Bookmarked Using Picture Books With Older Students – A How-to Guide by Pernille Ripp (Pernille Ripp)
Which book I choose to share depends on the lesson.  I treat it much like a short story in what I want students to get out of it so it has to suit the very purpose we are trying to understand. I introduce the concept by sharing a story and then I ask my students to come as close as they can to the rocking chair in our corner.  Once settled, whether on the floor, on balls or on chairs, I  read it aloud.  We stop and talk throughout as needed but not on every page, it should not take more than 10 minutes at most to get through an average size picture book.  If it is a brand new concept I may just have students listen, while other times they might engage in a turn-and-talk.   I have an easel right next to me and at times we write our thoughts on that.  Sometimes we make an anchor chart, it really just depends on the purpose of the lesson.  Often a picture book is used as one type of media on a topic and we can then branch into excerpts from text, video, or audio that relates to the topic.
Pernille Ripp provides a detailed guide into using picture books in any classroom. This includes choosing picture books, how she displays them, there place in supporting fluency and how they are used as introductory texts. This is all a part of knowing yourself as a reader. I too have used picture books in the past to support the teaching comprehension.
Bookmarked How to change the course of human history | Eurozine by David Graeber (Eurozine)
The story we have been telling ourselves about our origins is wrong, and perpetuates the idea of inevitable social inequality. David Graeber and David Wengrow ask why the myth of 'agricultural revolution' remains so persistent, and argue that there is a whole lot more we can learn from our ancestors.
The thing that stood out to me in this lengthy post was the idea that the past was or is not always as we seem. David Graeber and David Wengrow unpack notions of inequality, that agriculture means sacrificing power and the chaotic reality of history.

The first bombshell on our list concerns the origins and spread of agriculture. There is no longer any support for the view that it marked a major transition in human societies. In those parts of the world where animals and plants were first domesticated, there actually was no discernible ‘switch’ from Palaeolithic Forager to Neolithic Farmer. The ‘transition’ from living mainly on wild resources to a life based on food production typically took something in the order of three thousand years. While agriculture allowed for the possibility of more unequal concentrations of wealth, in most cases this only began to happen millennia after its inception. In the time between, people in areas as far removed as Amazonia and the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East were trying farming on for size, ‘play farming’ if you like, switching annually between modes of production, much as they switched their social structures back and forth. Moreover, the ‘spread of farming’ to secondary areas, such as Europe – so often described in triumphalist terms, as the start of an inevitable decline in hunting and gathering – turns out to have been a highly tenuous process, which sometimes failed, leading to demographic collapse for the farmers, not the foragers.

Myths are so interesting. Even when we supposedly debunk them, they live on in our memory. As Roland Barthes explains,

Myth is imperfectible and unquestionable, time or knowledge will not make it better or worse.

One of the comments that I found interesting was that around the idea of revolutions. So often we associated revolutions with transformation, yet Graeber and Wengrow explain that they are rooted in tradition.

We must conclude that revolutionaries, for all their visionary ideals, have not tended to be particularly imaginative, especially when it comes to linking past, present, and future. Everyone keeps telling the same story. It’s probably no coincidence that today, the most vital and creative revolutionary movements at the dawn of this new millennium – the Zapatistas of Chiapas, and Kurds of Rojava being only the most obvious examples – are those that simultaneously root themselves in a deep traditional past. Instead of imagining some primordial utopia, they can draw on a more mixed and complicated narrative. Indeed, there seems to be a growing recognition, in revolutionary circles, that freedom, tradition, and the imagination have always, and will always be entangled, in ways we do not completely understand. It’s about time the rest of us catch up, and start to consider what a non-Biblical version of human history might be like.

via Doug Belshaw

Bookmarked How (and Why) Ed-Tech Companies Are Tracking Students' Feelings by Benjamin Herold (Education Week)
Ready or not, technologies such as online surveys, big data, and wearable devices are already being used to measure, monitor, and modify students' emotions and mindsets.
Benjamin Herold takes a dive into the rise of edtech to measure the ‘whole’ student, with a particular focus on wellbeing.

For years, there’s been a movement to personalize student learning based on each child’s academic strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Now, some experts believe such efforts shouldn’t be limited to determining how well individual kids spell or subtract. To be effective, the thinking goes, schools also need to know when students are distracted, whether they’re willing to embrace new challenges, and if they can control their impulses and empathize with the emotions of those around them.

Something that Martin E. P. Seligman has discussed about in regards to Facebook. Having recently been a part of demonstration of SEQTA, I understand Ben Williamson’s point that this “could have real consequences.” The concern is that all consequences are good. Will Richardson shares his concern that we have forgotten about learning and the actual lives of the students. Providing his own take on the matter, Bernard Bull has started a seven-part series looking at the impact of AI on education, while Neil Selwyn asks the question, “who does the automated system tell the teacher to help first – the struggling girl who rarely attends school and is predicted to fail, or a high-flying ‘top of the class’ boy?” Selwyn also explains why teachers will never be replaced.

