Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Real Media

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  • Tom Beard,

    And, as noted elsewhere, http://nz.youtube.com/" target="_blank">the New Zealand YouTube gateway opened yesterday afternoon.

    And perhaps proof-reading HTML would be a good skill to teach, too ;-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And perhaps proof-reading HTML would be a good skill to teach, too ;-)

    Why bother, when I have the wisdom of the crowd to guide me?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Why is it that only Nandor and the Greens seem to be able to protect the interests of the vast majority of the digital community?

    Surely some other MPs use/know people who use the internet

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1021 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Ah, the open source approach to bug fixes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Same with blogs. Our kids start making PowerPoint presentations at intermediate level. But no one talks to them about a medium they're much more likely to actually use.

    Depends on the school. My 6 year old's class have a wiki, and both he and the 8 year old have been involved with powerpoint whatever the Mac equivalent of powerpoint is since first year. All the classes at school have discussion forums that the kids use both in and out of class.
    Perks of a shiny new decile 10 school I spose - class sets of macbooks shared 1 set between 4 classes, lappies for all the teachers, at least 1 e-mac in each class, plus the magic techno whiteboard things that plug into the teachers laptop.
    The oldest has had a blog for a year or so now, but that was set up for him by me, nothing to do with school.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    wow - hamiltron, truly the city of the future

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    It is curious that every time I have heard/read Nandor Tanzcos ideas/perspectives he has sounded so reasoned and reasonable. Imagine what the level of debate would be like if the shouters and pointscorers in Parliament had to lift their game to his level!!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Yeah, its quite weird, I don't get around many primary schools apart from my kids one, so I tend to assume they're all more-or-less on a par. But last week I visited a local catholic private primary, their IT infrastructure is a whole nother ballgame - some of the classes have a scummy old PC, circa 4 years old, no sign of any networking. I think they have a computer lab, but not much day-to-day hands-on.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It's pretty tough to expect teachers to be at the bleeding edge of technology. Consider the demographic from which they are mostly taken (old). Then consider the demographic of the people who design the curricula (even older). Also consider how much they could be getting paid doing something else if they were at the bleeding edge.

    Not saying they shouldn't be there, just that I think the delivery mechanism (teachers and school curricula) is not ideal. Where did you find out about the optimum way of encoding clips to play on YouTube and similar services? I bet it wasn't on any course, but rather from experimentation and net-research. And those skills are teachable. Or should I say learnable?

    Can you teach this stuff? I'm often asked how I know how to do IT shit, and the answer is always "I worked it out myself". If schools provided me anything in my work it was that they gave me good facilities to play on. Well, to be honest, university did. School IT provided me with nothing except that they allowed me some time every week to use their facilities during which they didn't force me to do something else like PhysEd (which, as a sporty person, could only shit me off). The facilities were actually no better than what I had at home, but I wasn't at home during school hours, so computer studies was worthwhile, a bit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's pretty tough to expect teachers to be at the bleeding edge of technology. Consider the demographic from which they are mostly taken (old). Then consider the demographic of the people who design the curricula (even older). Also consider how much they could be getting paid doing something else if they were at the bleeding edge.

    But they're teaching kids to shoot and edit digital video using modern computer-based tools -- just not an important distribution (and-self-marketing) skill that would make the editing skills more relevant.

    And I really strongly believe that it's useful for kids to be encouraged to think and talk about the media they're most likely to be using. And, even more so, to be taught how to assess information, which IMO is a critical task for modern education.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    And I really strongly believe that it's useful for kids to be encouraged to think and talk about the media they're most likely to be using. And, even more so, to be taught how to assess information, which IMO is a critical task for modern education.

    Yes.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It is curious that every time I have heard/read Nandor Tanzcos ideas/perspectives he has sounded so reasoned and reasonable. Imagine what the level of debate would be like if the shouters and pointscorers in Parliament had to lift their game to his level!!

    I've noted before that he's much more enjoyable to interview than most MPs, because he's willing to engage at an intellectual level and discuss ideas, rather than just politicking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    It is curious that every time I have heard/read Nandor Tanzcos ideas/perspectives he has sounded so reasoned and reasonable. Imagine what the level of debate would be like if the shouters and pointscorers in Parliament had to lift their game to his level!!

    Unfortunately that seems unlikely so long as anything relating to the Greens gets reported in the papers as, "those whacky nutjobs are at it again", which seems to be pretty much the case no matter what they do.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Why bother, when I have the wisdom of the crowd to guide me?

    Ahem.

    Even Hard News seems problematic. It's much easier to declare it unreliable than to impart some basic skills in assessing the merit of an article -- as the cornerstone of the vital modern ability to scrutinise information online -- and then how and when to edit.

    Good to see you setting that up to walk your talk Russell!

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Aaron Dick,

    I'm training to be a teacher at the moment. I have no idea what to say about teaching kids about social sites or anything. I would like to engage them on it, to get them to think, to realise they are in a public space.

