About andrewjoegeorge

Posts by andrewjoegeorge:

Article regarding EEG Headsets and their use in the classroom published in Jumpstart Magazine.

I recently wrote an article about emerging educational technology that’s currently being piloted in China — EEG headsets that measure a student’s mindfulness and engagement levels in class. 

For anyone that’s been in my classroom, or even a classmate of mine back in university, you’ve probably heard me speak of this technology and/or saw a demonstration of my own EEG headset. Until recently the technology wasn’t being marketed to the field of education, but, as you can see from the below video, the company Brainco is engaged in such an endeavour. 

As this technology matures we’ll see a paradigm shift in education. I don’t believe that Brainco’s current modelling of this software hardware program will resemble its application within the next decade, which is what I explain in Jumpstart magazine, a tech magazine based in Hong Kong.  If you’d like a digital non-magazine copy of the article (which Jumpstart will eventually publish to their website) message me, and I’ll send over a document.

I truly believe teaching will (and should) look completely different by the end of my career. Here’s my take on what education will look like by the year 2040, which I recently published on Medium.

Sci-fi, a mid-life crisis, and the beginning of the Green revolution.

Westworld

I never thought I’d find a show that makes me feel the same way about storytelling as Lostdid. Westworld accomplished this by delving into the philosophical, attempting to understand the true nature of the mind, morality, and society. Jonathan Nolan, the writer of the show, is a true master considering his ability to churn out thought provoking content that’s highly intellectual in a blockbuster package, as he’s done with his brother Christopher in films such as Interstellar, Inception, and the Dark Knight trilogy. 

For those unfamiliar, Westworld  is set in a theme park filled with artificially intelligent humanoid robots that are virtually indistinguishable from humans. The visitors to the park can engage in whatever behaviour they choose, allowing themselves to get caught up in a wild west type of adventure, without the worry of real world consequences. 

I’m a couple of years behind the Westworld craze. With HBO now streaming in Canada, I was able to consume the first two seasons, however, I’m a little torn on the announcement of season 3 given that season 2 provided a satisfactory ending.

OA {viewing in progress}

The bizarre show based on individuals who travel through dimensions due to NDEs (near death experiences) comes back with a different setup — a detective story of sorts. You’re never quite sure what’s going on in OA, however, the sci-fi aspect of the show is truly fascinating. I liken it to a deeper exploration on the prospect of death than the Robert Redford Netflix film The Discovery (which also starred Kate Mara and Jason Segal).

For those interested in noetic science (check out Ions, or work from Dean Radin). The film essentially delves into the far end of this and legitimizes it in a way that’s more serious than the likes of  Stranger Things

I Am

This film is from 2011, and follows an essential mid-life crisis (though it’s not framed that way) of Tom Shadyac, the director famous for making Jim Carrey a star through films like Ace Ventura, Liar Liar, and Bruce Almighty.

The film is an inquiry project, with the essential question being, “What’s wrong with the world, and what can be done to fix it?” The film interviews intellectuals and leaders with religious, scientific, and sociological backgrounds.

The film never received critical acclaim, although, I feel as if it’s a timing thing as that time period is remembered as less divisive as the Trump led, Brexit focused, global trade war divisive planet we now find ourselves in.  The film also follows Shadyac’s character arc as an explanation for the inquiry, however, it centered on post-concussive syndrome as an impetus for him to leave behind a life of Hollywood glamour which is less convincing than what clearly appears to be an existential crisis that was likely coming despite Shadyac’s condition. 

Nonetheless, the content is superb. I use this film on a semester basis to help students understand their role in the world.

The Green Revolution?

In Canada, Green Party candidates are getting elected, with one province electing them as the official opposition in a minority government. Another Green Party member got elected federally in by-election. This is surprising given that Canada, a middle of the political spectrum country, has again nudged to the right over the past 18 months. Perhaps the tide is changing just in time for the fall federal election.

In the United States, Washington State Govrner Jay Inslee is running on a completely Green platform. 

And in Europe, parties with a focus on climate change made major gains

Last month’s thoughts…

Biden… clearly the front runner in the clouded U.S. Democratic race.

