Tag Archive | "Youtube"

A Shiny Splinter


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From David Anthony Hohol…

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The Dancing Iranian 6

Iran is a beautiful country and so are its people. During my time there, I have never seen a group more disconnected from their nation’s leadership, never seen a government less representative of its populace. In nearly a decade, I never once came across an individual in full support of the Iranian government and its policies. People on our side of the global village forget, or are unaware of the fact, that prior to the 1979 Islamic revolution, which was brought on by American interference and their installation of the Shaw, Iran was the most progressive country in the region. Nowhere in the Middle East were women treated with more equality, was secularism more infused, and both critical thinking and creativity more encouraged.

I’ve been to underground night clubs in Tehran, enjoyed fine malt whiskey in Isfahan, and watched scantily clad dancers on Kish Island, all of which are forbidden. I’ve cruised up and down tree-covered Valaisr Street, the longest in the Middle East, windows rolled down, music pumping everything from Eminem to Metallica, as cars and SUVs filled with young men and women laugh, dance, and flirt the night away. Such is real life in Iran.

But like so much of the leadership in the region, their government lives in denial.

As many have heard by now, six young Iranian nationals uploaded a video tribute to the Pharrell Williams song “Happy”. They recorded and edited it on an iPhone, uploaded it to YouTube, then promoted it on Facebook and Instagram. They were, for a lack of a better term, being normal, having fun and being happy, embracing their youth and creativity and using the tools afforded to them by a technological revolution that knows no borders or limitations, regardless of government or country. They were also taking part in what has become an online global phenomenon, resulting in literally hundreds of cover versions of the happy tune being recorded in well over one hundred countries. If nothing less, this collection of young souls wanted to demonstrate that although they live in the midst of censorship and difficulty, they too experience joy and happiness, they too see the world around them, want to others to see that they do and want to connect. Connectivity is the underlying current from which all social media flows and has become the life blood of today’s generation in the process. The youth of Iran are no different. They are as much a part of it as anyone else.

“Happy in Tehran” was viewed more than 165,000 times before coming to the attention the Tehran police. The arrest of the dastardly villains of joy came on Tuesday, May 20th.BoG2yyJCQAAE8iz (1)

Ironically and perhaps befittingly, almost immediately after Iran’s president denounced Internet censorship, these six young Iranians were arrested and forced to repent on state television  for the horrible offense of proclaiming themselves to be “Happy.” Tehran’s police chief issued a statement saying that the youth of Iran “will not to be seduced by… a vulgar clip, which hurt(s) public chastity.”

Are you @#%^ing kidding me?

The arrest of the young dancers, and their televised public humiliation, has angered Iranians at home and around the world. Such actions once again reveal the total disconnect the government has with its own people and further still, from the global village of which they are a part. Such crackdowns serve only to make the Islamic Republic of Iran look fearful, ignorant, naive, ridiculous, and above all else, a very weak participant in the international culture war being waged online and beyond.

It’s when taking all this into consideration that a silly video of young people being happy becomes both beautiful and important; a shiny splinter of the human soul from which we can all draw upon. In the end, its message is simple – wherever you may find yourself in this big, wide world, don’t stop being happy and most of all, don’t stop being human. In the end, our humanity is all we will ever have to truly call our own. 

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First Kiss


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downloadFrom David Anthony Hohol…

There’s something enigmatically beautiful about a first kiss. It can only ever happen once, and there can be an almost magical quality to the experience. That moment, just before contact, can carry with it so much anticipation and wonder; the seconds before the lips of strangers meet transmitting an incredible an amount of tenderness. It’s a feeling when your inquisitive mind and desiring body have to make a choice as to whether or not to cross the threshold of intimacy.

Amateur filmmaker Tatia Pilieva has captured that most transient of human interactions in her short film, “The First Kiss.” Her work reveals waves of nervousness and laughter, awkwardness and anticipation and later…  pure passion.

Strangers were paired off and given no instruction other than to kiss, with the seconds preceding the kiss proving as interesting as the kiss itself. Many of the subjects ask several times over whether the camera is rolling and if they should just go for it, psyching themselves up to carry through with the rather unique task at hand.

The end result of this experiment caught on film is a beautiful and very sensual piece of work from Pilieva.  So much so, that within 72 hours of her posting the film to YouTube on March 10th, 2014, the piece generated an astonishing 38 million views.

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Unblocking The Future


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From James O’Hearn…

There’s a well known eLearning advocate I follow, named Scott McLeod (no relation to the comic book scholar…as far as I know!) who writes a blog called Dangerously Irrelevant. Scott has spoken at Tedx conferences, and regularly presents on eLearning related topics, and one of his main pet peeves, that I have noticed, is the tendency of administrators to try to restrict and block access to technologies and services they see as disruptive, like Facebook, or You Tube.

