With so many regulatory questions surfacing as new business models are launched using exponential technologies, some business owners are taking a proactive role. For instance, technology companies are working with the EU to reshape privacy rules that impact their data mining business models. The drone industry has been successful in moving EU rules to a risk-based system – that is, allowing for waivers on a case-by-case basis versus waiting for a new set of regulations to be written for each scenario.
The truth is that at some point it is no longer the coaches job to work with a teacher if that teacher doesn’t want to work with the coach. At some point it is the job of the administrator to chime in and work with the teacher. Coaches are not supposed to be evaluators. The other day a very astute coach told me they feel like they are the sheriff without a gun.
What stands out is the difference between having a coach, which is about growth and development, and being a leader, which is making sure due process is followed.
Perhaps it’s Edtech, not teachers, that lags far behind in its narrow discussion of technology. Rather than leading the way forward, Edtech is stuck in the past and irrelevant, especially to those of us who care about the intersection of technology and power.
Like its close cousin Disruption, unbundling has been a favourite philosophy of the silicon valley start up. It has often been applied to education (even, erm, by me). This piece for example boldly states “The bundle of knowledge and certification that have long-defined higher education is coming apart”. The idea has some merit – if education moves online, do we need all the services: content production, examination, accreditation, support, etc to come from one provider?
Martin Weller on Critically examining unbundling
A newsletter can be a powerful tool as you not only make sense of your thinking, but also share this work with others. I believe that the process of reflection is involved as you create and publish a newsletter. I often have colleagues suggest that an RSS or Twitter feed, or subscriptions to their website is the same thing as a regular newsletter. IMHO, it is not the same thing. A good newsletter serves a specific purpose, and includes synthesis and reflection for you or your audience. You are actively curating content online
The real asset you’re building is trust.source
Julian Stodd argues that trust is something cultivated like a garden:
You cannot demand trust, but you may be able to create the conditions where it can emerge, and grow. We know from the Landscape of Trust research that ‘trust’ is held in relationships more so than contracts, so it’s perhaps in the way we forge, and validate, and maintain, those relationships that we are best placed to take action.
It is a little like gardening: you tend to the soil, and the seeds germinate. You do not directly make them germinate. If the conditions are right, they will grow.source
For him democracy is not a normal situation, i.e., it is not a way in which the police order exists, but rather occurs in the interruption of the order in the name of equality—which is why he says that democracy is sporadic. Furthermore, democratization for Rancière is not something that is done to others; it is something that people can only do themselves. Rancière connects this to the question of emancipation
Gert Biesta Good Education in an Age of Measurement p.125
And this can be our goal. Every day, with every action, to make something more civilized. To find more dignity and possibility and opportunity for those around us, those we know and don’t know.
Toward civilization by Seth Godin http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/03/toward-civilization.html
On one level, big social platforms borrowing features from one another has a long history in software development. Facebook alone took the “like” from Tumblr, the “check in” from Foursquare, “trending” from Twitter, and the “story” from Snapchat. But on another level, the recent moves to integrate real-time public posts show the internet not copying Twitter so much as they are absorbing it. Twitter is being unbundled before our eyes, and the implications are fascinating. source
So why haven’t I blogged?
Possible reasons include:
“I’m always too busy”, but that is just a copout. I was busy when I was blogging previously, but am I underestimating the impact of an increased work stress and absorption
Many of my current ideas and arguments are too new and immature to bring to an audience. But blogging I find helps to fast track these ideas.
I require a high level of energy reserve and confidence to hang an idea out to be critiqued, to take on criticism or just use feedback to modify and adjust my idea or thinking
Writing doesn’t come easily to me. I’ve always had ideas (I’m a good dreamer), but struggle to quickly put these into a clear written argument (I wasn’t an English person). So moving an idea to writing takes me time to both finish the dreaming and then to write, edit and rewrite. source
I was listening to a recent episode of RN Future Tense talkÂ about developing a digital construct of ourselves that would exist long after we die. The idea of this virtual self is so that people could ask our opinion long after we die. This is something captured in a few ways in the Black Mirrors series. However, what I was left wondering is whether such virtual selves, based on understanding of the way we think, could sit a standardised tests, such as NAPLAN etc, for us?
