📓 Reggio Emilia

Cameron Paterson reflects upon a recent study tour to Reggio Emilia. Some of the points that stand out is that in Italy children are not labelled as having special needs, but rather special rights, tests are replaced with documentation and the focus is on collaboration and co-construction.

In some notes on the topic of empathy and belonging, Paterson discusses the way in which the focus is on celebrating the strengths, rather than focusing too much on deficits:

At a time of increased conformity and standardisation in education, I like to offer the Reggio Emilia approach as a different path of possibility. One of Reggio’s key aims is to look at what children can do, rather than what they can’t. In Reggio Emilia schools, children with disabilities receive first priority and full mainstreaming under Italian law. Instead of being labelled “children with special needs” they are labelled “children with special rights.” Every child is seen in terms of the resources and potential they bring, rather than what’s missing.

Bookmarked Possible cultural & technological futures of digital scholarship (W. Ian O'Byrne)
What I would like to see in this process is a way to connect the dots from the beginning to the end of the manuscript. Something open that allows the author to detail the path taken from the genesis of the piece to the end result. This would allow scholars to post grant funding statements, researcher notes, open data, revisions, and other materials and connect this to the overall result. Viewers of the final published version would be able to look back through the links and chain of documentation to see the work that was embedded in this resultant piece.
Ian O’Byrne discusses the use of the #IndieWeb technologies, such as webmentions and microformats, to document the pre-print process. This could include the use of a digital object identifier that could then be linked to the final peer reviewed publications.
Bookmarked The haircut that threw a school into crisis by Henrietta Cook (The Age | Good Weekend)

This is far from just a story about a haircut. It's also a story of the inevitable tension between powerful school councils and the communities they serve. Should a school pursue a change agenda it thinks will benefit the community of tomorrow if the community of today – and yesterday – isn't happy about it? To what extent should today's students and parents dictate the direction in which a school heads?

It's also a story about the ongoing struggle at schools everywhere between pursuing academic success and the health and happiness of their charges. And finally, it's about people power, 21st-century style: how a group of children and their parents used a combination of traditional and social media to force those at the top of their institution to listen. Shocked to find that, despite paying up to $32,000 per student in annual fees, they had no power over the decisions of the council and principal, the school community went rogue, enlisting the power of the media to assert their claim – and win.

Henrietta Cook unpacks the saga around the sacking of Rohan Brown after he cut the hair of a student. What it highlights is the ability of social media to empower people, in this circumstance, young people, to have a say.

Spearheaded by year 12 leaders, the campaign is feverishly adopted by students across the senior school. Adept with technology, the kids set up an online petition, which quickly gathered more than 6000 signatures, and an Instagram account with even more followers and its own hashtag, #bringbrownieback. A co-author of this piece, Henrietta Cook, has the electronic invites to her wedding hacked and a message added for some of her guests: “Evict … the school council and principal.” Choppers hover over the school as TV journalists stake out spots at the entrance for their live crosses.

Bruce Dixon adds his own commentary on this, especially in regards to power and agency.

The Trinity case offers an insight into the current state of education, with a balance between wellbeing and academic results, as well as private verses public:

Striking the right balance between students’ wellbeing and academic results is something every school worries about. Dr Mark Merry, the head of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and also the principal of Yarra Valley Grammar, says the rise of performance data, including NAPLAN and ATAR league tables, has made schools more publicly accountable than ever before. Choosing between a focus on intellect and identity is fraught with tension. “Are you getting the balance right? Everyone agonises over this,” Merry says. “You can’t hold your hand on your heart and say you got it right all the time.”

It is also a story of old boys and old power holding onto the past (and their blazers):

Parents might not rank alumni as a top priority, but the old boys’ network – which runs events, helps with fundraising and has a network of sporting teams – plays an important role in the lives of many former students, including Thomas Hudson. The 29-year-old corporate banker with curly red hair feels deeply about his old school. “I care about Trinity because I want others to have the same experience that I did,” he explains. Hudson was among dozens of former students who squeezed into their school blazers for a community meeting at Hawthorn Town Hall. It was here that the old boys threatened legal action if the council didn’t resign.

Cook shares the extremes that people go to get people into these schools:

Parents at similar schools around the country have been known to try enrolling their unborn children – using the day of their scheduled C-section as the date of birth – only to be told that the child does in fact need to be physically born. Even the review of Brown’s dismissal had a top-end-of-town flavour. This was no little internal inquiry but an external investigation headed by a former Federal Court judge and a commercial barrister. Would public interest in such a spat be as high if it had unfolded at a state school in Melbourne’s outer north, or in Sydney’s far west?

Interestingly, the rush to ‘private’ is supposedly flat-lining.

Liked Learning to run, running to learn – Leading and learning in the big wired world (mrsleung.edublogs.org)
We may not all be ultramarathon runners, (like myself ) but we need to remember that exercise and physical activity are a very important part of the equation when it comes to effective teaching and learning.

📰 eLearn Updates (May 2018)

Here is a collection of links and resources associated with GSuite for May 2018.

Updates

Resources

Drive

Chrome

Research

Docs

Slides

Forms

Sheets

Sites

Classroom

Drawings

Geo Tools

Keep

YouTube

Blogger

General

Bookmarked Gonski’s new plan to reinvent Australian schools for the future has this one big flaw (EduResearch Matters)
The glaring contradiction in the report, as I see it, its that it asks for massive changes to an assembly-line reality by advocating for more assessment assembly-lines. Ken Boston in his recent commentary speaks to this by advocating that this is a “evolution not a revolution.” What is missing from this argument for learning progressions is the assumption that learning can be standardized across children. Chunking a NAPLAN component a day or week turns teachers into test givers and paper pushers rather than gifted learning scientists negotiating each child’s journey through the curriculum so that they are engaged and inspired, not lab rats.
Another post adding to the conversation on #Gonski2.
Liked Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends by Gabriel J.X. Dance (nytimes.com)
In the furor that followed, Facebook’s leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users’ friends. But the company officials did not disclose that Facebook had exempted the makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware from such restrictions.
Replied to Too Long; Didn’t Read #152 (W. Ian O'Byrne)
Well, amazing things happen when you dump that repository of info into one of the world’s best machine learning engines.
I find all these seemingly incidental combinations intriguing for lack of a better word. When Google hit the books, is this what they had in mind? I was reading today about the move away from ‘research’ to ‘AI’. I wonder what the consequences of Sidewalk Labs on military surveillance?
Replied to Google is planning a city. What could go wrong? (ABC News)
Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs has plans to build and run an urban centre in Toronto, Canada. Not everyone is pleased.
The Sidewalk Labs is such an intriguing project. It offers an insight on what could be on so many levels. It is interesting to think about it in regards to the Selfish Ledger and Google’s move into (and out of) military AI. Imagine if they used Sidewalk Labs to hone their ability to identify citizens? Similar to China? And then have another about face and sell this technology to the highest bidder? Time will tell.