Pinterest… While it still overachieved since it’s IPO, the first earning report has dropped them quite far from their $35/share height. 

Nightflyers, This Will Make You Smarter, Joe Biden, Pinterest, and Orphan Black

Yes, I realize the world is consuming Game of Thrones right now, but I’m a season behind and my wife insists we finish Orphan Black before we move on to Game of Thrones. And to be honest, I’ve been pushing to binge season 2 of O.A., so that’s likely coming next.

This week in what I’m reading, Watching, and Thinking about.

Nightflyers

I mentioned Game of Thrones because Nightflyers is actually based on George R.R. Martin’s 1980 novella of the same name. I’m an episode in and already feeling the 2001 Space Odyssey vibe. Its first episode won’t blow you away, however, it will leave you somewhat curious. I’ve also read that it was cancelled by SyFy, however, I’m also under the impression that the first season can be taken in satisfactorily as a stand alone.

I’m a few episodes in, and I’m hooked at the show’s look into humanity, which I believe will ultimately lead the viewer to wonder why and if we’re worth saving. I’m hooked, in the geeky way. The production value is adequate — something that often lacks with some sci-fi — and the characters are interesting and diverse enough to care.

Orphan Black

This show is insane. It was recommended to me years ago, however, I rediscovered it while perusing CraveTV (an online streaming service in Canada).

The show follows clones learning about themselves, their “sisters”, and their creators. Tatiana Maslany, the show’s lead, is incredible playing multiple characters throughout the seasons. The acting feat is so impressive it’s difficult to believe she’s not a household name.

Every episode feels like a season finale. My only critique is that it can feel exhausting, however, it was created in Canada at a time where binge watching wasn’t the norm. 

Pinterest

Pinterest had an impressive first month after their IPO. Major apps and social media companies seem to rarely do well in their early days, or so that’s my impression. Twitter struggled until the Trump era, Lyft is currently struggling, and Snapchat just can’t grow. Will Pinterest be the different?

Joe Biden…

Announced his bid for President today. However, I’m often saddened to hear that Joe is a lot more conservative than progressive. However, perhaps that’s what the Democrats need in order to unseat Trump. I just worry that they’ll fall prey to the same mindset as they did during the Sanders and Clinton battle, opting for the experienced moderate candidate over the liberal. I should mention, I’m Canadian, however, the presidency affects the world — especially its closest neighbours.

This Will Make You Smarter

This comes from edge.org. If you’re not familiar with edge, their mission statement explains best.

“To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.”

The book features short essays from famous thinkers around the globe, from Steven Pinker to Jaron Lanier. It was published in 2011, yet I’m finding the topics are timeless. It’s actually quite interesting how relevant they still are given we’ve burned through are technology adolescence over the last decade.

The topics are too diverse to delve into this short post, however, expect science, data, philosophy, and consciousness to be subjects that consistently reveal themselves throughout the book. I actually downloaded the audiobook from Scribd and listen to it often in my 20 minute drive to and from work.

note: some of the above links are affiliate based

We Are Storytellers

Indigenous Perspectives, Moccasins, and the Classroom.

Almost two years ago I decided to find out why moccasins were culturally significant to Indigenous culture. For now, I’ll spare you the details of how that came about. What I will tell you is that in the end I found out that moccasins are incredible vehicles to share the stories and teachings of Indigenous cultures. In this case I should mention I’m speaking in regards to the Cree and Ojibway nations. I was able to represent what I learned through a documentary after teaming up with Charlene Moore and the folks over at MTS’ Stories From Home program, which we appropriately titled Moccasin Stories.

As an educator, notably an English teacher, I found the concept behind moccasins incredibly relevant. Moccasins represent one’s journey in life — the footprints we leave behind. They also symbolically represent chapters in our life since, like all footwear, they don’t last forever. I also realized the power of understanding your own story, taking time to reflect on who you are, which goes in hand with understanding where you’re from, where you’re going, and discovering your purpose in life.

Indigenous Education Perspectives

It was an honour to speak at Fort Frances High School for Indigenous Education Week.

