Saturday, October 06, 2012

Saturday Morning Musings - Filipino libel laws, new technology in teaching & the dreaming

This morning's post here is just a round-up of things that have been drawn to my attention or that I have noticed in passing. Nothing profound, just a ramble across some of my interests.

Youngest drew my attention to this one because she thought that I and some of my friends would be interested. Thanks, Clare!

In Sister Machine Gun of Contemplative Meditation, a blog that I hadn't see before, By the Time You Read this, I will Be a Criminal. attacks the late inclusion of an on-line criminal libel provision in the Philippines new Cybercrime Prevention Act. If I interpret the piece correctly, the law in not just a Filipino problem. Any Australian blogger or twitterer who writes on Filipino matters may be guilty of a criminal offence under the Act.

Surely not, I thought. But yes. The law has created controversy in the Philippines. This piece in the Philippine Star (P-Noy stands by libel provision in cyber law) will give you a feel. I was struck by the words of President Aquino in defending the provisions: "Aquino said he was open to lowering the penalties for online libel but that the measure must be enforced soon, as authorities must have the legal means to prosecute people for Internet-related crimes." You have been warned!

Moving in a completely different direction, Neil drew my attention to this piece by Maximos62: A few thoughts on teaching about indigenous Australia. Maximos62 is always thoughtful. I found it an interesting piece because it crosses several of my interests.

The first area is the use of computing and communications technology in teaching, training and facilitation. This is a screen shot of the material that maximos62 developed. Pretty impressive, isn't it?  Further comments follow the shot.

    From time to time, I have been quite critical of the current obsession with computer based and especially on-line learning.  Here in Australia recently. some commenters (I didn't keep the link) have been arguing that Governments should stop funding University campuses since they were no longer necessary in an online world.

I thought that this was an especially silly comment since it failed to recognise that different delivery modes and indeed mixed modes had different strengths and weaknesses. The mode or modes should be selected for fitness of purpose. It's interesting in the private sector that big companies such as GE are retaining both physical facilities and face-to-face because it gives better commercial pay backs in training terms. They use online, but only in its place.

Maximos62 's course is, to my mind, an example of the proper use of technology. As Neil noted in a comment on one of our discussions. courseware like this can dramatically shorten learning times. More time is then available for things like discussion, thus creating a higher value course.

There is another problem, however. More and more time for teachers, trainers and staff in general has to be spent in learning the changing technology, in creating content, leaving less time for other things. Let me illustrate with a simple personal example.

One result of my return as a columnist to the Armidale Express (Belshaw's World - sharing a love of history was the first of the new series) was an immediate invitation to speak to a meeting of the Armidale North Rotary Club. I accepted, of course. In my promotion of the things that I am interested in I use every channel I can.

I then faced a quandary. Armidale North meets at a local club. Armidale being Armidale, that club has digital projectors etc, so I can use modern technology. Assuming, mind you, that it works. That can't always be taken for granted. There is nothing so devastating as arriving at a venue and finding the technology doesn't work!

Traditionally in speaking, I use the combination of words, voice and body language to try to entertain and get my message across. Should I now package for the newish technology?

It's actually not an easy question. That Armidale speech is going to cost me well over $1,000 in income foregone plus travel and accommodation costs, so I want to get value for money. To do this, I decided that I would package a presentation that could be re-used. But do I focus on traditional delivery or use technology? If I follow the second path, it's going to take me three times as long in content creation and in learning new approaches.

I might follow up on this one later, because it interests me. For the moment, I want to go to another element of Maximos62's post.

There can be no doubt that the work of Bill Gammage is having a rolling impact. maximos62 published his post on 2 October, A few days earlier, I posted  Train Reading - environment, mental maps & Bill Gammage.  Yesterday, I was talking to a senior NSW Aboriginal official about Bill Gammage. He had not read the book, so I am going to buy him a copy as a present. Thus the Gammage impact rolls on. Oh I so wish that my writing had the same impact!

In my discussion of Bill's work, I referred to my original honours thesis. There I complained about the obsession of some of the anthropologists I was using with kinship structures. Now I feel that the dreaming falls in the same class and for the same reasons. I suspect that I am entering into sensitive territory here, so I will leave that aside for I am out of time this morning.   

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