Liked How DNA ancestry testing can change our ideas of who we are (The Conversation)

The bigger picture that’s emerging from DNA ancestry testing is that we’ve underestimated the extent of mixing between ancestral groups throughout human history.

Looking at the pie chart might give you the impression that there are discrete borders within you and boundaries between your different ancestries, but as Aeromexico so eloquently put it, “there are no borders within us”.

Liked The emerging 737 Max scandal, explained (Vox)

The demand was for a plane that was simultaneously new and not new.

But because the new engines wouldn’t fit under the old wings, the new plane wound up having different aerodynamic properties than the old plane. And because the aerodynamics were different, the flight control systems were also different. But treating the whole thing as a fundamentally different plane would have undermined the whole point. So the FAA and Boeing agreed to sort of fudge it.

Bookmarked Privacy’s not an abstraction by an author (Fast Company)

An experiment in privacy–and the discussion that ensued–offer unexpected lessons in who gets watched, and how.

Chris Gilliard responds to a post by Kate Klonick in the New York Times exploring the teaching of privacy by modelling surveillance. This all just highlights how important it is to have discussions about privacy and how hard this can be.
Replied to A Plan For Writing A Weekly Blog Post In 10 Minutes A Day (The Edublogger)

This post outlines a simple approach that will see you develop consistency with your blogging and publish one blog post a week. You only need 10 minutes a day to reach your blogging goals!

I love the idea of breaking blogging down into a deliberate and sustainable habit. Not sure it would work for my complex and sometimes chaotic workflows, but I could see it working for some.
Replied to a post by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry

People who call Google+ a flop have no idea how much money over decades of users Google will make with Google Classroom. So much of the design and UX is the same, wonder if they shared any codebase.G+ had to influence Google Classroom development

That is a really good point Greg. I think that it is interesting that the platform is being continued within business/education. I can see G+ continuing to be developed to the point where it can become an organisation’s internal stream.

Even if it is not, Classroom offers many similar capabilities. My concern is that, like with SeeSaw, what can a user actually do with their Classroom archive once they have finished atudying.?

Bookmarked Dumb Twitter

Here’s my pitch for a Dumb Twitter app: The app forces you to tweet at the original 140 character tweet length. You can reply. You can’t like or retweet. You most certainly can’t quote tweet. There is no private DMing. Linear tweet stream only.

Adam Croom talks about an ‘dumb Twitter app’ that allows you to just focus on the simple things, such as posting and replying. I wonder if you could use Indigenous and your own website for this?

Also posted on IndieNews

Replied to After Christchurch shooting, Australia doubles down on being stampeded into catastrophically stupid tech laws (Boing Boing)

Larding big platforms with public duties like these — the sort of thing that costs tens or hundreds of millions to accomplish — also ensures that we will never be able to cut them down to size and break up their monopolies. Once you deputize Big Tech with tasks that no small tech can perform, you also foreclose on any measure that might make Big Tech any smaller.

This has been a growing concern of mine across the board, both from a security perspective and legelative level. It is all well and good to hold the platforms to account, the problem is that all these safeguards feel like they are really only working for the platform, because they are the only ones who can meaningful compete. I guess time will tell.
Replied to How to Use Learning Goals to Pick the Right Technology Tools by By AJ Juliani (A.J. JULIANI)

In an effort to acknowledge and combat the Edtech Hype Cycle, let’s talk about the learning first, while realizing technology is a part of our lives and is here to stay (and will always be evolving!).

I am glad that you have pushed beyond SAMR AJ. I have tinkered with the Modern Learning Canvas in the past and, like Trudacot, like the way in which it allows you to capture the wider context. In the end, EdTech is an enabler, the conversation I think we need to be having is how it then impacts and integrates with some of the other areas. From this perspective, I find Doug Belshaw’s essential elements of digital literacies a useful provocation for digging deeper.
Replied to

Until your mention Jon, I had never heard of The Midnight. Spent today immersing myself. Love it! Thank you for the recommendation.
Replied to

This is one of the challenges I have with Taleb’s Black Swan. It would seem you cannot have your cake and eat it to.
Bookmarked Buttondown

Buttondown is the best way to start and run your newsletter

After reading Craig Mod’s recent post and having some issues, I have decided to move my newsletter from Tinyletter to Buttondown. You can still found an archive of old newsletters here, but Buttondown also make it really easy to transfer everything across too.

Powered by Buttondown.

📰 Read Write Respond #039

The word of the month was Lego. I took my children to the Lego Discovery Centre, we went and saw Lego Movie 2 and we have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat.

In my children’s music classes, the focus has been exploring nature for examples of loud and quiet, short and long sounds. It is funny how much you notice when you make it a conscious choice. Even funnier when the three year old starts calling out, “forte, that’s forte.”

