Liked The Toca Boca Story – The Startup – Medium by Danielle Newnham (Medium)
So, our research and strategy has helped a lot and has actually created a great environment for our staff because they bought into the business from the beginning. We have created a confined space in our business with very strict parameters. The business is digital toys; it’s not winning, no losing, no stress, no high scores, no rules. It’s open-ended, focusing on creativity; playful, fun experiences. You have to buy into all of these things before you start here. We do open-ended children’s apps that don’t have any rules, so you have to focus on the fun. If you start at the company and you know that, then it’s completely free because we don’t go to staff and tell them to make it a different color. As long as you buy into the initial constraints, it’s free. In fact, I have designers who say they have never worked somewhere where they have been given so much freedom, which is ironic considering that we have limited down the market so much. But it is very free for them as long as you buy into the idea — and I think that is a result of strategy. It also creates a good work environment because, quite frankly, if I think I could design better than the designer, then I have probably hired the wrong person. If I can’t bet on the designer to know best, then something is wrong.
Bookmarked Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read (The Atlantic)
To me, it doesn’t seem like narcissism to remember life’s seasons by the art that filled them—the spring of romance novels, the winter of true crime. But it’s true enough that if you consume culture in the hopes of building a mental library that can be referred to at any time, you’re likely to be disappointed. Books, shows, movies, and songs aren’t files we upload to our brains—they’re part of the tapestry of life, woven in with everything else. From a distance, it may become harder to see a single thread clearly, but it’s still in there.
Julie Beck discusses reading and suggests that unless we do something with it within 24-hours then it often disappears. Associated with this, she recommends reading more slowly if we are to take them in. This builds on Ryan Halliday’s point to do something with what you read. I am also left wondering about the connections with digital literacies to support this.
Bookmarked PISA-shock: how we are sold the idea our PISA rankings are shocking and the damage it is doing to schooling in Australia by Aspa Baroutsis (EduResearch Matters)
The PISA-shock type media coverage has huge policy effects. Governments make decisions that have lasting fallout on our education systems as a result of this coverage. However the deep inequities of performance based on socio-economic background that show up in detailed PISA results and the differences between the jurisdictional schooling systems is where the media should be shining the spotlight. This is where the real story of what is happening in school education in Australia can be uncovered. This is where policy makers should be searching for policy changing data.
Aspa Baroutsis and Bob Lingard provide a summary of their analysis of the PISA reporting in the media and the subsequent ‘shock’ that it induced. This provides a good starting point in understanding some of the challenges assocaited with PISA. For extended response, read Sam Sellar, Greg Thompson and David Rutkowski’s book, The Global Education Race, Taking the Measure of PISA and International Testing.
Replied LMS Dogma by Reverend (bavatuesdays)
E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops,” Brett Victor’s “The Future of Programming,” and Audrey Watter’s PLATO review. I liked the way the idea of dogma weaved its way through all three pieces, and it resonated with the students as well.
Jim, I love Victor’s presentation on programming, as much for the style as the message (can they be separated?) However, I was left rethinking it in light of Victor’s take on making makerspaces more ‘scientific’ seeing space. It had me thinking how sometimes we can trivially end up picking and choosing between ideas and thinkers. For example, I would love to know Watters’ take on Seeing Spaces.
Liked A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Consensus Algorithms
Behind every great cryptocurrency, there’s a great consensus algorithm. No consensus algorithm is perfect, but they each have their strengths. In the world of crypto, consensus algorithms exist to prevent double spending. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the most popular consensus algorithms to date, from Blockchains to DAGs and everything in-between.
Bookmarked The Dark Arts of Our Agents of Change by Bruce Dixon (Modern Learners)
When we talk about school change, we usually refer to changeleaders, but by far the largest number of change influencers are the global tribe of curious, somewhat subversive teachers who are committed to school being a better place for their students. They are our agents of change.
Bruce Dixon reflects on the role of teachers as change agents. He identifies four tactics used:

  • Focus on learning, not on change.
  • Focus on the ‘why’ not the ‘how.’
  • See change as a journey, not a blueprint.
  • Share ideas by taking down walls not building fences.
  • Know the importance of  ‘winning the war,’ not fighting battles.

This reminds me in part of Will Richardson’s keynote for TL21C a few years ago. There Will argued for 10% at a time.