Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

February 19, 2017
by Maha Bali
0 comments

What is Faith?

Reading Time: 6 minutes


Faith flickr photo by radiant guy shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

I almost called this post “What Does God Look Like?” but I realized it’s neither about God per se, nor at all about what He looks like. God is a being that is external to us. Faith is something inside of us. They’re interrelated, but I know a lot of people who have “faith” but who do not have “faith” (as in following God or religion).

So… a tangent on what God looks like. My little one was looking through some of my old Encyclopedia type books, at one called “Dean’s Big Book of Answers” (similar to the Tell Me Why series) and she opened up the page on God and Adam and Eve. I should go read it and figure out why the heck the story of creation made it to a book on, supposedly, science and stuff. But this was the 80s and I’m not sure where people were on that front. But anyway, the picture was a very Christian interpretation of God’s likeness (old man in a beard, overseeing everything) and Adam and Eve (nudes). Not at all the Islamic interpretation. First, because in Islam we don’t EVER try to visualize God. He’s got characteristics similar to humans but he is not human. In the Quran we learn “there is nothing like Him”. Makes sense to me. I mean, if God were just a super-powerful human being it would all be… uhh…. Ok let me not go there because it might actually offend people of certain faiths which isn’t my point or intention here. My point is that even though I was never allowed to visualize God, I still remember having a visual representation of God. It probably dates back to how I was first introduced to God, and it was probably something hanging on our wall at home, some Quranic text written in a particular way (calligraphy is the ultimate Islamic art, imho) and for some reason, my picture of God was that shape of calligraphy, superimposed onto a sky, because we always think of God as being in the sky somehow, right? We are also not supposed to visualize prophets and such, no Jesus or Mary paintings or statues for us. Definitely not Mohammad’s. But I also had an image of Mohammad. It was simply the first adult I knew who had that name. This sounds particularly tricky, because what if he was a horrible human being? I didn’t know him well. He was actually a red-head and very fair-skinned (as most redheads are) and someone who lived in our compound, and I don’t think I ever heard or saw him do anything but ride elevators with his family.

Anyway. Now to the real point of this post. What is faith?

I’m gonna go back in history for this one. Back in 2011, shortly after the revolution happened, while I was around 2 months pregnant, I had a horrible dream. I don’t want to say exactly what happened in that dream, but suffice to say that when my parents were in a car accident a few days later and my dad injured his hip (but my mom and driver were unharmed) – I was RELIEVED. I felt that my dream prophesized that something horrible would happen, and that my dream was an exaggeration of what would happen, so that I would feel really calm when the real thing happened. When people asked me about the accident, I would say, “it could have been so much worse – they could have both been hurt, he could have been hurt worse… you know, someone could have died”. Funny thing, that. My dad died 3 months later. And it was a surprise because it was only indirectly related to the aftereffects of that accident. So the dream? That hadn’t been an exaggeration. That had been the preparation. And the accident? That had been (in my humble opinion) God’s mercy in letting us down gently… of giving everyone an opportunity to give my dad some love and attention in his last days, without knowing they were his last days.  I was pregnant and had my own problems (coming up) but because my dad was not completely well, I spent a lot of time with him in the last few months of his life. And I am forever grateful I had that opportunity.

The horrible things that happened to me while pregnant. I can’t divulge details, but sometime between my dad’s accident and his death, something pretty horrible started happening in my life. After spending a night bawling my eyes out and falling asleep from exhaustion, I had this dream: I dreamt that I was bleeding, and that in my dream, my mom was comforting me and telling me not to worry, that bleeding early in the third trimester is normal and not necessarily a sign of miscarriage. You have to realize two things here: while the latter piece of information turns out to actually be true, I did NOT know it at the time. And second: this was a REALLY precious baby. We’d been married 5 years and tried all kinds of fertility support and (as is statistically probable) we did not get pregnant after our first IVF. So this was a precious baby and losing it was a big deal. I woke up and thought, that dream is just my subconscious telling me that I’m really worried and scared of losing something precious. But you know what happened after that? A few days later, around one day after I announced that I was now in my third trimester, I woke up one day to find myself bleeding really heavily. I was at home and about to go to work, and I canceled. My mom was on her way to work and I called her to come back home. I called several people who could help (my husband was not available at the time) but through it all I remembered my dream. I calmed down and talked to God. And I thought, that dream, that’s the only reason I’m calm right now. And it turns out that, really, it’s normal to bleed during the third trimester and retain the baby. It’s so normal that when it happened to me so many people told me it had happened to them. Now why doesn’t anyone tell you that BEFORE it happens to you?