Coincidentally through personal projects and post-secondary studies I was exploring the concept of one’s story before I embarked on Moccasin Stories. I’d been developing a motivational style speech and presentation based off of my own life and some of the obstacles I’ve encountered. After speaking with elders and Indigenous leaders of education in the area, and after being presented some fabulous opportunities from my friends, I was able to secure some speaking engagements — most notably at Vincent Massey’s UNESCO conference and at Fort Frances High School’s Indigenous Education Week festivities. I was able to combine my own story with the stories of those documented in our film and preach its relevance to high school students.

Why do our stories matter?

Being able to tell and understand your story is pivotal to understanding who you are and your place in this world. It enables us to discover our purpose in life. Furthermore, understanding the people around you creates an environment of collaboration, empathy, and community.

Throughout my short time in the field of education, I often find educators who struggle to implement Indigenous perspectives into their classroom. Lately I’ve been referring to a class I recently took called Aboriginal Perspectives in Education. Our instructor had us introduce ourselves to our classmates based on the following parameters:

Who are you?
Where are you from?
Where are you going?
What is your purpose?

Each day we took an hour out of a two hour class to share. Honestly, the sentiment of most of the students at the time was that this was a waste and an easy mark. However, I found that the purpose of the exercise began to reveal itself as the course unfolded. We all took the class because we were interested in achieving one thing — integrating Indigenous Perspectives into the classroom. However, some people were at different stages in being able to do so. Some lacked knowledge on Indigenous issues. It amazed me that students in Canada, in 2017, were still unaware of residential schools, for example. Others came from religious backgrounds and grappled with what they thought were conflicting religious viewpoints and that they were suddenly now expected to teach another religion despite their own faith. Going through this exercise allowed us to understand where each of us were coming from which led to more productive discussions and learning.

Unbeknownst to many of my peers was that in the very act of going through this exercise they were engaging in an activity that exemplified Indigenous Perspectives and traditions. Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate enough to attend Indigenous gatherings, meetings, and events. Though I didn’t realize it at the time the participants often went through a similar exercise, stating who they were, where they are from, their purpose, and where they hoped they would be (or their communities/organizations would be) as a result of the gathering. In hindsight, I always thought it was time consuming practice. Now I understand why this is done. Creating this sense of community can only lead to solutions and resolutions that better represent the people involved.

Imagine doing this in a classroom. Not only teaching students how to share their story but giving students the opportunity to listen to others. We often talk about building relationships with students and differentiating the classroom in order to tailor learning to each student, however, I think we sometimes forget that in order for collaboration to happen in the classroom students need to know and understand each other just as much as the teacher does. I know peers who are already doing something along these lines with frequent sharing circles in their classroom or in after school programs. The results have been amazing in terms of engaging youth and building community.

This was the message I brought to students as I spoke in theatres and classrooms over the last couple of weeks. Students need to realize that their stories matter. What they do matters. And they need people to listen to them.

Fortunately I’ve been through a perfect storm of gathering knowledge over that last couple of years that has allowed me to not only come to this realization, but to develop a film, presentation, and classroom management techniques to employ it. I welcome you to get in touch if you’d like to chat about this further.

Maples Collegiate ASL #changethenarrative video

I recently helped out members of the Aboriginal Student Leadership group at Maples Collegiate during my teaching practicum with a video.

Tired of constantly facing abusive social media posts about Indigenous people the student group decided to tackle fight back by issuing a statement. Film and Video is a medium to express yourself, and in many cases is a powerful tool to get your point across.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew George Filmmaker

Why We Play — Documentary coming in 2016!

Touch Football Documentary in Production

Why We Play follows a group of 3 touch football players during the summer season of touch football. You’re probably giggling at the notion of touch football at this point, however, unknown to many Winnipeg actually has the biggest touch football league in Canada (referred to as The PIT Football League). It’s also made up of a diverse set of players. Unlike the other elite leagues in Canada, who’s rosters are made up mainly of CIS and former professional athletes, in Winnipeg athletes range through all experience levels, ages, and genders. A few year’s back The Avengers showed Canada what touch football in Winnipeg looks like, capturing the National Championship crowd.

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