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Professor • Lawyer • Restaurant Owner — Gamer • Ultra Runner • One Dog’s Best Friend

The world needs help right now, and life lessons can come from unexpected places.

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I don’t want to overstep any boundaries here. I know my place. Companion. Best friend. Family happiness officer. But I can’t keep quiet any longer. Because you guys sure need help. So, I’m here to share some of my knowledge and insights with you. Things that I’ve seen and learned.

Think of it as a fresh perspective. A “dog’s eye view” on your messed-up world.

Over the last year, I have learned so much about education, business, and life. I don’t quite understand why, but my human family suddenly started to bring their work home with them and spend a…


Go ahead. Talk sh*t about my generation.

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It’s 8 AM. I wake up bathed in sweat. Agitated. Scared even. One of those dreams that felt a little too real.

It’s a Monday morning. I wish it was Sunday. I’m in an extreme hurry. My turn for the school run. The kids are now safely at school. Mission one accomplished. We barely made it in time and their usual lack of cooperation didn’t help the situation or improve my mood. Was I that selfish when I was their age? Probably, but who can know for sure. It is hard to remember that far back.

My mind shifts to…


Netflix drama “The Chair” reveals education’s fatal flaw

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It’s a beautiful Wednesday morning in late August. I am excited, getting ready for the first “school day.” I’m on my way to welcome the new students on campus. It feels like ages since I met them in person. I only saw last year’s students online.

I pull into campus. 09:30 AM. Plenty of time. Luckily, I can park my car close to the lecture building. It is a first-generation hybrid plug-in car that I purchased in 2012. It is not fashionable, and the all-electric range is only 20 miles, but it means I get to use the special parking…


The next “big thing” is finally here, and I just tried it

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Spirit of Adventure

Someone once told me that being a professor is one of the best jobs in the world. “It gives you the gift of time and freedom. And that is a precious commodity in today’s world.”

Sometimes, it is easy to forget this gift. Creeping administrative duties and a stupid bureaucracy dulls my enthusiasm. But I have never lost my sense of appreciation for the opportunity that being a professor affords. I used every opportunity to showcase myself and grow.

Becoming a professor was the right decision. My position allowed me to be curious and creative. …


How “outsourced thinking” is changing the way we learn.

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Back in the office. The open-plan office.

I had forgotten how being nudged together creates opportunities for unexpected interaction (good, as well as bad).

“What do you do if you want to learn something new?”

My colleague’s question surprised me. She wasn’t the sort of person to ordinarily ask advice from anyone else. At least, from me. And she wasn’t keen to say what she wanted to learn. “Just something new,” she mumbled vaguely. “Something that I never studied before. Something I need for work.”

She was thinking of signing up for a course at a business school. “Jill from…


Loser? Inspiration? Or digital prophet showing us the future?

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Three views. Three voices. Three stories.

How do you see gamers?

Destructive Loser?

“You have a problem. You are a problem. You’re an impossible case.

You cannot stay a kid forever. Your lifestyle isn’t healthy. Nobody can survive on a diet of soda, snacks, and the occasional fast-food meal.

You are wasting your time. Dwindling away your most precious resource — time — alone in your room doing useless things. Video games have become a self-destructive addiction. They control your life. And if you continue like this, you won’t have a future.

But worse than that, you set a bad example for…


Written words will always be essential — Now and in the future.

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“I heard your students don’t like to read anymore.”

My new colleague was working on his course materials for the next school year. He felt it was essential to talk to me. “Good teachers need to understand the students’ expectations for their courses.”

I wasn’t in the mood for a lecture. So, before he could say anything about his expectations from the students, I interrupted and told him I was more than happy to share my recent experiences with him. “Today’s students are eager to learn. And when you give them challenging and stimulating assignments, they will amaze you.”

It…


…we learn to look beyond reality

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A simple thought experiment:

Imagine time travel is possible. You’ll be asked to go back to 1999 and explain humanity’s current concerns and mood in 2021. Before you make your trip to the past, you spend your days watching online content, consuming “old world” media, and asking the opinion of relatives, friends, and colleagues.

What would you report back to yourself in 1999? How would you describe the current concerns and mood of humanity? Where are we at? What kind of state are we in?

I dedicated some time myself this month (July 2021) to find the answers to these…


You can find inspiration in surprising and unexpected places.

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As I write this, Jeff Bezos is sat on the launchpad in Blue Origin, about to go into space. Having become the world’s richest man, I have the impression that Jeff — like the rest of us — is wrestling with the “life purpose” question. Nobody is insulated from the big dilemmas of being mortal.

And although none of us have the infinite resources of Jeff, we do have the unlimited resources of a digital age and the opportunity to find and consume content that speaks to us. …


You’re never too old to learn. So, I started to play Final Fantasy XIV and was blown away.

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Why should a middle-aged professor spend time on a video game he is most likely too old for anyway?

The answer is simple and straightforward. Gamification of education is gaining momentum.

Teachers and education experts can learn a lot from video game designers. The best way to understand gamification is to learn and get inspired by playing video games yourself.

But which game should you play?

I started to play Final Fantasy XIV this week. It was an exciting and scary experience at the same time.

It’s a Japanese game. I used to teach in Japan and reading about the…

Erik P.M. Vermeulen

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