There are so many other dreams that happened to me like that… and I don’t know what people believe about dreams. But those two stand out more than any others. Especially the second one because it was not even symbolic: it was literally accurate. My mom (a physician) and my uncle and his wife (gynecologists) told me the same scientific fact I had dreamt about subconsciously, but only after it actually HAPPENED to me.

In another sense. I think that I’ve always paid attention to medical information for a reason. To help someone else or to help myself. When my child was diagnosed with her congenital illness. It was relatively new to me, but because I was able to find out more about it, I was able to be grateful that what she had could have been so much worse. That what she had was completely manageable for us (maybe something else would have been more manageable for other people). That even though I knew it would get worse, I was prepared for it in some way. No dreams in this one. Just some kind of inner calm that settled on me while all of the process of diagnosis was happening. I was stressed out, but I wasn’t freaking out. And that makes all the difference to me. In the moment.

This week I went through something similar. A shocking medical situation for a loved one. And I was somehow calm. I observed, I imagined a diagnosis (and some differential ones). I called my husband (a doctor) and others. Went to hospital. Stayed calm as doctors tried a lot of different tests to confirm a diagnosis that was 90% obvious (imho) straight away. Watched things get worse before they got better. And panicked a little, but not a lot. Not a single tear. Because… I knew it could have been even worse. I knew it could get better when other things could not. I knew I just needed to be there and to do my best to stay in the moment and calm. I drew on experiences of friends who knew loved ones suffering similar, and learned along the way, even more than I had previously known, that we were lucky with this one. Oh so lucky. And so even though I wouldn’t want those moments to happen again, even though I’d rather erase them altogether, I’m grateful for where we’re at now. It could have been so much worse. And it isn’t. And you know what? I’ve always had a nagging feeling that something horrible could happen to someone dear if I traveled (ok, I probably have that always – if you think about it you go crazy) – I realize I was supposed to be traveling to Dubai today, and I might have missed being here for this entire thing… and I’m grateful I was here when it happened.

In Islam there’s a prayer where we say “Oh God, we don’t ask you to prevent fate, but we ask you mercy/gentleness in bringing it” (my own translation). And I think that is absolutely my life, even though I don’t literally say that prayer that often. There is also a verse in the Quran that says “God does not impose on any soul a responsibility beyond its ability” (2:286 – Muhammad Sarwar translation). And that’s so so much my experience. When people have a deep look at the kinds of things I struggle with in my life, they may seem like a lot for some people. But for me, I often have the sense that, it could have been worse. It could have been something I could not deal with. All of this, I can deal with.

I don’t know if that’s faith. This inner peace through stressful times. But I’m grateful I had it this week. And that difficult year of 2011.

February 12, 2017
by Maha Bali
3 Comments

Talking to Kids About the Tough Stuff

Reading Time: 1 minutes

So this is a request for resources or stories please. 

What are your recommendations for talking to kids (mine is 5.5 so around that age) about tough stuff like

  1. God (religion flexible – I just want ideas, I won’t follow anything) 
  2. Death 
  3. Sex, babies, etc.
  4. Other tough stuff she hasn’t asked me about but that I  will panic about soon

I know my own mom didn’t have a guide book and did a pretty good job when I was older, but I can’t remember what she did when I was younger… I don’t think I asked. I do remember my male cousin convincing me that women got pregnant w baby girls and men got pregnant w baby boys. And I believed him for a bit. That was fun!?!?

Anyway – so your stories, resources, books for kids, books for parents…

Thanks in advance

February 8, 2017
by Maha Bali
6 Comments

Mr. MEN Re-write Assignment 

Reading Time: 1 minutes

So I got an assignment idea for this semester for my educational game design module. I am increasingly focusing less on game design per se in teaching this module and trying to have learners experiment with generally thinking of what makes young people learn and with challenging what already exists. I am co-teaching this semester w a colleague whom I consider really strong on teaching the game design part (and who is also a great pedagogue). I may use this idea during our upcoming Creatopia event so more students can try it (not just mine).