Bookmarked Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control? by James Bridle (the Guardian)
Technology is starting to behave in intelligent and unpredictable ways that even its creators don’t understand. As machines increasingly shape global events, how can we regain control?
In an extract from James Bridle’s new book New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future, he discusses the evolution of the machine. This includes the place of the cloud, algorithmic interactions within the stock marker, the corruption of the internet of things and incomprehensibility of machine learning. Bridle believes that we need to reimagine how we think about technology:

Our technologies are extensions of ourselves, codified in machines and infrastructures, in frameworks of knowledge and action. Computers are not here to give us all the answers, but to allow us to put new questions, in new ways, to the universe

This is a part of a few posts from Bridle going around at the moment, including a reflection on technology whistleblowers and YouTube’s response to last years exposé. Some of these ideas remind me of some of the concerns raised in Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots and Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction.

Bookmarked Why do we STILL have reports? by Matt Schmidt (What Ed Said)
We ditched ‘traditional reports’ at the start of last year for exactly these reasons. We have every child on a collaborative google sheets document shared with parents, teachers and Principal. Through this we have goals, evidence, feedback, learning stories, summative assessment, formative assessment, self-reflection, parent feedback……24/7 access……learning conversations available every term, sharing evenings twice a term….there’s a mid year and end of year summary as well to meet the legislative requirements for ‘reporting in plain language twice a year’ – up to parents whether it’s printed off or not…..Leaders just need to be brave enough to lead change and educate their communicate to come on the journey with them!
In this response to Edna Sackson, Matt Schmidt reflects upon the way that his school uses Google Sheets to support a more agile and flexible reporting. It is interesting to see the use of such tools to create more personalised solutions.
Bookmarked We live in Pinteresting times..... (Kath Murdoch)
How do we model ethical use of materials to our students? How much does this matter to us anyway? How freely should materials be shared without consultation or permission? When is it OK to sell our work? What does 'original' mean? If the words are someone else's but we choose the font, colour and images - does that make it original? What responsibility do we have as producers AND consumers to acknowledge the work done by others? Who really owns what? What do we know/believe about the thorny issue of intellectual property? AND…. Why do we prefer a glossy, pretty poster over the children's own documentation on our walls? Do our learners USE the stuff we decorate the walls with? What should be on our walls anyway? Who is it for?
Kath Murdoch reflects on the endless requests for Inquiry posters. Even though she continues to refuse, believing that it should be a conversation had, rather than a rule followed, othera think differently. She therefore wonders about the ethics of sharing. This is an interesting read in light of creative commons and the creation of graphics.
Bookmarked How to Fight Amazon (Before You Turn 29) by Robinson Meyer (The Atlantic)

Amazon’s history seems to belie this claim. For more than a decade, Wall Street allowed the company to plow any profits into price discounts. Partly as a result, Amazon has grown so large that it can undercut other companies just by announcing that it will soon compete with them. When Amazon purchased Whole Foods, its market cap rose by $15.6 billion—some $2 billion more than it paid for the chain. Meanwhile, the rest of the grocery industry immediately lost $37 billion in market value. (Amazon protests that it has no control over how investors value its competitors.)

When a company has such power, Khan believes, it will almost inevitably wield that power far and wide, distorting not just the market itself, but the whole of American life. With sufficient power, companies can commission studies, rewrite regulations, bulldoze neighborhoods, and impoverish education and welfare systems by securing billions in sweetheart tax cuts. When a company comes to monopolize a market—when it grows so big that it can threaten other industries just by entering them—it ceases to be merely a company. It becomes an institution so powerful that it can rule over people like a government.

Robinson Meyer unpacks the story of Lina Khan and her investigation into Amazon and the antitrust movement. This stems from a paper, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” Khan wrote in the Yale Law Review. Although Meyer focuses on Amazon, this has ramifications for all the platform monopolies. It is also increasingly having an influence on education.
Bookmarked GitHub Is Microsoft’s $7.5 Billion Undo Button (Bloomberg.com)
GitHub represents a big Undo button for Microsoft, too. For many years, Microsoft officially hated open source software. The company was Steve Ballmer turning bright colors, sweating through his shirt, and screaming like a Visigoth. But after many years of ritual humiliation in the realms of search, mapping, and especially mobile, Microsoft apparently accepted that the 1990s were over. In came Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, who not only likes poetry and has a kind of Obama-esque air of imperturbable capability, but who also has the luxury of reclining Smaug-like atop the MSFT cash hoard and buying such things as LinkedIn Corp. Microsoft knows it’s burned a lot of villages with its hot, hot breath, which leads to veiled apologies in press releases. “I’m not asking for your trust,” wrote Nat Friedman, the new CEO of GitHub who’s an open source leader and Microsoft developer, on a GitHub-hosted web page when the deal was announced, “but I’m committed to earning it.”
Paul Ford unpacks Microsoft’s purchase of Github. This includes an account of the history of both companies. Dave Winer shares a number of points to consider associated with the acquisition. Louis-Philippe Véronneau and Doug Belshaw suggest that it might be a good opportunity to move to other platforms, such as GitLab. I wonder what this might mean for Github in education? It is interesting to reread Ben Halpern’s predictions for Github from a few years ago. He thought it would be Google or Facebook, wrong. For those new to this world, read Jon Udell’s post from a few years ago.
Bookmarked Liberal Party council votes to sell off the ABC and move Australian embassy to Jerusalem (The Sydney Morning Herald)
The Liberal Party’s peak council voted overwhelmingly in favour of privatising the public broadcaster with backing of a conservative think-tank.
In a time when there is a lot of discussion about the ownership of core infrastructure, it seems strange to sell the ABC. I wonder if this is a reflection of the changes to the media landscape that my nostalgia is overlooking?