Work saw me seemingly join another team. I feel like I have a part in so many pieces of the puzzle. It is interesting and, as one colleague pointed out, I will know a lot at the end all this. The problem is that being spread so wide can be a bit frantic at times, especially when you are the intermediary between the different parties.

Personally, I have been reading The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I avoided Taleb’s work for a while feeling that I needed to be in the right frame of mind to keep up. However, when my wife was recommended it as part of her studies and Chris Aldrich recommended his work, I decided to dive in. In regards to my focus on flânerie, the message I got from the book is that to inoculate against black swans and the fourth quadrant we need to embrace randomness, rather than turn everything into a convenient bell curve.

Musically, I have been listening to a lot of clips on YouTube and podcasts, in particular I dived into the work of Mike Dawes, as well as returned to Paul Sheeky’s History of Electonic Music. Iched Black Panther. I have also been working through some of Ben Collins’ courses associated with Google Sheets.

In regards to my writing, I wrote two posts in response to David Hopkins #OpenBlog19 series:


Here are some links that have supported my learning this month …

Learning and Teaching

What Shakespeare Left Out

Katherine Duckett reflects on Shakespeare’s legacy and discusses some of the elements that he left out. Her topics include successful rebellions, healthy relationships, mother’s and independent women. It is an interesting excercise to stop and consider what an author chooses not to cover in a particular text.

The surprisingly radical politics of Dr Seuss

Fiona MacDonald takes a look at the political side of Dr. Suess’ work. This includes commentary from another author/illustrator Art Spigelmen and discussion of Suess’ work on propaganda during World War II.

Your curriculum defines your school. Own it. Shape it. Celebrate it.

Tom Sherrington discusses the importance of curriculum when defining a school. To support this he provides ten questions to reflect upon. Although written for a secondary audience in Britain, this list is useful to consider. This reminds me of Ewan McIntosh’s post on defining a schools competitive position.

“Real-World” Math Is Everywhere or It’s Nowhere

Dan Meyer on differentiating between ‘real’ models versus ‘non-real’ models in Mathematics. The problem with this is that from a process point of view it is all real learning.

Are we designing and building the right schools for future Australia? (We could be getting it so wrong)

Adam Wood shares four insights from debates around building schools and learning spaces: avoid crisis mentality, design schools for living as well as learning, we only get what we pay for and we need a debate about school architecture. This is a useful provocation in regards to learning spaces.


History Disappeared When Myspace Lost 12 Years of Music, and It Will Happen Again

Damon Krukowski reflects on the recent revelation that MySpace lost 12 years worth of music. He discusses the challenges associated with archiving in general. This reminds me of Celia Coffa’s keynote at Digicon15 Digital Stories and Future Memories.

There are now four competing visions of the internet. How should they be governed?

Kieron O’Hara outlines four visions for the internet from the perspective of e-commerce:

  1. Silicon Valley
  2. Beijing’s paternal internet
  3. Brussels’ bourgeois internet
  4. Washington DC’s commercial internet

And a bonus one, Moscow mule model. It is interesting thinking about this after the EU’s recent decision to sign off the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive.

Ten Lessons I Learned While Teaching Myself to Code

Learning the rules of predicting the future

Martin Weller responds to a request to predict the future of higher ed by identifying four rules:

  1. Very little changes, while simultaneously everything changes.
  2. Change is rarely about the technology.
  3. Appreciate the historical amnesia in much of educational technology.
  4. Technology is not ethically or politically neutral.

Alongside the work of Gary Stager, Audrey Watters and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, this is a useful provocation to think about the past, present and future of education and technology.

How to quit Facebook without quitting Facebook

Kaitlyn Tiffany interviews Jenny Odell about her book How to Do Nothing. Rather than leaving social media, Odell encourages us to be more aware. This is similar to what I was trying to capture in my post on being ‘informed’. Odell also discusses the idea of ‘social media’ as a public utility that does not depend upon cashing in on our attention. I just wonder if a state-based solution leads to what China has in place? Maybe the alternative is a decentralized solution? I am not sure.

Teaching Digital Citizenship: 10 Internet Safety Tips For Students (With Cyber Safety Posters)

Kathleen Morris outlines her four layered approach to teaching digital citizenship. This focuses on integrating the various skills within the curriculum, providing real world stories to reflect upon, building up student toolkits and developing lines of communication. Associated with this, she also provides ten tips for students.


Reporting a massacre: Why the ABC didn’t share the shooter’s ‘manifesto’

Craig McMurtrie unpacks the decision by the ABC to not publish extracts of the Christchurch shooter’s ‘manifesto’. Every move made seems to have be orchestrated to grab attention. As Robert Evans from Bellingcat explains, it is an example of Shit posting. Zeynep Tufekci backed this stance on Twitter. She also linked to a couple of posts she wrote in response to Sandy Hook Massacre and the Virginia shooter explaining the dangers of feeding copycat scenarios. This focus on media manipulation reminded me of dana boyd’s discussion of 4Chan’s association with fake news.