My Month of January
In response to my last newsletter, someone asked me whether my new job has allowed more opportunity to develop this newsletter. Although I spend more time commuting, I think the change has been the opportunity to engage with different elements of education every day. Doug Belshaw might say it has increased my serendipity surface. From my experience, it is not often in schools you grapple with overarching challenges. Instead, you are focused on a particular task and class.
In regards to January, I had time at home which involved fitting five weeks into two, as I only get four weeks a year with my new job. This meant trips to the beach, to the tip, to the cinema, to the zoo. Back at work, we are working on developing online modules to support teachers with technology.
In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:
One Word for 2017 is Communication – Rather than setting rigid goals for the new year, I have set one word that becomes my focus. My word for 2017 is 'Communication'.
There Are Many Parts to Redefining Schools – A response to the plethora of posts which label the ONE thing needed to change education.
REVIEW: The End of Average by Todd Rose – A review of Rose’s book, including a summary of the history of the average and some alternatives.
The Challenges and Tribulations of Being a Connected Educator – A look at some of the opportunities on offer to kick-start your connectedness in the new year.
Getting Work Done – A reflection on my digital workflows involved in getting work done.
Ten Tricks to Trello – My summary of Trello and how it works.
More Reflections on the Voices in the Village – A reflection on the comments I received in 2016.
Reading Leadership #EduBlogsClub – A collection of books that have influenced my thinking on leadership.
They Kept on Teaching – Some thoughts and reflections on reading Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian.
V is for Visuals – My response to the Edublogs Club challenge to post an image, collecting together examples of images and authors whose images inspire me.
Here then are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking …
Learning and Teaching
7 Super Screencasting Activities for School – Eric Curts unpacks a range of activities associated with screencasting. Not only does he provide step-by-step instructions, but he also includes actual examples of each.
Screencasting tools are a popular option for use in schools. At their most basic they allow you to record a video of what is on your computer screen, along with your voice, and depending on the program perhaps your webcam as well. Some may go further to provide you with annotation tools to write on or highlight portions of the screen while recording.
What Should I Buy For My New Makerspace? – Laura Fleming describes her five-step framework designed to help with setting up a makerspace. Beyond having a clear vision, Fleming suggests focusing on mobility, exploration, student interests, empowerment and relevance. To document some of these choices, she has reflected on the choices made within her own context.
Selecting the right products for your makerspace is critical. In addition to my framework, I started a Padlet, in which members of my PLN contributed their thoughts on selecting products for a makerspace. I encourage you to read their thoughts, and contribute your own for us to all learn and grow from.
Desktop Zero: How To Manage Unproductive Digital Clutter – Ben Gremillion provides a range of tips and tricks for decluttering your computer desktop. From my experience, we spend so much time in school organising things like lockers and folders, how often do we support students digitally? Although there is no right way, this post is useful in thinking about this problem.
Turns out it’s more than just finding files. Studies show that people with less cluttered work environments are happier and more productive. Desktop zero helped me in a future job as well, when I’d give frequent presentations to clients. With my desktop picture set to the company’s logo, a clutter-free desktop helped my audiences focus on what I was presenting (and hid my behind-the-scenes work to boot).
Sorry, But Speed Reading Won’t Help You Read More – In an excerpt from Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It, Mark Seidenberg shares the secret to becoming a better reader and that is … reading. Not an app or speed reading strategy, the key to becoming a better reader is improving our knowledge, language and comprehension. This discussion reminded me in part of Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer.
Reading expands one’s knowledge of language and the world in ways that increase reading skill, making it easier and more enjoyable to read. Increases in reading skill make it easier to consume the texts that feed this learning machinery. It is not the eyes but what we know about language, print, and the world— knowledge that is easy to increase by reading—that determines reading skill. Where this expertise leads, the eyes will follow.
10 Tips For Designing Effective Social Learning – Julian Stodd provides a list of considerations associated with social learning. It is interesting to compare this with discussions around Communities of Practice. What I like about Stodd's elabotations is that he recognises that every context and situation is unique. I think this is sometimes overlooked.
Ultimately, every organisation needs to learn the co-creative behaviours, design methodology, and facilitating roles that will operate best within their own unique culture and technical infrastructure. Above all, focus on design, not technology or assessment. Engagement will come through great design.