Basically, people would read a Mr. Men book and modify the ending or storyline. There are some particular ones I would love to modify. The exercise would be as follows

  1. Read the book title e.g. “Mr. Nobody” or “Little Miss Helpful” and predict/imagine what the story might be about. Note this down.
  2. Read the book and note down your reaction to the book. What did you like or dislike?
  3. Re-write the ending or any part of the book to make it more educational or to make the book promote different values that you consider important. Note which age group you are targeting 

What do you think? I think the focus of Mr. Men books on character traits of individuals would be helpful for game designers as they build characters in their games (though not all my students develop games with special characters)

Thanks to Amy Burvall for pointing me to the whole Mr. Men in history lesson plan that Michael Gove had critiqued in his Mr. Men speech 

February 5, 2017
by Maha Bali
4 Comments

Are We Spectators or Actors?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

​(this blogpost is influenced by recent discussions with friends from my digped community – i say “my” because I feel like I belong among them, that kind of “my”)

Photo by me. Please don’t reuse

So much going on in the world right now, keeping everyone’s emotions on a roller-coaster and we are so busy reacting to that, and so little energy left for anything else…

What can/should we be doing to address how people are feeling right now? What’s the place for open learning and open education in the context of what’s happening in the world today? Are the challenges of open learning greater now?  E.g. Because of risks of surveillance and cyberbullying? Is the need for open learning more urgent? E.g. To counter hegemonic discourses that are anti-social justice? What can open learning do to help us cope with the world as it is unfolding in front of us?

Egypt is right now playing against Cameroon in the African Cup final. It made me think of emotion in spectator sports. How we have such emotional reactions to something we have absolutely no control over. Maybe audiences in the stadium can make a little difference because players can feel their energy and support…but viewers at home, on TV? The players aren’t influenced by them at all. Those people watching together are only influencing each other and not the players. What is the point? Some psychologist must have discussed this stuff at some point, I bet.

Are we all mere spectators of the politics unfolding around us, only able to cheer and shout out disagreement, give out orders that no one follows, or are we actors on that stage, able to effect change? Are we cheering and resisting in our own echo chambers, or are we able to build something together to truly challenge the status quo?

Education isn’t like sports. You don’t have to have access to the big stage to make a difference. Working on the small stage is also important work of resistance. But we still have to ask ourselves why we do what we do, and whether it’s achieving what we thought we were hoping to achieve.

How important is it for the work of resistance to be able to seek comfort in communities where we feel we belong, knowing together that we need to venture out into the wild to see what we can do beyond the safety of our community?

I have no idea where I am going with this. But maybe you have ideas?

January 30, 2017
by Maha Bali
2 Comments

When you don’t say a thing…

Reading Time: 1 minutes

With gratitude to all my US friends (and strangers) who are showing solidarity with Muslims these days…and a message to those who remain silent… (I also published Salam for Helplessness today).

(sing the below to the music of When You Say Nothing at All)

It’s a shame what you can do

To put a knife through my heart

By not saying a word

You bring on the dark

Try as I May

I could never explain

How it hurts

When you don’t say a thing

The smile on your face

Lets me know you can’t feel me

There’s a blankness in your eyes

Saying you have deceived me

When I can’t find your hand

Who will catch me

The moment I fall?

Yeah you’ve said it all

When you said nothing at all

January 28, 2017
by Maha Bali
1 Comment

Connotations of Open in Arabic

Reading Time: 3 minutes

So I just felt like writing a blogpost about connotations of Open in Arabic. 

The first two things that came to mind are two suras (chapters) in the Quran. One is named Al-Fatihah (The Opening) and it is the first thing you read in the Quran (7 verses long) and it actually doesn’t have the word Fatihah inside it (unlike many other suras). Clearly it’s named the opening because it’s the opening of the Quran. But it’s also the one sura we repeat many times each day with prayers. For every single rak3a (dunno English word for this). So on a typical day, a Muslim who does all 5 prayers would repeat this sura 17 times. At least. And the sura is mainly about recognizing Allah’s mercifulness and asking him for guidance to the good path. Anyway, reflecting on this made me think about the importance of how we “open” something and what kind of direction and values we give something by how we “begin” it.

The second sura with the word is surat al-Fath (t and h pronounced separately ; h is actually representing a sound u don’t have in English). Ahem. Which also translates into The Opening (same root, but different meaning to Opening). With Al-Fatihah, it is “the one that opens”. Whereas with “al-Fath” it’s the thing that’s open. Kind of. Except actually in that particular context Fath means… Not exactly conquest… But kind of… Some kind of victory. I think that’s the better word for it. The sura is a prediction of upcoming victory in Mecca when Muhammad would re-enter Mecca victorious (after having migrated with his followers to Medina to seek refuge from oppression) and it would become a Muslim city. Without bloodshed. It’s an interesting story. I now suddenly realized the PLO’s (Palestinian Liberation Orgn) has the name Fath in Arabic.

