Bookmarked Factors that Influence Parental Views About Online Safety (Leif Rask)

In the end, it is up to you whether you believe that risks exist on the internet and whether they affect you. Personally, I hope that you will take a moment to understand how the internet works, and the risks involved for you and your children. I also hope that you will help your children to understand internet safety so that they are better prepared when you’re not around. I can’t tell you what to think and what to decide. I hope that you make an informed decision, a decision that helps your children lead safer lives.

Leif Rask provides a useful provocation in regards to online safety. It reminds me in part of watching Mr. Robot or Zeynep Tufekci’s work. My only concern is that it does not necessarily provide any sort of alternative. Maybe that would be a separate post? The hard thing is that there is no ‘informed’ choice that is magically the ‘right’ choice. I choose a self-hosted version of WordPress, is that worse than Rask’s choice to use I realise that I may open myself up to more risks needing to manage my site, but the lessons learnt in doing this are priceless?
Liked PISA for personality testing – the OECD and the psychometric science of social-emotional skills by Ben Williamson (code acts in education)

SSES extends the reach of datafication of education beyond school walls into the surveillance of home contexts and family life, treating them as a ‘home learning environment’ to be assessed on how it enables or impedes students’ development of valuable socio-emotional skills

Ben Williamson provides a (very partial) overview of some of the key features of SSES. However, it does raise a few headline points:

SSES extends international-large scale assessment beyond cognitive skills to the measurement of personality and social-emotional skills

SSES will deliver a direct assessment instrument modelled on psychological personality tests

SSES enacts a psychological five-factor model of personality traits for the assessment of students, adopting a psychometric realist assumption that personality test data capture the whole range of cross-cultural human behaviour and emotions in discrete quantifiable categories

SSES extends the reach of datafication of education beyond school walls into the surveillance of home contexts and family life, treating them as a ‘home learning environment’ to be assessed on how it enables or impedes students’ development of valuable socio-emotional skills

SSES normalizes computer-based assessment in schools, with students required to produce direct survey data while also being measured through indirect assessments provided by teachers, parents and leaders

SSES produces increasingly fine-grained, detailed data on students’ behaviours and activities at school and at home that can be used for targeted intervention based on analyses performed at a distance by an international contractor

SSES involves linking data across different datasets, with direct assessment data, indirect assessments, school admninistrative data, and process metadata generated during assessment as multiple sources for both large-scale macro-analysis and fine-grained micro-analytics–with potential for linking data from other OECD assessments such as PISA

SSES uses digital signals such as response times and keystrokes, captured as process metadata in software log files, as sources for stealth assessment based on assumptions about their correlation with specific social-emotional skills

SSES promotes a therapeutic role for education systems and schools, by identifying ‘success’ factors in SELS provision and encouraging policymakers to develop targeted intervention where such success factors are not evident

SSES treats students’ personalities as malleable, and social-emotional skills as learnable, seeking to produce policy-relevant psychometric knowledge for policymakers to design interventions to target student personalities

SSES exemplifies how policy-relevant knowledge is produced by networks of influential international organizations, connected discursively and organizationally to think tanks, government departments and outsourced contractors

SSES represents a psycho-economic hybridization of psychological and psychometric concepts and personality measurement practices with economic logics relating to the management of labour market behaviours and human resources

Bookmarked Why I Follow Those Whom I Follow (and Why I Unfollow Those Whom I Once Followed) (

Why do you follow or unfollow? Have you even ever thought about it?

Kevin offers an interesting reflection on following. I am particularly taken by Algot’s personal approach. I have reflected here, but basically I have cut back to those I have had some sort of interaction with.
Bookmarked Feed reader developers — here’s an easy way to differentiate your service and have your users love you even more (

There are whole new areas of technology waiting for you to add this feature!

Dave Winer makes the case for subscribing to OPML files within feed readers. This was one of the reasons I moved to Inoreader. However, he suggests that Feedly also supports this functionality, maybe it is a paid feature?
Replied to PressForward as an IndieWeb WordPress-based RSS Feed Reader & Pocket/Instapaper Replacement by Author  Chris AldrichAuthor Chris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

PressForward was originally intended for journalists and news organizations to aggregate new content, add it to their newsroom workflow, and then use it to publish new content. From what I can see it’s also got a nice following in academia as a tool for aggregating content for researchers focused on a particular area.

It only took a minute or two of looking at PressForward to realize that it had another off-label use case: as a spectacular replacement for read-later type apps!

Chris, I stumbled upon your post on Press Forward whilst searching around your site. I really like the sound of it, especially in regards to better owning bookmarks and reading. Is that what you  use for your marginalia?

I feel wedded to Inoreader/Pocket at this point in time. However, I might spin up a new instance of WordPress and test it there. Can see myself using it to support deeper research one day.

Liked Explainer: the evidence for the Tasmanian genocide (The Conversation)

“Whereas the master narrative framed this state of affairs as proof of a benign government caring for unfortunate victims of circumstance, the colony’s archives reveal that Aboriginal people were removed from their ancient homelands by means fair and foul. This was the intent of the government, revealed by its actions and instructions and obfuscations. In the language of the day the Aboriginal Tasmanians had been deliberately, knowingly and wilfully extirpated. Today we could call it genocide.”

Bookmarked Common Sense Media Misses the Mark on COPPA (Jim Siegl)

Schools should think of COPPA as a subset of their overall privacy responsibilities. I would argue that schools should prioritize overall privacy for students of all ages, and compliance with FERPA. There are few cases where paying attention to this would not also aid in the schools’ role in vendors’ COPPA compliance.