Establishing a culture of inquiry through inquiry – Kath Murdoch encourages teachers to begin the year with questions that can then be the start of a short inquiry, rather than the usual regimented style. For Edna Sackson this involves starting with the child. Sometimes the challenge with inquiry, as Sam Sherratt points out, is having permission.
Most of us begin the year by designing tasks/activities that facilitate community building. We want to get to know our kids – and we want them to get to know and relate to each other. Again – rather than over-planning the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of this – try inviting the students to design questions and investigations:
- How can we build a great community in this classroom?
- What do we need we find out about each other? How could we go about this?
- What do we need to know about each other in order to start to build a great community?
- How might we design this learning space to help us do the best learning possible?
- What do you need/want to know about me as your teacher?
- What would you love to learn about/learn to do this year? How might we make that happen?
- What should I (as your teacher) learn about you?
- What are you wondering about yourself as a learner this year?
- What are you most curious about when you think about the year ahead?
This approach is still highly intentional – our purposes are still to get the year off to a productive and positive start and to build routines. A more inquiry-based approach sees students as collaborators in the design of those routines and, as a result, engages them in a more rigorous, accountable and fascinating process of culture building.
Driven to Distraction – Emily Hehir highlights some of the challenges associated with technology in the classroom. She compares this situation to war. What stood out in her discussion was the notion that technology can make a difference. Although I recently discussed the impact of technology, I think it is important to highlight that it is always a part of a wider learning canvas.
Problematically, few teachers are trained in how to use technology in a manner that actually improves the outcomes previously achievable. Most schools have one or two "IT gurus" – teachers on staff whose personal interest has led to a process of classroom experiments with various apps and programs. All too often technology is a proxy for actual learning and is used as a reward, to simulate a task that could be done with a pen. At its worst, it just distracts.
Leave Your Laptops at the Door to My Classroom – Darren Rosenblum shares how he bans devices in his class. I feel that I have read this before a few years back via Clay Shirkey. What I think is missing within the conversation is what sort of teaching and learning is occurring? I do not mind the removal of student technology, but wonder if classes could be recorded even? Would this be a win win?
For all these reasons, starting with smaller classes, I banned laptops, and it improved the students’ engagement. With constant eye contact, I could see and feel when they understood me, and when they did not. Energized by the connection, we moved faster, further and deeper into the material. I broadened my rule to include one of my large upper-level courses. The pushback was real: A week before class, I posted the syllabus, which announced my policy. Two students wrote me to ask if I would reconsider, and dropped the class when I refused. But more important, after my class ends, many students continue to take notes by hand even when it’s not required.
The trials and tribulations of being a digital parent – Doug Belshaw shares his journey in choosing a device for his ten year old young son. It is interesting to compare this with Royan Lee's experiences choosing a phone for his teen daughter.
Parenting is hard, especially with your eldest child. You're making it up as you go along, especially in areas that no one has a lot of expertise, like the digital frontier. On the one hand, I don't like censorship and spying — which is why we're switching from BT to A&A for our broadband next week. On the other hand, there's an innocence to childhood that needs to be protected, especially when we're putting such powerful devices into such small hands.
Don’t Blame the Tools – Jose Picardo points out that blaming technology overlooks that the tool is only one part of the pedagogical canvas. I think things like SAMR can confuse the conversation. Instead, we need to start with a wider discussion of education.
What they fail to consider is that if technology is not the solution, it isn’t the problem either. The very word technology means “the science of craft”. Technology is nothing more and nothing less than the application of human knowledge to practical tasks. From this perspective, blaming technology for poor outcomes in schools is like a chef blaming his kitchen knife for having prepared a terrible meal.
If we forget to look out of the window – John Mikton reflects on 2016 and the need for more digital intelligence within the professional development in schools. He points out that the picture currently painted in schools is often in stark contrast to the reality of the world around us. Mikton also provides a number of links and resources for going further.
To be complacent is short-sighted in a school setting. There is a tendency with school professional development to not explicitly address the digital reality that engulfs our lives as an essential part of our professional learning. Information and Media literacy are what frame our own democratic values: choice, perspective, empathy, resilience, and critical thinking. If we as educators are going to assign students critical thinking tasks and ask them to engage with media and information while juggling screen time in a complex digital landscape, we cannot be passive bystanders.
