Liked “Let It Be” – Life Advice from The Beatles by an author (kottke.org)

From illustrator Michelle Rial, a Venn diagram of some advice for when you’re sad, angry, stressed, or hurt in the form of Beatles lyrics.

From illustrator Michelle Rial, a Venn diagram of some advice for when you’re sad, angry, stressed, or hurt in the form of Beatl

Bookmarked Dropping Acid by an author (Logic Magazine)

Today, contemporary pop music has fully incorporated acid house’s sonic range, if not its production method. Producers used it as a starting point for the sound of R&B and hip-hop in the new millennium—in 2000, Timbaland’s backing track for Aaliyah’s “Try Again” used a TB-303 for its bass line, inspiring countless producers to imitate the sound on other synthesizers and computers. For his part, Pierre sees something prophetic in the name that he and Earl Smith chose for their work: Phuture. “Twenty-six years later and acid is still going strong,” he said in 2011. “You can see the proof of this when platinum-selling groups and artists like LMFAO and Skrillex are putting ‘acid’ in their songs.”

Shuja Haider talks about the sounds and methods associated with Acid House music. Along with the TR808, this article documents the place of the TB303 on modern music.
Bookmarked Why people troll others online by an author (W. Ian O’Byrne)
  • Anonymity – People believe they can say anything and get away with it;

  • Perceived obscurity – People believe their online expressions are fairly private;

  • Perceived majority status – People believe their opinion or experience is the majority, and that people agree with them;

  • Social identity salience – People believe that their online identity means more than their offline identity. That is, online they are guided by “mob mentality” and mimic members of their group;

  • Surrounded by their friends – People believe everyone in their network, or online social circles thinks and acts like they do;

  • Desensitization – People over time see others make so many nasty comments, or they do it themselves, that it doesn’t seem like such a big deal;

  • Personality traits – People are sometimes outspoken by nature, and believe they can express themselves online without a filter;

  • Perceived lack of consequences – People weigh the risk vs. reward of engaging in these behaviors and believe that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Ian O’Byrne discusses some of the reasons why people troll online and how to respond to them. For a deeper look at the types of trolls, read Molly Hill’s post.
Liked The Next Data Mine Is Your Bedroom by an author (The Atlantic)

Just this month, the insurance company United Healthcare began partnering with employers to offer free Apple Watches to those who hit certain fitness goals. Insurers might also offer benefits to residents whose homes prove their fitness or brand loyalty—and punish those who don’t. Health insurers could use data from the kitchen as a proxy for eating habits, and adjust their rates accordingly. Landlords could use occupancy sensors to see who comes and goes, or watch for photo evidence of pets. Life-insurance companies could penalize smokers caught on camera. Online and in person, consumers are often asked to weigh privacy against convenience and personalization: A kickback on utilities or insurance payments may thumb the scales in Google’s favor.

Replied to Good Teaching by Adrian Camm

What I am sure about is that there is no one formula for great teaching and that’s what makes our profession such a rewarding one. Just like learning is a deeply personal endeavour – so is teaching. Teacher quality does matter. We want great teachers teaching the eager young minds of tomorrow. We also have to work with those we currently have in the profession and understand that teaching quality matters more.

I always find ‘good teaching’ intriguing. In part I hear Bruce Dixon/Will Richardson yelling that it is ‘all about learning’, but then I have Gert Biesta discussing the purpose of education. Thinking back over all the different contexts that I have found myself in I feel that ‘good’ was as much about working with the students in front of you or the staff next door. One lesson I learnt early in my career is that not every strategy works in every situation. I wonder then if ‘good’ is as much a verb as it is an act described?
Bookmarked QandA:‘what works’ in ed with Bob Lingard, Jessica Gerrard, Adrian Piccoli, Rob Randall,Glenn Savage (chair) by an author

On November 6th, I hosted a Q&A Forum at the University of Sydney, co-sponsored by the AARE ‘Politics and Policy in Education’ Special Interest Group and the School and Teacher Education Policy Research Network at the University of Sydney.

It featured Adrian Piccoli (Director of the UNSW Gonski Institute for Education), Jessica Gerrard (senior lecturer in education, equity and politics at the University of Melbourne), Bob Lingard (Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland and Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University) and Rob Randall (CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority).