Liked It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech (WIRED)

Discussing the democratic problems with YouTube and Facebook, Zeynep Tufekei argues that we can decide how we want to handle digital surveillance, attention-­channeling, harassment, data collection, and algorithmic decision­making, we just need to start the discussion.

Zeynep Tufekei explains that just because we can all create a social media account in seconds this supposed ‘democracy’ is a phantom public. Although it may seem that we can all ‘connect the world’s, each of the platforms is controlled by algorithms designed to keep the prosumer engaged and advertised. This is something that Tufekei also discusses in her TEDTalk. The change needed is systemic:

We don’t have to be resigned to the status quo. Facebook is only 13 years old, Twitter 11, and even Google is but 19. At this moment in the evolution of the auto industry, there were still no seat belts, airbags, emission controls, or mandatory crumple zones. The rules and incentive structures underlying how attention and surveillance work on the internet need to change. But in fairness to Facebook and Google and Twitter, while there’s a lot they could do better, the public outcry demanding that they fix all these problems is fundamentally mistaken. There are few solutions to the problems of digital discourse that don’t involve huge trade-offs—and those are not choices for Mark Zuckerberg alone to make. These are deeply political decisions. In the 20th century, the US passed laws that outlawed lead in paint and gasoline, that defined how much privacy a landlord needs to give his tenants, and that determined how much a phone company can surveil its customers. We can decide how we want to handle digital surveillance, attention-­channeling, harassment, data collection, and algorithmic decision­making. We just need to start the discussion. Now.

Bookmarked Professional Development Gets Personal : Stager-to-Go (
Gary Stager provides a series of tips for PD success in a recent article for the Hello World magazine:

Ask participants to take off their teacher hats
and put on their learner hats!
Expect the impossible, and your students will
surprise you.
Whimsy, beauty, playfulness, and mystery are
powerful contexts for learning.
Focus on powerful ideas, not step-by-step
Offer maximum choice in projects and processes.
Establish an absence of coercion. Operate under
the assumption that your students want to be
there. “Nothing beautiful can ever be forced.”
– Xenophon
Supply sufficient materials and time, quality
work takes time and you don’t want people
waiting around for materials.
Papert teaches us that the best learning results
from hard fun.
Less us, more them. Provide a minute or two of
instruction, suggest a prompt or challenge, and
then shut up. The more agency one can bestow
upon learners, the more they will accomplish.

Bookmarked 16 Best Alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack Plugin (WPBeginner)

Are you looking for the best alternatives to the Jetpack plugin for WordPress? Check out these best alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack plugin.

The team at WPBeginner provide a useful reflection on Jetpack:

Like all things in life, Jetpack plugin comes with its own advantages and disadvantages that you need to keep in mind when choosing Jetpack alternatives.

### Pros of Using Jetpack Plugin

These are the advantages of using Jetpack plugin on your WordPress website.

  • One plugin to rule them all. You get all essential features in one easy to manage package.
  • Jetpack is highly optimized for performance with Automattic’s (company behind Jetpack and powerful infrastructure running in the background.
  • It has a nicer user interface than your typical WordPress plugins.

### Cons of Using Jetpack Plugin

Following are the disadvantages of using WordPress Jetpack plugin on your website.

  • Using Jetpack requires you to create a account.
  • The Jetpack core is free but many of its features require a paid subscription.
  • It has limited email functionality. You cannot email your subscribers without publishing a blog post.
  • Your website becomes dependent on one plugin which makes it harder to replace in the future.


Bookmarked Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher by Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher Blog)

I’ve been asked about the podcasting equipment setup and software that we use on the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast. After 220 episodes in one year and over 430K downloads, we’ve settled on a configuration we like. In this post, I’ll share the setup and help you get started.

I have collected a number of posts on podcasting before, however Vicki Davis definitely adds to the perspective.

via Stephen Downes

Liked Is Technology Addictive? (Audrey Watters)

I was supposed to speak to a reporter today about iPhones and addiction, but the interview fell through. I jotted down some of my thoughts in preparation for the call, and I thought I’d post them here in case it’s a topic I decide to return to and flesh out more in the future…

Liked The Shape of Stories (The Confident Teacher)

When our students read and write they draw upon their knowledge of stories – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. The language and words and patterns become known and understood, matched and linked together. Over time, students develop what we can term a ‘mental model‘. That is to say, the more we read, the more we understand, the more we develop a ‘model’ of different types of stories and their respective worlds.

We know that the earlier we read, and the greater the volume of our reading, the more fine grained and precise our ‘mental model’. For many children who join school, they are well on the way with being read to and the shape of stories – mental models – are already emerging in their minds. By secondary school, I can teach a gothic story, but most students could write a good attempt with little to no teaching. The shape of the story is already well formed in their minds.

Liked When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind (WIRED)

Google’s caution around images of gorillas illustrates a shortcoming of existing machine-learning technology. With enough data and computing power, software can be trained to categorize images or transcribe speech to a high level of accuracy. But it can’t easily go beyond the experience of that training. And even the very best algorithms lack the ability to use common sense, or abstract concepts, to refine their interpretation of the world as humans do.

Liked Digital Governance by Eylan (Eylan Ezekiel)

Through using digital tools in the cloud, governance at Larkrise Primary School has been made more effective and easier to manage. Though we’d recommend it, this is not about the technology, but about a shift in culture. There is more we could do and would love to connect with others using similar approaches.