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Busy as a … hashtag? – I have read posts about hashtags in the past from people such as Amy Burvall and Clive Thompson, but I have read nothing as thorough as what Ian Guest presents. Not only does he provide a history behind hashtags, but also a thorough list accounting for the different uses.
The hashtags which have drawn my attention during my research and from long before it, and the functions they have performed:
- Curriculum areas – these hashtags assist those teachers who specialise in teaching particular areas of the curriculum like #asechat (Association for Science Education), #GeographyTeacher or #engchat
- Communities – groups of people who share a particular interest like the #mfltwitterati, #EduMatch or NZBTchat (New Zealand Beginning Teachers)
- Geospatial – hashtags which help those in a particular region find one another and discuss local issues: #edchatie (teachers from Eire), #scotedchat (Scotland) and even individual school districts like #katyisdela (Katy Independent School District English Language Arts) which situates a particular curriculum area within a specific region.
- Time-limited – these hashtags materialise for a particular time, often for the duration of an activity: #12daystwitter and #WeeklyBlogChallenge17
- Celebration – hashtags promoting the efforts of others, like our schools or pupils (#pedagoo), and sometimes the contributions of others (#ff).
Hello World – a new magazine for educators – Phillip Colligan provides the specs on a new magazine with news and tips by Raspberry Pi to be published three times a year. Alongside their Digital Making Curriculum, Raspberry Pi are providing number of resources to help teachers get going with technology in the classroom.
Hello World is available free, forever, for everyone online as a downloadable pdf. The content is written to be internationally relevant, and includes features on the most interesting developments and best practices from around the world.
Google Sheets, Apps Script and Data Studio Resources: The Ultimate List for 2017 – Ben Collins curates a thorough list of resources associated with Google Sheets and Scripts. For GSuite, I think these are often underutilised.
Want tons of great Google Sheets, Apps Script and Data Studio resources in one place? Then you’ll love this list. These are my go-to resources when I’m building spreadsheet applications for clients or developing content for this blog. I have hundreds of bookmarks on the subject but here I’ve whittled it down to just the very best.
Storytelling and Reflection
Media, Technology, Politics – Data & Society: Points – In light of technology, fake news and democracy, a group of researchers led by danah boyd have applied their thinking to a range of issues with some attempt to make sense of the current state of being in the US (and the world at large).
To document some of our thinking, we are releasing six pieces that look at different issues that we think are important for trying to make sense of the relationship between technology and current political dynamics in the US.
- In Hacking the Attention Economy, danah boyd describes some of the tactics and strategies that people have taken to manipulate old and new media for fun, profit, and ideology. This essay explores decentralized coordination efforts, contemporary information campaigns, and cultural logics behind gaming the system.
- In What’s Propaganda Got To Do With It? Caroline Jack brings historical context to the use of the term “propaganda,” arguing that the resurgence of this label amid social anxieties over the new media landscape is reflective of deeper cultural and ideological divides.
- Did Media Literacy Backfire? by danah boyd examines how media literacy education efforts to encourage the public to be critical consumers of information may have contributed to widespread distrust in information intermediaries, complicating efforts to understand what is real and what is not.
- In Are There Limits to Online Free Speech, Alice Marwick explores how the tech industry’s obsession with “free speech” has been repurposed (and newly politicized) by networks whose actions are often seen as supporting of hate speech and harassment.
- Why America is Self-Segregating is danah boyd’s attempt to lay out some of the structural shifts that have taken place in the United States in the last twenty years that have magnified polarization and resulted in new types of de-diversification.
- In How do you deal with a problem like “fake news,” Robyn Caplan looks directly at the challenges that companies face when they seek to address the inaccurate and often problematic content that is spread widely on social media sites.
Diversity is Hard – Building upon danah boyd's post on Why America is Self-Segregating, Jenny Mackness celebrates the importance of difference and why it is so important in a highly connected world. This reminds me of the ideas presented in Cathy Davidson's book Now You See It and her notion of 'collaboration by difference'
Respect for differences and an understanding of diversity is a key ethical rule for complex systems and no amount of retreating into homogeneous groups will help us cope with living in an increasingly complex world.