But anyway. My point being that “open” here has pretty positive connotations that are actually neither libre nor gratis nor even…puppies or anything. They mean open as in…open a box or something 😉 which no one really talks about in open education, but really, that’s also sometimes what you’re doing…. You’re opening up what’s inside a textbook and making it accessible, or what’s in your own mind…or something. 

Anyway other connotations of open…

Infitah. This refers to a shift towards more liberal/open economic policies during the time of Sadat that enabled more import/export trade. Depending on political affiliation, this was either genius or a disaster. I think probably both as it was a sudden shift from socialism to that.

Mutafattih/a. When we call someone that we mean they are open-minded

Munfatih/a. Slightly different from above. I think it is in terms of exposure to outside views (rather than their own perspective on them).

I was thinking of adding some sayings and expressions but now I can’t remember all of them… 

One expression that is stuck in my head (an Egyptian one) relates to wishing someone well, good blessings, and it’s “rabena yefta7 fi weshak” (may God open things upon your face…i.e. may good things happen to you) 

I think in many other contexts, open is used in Arabic similarly to English. So translating all these expressions would not necessarily add value.

Maybe the only thing to add value here is that many names in Arabic have the word in it. Fathi/Fathia, Aboul Fotouh, Abdel-Fattah (the latter translates as worshipper of the Fattah, I.e. GOD. Fattah is one of Allah’s 99 names. So that’s a cool thing. Means “the one who opens a lot”. Suddenly realized that the feminine version of that word is Fattaha and – blasphemy – it is the name of that tool you use to open cans and older bottles of coke. Huh)

And on that superficial note…

January 27, 2017
by Maha Bali
8 Comments

Imagining and Visualizing Little Miss Open and Mr. Open #openlearning17 #oer17

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking ahead of #oer17 but what I am reading MOST are books to my little kid each night and throughout the day. Because I am neurotic about raising a kid who loves to read more than I am neurotic about anything else in parenting, and because the technical teaching of reading in school is OK but it doesn’t give kids the confidence to read and does not nurture a love of reading. So she is currently addicted to the Mr. Men and Little Miss series.

(back of Little Miss/Mr. Men books flickr photo by me (just took a photo from my phone

Now I buy these books for 3 main reasons

  1. They’re cheap 🙂 and abundant (so we haven’t yet run out of new ones)
  2. They’re small and light and portable so I can put several in her backpack wherever we go
  3. They remind me of my own childhood coz I used to read them to myself when I was a bit older than her (this means she can’t read them on her own yet, but she can read parts and she enjoys the reading together process so much the words “Read it Yourself” on some of her other books seem to traumatize her! This was a funny but worrying revelation. Making me wonder if she enjoys reading simply because it ties me to her rather than enjoying the reading intrinsically)

I have a lot of objections to the books, though. I don’t understand why the male characters are fully Mr but the female characters are Little Miss. Why little? I read about the original author (Roger Hargreaves) inventing the series to answer his (at the time young) son’s question “what does a Tickle look like?” and I love that the son in question, Adam, continued to add more books to the series after his father passed away.

I often think a book has so much potential but ends up falling waaaay short of what it could have done (like Mr. Nobody – imagine how meaningful such a book could be! But it was rather silly in the end). And sometimes the storyline is downright annoying. And often the humor is really difficult for my child to understand… Though I get most of it, lilk the time Mr. Wrong said, “What? I was right? That’s so strange because I am usually…” [turn page over ] “…left!”.

I do love how these books help my child learn the meanings of difficult words that are the descriptions of the characters (I don’t think even I knew exactly what Fickle meant before). I also think it’s interesting how they choose to illustrate each character to represent the adjective (or occasionally noun) that is their name. I sometimes joke with my kid and call her one of the characters when she does something. Occasionally I will make one up, like “oh, you’re Little Miss Thoughtful” (and of course I am then asked to explain what thoughtful means).