Glenn Savage chairs a conversation with a varied group of voices discussing impact of evidence, Think Tanks and NAPLAN on education.

Marginalia

We can’t rely on a medical model, where RCTs come from, for something like classroom practice, and you can see this in John Hattie’s very influential book Visible Learning. You just have to look at the Preface where he says that he bracketed out of his study any factor that was out of school … there’s no RCT on the funding of elite private schools, but yet we do these things. (Jessica Gerrard)

The think tank usually has a political-ideological position, it usually takes the policy problem as given rather than thinking about the construction, I think it does research and writes reports which have specific audiences in mind, one the media and two the politicians. (Bob Lingard)

NAPLAN is the King Kong of education policy because it started off relatively harmless on this little island and now it’s ripping down buildings and swatting away airplanes. I mean it’s just become this dominant thing in public discourse around education. (Adrian Piccoli)

Liked Everything on Social Media Is for Sale by an author (The Atlantic)

Monetizing an audience on social media is not a particularly new idea. What sets these fledgling artists and producers apart is the extent to which they sell every feature on every app: likes, comments, reposts, retweets, faves, Story shares, native Instagram posts, Snapchat shout-outs, all offered on a sliding scale based on how much you’re willing to pay to keep them up. Any social-media interaction is for sale, as long as someone is willing to pay.

Liked The 1975’s Matty Healy Dissects Every Song on A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships by an author (Pitchfork)

I always use the magpie analogy: A magpie will collect a diamond or a piece of glass or a piece of foil—it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s shiny and attractive. It’s the same thing with us—as long as it’s beautiful.

Watched Tribute Acts: Harmless Fun or Musical Scourge by an author from Pitchfork Videos

It’s a music business truth that the past is never dead. From ABBA The Concert to Dread Zeppelin, cover bands and tribute acts reunite the broken up, and reenact the great performances of yesteryear again and again with uncanny fidelity. Are these bands just good, clean fun, or are they the eager to please equivalent of junk television?

Listened The plastic backlash: what’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? – podcast by an author from the Guardian

Decades after it became part of the fabric of our lives, a worldwide revolt against plastic is under way

It is intriguing to think about plastic as being a part of the wider discussion of global warming. James Bridle refers to the notion of ‘hyperobjects’:

The philosopher Timothy Morton calls global warming a ‘hyperobject’: a thing that surrounds us, envelops and entangles us, but that is literally too big to see in its entirety.

Whether it be in the drinking water or the ocean tip, rubbish has become a part of our imaginary.

Listened IRL Podcast: Checking Out Online Shopping by an author from irlpodcast.org

When you shop, your data may be the most valuable thing for sale. This isn’t just true online — your data follows you into brick and mortar stores now as well. Manoush Zomorodi explores the hidden costs of shopping, online and off. Meet Meta Brown, a data scientist who unveils the information Amazon captures about you when you make an online purchase; Joseph Turow, who discusses how retailers are stripping us of our privacy; and Alana Semuels, who talks about becoming a hoarder with the advent of online shopping. Plus, learn about a college coffee shop where you can actually buy a drink with your data. (Is it worth it?)

This discussion of big data reminds me a comment by Ben Williamson in regards to ‘sensitive’ data captured by Class Dojo:

ClassDojo has been dealing with privacy concerns since its inception, and it has well-rehearsed responses. Its reply to The Times was: ‘No part of our mission requires the collection of sensitive information, so we don’t collect any. … We don’t ask for or receive any other information [such as] gender, no email, no phone number, no home address.’ But this possibly misses the point. The ‘sensitive information’ contained in ClassDojo is the behavioural record built up from teachers tapping reward points into the app.

It would seem that sometimes it is not the comments on social media we make or the food that we purchase from Uber Eats, but the actual purchasing of such items that matters. To focus on the noun, ignores the ‘information’ provided by the verb.

Listened Is that a pickle … Let’s not argue about definitions by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This

To me, a pedant and a purist, a pickle by rights ought to have gone through a proper fermentation. It might have been pasteurised afterwards and bottled, but at some stage it needs to have supported microbial activity. And yet, I don’t think of kombucha as pickled tea or yoghurt as pickled milk. Maybe that’s because they aren’t salted. Just being boiled in vinegar or soaked in brine doesn’t qualify either, for me.