The MoonshotEdu Podcast – Bernard Bull has started a new ‘weekly’ podcast with a bang, pushing out ten different episodes in quick succession, covering everything from dreaming big, grades, self-directed learning and credentialing.
The MoonshotEdu show is a weekly podcast dedicated to challenging the status quo in education, exploring educational innovation and entrepreneurship, and getting more deeply informed about the possibilities in education. It is a place to celebrate curiosity, human agency, and a love of learning.
All I Know Is What’s on the Internet – Rollin Moe explains that discussions around fake news overlooks the real problem at hand, the death of subversive responses and the death of democracy. For if there is no voice from the outside then there will be little difference or discussion from within.
For the past 40 years, society has demanded information literacy of students, but effectively extolled the virtues of citizens as mass content consumers. Schools and libraries are not conduits of a knowledge society, but appendages of a knowledge economy. Instead of teaching students critical thinking, they have stoked decontextualized curiosity. Rather than develop students’ wisdom and character, they have focused on making their students’ market value measurable through standardized testing.
In Consideration Of Continuous Improvement: Part I – David Culberhouse discusses how to push forward towards a ‘better’ tomorrow in schools. He suggests considering the AND of 3I’s that can support an environment of ‘continuous improvement’ in our organizations, they are: Innovation AND Improvement Science AND Implementation Science.
First and foremost, this idea of ‘better’ and ‘continuous improvement’ requires a decision, a decision to become uncomfortable, both as individuals and as organizations. For stretching ourselves towards this concept of ‘continuous improvement’ is not always a comfortable situation, as it requires learning, unlearning, relearning, shifting, adapting, and changing. A beta mindset.
3 Injustices in Education – David Truss asks three questions we should consider when designing learning opportunities in schools. This discussion is further elaborated within Corey Engstrom’s Teacher Tech Trails podcast.
As educators we too have to ask the right questions, and I hope that the 3 I’ve asked here are helpful to you:
“How can we design our learning opportunities so that at some point during the school day, students get to work on something they are passionate about?”
“What is getting in the way of our student(s) excelling?”
“Are we challenging students enough, so that they are maximizing their learning opportunities?”
Is Goal Setting Pointless? – Bill Ferriter questions the purpose of goals. He suggests that our focus should instead be on systems. This reminds me of a discussion in Vivian Robinson’s book Student-Centred Leadership in which she questions setting goals when the outcome may not be known or defined. This is always an important conversation, but even more so at the beginning of the year.
Goals are destinations. Systems are vehicles that keep you moving forward — and moving forward is essential to winning. “When you focus on the practice (systems) instead of the performance (goals),” writes Clear, “You can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.”
100 things that made my year – Austin Kleon looks back at the things that made his year. This is fantastic as it captures so many aspects of his life.
Discovering and researching unschooling. Roberto Greco’s fantastic Tumblr and Pinboard archives. The work of John Holt, his books How Children Learn and How Children Fail, his 55-year-old journal entry, his thoughts on the true meaning of intelligence and how babies are scientists. John Taylor Gatto’s Dumbing Us Down. Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s Teaching As A Subversive Activity. Lori Pickert’s twitter. DH Lawrence on how to educate a child: “Leave him alone.” Manifesto of the idle parent.
Teaching with, alongside, and for one another – Corrie Barclay reflects on the importance of trust and feedback in developing the capacity of teachers and improving schools. This reminds me of the work of Alma Harris around distributed leadership and disciplined collaboration, as well as the work of Paul Browning on trust.
If each and everyday we have a greater impact on on our students and settings due to the continual improvement we make individually and collectively, we will without a doubt see our students and education systems flourish
The Ugly Unethical Underside of Silicon Valley – Erin Griffith digs beneath the gloss to uncover the unethical side of silicon valley and start-up culture. Whether it be breaking the rules, promoting products that don't even exist or making up growth percentages, there is always a dark side to the hype. For more on Silicon Valley, read this post by Ben Werdmuller, the Anne Wiener’s recount, Cory Doctorow's novel The Makers or listen to this episode of Future Tense.