Anyway. All this long intro is just to explain that immersion in these books has got me thinking of all kinds of other books and characters that could exist…but copyright and all that… I don’t think Adam Hargreaves is on Twitter so I hope he doesn’t mind what I am about to do…

I started imagining what a Little Miss Open or a Mr. Open might look like. I started to visualize what their character would look like, and to draw one on my phone (I remembered partway through the frustration of that…that I am actually much better at drawing by hand than I am drawing graphics on a machine, so I will make time to do that, and maybe invent a few extra characters for my child in the process! Why not, right?)

So here is my caricature of Little Miss Open and it’s still in progress.

How does Little Miss Open Look? 

Some ideas:

  1. Wide-eyed because she is open to looking at everything and curious?
  2. Open-mouthed because she talks about everything openly
  3. With perked up ears because she listens well?
  4. Transparent?
  5. Open-hearted? (we can see an open heary in her transparent self – at which point i realized that these characters have huge faces with tiny legs/arms but no body so nowhere to put the heart… So maybe wearing heart on her sleeve? Err arm?)
  6. Open-minded – would we draw an opening in the head, or just never really close the head and have the mind popping out, or have a gear icon on her head symbolizing open process?
  7. Participatory – should her head be filled with thoughts/ideas of other people?
  8. Open arms? Open to collaboration with others?

Beyond the character’s looks, her behavior could take any number of directions…

  1. Open door to her house and whether this is always a good thing
  2. Sharing things, and whether sometimes she ends up oversharing to the point she might hurt someone
  3. Overly transparent to the point that she makes herself too vulnerable sometimes?

And then something interesting occurred to me. There is a book about Mr. Good who originally lives in Badland (poor fellow) where he is unappreciated (duh) but eventually stumbles upon Goodland… And I was wondering if maybe Little Miss Open is born Open but lives in Closed-Land then eventually moves to Open-Land.

Then I realized I am pretty much describing myself here, right?

I am Little Miss Open in my office and in my personal life. I am married to Mr. Private and have some colleagues who are  Miss Secretive and Miss Careful and Mr. E-Safety and such 🙂 but I also have my Open-Land, my online PLN of all the many Opens… Who are each open in their own way but generally more geared towards open than closed. So the Miss Vulnerable and the Miss Welcoming and the Mr. Collaborative and Mr. Narrator-of-Process and Mr. Share and Miss Amplify

I dropped the “little” before the miss coz it’s so sexist but it’s one of those cute things that’s sexist

Anyhoooo just needed to get this silly little brainstorm off my chest… If you’re interested in working with me on visualizing this, I may use it in part of my keynote 😉 I hope that’s not too silly.The rest of the keynote is kind of serious, I promise. But one of the beauties of being a parent is that in this horrible world, you get to be silly by duty for part of your day. And that’s a blessing.

January 26, 2017
by Maha Bali
3 Comments

Free as in Puppies, and Other Metaphors #OpenLearning17

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was reading and annotation (via Hypothes.is) the first reading Fifty Shades of Open and I was struck by something I’d never heard of before… the notion of “free as in puppies” (to be distinct from free as in gratis/beer and free as in libre/speech). Now finding an image for this took longer than I expected because… you know… cute puppies!!! But in the end I settled on the one below…

DSCF0983 flickr photo by Cherie Priest shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

The notion of “free as in puppies” is meant to focus on the fact that someone can give you a puppy for free, but keeping the puppy alive and happy is not at all free – it costs money and time. But also when I saw the image above, I realized that free puppies aren’t really free… not in the way a street dog is free (with whatever disadvantages that may bring) or in the sense that wolves (themselves the non-domesticated version of a dog, ancestor?) are free.

But anyway 🙂 Back to the original meaning… I like that someone had developed a simple way of expressing this notion. In the way that, e.g. Moodle as an LMS is free to use but costly to maintain (in terms of manpower for support at least).

I wonder if there is a way to express “free but” options… that are NOT equivalent at all to “open” – and what would a good metaphor for them be… “free as in ride”? I’m saying “free ride” because a ride ends and then you probably have to pay for the next one. So I’m thinking of spaces like WordPress.com where you can use the free version up to a point (and not a bad point) but at some point you might want to use something that’s not available in the free version and you’ll need to buy. And it’s also not open in the sense of its source code, but you can create plugins, so it’s an interesting in-betweener in a way… Still a commercial entity, but you can self-host it for free (well you’re paying for hosting and DNS but not paying WordPress to install it). This may seem really silly or naive to people who are really into this sort of thing, but I do think these things need to have a name for what they are…

There’s of course another one that needs a name. The “free” stuff that forces you to be under the mercy of the commercial owners – like Facebook, Twitter, Google. It’s free to the user in terms of money, but… users are being used for data and for marketing and more (I don’t actually know what more, but I sense some sinister things every now and then, like surveillance anyone?) – what do we call this? “Free as in not really” or “Free as in sell me your soul”?