Luckily Jan Davison, author of Pickles: A Global History, has a much more open mind, which is great, because I learned a lot from her little book. And it gave us plenty to talk about.

Bookmarked Making change in education – champions are for charlatans by dave dave

Educational technology is replete with consultants who have never managed change. They may have been good teachers or just like to take your money, but this doesn’t mean that they are going to help you change your school. I am always suspicious of the consultant who wants to work with the school superstar. (odds are they were a school superstar too before they became a consultant). Real change is hard, and slow, and takes careful planning. Superstars mostly just give you the appearance of change.

Dave Cormier reflects upon the change approach of “working with the ‘willing’ first” and wonders if this is wrong approach. This approach is based on the concept diffusion of innovation popularised by Everett Rogers. See Bryan Mathers’ drawing for a visual summary.

Curve of Innovation

Diffusion of Innovation by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

Rather than sustainable change, focusing on the guaranteed +1 is both unethical and creates a super star culture. Something I have touch d upon in the past:

I have lost count of the times I have been asked to reflect on my past and recall a great teacher. For me, these teachers were those that often pushed against the grain, who stood out in the crowd, maybe broke the rules, seemingly going above and beyond. Maybe these are worthy attributes to have, but at what cost? The question that often goes unasked is what context allows for the creation of such teachers and is it always positive? Who suffers and what is lost in the process? Are great teachers in fact bad teachers?

Cormier instead argues that the focus needs to be on long term change, with a plan to solve an actual problem. Associated with this, it is important to make space for such change, what Tom Barrett describes as innovation compression.

When new programmes are introduced, that draw down on the finite energy and effort from those involved without stopping other parallel ideas and releasing resource reserves, we get innovation compression, and a potential weakening of the original ideas.

This is also something that I have discussed in regards to my concern about ‘great teachers’:

Although working with an awesome group of like-minded teachers might seem like the best answer to fix our woes if this is not coupled with a clear understanding of the purposes associated with education them what is actually gained?

Rather than the right teacher, I would argue that we need to focus on the right culture and environment:

The problem with picking the right teacher is that there is no definitive means of finding such a person. This right teacher implies that we are fixed in everything that we do and think. In addition to this, the ‘right’ teacher for today, may not be the ‘right’ teacher for tomorrow. Another alternative is to provide the conditions for the right teacher to develop and grow.

Although not directly related, this reminds me of Charlotte Pezaro and Marten Koomen’s four questions to consider about conferences. I also wonder how distributed leadership fits with Cormier’s approach.

Watched

The environmental impact of border walls, explained.

Read more about the border wall’s effect on wildlife here: http://bit.ly/2GUHzqN

When we talk about the consequences of the proposed wall at the border of the US and Mexico, we usually think in terms of people. But along the political divide are rich pockets of biodiversity, with dwindling populations of species that rely on the ability to move back and forth across the border.

Under the 2005 REAL ID act, the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t have to comply with various environmental laws that might otherwise slow or halt construction in a sensitive area. Laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act — none of those apply to border wall construction.

Several parcels of land, including the National Butterfly Center, a state park, and other areas in the federal wildlife refuge system — are still threatened by wall construction. It could still be years before construction starts in some of these areas — but there’s still a lot we don’t know about the full impact of barriers on biodiversity.

Bookmarked The Library is Open by an author

Keynote for the 2018 Pennsylvania Library Association Conference

This is an interesting reflection on the place of libraries, situating things in the Open.

Marginalia

So what’s more interesting to me than whether Google could trounce a librarian in a smack-down (or whether libraries can add enough snack bars and media labs to make students think they have entered the Google headquarters) is how do the terms of the debate here shape what is possible for libraries? By associating libraries with the past, with guarded and dusty collections, with a provincial and conscripted sense of place, we rob them of the ability to engage in responsive growth and change. But we do this uncritically, since the past, collections, places– none of these are static or unchanging. What might be useful is thinking about how “place” can empower us to challenge the ways that the web is privatizing and work more effectively towards a learning commons that sustains the public good.

What kind of academic publishing channels do we need to assure quality and transparent peer review and open access to research by other researchers and by the public at large? What kinds of tools and platforms and expertise do we need to share course materials and research, and who should pay for them and host them and make them available? What kind of centralized standards do we need for interoperability and search and retrieval, and what kind of decentralization must remain in order to allow communities to expand in organic ways?