Today he put up a post expressing his sense of frustration with this sort of of behaviour.

Yesterday it was Facebook. Today it’s YouTube. Here’s an email exchange between two district technology coordinators…

TC1: I have recently completely blocked youtube in our network. Does everyone block youtube? As soon as I blocked it, teachers started complaining. What other websites can they go to that will serve the same purpose as youtube?

TC2: It is blocked here as well!!! I know there is some good to it BUT it is my responsibility to monitor, block, etc. I do not have time to monitor students all day long every day of every week. We have a product called LanSchool and it is awesome. You can view every student that is logged on at any given time and can take over their computer and shut it down as well BUT I cannot do that every day all day long. The teachers have the same capable to monitor as well BUT they are hired to teach. I will not take the responsibility for what they CAN GET IN TO THAT THEY DO NOT NEED TO!!!

It is very disheartening to read this stuff. The federal government is not asking us to do these sorts of things. So we could trust our teaching staff (and – gasp! – our students) but instead we resort to draconian measures that penalize everyone for the potential actions of a few. As I said three years ago, we need to view school organizations like these as ones that are desperately and inappropriately blocking the future

While normally I agree with a lot of what McLeod says, I found my demurring today, and posted this comment in response (I couldn’t embed links in my response on his blog, but I have adde them below).

The school system I work for in Dubai also has this restriction, primarily for socio-cultural reasons. Personally, however, I don’t mind this restriction, because it doesn’t affect my ability to bring streaming video into the classroom. Administrators and IT departments are going to want to restrict access to technologies and services that they feel pose a possible liability risk. It’s just their nature. My view is, instead of railing against that, it is better to find another way to accomplish your objectives.  

Where I work, we created a linked system of blogs using Google’s Blogger platform. And while Blogger is sure to be seen as a bit boring and old fashioned by some, I see it as being like the Ford F-150 of blogging services – a dependable tool that is surprisingly flexible, and comes with an amazing support network.  

First, when we want to use video in the classroom, we will embed video in a post that contains all the elements of the lesson instruction, practice activities, and an assessment. That one post is then used by all the teachers in the same grade and subject for that specific lesson. (Shares the load, promotes equality of instruction).  

Since the nature of blogs is dynamic, and not all students or staff have the patience or the knowhow to poke into the blog archive, we also create static pages where videos are collected and embedded, and create links to those pages at the top of a blog.  

This system has proven really versatile and useful for all our stakeholders. There’s a place for student podcasts which includes student made tech help videos, a place for eLearning resources for staff, and the system is simple enough that even the most tech averse teachers can grasp the basics of how to use it, and in a short time feel comfortable enough to use it in their everyday teaching practice.

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The Death of A Savage


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From David Anthony Hohol…

Dr. Samuel Johnson once said, “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” I wonder what he would have thought of one Mommar Gadhafi.

The final images of Gadhafi being dragged through the streets, covered in blood, beaten, kicked, spat upon, and sodomized, was a befitting end for a monster of man. His death was no doubt savage, but savage was how he lived his life. Far too often men like Gadhafi disappear into comfortable exile. Mass murderer and madman Idi Amin of Uganda is a fine example, taking several wives and living like a king in the fallen dictator paradise of Saudi Arabia after being responsible for hundreds of thousands of murders in his own country. In the end, Gadhafi got was coming to him. He had a debt to pay and fate, this time around, made sure he paid it.

In the aftermath of the Libyan dictator’s violent death, thoughts of Saddam Hussein and Italian Benito Mussolini come to mind. People have called Gadhafi’s killing at the hands of the rebels wrong. They point to how the former Iraqi leader was captured, brought to justice, and put on trail, as an example of civilized justice. The only problem is that is wasn’t the Iraqis who found Hussein hiding in a hole like a rat, it was the Americans. If the Iraqis had found him, Saddam would have faced a very similar death. When people have the chance to face the individual who humiliated, murdered, raped and tortured them, there will always be those who will return the favor in kind.

WWII Italian fascist strongman Benito Mussolini, after being summarily executed upon capture, had his body dumped in streets of Old Piazzale Loreto Square. People swarmed the body, and after his corpse was spat upon, kicked, and repetitively shot, the body was hung by its heels on meat hooks from the roof of an Esso gas station. Civilians, throughout an entire afternoon, then repeatedly stoned the body. This was done as a warning to anyone might think a fascist dictatorship might once again fly in Italy.

Apparently it worked. Let us see if it works in Libya.

This writer felt no pity for Gadhafi and neither should you. He died as he lived, and it was befitting death for a man of his nature. With Muslims believing we all have a predetermined death, decided upon by God at the time of our birth, it seems Islam would agree as well.

Now all that’s left to ask is… which Arab World leader is next?

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