And  yet this free but not open stuff is really important and to people in a certain space, really empowering. I can’t say that WordPress and Twitter don’t support my empowerment. I can’t say that Google (especially via Hangouts, because of VirtuallyConnecting.org specifically) doesn’t support my empowerment. If these weren’t free, where would we be?

Anyway, thought I’d just open this conversation… of the free that isn’t open. And what metaphor to use for them, because it ain’t beer (eww why did they have to choose beer? something I wouldn’t take even if it were free?) or speech or puppies…

I’m only halfway through the article… maybe the answer is in there somewhere, but I’m actually more interested in what YOU have to say 🙂

January 25, 2017
by Maha Bali
3 Comments

Implicit Discrimination in the Implicit Association Test? #FHOnline

Reading Time: 2 minutes

So as part of the Facing History and Ourselves course I’m taking on News Literacy, I watched this awesome video by Oxford professor/psychologist Binna Kandola on diffusion bias. Watch it 🙂 In addition to being informative, he is also a very engaging speaker.

One of the things he mentions in his talk is something called the Implicit Association Test, which is available here via Harvard (even though it’s not developed by folks at Harvard, which is weird, but… ok).

So if you’ve never heard of this test before,  according to the website it “measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about.” You get to choose all kinds of different factors/measures.

The first one I tried was women/science. The research question being whether I have an implicit bias about science being a more male field? The answer turned out to be a slight bias. That’s reasonable. I don’t have a strong bias on this, but … socialization and all that. Apparently I hesitated a split-second longer on the questions where I had to put women/science together. You’ll understand what I mean when you try it.

After you finish the test, it asks you some demographic questions (anonymously) which is understandable. It might be useful for them to know how differently men and women respond to the questions of women/science, for example. Now here’s the kicker. After I did the women/science one, I saw an Arab Muslim one and thought hmm this should be interesting, let’s try this. But you know what? They asked the demographic questions BEFORE. And you know what else? They didn’t ask generic questions like your gender and age and religion and ethnicity (all understandable for this particular test), but they delved into a few other things, including where you live, where you’re from, and your postcode. This all posed a red flag for me. 

What do YOU think?

I ended up not doing the test altogether. Though I am dying of curiosity.

P.S. after this, I tried the gay/straight one and I got a “slight preference for gay people” (Which I know would not have happened around 3 years ago… this makes me happy … in the sense that knowing people closely can affect our biases … if you wanna believe that test anyway). But I also noticed this test asked for things like postcode, etc., and you can choose to skip the question… so now I’ll re-do the Muslim one while skipping those intrusive questions and see what happens…

P.P.S. Strong automatic preference for Arab/Muslim people. Apparently you can’t hide from this test 🙂 I really did expect myself to have only a slight preference. However, I did not like this particular test because it used only Muslim names, as in proper names, not nouns representing Islam (so not Quran, mosque, Kaaba, but actual names like Wahib and Muhsin – some of the none-Muslim names were not familiar and I wasn’t sure if they were like Pakistani names or non-Muslim altogether so I made some mistakes w that).

January 24, 2017
by Maha Bali
0 comments

Notes from  Facing History course #FHOnline

Reading Time: 1 minutes

I’m taking this 3-day online workshop from Facing History Again: Facing Ferguson: News Literacy in a Digital Age.

It’s a great topic to explore right after Trump took office. 

I started writing this 3 days ago and haven’t been able to engage with the course as much as I would like…

Notes from exploring the pre-course orientation:
There’s a page on promoting reflective learning and this quote in the beginning of it struck me:

“The things of the world become human for us only when we can discuss them with our fellows. We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human.”- Hannah Arendt

And this explains to me my hunger for my digital networks. How the digital enables connections that promote humanity. If done just right.

I was happy to see this video (one of my fave ever) by Jay Smooth on how to tell someone they’re racist


I hope I can engage more with the workshop. Today is day two and talking confirmation bias. So relevant in the time of fake news. I think confirmation bias is probably more of a problem…as are the lack of human connections…

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