No industry is immune to fraud, and the hotter the business, the more hucksters flock to it. But Silicon Valley has always seen itself as the virtuous outlier, a place where altruistic nerds tolerate capitalism in order to make the world a better place. Suddenly the Valley looks as crooked and greedy as the rest of the business world. And the growing roster of scandal-tainted startups share a theme. Faking it, from marketing exaggerations to outright fraud, feels more prevalent than ever—so much so that it’s time to ask whether startup culture itself is becoming a problem.
The Setup – Laura Hilliger provides a snapshot of her setup. I was particularly interested in her use of Scrivener, something that Julian Stodd also mentioned recently. The idea of documenting your workflow is associated with a website usethis.com. One thing that stood out for me about the list of other people who have shared on the website is that it is largely a male crowd? Another similar collection can be found at Royan Lee's blog. He often interviews people about their setup.
Well if we’re going to talk about dreams, I’d wish for a new computing platform entirely. No more keyboards and mice. No more monitors and power cables. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but my dream setup transcends modern computing and let’s me use my body more. I’d like to snap my fingers, open a display at eye level and swoop and swipe and stuff. Tony Stark style.
FOCUS ON … Medium
I have written about Medium before in comparison to other blogging platforms. One of the things I warn people about is being caught out if the private company decides to pivot and change what it offers. See Posterous. News arrived at the start of January that Medium is in fact looking to make some major changes. Here then is a collection of responses to the news:
- Venture Capital is Going to Murder Medium – David Heinemeier Hansson explains that the fuse was lit for Medium's demise a long time ago when they accepted large amounts of Venture Capital without any idea how they could repay it.
- Medium’s Pivot – Dave Winer warns that If Medium were to fail a lot of history will go with it.
- Online Publishing Should Look At Steem, Not Spotify, For Inspiration – Fred Wilson discusses the possibility of a blockchain-based solution, where people gain tokens for writing depending on the popularity of the piece and purchase credits for reading.
- Why Medium Failed to Disrupt the Media – Leonid Bershidsky explains that Medium has arrived at the same place as traditional media companies in struggling to find an effective funding model. She suggests that it is another example of Silicon Valley arrogance in thinking those before are always broken and in need of a fix.
- A New Model for Medium – Fredric Filloux remains confident that quality will monetize at some point and that there is an audience out there who are in favour of good, paid-for, quality contents.
- We Shouldn’t Wait for Medium – Discussing the positives and negatives to WordPress and Medium, Dave Winer suggests that we need a better designed WordPress or an open source Medium.
- Medium And The Importance Of Maintaining Your Own Domain – Kin Lane says that, “we should not stop playing with new services, and adopting those that add value to what we are trying to accomplish online, but we should always consider how deeply we want to depend on these companies, and know that their VC-fueled objectives might not always be alignment with our own.”
- Medium, and The Reason You Can't Stand the News Anymore – Shaun Blanda discusses the contradiction at play in funding digital news agencies with advertising.
- Is Medium good for us? – Dave Winer discusses the problem of survivability associated with Medium.
READ WRITE RESPOND #013
So that is January for me, how about you? As always, interested to hear.
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December is always a busy time of the year. Let alone that it is Christmas, there are three birthdays in December in our household and with one of them being our one year old. There was bedlam for a while. In addition to this, schools usually wind up with reports, new timetables and everything else that comes with all of that. Having said that, this year has been different not being in a school. However, I still feel that the rush of a deadline has changed the pace of things, especially when you need to have things completed for next year and schools close down over the break.
In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts. Although it is a little bit sparse, I did that thing where I wrote two posts that probably should have been ten:
- Lessons Learned as a Parent Teacher – Rather than the usual reflection on all the lessons learned throughout the year, I focused on a particular element that stood out for me – the role of parent and teacher.
- What or How – which would you choose? – A short musing on what matters most in regards to education.
- Implementing Hapara – For the Hapara Certified Educator course that I have been involved with, participants were asked to develop an implementation plan. Inspired by Ben Williamson’s work on Class Dojo, I tried to provide something of a thick description as to what is possible.
- A Comprehensive Guide to Open Badges – After being asked to explain Open Badges in a bit more detail, I compiled everything into a post, which outlined what open badges are, how they work and why they are useful in supporting learning and education.
- Read Write Review – Voices from the Village (2016) – A reflection on a year of maintaining a monthly newsletter, with a collection of the posts that left me thinking and inspired throughout 2016.
