic in front of people live.  Where music, original (as original as the blues) and mashup is shared freely with no strings attached and revenue has to come from the live experience and performance of that material.  That wouldn’t be all that bad.  More access to creativity and ability to become creative for the public, more funds/resources for other projects, and the desire of musicians/film makers, etc. to heighten their game to impress me.

I’m not a huge reader.  I enjoy a good book, but I don’t have the constant desire to always be looking at words on a page (or tablet).  So while it’s not a love, I do understand how powerful writing can be and I know I’ve experienced it.  So here’s a few books that I’ve very much enjoyed and found them hard to put down.

blue like jazz – don miller – This was the first book that I picked up and couldn’t stop reading until I was finished. Pretty sure I would view the material differently now, but it it was very engaging and made me question some issues years ago when i read it.

life of pi – yann martel – My favourite piece of fiction.  It seems people either loved or hated this book.  I’m on the love side.  I question some of the ideas presented, but it is absolutely amazing storytelling.

til we have faces – c.s. lewis – A favourite of my wife’s that I felt compelled to read for that fact.  A beautiful retelling/remaking of the myth of Cupid and Psyche.

great gatsby – f.scott fitzgerald – this was the “classic” that was on my summer 2011 reading list.  I loved how the book flowed and how upset it made my stomach.

bible – various – Yes, many books, but one book.  They are connected, it counts.  Overwhelming, confusing, and encouraging.  Nothing like it on earth.

Please share some of your favourites, and once I rid myself of textbooks and assignments for Christmas or summer I will check back and hopefully give some a read.  Thanks.