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emclectic

In Opinion on
April 6, 2016

Rant

In The Australian newspaper, Natasha Bita reports John Vallance’s view on technology in classrooms as a “scandalous waste”, a distraction, and does little “except enrich Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard and Apple” (thank-you Steph for sharing this article). His school prohibits students to bring their laptops to school to encourage uninhibited group discussions in the classroom, a move which is underpinned by the belief that “teaching is fundamentally social activity”.

Yes, school is a place where brains and brawn are developed – in fact I can’t agree any more strongly that talk and discussion is vital to the growth of learners. And yes, it’s true, students can’t write legibly, they play on their computers alone during recess, and their attention spans are virtually non existent. So I do agree that it is alarming that the Australian Curriculum is migrating its NAPLAN tests to the computer.

However, as much as I agree with this article, I think I hold some bias (as many others do) coming from a cohort who graduated just one year ahead of those students introduced to their own independent laptops for use in and outside of class. And I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that students have a lesser attention span, can’t spell, and write slower.

While I admire the passion and value Vallance has for teachers; “If I had a choice between filling a classroom with laptops or hiring another teacher, I’d take the other teacher every day of the week’’, the claim that teachers use technology to create the “illusion of having prepared a lesson” is a strong assumption. Personally, I think there is a growing emphasis on teachers facilitating learning and equipping them with the skills to use the tools around them more effectively. So, just because a teacher asks students to complete some research on the computer for a lesson or two does not mean they are “slacking off”. Might I add how important it is for students to be able to research and differentiate between reliable and unreliable information (the common-sense list goes on…). Our schools place so much significance on building independent long life learners – and well, computers and technology is a huge part of it.

Regardless, it probably isn’t all that constructive to criticise the use of technology in the classroom. We all know that technology is prevalent in all parts of society and the engagement (or disengagement) it does in fact bring is inevitable. And we certainly know that technology is here and here to stay.

Perhaps the kind of conversation we should be having is how to educate teachers to use technology in the classroom in meaningful ways that enhance learning, encourage innovation and creativity, so that we can eliminate one edge of the sword.

In Opinion, Outfit, Style on
February 17, 2016

Don’t be that person on Vday.

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Valentines Day isn’t for everyone. And I’m sure that I posted a blog once upon a time, admonishing the idea of the annual celebration, and that the day should instead be about the love for one’s self or that everyday should be a day of love and appreciation. But instead of hating on people who post gaudy images of gifts and stuffed toys among a bouquet of overpriced short lived red roses, let’s all as cynics find a way to embrace the positives that can come from this special day – whether or not you’re hitched.

The day does not have to exclusively be about or for couples, which has been made abundantly clear by individuals particularly fond of promoting self-love. It’s a day that should, and I believe is increasingly becoming about universal love between friends, family, pets, the community, and even for the place or country you live in.

It’s so easy to: get caught up with your own life and problems, forget that others around you are probably enduring the same daily grind, take for granted or miss the small thoughtful gestures people might do for you. You may not see or understand the hype and excitement around Valentines Day, but the ruckus it causes could serve as a useful reminder to think about someone else other than yourself for a change, and may even prompt you to show your appreciation for the person who has shown you they care all the other times you were too busy dealing with problems life brings.

And what’s so bad about having a day that might reignite the flames of a relationship that has forgotten about romance? Although, of course, it should not take a particular day to motivate this kind of action, it might just be the saving grace for a relationship in dire need of some tlc.

So yes, Valentines Day is to some extent quite superficial – but it doesn’t have to be. It need not be adorned with sparkly what-nots or a hefty price tag or rose petals on top of bed sheets or bath tubs. Much like anything else in life, you’re in charge of making any day and every day a meaningful and worthwhile Valentines.

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We celebrated our 10th year together (as well as Valentines Day) over the weekend in Geelong where Ken is currently studying.

In Opinion on
January 15, 2016

Do it for yourself.

Quite shamefully, I spend a significant chunk of my time watching vlogs on youtube. Often, these bloggers respond to their fan questions, with many asking them how they could start a blog or a youtube channel. Most of these bloggers say that you can’t start a blog/yt channel with the intention of getting famous. I always scoffed at the answer, because being the skeptical, cynical and pessimistic person that I am, I believed they were just saying what everybody wanted to hear. Like many “bloggers” out there they attempt to elude people from seeing how disingenuous the internet world can really be; it’s only too easy to place on a facade under the cloak of “fame”, and when a few hundred thousand followers can offer security from being exposed (I talk about purchasing followers here).

But after hearing the same righteous response again from yet another blogger, I began to believe this statement. Perhaps it was her conviction, but also perhaps this was the first time I properly reflected on why I blog and where my motivations come from.
I like to create things. I like to create them on my own. I like to have creative control over the things I make. I like having the ability to turn things that start off as just visions, into a reality. It’s a much more meaningful kind of satisfaction when I produce and design creations that seem like unattainable ideas concocted in my head or that money (or lack of it) simply cannot buy.

Creating content is my way of expressing my ideas visually. It’s the process I enjoy; and “posting” or “publishing” it for the world only supplies short lived gratification. Despite knowing that only one or two people actually pay any attention to the content I create, I do it regardless – why? Because more than anything, I do it for myself.

 

See the first vlog I am actually proud of, hopefully I’ll be able to get some more up sooner than later. Vlogs take ages to make, I have so much footage I have to cull through.

In Opinion on
November 27, 2015

Flower Frown | Reblog Series #8

There’s something I really dislike about the ‘flower crown’ trend. Just something about it that really is just a little too over-the-top (while I understand that of course everybody has their own definition of what ‘over-the-top’ is). It just looks awkward on the head and if it’s one thing I can’t possibly understand is how people are willing to pay up to $80 for a botanical garden to be worn on their head, so large it looks like it could nest a whole colony of bees. Not entirely sure why one would like to walk around looking like a walking vase for any occasion other than halloween either. People seem to think that just because it’s Spring (and Spring typically calls a warrant for florals everywhere and anywhere possible), that an uncouth amount of artificial (or worse) semi-artifical (whatever that is) propped on the head means they’re suddenly in the privy of the latest Spring trend! (whatayouknow more flowers!) …Irritating.

Having said all that, just cos it’s not for me, doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

Happy Spring.

I actually like the photo featured above, but for what it’s worth, it should remain only in photoshoots.