Bookmarked Obituaries (Teaching Machines)

The obituary is a strange genre. (I say this having written two.) An obituary typically contains the basic facts of the deceased’s life: where and when they were born; when and sometimes how they died; where they went to school; the names of wives and husbands and children and the names of any other “surviving family members.” An obituary, whether written by a family member or by someone at the newspaper, attempts to narrate a life – who was this person; what did they do; what were they like?

Audrey Watters reflects on the stories told in the form of obituaries. This reminds me of Austin Kleon’s

  • Show Your Work
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    Obituaries aren’t really about death; they’re about life. “The sum of every obituary is how heroic people are, and how noble,” writes artist Maira Kalman. Reading about people who are dead now and did things with their lives makes me want to get up and do something decent with mine. Thinking about death every morning makes me want to live.

    Replied to Freshly Brewed Thoughts: August 24, 2018 (mailchi.mp)

    My computer did some crazy, and I had a moment today when I though my computer was dead forever. FYI I work in tech, I still suck at backups (like everyone), and a dead computer is … not cool. I literally signed up for two years of Backblaze five minutes ago.

    Isn’t it kind of funny the assumptions we make about those in EdTech. It is funny living within the expectation of perfection when as Quinn Norton suggests:

    All the grown-ups are making it up as they go along. I have also waggled my eyebrows suggestively while saying it, to make it clear to her that I mean me, too

    Checked into Google Innovator Energizer (Sydney)
    The Sydney Google Energiser event was held at Google Sydney in Darling Harbour. It was designed to give an opportunity to work with each other on the newest latest that Google for Education has to offer. What interested me was finding out where Google was moving, both in and out of education.

    Dan Stratford framed the day explaining that Google’s current push is not necessarily about technology, but rather the development of cultures of change and having meaningful impact. This is all a part of Project Culture Shift, the push to encourage people to learn from failure and success in the development of solutions. It is intriguing to consider this from a policy perspective (read chapter four of Ben Williamson’s book Big Data in Education). Also the reference to ‘impact’ always seems so intertwined with the work of John Hattie and Visible Learning.

    The session digging further into cultural change was facilitated by the O’Briant Group. The initial conversation was about what actually constitutes ‘culture’. It was suggested that we make our culture each and every day. Chris Betcher argued that it was:

    The things that you don’t need to talk about.

    We then did a few activities including using our ‘superpowers’ to frame culture of our table group.

    Superpower Activity via the Obriant Group

    What these two activities were designed to do was to highlight the way that culture can be developed through the way we do things and with this the stories that we tell. One of the problems is that we can talk all day, the challenge is start from a central story.

    Another part of culture are our everyday rituals and routines. Through our rituals and routines we create our daily experience. For me this is pumping Disney ballads in the car while driving the girls to school each day.

    Thinking about rituals and routines from an organisational perspective, some that were raised included: marking the roll (daily), staff meetings (weekly) and report writing (yearly)

    Taking a different tact, the focus turned to the four foundations at the heart of change and innovation:

    • Curiosity (Wonder, Experiment, Play)
    • Agency (Own, Initiate, Problem-Solve and Create)
    • Collaboration (connect, synergise, share, cross-pollinate)
    • Risk-taking (Dream big, reach, experiment and try)

    Beyond these four, it was stated that innovation cannot thrive without a foundation of psychological safety. More often than not success and failure comes back to ‘safety’.

    In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.source

    Some other characteristics that support change include fallible authority where we are all ‘experts’ but we can all make mistakes. Also stepping back to give a chance for somebody else to move forward.

    The day was also broken up with a range of lightening pitches, which included Emil Zankov’s wondering about the next step with Chromebooks (NAPLAN) and Michael Ha’s idea of 365 days of inspiring teachers from around the world (sign up here).

    The day ended with a series of Sparktalks. I presented one on the Modern Learning Canvas:

    Modern Learning Canvas
    Scrap SAMR’s four steps to edtech nirvana. Don’t get lost in TPack’s tri-venn.
    Create the future by telling the whole story in a clear and concise manner using the Modern Learning Canvas

    I also attended presentations by Marto Shaw on Google for administrators, as well as Sheets with Jay Atwood. I never cease to come away with something from Jay’s sessions. This time it was:

    • Double click with the Ctrl key held down to fill down something like an identifier.
    • Powertools add-on to breakdown the splitting process.
    • Pivot Tables as a means of asking questions of data.
    Bookmarked End of an era for old Harvard blogging site (insidehighered.com)

    Weblogs@Harvard, as it was then known, was considered pioneering. Facebook didn’t yet exist. Social media was in its infancy. And starting a blog usually required some knowledge of code. Harvard’s blogging platform, now known as blogs.harvard.edu, made it easy.

    Lindsay McKenzie discusses Harvard’s recent announcement that Harvard is closing down blogs.harvard.edu. This piece collects together a number of perspectives from academics. Mike Caulfield wonders about the temporal nature of institutional and self hosting. He discusses the multitude of sites that have now disappeared as they were either closed or corrupted. This is something he has discussed before. Tim Owens and Jim Groom use this as an opportunity to take a wider look at blogging and archiving.
    Replied to Knowing Me, Knowing You. (andreastringer.blogspot.com)

    If we accept that Collaboration is complex, why do we assume all teachers will collaborate because research says it is effective?

    I really like your point about subtly enforced collaboration. It can be so easy to say ‘let’s all collaborate’. The problem I have found is that unless people see where they fit in with it or benefit then it can really flop. I have written about this more here.

    Originally published on Read Write Collect

    Liked Saving Marshall August 21, 2018 In Uncategorized (Adam Croom)

    Today
    Do I have need today for high wattage half stack? Not in the slightest. Would  I ever sell it? Never in a million years. I only get to play it a few times a year when I happen to be home by myself (which only happens by accident these days) and want to plug in a Les Paul and crank it up. To me, there’s no more pure rock ‘n roll sound than an LP directly into a Marshall. It gives me a feeling of a joy that I truly can’t explain.

    Liked

    Liked Cut the Bull by David Truss (David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts)

    The questions we ask ourselves before we plan determine what we really need to ask of our students.

    Picasso didn’t do his final drawing by asking, “How can I use the least amount of lines to draw a bull?” In each drawing he took away the non-essential components, leaving behind only what was necessary.

    Replied to Some quick thoughts on my IndieWeb implementation. by Kimberly HirshKimberly Hirsh (Kimberly Hirsh)

    So here’s where I’m at right now. I’m using the IndieMark list to work through it all. This will get a little technical, so if it’s not interesting, please move on with your day.

    Kimberly, I like the way that you have unpacked your itches and achievements in this post.
    Bookmarked Why do we group students by manufacture date? (User Generated Education)

    Grouping students by age or manufacture date is a contrived sorting mechanism. It assumes that same age kids are alike in their intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development; that they have commonalities in addition to their age. Academic standards used by almost all schools are based on the false and incorrect belief of the average student. Todd Rose quoting Mike Miller’s research on brains found that “not a single one was even remotely close to the average. The average represented nobody,” and he added, “Average is widely misleading. In education, there is no such thing as an average student. Our educational system is built on the assumption that there is an average student.”

    Jackie Gerstein provides a reflection on Todd Rose’s End of Average.