During all the hullabaloo, here are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking and inspired …
Learning and Teaching
A problem solving routine for mathematics – Mark Liddell shares the development of the ‘ABCDE’ thinking routine to support problem solving in Mathematics. I find it an interesting exercise to develop a tool to support your own needs and context.
A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process, or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks.
How to Analyze a News Claim and Publish the Analysis on Digipo.io – Mike Caulfield provides a fact checking guide for countering fake news. It is a part of the Digital Polarization Initiative he has developed. Caulfield’s post is useful in regards to grappling with issues and has a lot to offer senior students. Another similar post is John Spencer’s discussion of what he describes as the five C’s of critical consumption.
On average a claim will take anywhere from an hour to half a day to debunk. In general, the more precise the claim is, the more work it is: e.g. “Trump supporter threatens decorated cop in hijab.” takes longer to research than “Trump supporter threatens cop in hijab”, and that takes longer than “Person threatens cop in hijab”. Each adjective and noun is another verification challenge. So when starting out if it feels a bit overwhelming, start with simpler claims.
5-Day Photo Challenge to Improve Your Skills This Winter Break – Maria Cervera offers a five step guide to improving photography skills over the holiday break. Spread across the days between Christmas and the New Year, her focus in on Framing, Rule of Thirds, Perspective, Lighting and Telling a Story. I think that this is a useful introduction into something we often take for granted.
Want to learn how to take better photos? Why wait for the new year to start on your goals? During the last week of December, take a few minutes each day to snap some pictures that will help you bring this production technique into your classroom in 2017!
The Secret Algorithm Behind Learning – Shane Parrish explains that if you truly understand something then you need to be able to explain it to an eight year old. This reminds me of a post from Greg Thompson discussing post-structuralism. Although I think that this is an ideal, I do not always think that it is possible.
The ultimate test of your knowledge is your capacity to convey it to another.
Computational Thinking and Learning for Little Ones – Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano documents her computational experience with her grand-daughter. The two activities that they did were Treasure Hunt in the House and Robot Coding. Although there are endless posts on coding out there, I like the way that this post links in with learning, especially in the Early Years.
Every grandmother dotes on her grandchildren. I am no exception. Over the past four years, I was able to witness my granddaughter Elena’s growth and in particular observe her learning. She has been an integral part of my work around #documenting4learning. There are many things educators can learn from observing learning habits of young children. I even would recommend high school teachers take a moment to visit a pre-school or Kindergarten class to immerse themselves in LOOKING for learning. The environment, the play, the communication will yield a much more visible “laboratory” for educators who are looking to see, hear and document a variety of learning than a traditional high school class, with 25 students sitting at their desks might.
The Power Of Spreadsheets – Chris Betcher shares an example of how he used Sheets to compare the offerings from various energy companies. This is a useful resource in regards to working with various formulas to compare and critique data.
What if you gave your students the basic skills of calculating numbers with a spreadsheet, and then a bunch of different rates from different competing companies and simply asked “Who is offering the best deal?” This process usually raises lots and lots of questions, and will certainly make them better consumers, better at understanding data, and better users of spreadsheets.
Expanding Chromebooks for all learners – As a part of the day long Google Edu on Air Conference which included speakers from around the world, Google announced some new options in regards to signing into a Chromebook. The additions relate to using pictures and smart badges, something that I first noticed with SeeSaw. I think that this will be a positive addition to Early Years.
As more students use Chromebooks, we’ve heard feedback from teachers that a challenge remained: even the mere act of logging in can waste too much precious learning time. So today we’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded Chromebook integrations to allow alternatives for logging in that are simple and fast.
Would You Give Google a Passing Grade on Its AI Project? – Responding to a recent article exploring Google’s role in regards to ‘fake news’, Mike Caulfield argues that maybe Google should invest some of their billions of dollars solving their algorithms.
Maybe Google should be spending less time funding smart thermostats and self-driving cars and launching wi-fi balloons, and more time funding programmers who can write algorithms that can use the massive amount of documentation on the Holocaust to determine that one of the definitive events of the last century did in fact “happen”.
Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2016 – Audrey Watters mammoth review may not be as concise or prophetic as say the Horizon Report, but the lay of the land provided is priceless. Even if it is focused primarily on the US, many of the discussions have a wide ranging impact. Although a part of me would like to recommend that you dip into her discussion of open-washing or personalisation, I think that if you are going to put your leg in then you may as well get your whole body wet.
