Alternative Facts

This week a post on The Adventures of Library Girl (a blog by written by Jennifer LaGarde,  the Lead School Library Media Coordinator/Digital Teaching and Learning Specialist for New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, NC.) titled Fake News, Alternative Facts and Librarians As Dedicated Defenders of Truth pushed me to think about the idea of Fake News and how librarians, classroom teachers, ICT teachers and schools in general have been working for decades to help students sort the wheat from the chaff when ...

EXHIBITION ISSUES (Part 2)

REFLECTING ON THE EXHIBITION UPLOAD PART 2: Last month I started my blog by praising the great work of some teachers and students – leading to fantastic artworks that I saw on screen when moderating visual arts exhibitions. I went on to discuss some issues that might have reflected a misunderstanding of some aspects of the course, including teacher comments, the value of trauma, exhibition photographs and size and scale. This month I am continuing this theme - outlining some ‘problem’ issues that ...

Grisly and sensational: Jack the Ripper and a TOK critical thinking

Have your students heard of Jack the Ripper?   If not, you’ll probably want to skip this activity. Even though it would still be an exercise in evaluating sources and evidence, a lot of the shiver would be lost – and hence the fun in class. However, if they have heard of the brutal serial killer who stalked East London, England, in the 1880s, this could be an engaging activity for early in the TOK course -- to launch critical approaches ...

Have you enrolled in a MOOC?

What is a MOOC? This video from Dave Cormier will explain:   [videos file="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3gMGqcZQc" width="450" height="253"] As with so many things, when looking for a good beginning introduction, I come to Wikipedia for a basic definition of  MOOC: "A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC; /muːk/) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the webIn addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). MOOCs are a ...

Shared knowledge: selection

The National, CBC News, March 27, 2014  In TOK, we deal with "shared knowledge", the knowledge (or at least knowledge claims) that we pass from person to person in a family, a community, a world.  In some spectacular cases, an event in one part of the world captivates the attention of the rest, and what is "shared" becomes the stuff of media buzz and private conversations across the globe.  In this commentary in the Canadian news, Rex Murphy points out many ...

Journalism: Window or Filter on the World?

Today I want to step back from the passing show of a year's events in review to recommend a not-so-recent commentary on the very nature of journalism and its relationship with truth.   I encourage everyone to listen to a 10-minute BBC World Service broadcast from two years ago in which Own Bennett Jones introduces Martin Bell for his commentary, based on earlier writing reflecting on his years as a war correspondent, entitled The Truth is Our Currency: reflections on the limits ...

Sensationalizing and distorting science: the media and “shared knowledge”

“Researchers Shocked To Discover Hidden DNA Code”!  Anyone even casually interested in the ever expanding pool of shared scientific knowledge is likely perk up at such a headline.  It takes a lot more than casual interest, of course, to keep track of scientific discoveries:  dozens of credible websites (let alone scientific journals) are crammed with articles about yet more discoveries about the human genome—or about yet another exoplanet  or species of bizarre beetle. Barraged with far more information than we ...

The PPP and Devising

The Practical Performance Proposal and Devising While working with my IB class recently we created some original work based on the devising process of Frantic Assembly, and then created pieces in physical theatre, immersive promenade theatre and a fusion of Brechtian and Forum theatre styles. My students were influenced and inspired by many practitioners: Brecht Boal Grotowski Stanislavsky Pina Bausch Anne Bogart and theatre companies including: Punchdrunk Frantic Assembly DV8 This post will move away from this devising process and give you a ...

Ninja alert: TOK and the media

Would you trust “news” if it came from Ninjas?  In fact, do you fully trust any news at all?  As a TOK student, you no doubt have your antenna out when any media claim to provide you with “knowledge.”  When such a claim comes from a group that call themselves the “Midia Ninja”, you might be doubly alert. And yet, huge numbers of Brazilians are putting their faith in this source of information.  Why?  Well, these Ninjas aren’t like some of ...

INTERVIEWS

I have been interviewing my final year IBDP visual arts students during last week and this week, giving them a chance to rehearse some of the things they might want to say to their examiner when their final exhibitions are up. They discussed their studio work (option A) and their investigation workbooks (option B), providing background information, explaining how one thing led to another, and generally presenting a much fuller picture than could be gleaned by just looking (for example) at ...