    But then that turns around on me and makes me wonder if Ishould set all the various public web spaces I keep need to become filtered and private in order to protect myself as a teacher...

    And teaching them how to verify whats on wikipedia. I'll try, but it was hard enough getting them into the library to look up some information. Getting them to start cross checking, thinking about where they got the info... I'm tired already. :P

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    And teaching them how to verify whats on wikipedia. I'll try, but it was hard enough getting them into the library to look up some information. Getting them to start cross checking, thinking about where they got the info... I'm tired already. :P

    Keep on trucking, we appreciate your hard work.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    One of the main reasons my kids' school uses macs is that the apple folks provide a lot of teacher training, every year several of the teachers get to go off on a few days being taught nifty things to do with the computers.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I remember the first computer training we had at school. It involved punched cards.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But they're teaching kids to shoot and edit digital video using modern computer-based tools -- just not an important distribution (and-self-marketing) skill that would make the editing skills more relevant.

    Teaching, or giving the means to teach themselves? That's really what I'm getting at. Again I ask: Where did you learn to do your tech stuff? Be honest now, was it at school or even on a course? Or did you just fiddle until you got it right, consulting snippets of information from many sources, pretty much like I do all day every day in my job?

    And I really strongly believe that it's useful for kids to be encouraged to think and talk about the media they're most likely to be using.

    Totally agree. I'd be very surprised if school teachers would have much to contribute to such encouragement, though. More likely they would just embarrass themselves with how uncool and backward they are, unless they are actual specialists in whatever field they are teaching. At which point my statement that such people seldom end up as teachers arises.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying school teachers are useless. I just think that what they have to contribute is some fairly general knowledge, and when it gets highly technical and specific they will cater only for a fairly average student who has little intent of continuing on in that field. Tech courses or university could take it further, but really even they are mainly for the purposes of getting access to the equipment and some marks that show where you fit in the scale of students in your field, and surrounding you with people of like mind and interests.

    I'm not sure at what level of teaching you are talking, I read it as upper secondary school, correct me if I'm wrong. Personally I'd be very happy with any teacher who even knew what optimum way of encoding clips meant, and ecstatic if they actually knew the answer. Then probably bitter about 2 months later when they moved on from teaching to working in TV or movie making.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I remember the first computer training we had at school. It involved punched cards.

    Doesn't it make you marvel at the 2GB SD stick? Think of it as the same thing, just with really small holes :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • nzMM,

    Perhaps in the spirit of the internet a howto (howto: optimum encoding for youtube...) wiki could be put together for both teachers and students alike. Refer those in education to it. Make a point of including a discussion about the pros and cons of open formats as well.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Where did you learn to do your tech stuff? Be honest now, was it at school or even on a course?

    Well, I did take a course in BASIC at polytech when I was about 12 (there wasn't much tech education at schools back in the early eighties), but apart from the odd brief course in specific technologies (usually paid for by employers) pretty much everything I know I've learnt from online tutorials, books, mucking around and View>Source.

    On the other hand, my maths degree has come in very handy in terms of learning to think abstractly and algorithmically, so I wouldn't completely discount the value of formal education. And I've been very lucky to be able to move sideways in several jobs to get involved in new technologies: there's very little chance I'd be able to walk off the street and get a job as a GIS specialist, Photoshop monkey or web guy without formal qualifications.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Tom, I learned a lot of BASIC at intermediate from a guy who was doing a course at University in the early 80s. An inspirational teacher for me who did guess what? Left teaching to work in computing. Funny that.

    But really he just helped me down a path. I was made to feel that what I'd already learned a lot about was not just random whack stuff with no application, but something that someone I respected thought was excellent and righteous too.

    And yeah, maths is deep. It's forever. The optimum encoding format for YouTube clips is like, this week.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I was thinking back to the computer education I had at school. At intermediate school ('86/'87) there was a lab of Commodore 64s, where we learned the Logo programming language (boring!), used Bank Street Writer and played Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.

    But by the time I got to high school, there was no compulsory computer education. I learned to type on an electric typewriter. Touch-typing has served me well, but all the other skills - like counting spaces and tabbing across to lay out a brochure - were virtually obsolete when they were being taught.

    Most of my computer education was self-taught. It was mucking around on the Vic-20, Commodore 64, DOS computer, and finally Windows at home. Doing fun stuff that I enjoyed, rather than the unpleasant experience of doubling up with someone in a computer lab at school.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    there's very little chance I'd be able to walk off the street and get a job as a GIS specialist, Photoshop monkey or web guy without formal qualifications.

    Oops missed that. I don't agree. You just won't start at the top. What 17 year old could rightfully expect to anyway? Fuck it, I worked for no pay at all for the first 3 months of my career, despite having highly relevant qualifications. It was the exact work I wanted to do, and it took me a long way, right up to today.

    My business partner left school (we were buddies) at 17 and worked in all sorts of IT related jobs before finally cracking it and making a fortune. His quals were all on-the-job. By the time I was an impoverished university-leaver with a big loan, he was already making very good money and had been for years.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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