Pattern and Forecast (Vol. 5)

Josephine Rowe discusses Nevil Shute 1957 book On the Beach written about a nuclear holocaust in the northern hemisphere. The story documents people’s response of people in Melbourne on the coming nuclear cloud progressively moving south. Rowe compares this with the current milieu around the threat of global warming. With record heat waves in Central Australia and bushfires caused by lightning in Tasmania.

Trolls are just the start of the problems facing female players

Kate O’Halloran reports on the furore that has arisen around the publication Tayla Harris’ photograph, where Channel 7 pulled the image after being inundated by trolls, only to reinstate it after pressure. O’Halloran explains that such trolling is neither new nor is it restricted to AFLW. Instead, it highlights an underlying misogynistic culture within sport. This reminds me of Phil Cleary’s article in 2004 discussing this subculture.

The Price of Gratitude

Julian Stodd discusses the free act of gratitude. This is something so often overlooked. Stodd’s discussion of ‘cheap, but priceless’ reminds me of Steve Wheeler’s discussion of sharing knowledge and ideas.

A Brief History of That Most Noble Tuber, the Potato

Rebecca Earle digs into the history of potato. She starts in the Americas and follows the trail through to the Irish famine. Along with the chili, this is another staple brought from the new world.

Read Write Respond #039

So that is March for me, how about you? As always, happy to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via Ms 8

Bookmarked What’s in a Girl? (Meanjin)

The Young-Girl is an empty vessel. And this is because—like Temple, like Drouet, like Shields, like Pecola—she does not exist for herself: she exists only for the pleasure of others in society, for the impossible example she sets for flesh-and-blood girls. Her existence is only to embody the meanings—always in service of another’s ends—with which she will be imbued.

Kali Myers explores the construction of the girl.


The Young-Girl is a social category created through film, television, media, magazines, the social imaginary, the arts and literature. This social category is at once ephemeral and the standard by which all flesh-and-blood girls are measured. The category ‘girl’ did not exist before the eighteenth century.

In Tiqqun’s terminology, then, the Young-Girl is an |absolute|, a tautology. Consumed because she has value, imbued with value because she is consumed; desirable because she is frivolous, frivolous because she is desirable. Like a snake eating its tail, the Young-Girl co-habits with her image, which is the only thing she has to offer either herself or society. Created out of her consumption, the Young-Girl is at once incredibly powerful and incredibly weak. She seduces by consuming. And the victims of this seduction are the flesh-and-blood girls encouraged to re-create themselves in her image.

In 2015 Melbourne-based toy maker Moose Toys created a new product called Shopkins. That same year Shopkins were named Girls’ Toy of the Year by the US Toy Industry Association. Their success led to CEO Manny Stul being inducted into the Australian Toy Association Hall of Fame in 2017. Shopkins are tiny anthropomorphised groceries sold as collectable items in bright coloured packaging covered in bubble letters. Each character has a name and a story, fleshed out through an online portal featuring games, colouring-in sheets, interactive activities and a web-based animation series. The Shopkins world is rounded out with trading cards, clothing lines and even a newly launched live-show extravaganza—all celebrating the notion and act of shopping. Alliteratively named, generally gendered feminine and absolutely adorable, Claudia Cake, Molly Mop, Bettina Bag and friends are just so excited to teach you all about consumerism!

We’ve seen how the notion of the Young-Girl as assemblage created from various narratives and representations has become pervasive. We’ve also seen how the Young-Girl’s synonymy with consumer culture leads to her replication regardless of where she is in the world. Now we must acknowledge how that representation edges out others who cannot see themselves reflected in her radiant image.

The Young-Girl is an empty vessel. And this is because—like Temple, like Drouet, like Shields, like Pecola—she does not exist for herself: she exists only for the pleasure of others in society, for the impossible example she sets for flesh-and-blood girls. Her existence is only to embody the meanings—always in service of another’s ends—with which she will be imbued.

Bookmarked Are we designing and building the right schools for future Australia? (We could be getting it so wrong) by an author (EduResearch Matters)

The beginning of the 2020s is an opportune moment for us all to re-think and re-design Australian schooling. As the pioneering architect of many schools and universities, Giancarlo De Carlo, put it almost 50 years ago, “architecture is too important to be left to architects”.

Adam Wood shares four insights from debates around building schools and learning spaces:

  • Avoid crisis mentality
  • Design schools for living as well as learning
  • We only get what we pay for
  • We need a debate about school architecture

This is a useful provocation in regards to learning spaces.