Tag Archives: environment

The best of April Fool’s Day

If you’re looking for something a little fun and are dealing with technology, the media or the environment, you might like to try out one or two of these April Fool’s videos with your students. They are not only fun but they will also provoke interesting discussions:

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Google Nose (2013) is linguistically quite tough in places, but all students will be able to follow the general idea. Although it is meant as a bit of fun, the technology is being developed and scientists are looking into how “electronic noses” could actually be used. The following blog post on the Washington Post contains a few ideas and the students could then find out more on the Internet.

The Google Nose homepages for Germany and the US also shed some interesting light on intercultural differences: The headline on the US page was “Smelling is believing” (a twist on the saying “Seeing is believing”), but the German version had the somewhat plain and simple “Suchen und riechen”. The students should discuss why a different approach might have been chosen for each country and whether they think this was appropriate or not.

Guardian Goggles (2013) was a take on Google glass and shows how the media could influence our everyday choices. Although it is tongue-in-cheek, the students could discuss how much of what is presented is, in fact, possible (with smartphones, etc.).

Google Cardboard Plastic (2016) Google’s latest ad pokes fun at our obsession with seeing everything through special lenses and could either be combined with the Guardian Goggles above or with the following photo (a crowd of people watching an event through their mobiles and one old lady actually watching it directly) that went viral last year. It raises an interesting question of how we actually experience what is going on around us. You’ll find more suggestions at Louise’s Teaching Tips on the muc-kobis.de website where you can download the pdf “Mobile phones, social media and me” with links and teaching ideas.

The BBC video Penguins (2008) was so well-produced that many people were left wondering whether it was true or not. It is a short documentary-like clip about a special colony of birds that migrate to the Amazon each year to escape climate change … In addition there is short behind-the-scenes video Making of Penguins that shows how they managed to get the birds to fly.

Have fun and do send me your favourites!

iDiots – a short film

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After a talk I gave in Frankfurt, Judith Bergman sent me a link to this short video, “iDiots“. It’s a wonderful spoof on our 21st century obsession with always needing the “latest” technology. And of course, with technology companies that are willing to provide it. The four-minute video provides an excellent starting point for a discussion on our “throwaway society” that is driven by consumerism.

You could also combine it with the following infographic about e-waste in the US, which contains a wealth of information about different aspects of e-waste and recycling in the US. The students could be encouraged to find out more about e-waste in Germany (a good starting point would be here at the Umweltbundesamt).