2016 is the seventh year in which I’ve reviewed the most important trends in the ed-tech industry from the previous twelve months. (You can look at the trends I identified from previous years here.)
Arguing on Education Twitter: BINGO – In response to the rise of derision online, Deb Netolicky shares a bingo card for the coming (un)festive season. When people like Tom Whitby and Will Richardson ask why more people are not connecting online, I think that this is a big part of the challenge.
In anticipation of more enthusiastic debate and derision over the holiday period in the world of education Twitter, I’ve prepared this handy BINGO card for the festive season.
Digital literacy can be an insurgency – Bryan Alexander discusses the active nature of digital literacies, highlighting the problems with the idea of digital citizenship. Alexander suggests that digital often counters our usual notion of democracy and civility, instead providing the tools to speak out. It is this lack of control that often puts people off. Interestingly, this proactive citizen is at the heart of what Gert Biesta describes as the democratic citizen. It is also represented in the documentary on Aaron Swartz.
This is one reason digital literacy has a hard time growing. It represents the potential to empower students to challenge each other and instructors, as well as become insurgent outside of class, as with my student’s homoerotic paper. Not all faculty find this a desirable or even tolerable thing. How many teachers and professors spend time trying to maintain or expand their authority? Conversely, how many were trained on how to teach an actually interactive class? How many of are thrilled when students grow into their agency and act upon it?
Interface Innovation: From MashUps to McLuhan-esque Metacognition – Amy Burvall combines the idea of mashing different inventions together, with Marshall McLuhan’s notion of the tetrad.
I’ve long been fascinated by Marshall McLuhan and in particular his Tetrad of Media Effects from the posthumously published Laws of Media. I’ve sketched out some icons to help visualize the concepts.
Portfolio Work and Interweaving the Personal API – Tom Woodward continues his investigation into the power and potential of personal APIs. I am left wonder the place of APIs within the debate around coding and education.
I’ve been building a new portfolio site and I think some of this is kind of interesting even if it sounds boring. There are a few different goals in play. One challenge is to create a site that stays up to date with minimal work on my end. It’s a parallel of the small-pieces-loosely-joined mentality. I want tiny-actions-over-time (from the aforementioned small pieces) rather than widely-spaced-herculean efforts. I’m also trying to make sure that it fits in well with my current workflow and that I’m capturing the work I do elsewhere in ways that make sense.
Blogs: Do They Serve Any Real Purpose? – Tom Whitby considers the place of blogging today. This seems similar to the endless debate about the death of Twitter. Whitby makes some points about personal and institutional use. However, I think that it comes down to developing your personal purpose. It is also interesting considering in light of Bryan Alexander’s comments on insurgency and digital literacies.
There are many new things that are evolving in our world. We must keep up with the change in order to stay relevant. The best way may be to subscribe to blogs within the areas of our concerns. We can involve ourselves in the conversation by commenting respectfully on blogs for pros or cons. The ultimate mastery is to write a blog to share personal ideas and points of view to gauge how they stand to scrutiny. We can take critical analysis and adjust. We can only do all of this however if we first recognize the role of the blog and teach about it to our kids. Yes, we need the classics, but we also need relevant and real information, as well as the ability to discern it, if we are to survive and thrive.
Storytelling and Reflection
Writing and thinking about qualitative research: 2016 reflection – Naomi Barnes provides a reflection on her journey associated with qualitative research this year. I must admit that this is something that I have become far more aware of via the work of Ian Guest in regards to Twitter. Deborah Netolicky also wrote an interesting follow up.
Social Media has been a reductive force on qualitative research because often people only read the headline/tweet, share the link, make a comment on the headline/tweet and don’t read the blog. It is easy to share a table or a diagram, less easy to share a philosophical argument.
Communities: A Story In Social Leadership – In his continued work on Social Leadership, Julian Stodd reflects on the various communities that we are a part of. It is an interesting topic and important as we progressively move into a more connected world.
We belong to many different communities, some of which overlap. Some communities are visible to both us and the organisation that we work for, whilst others are hidden, deep in our social networks, out of sight of the organisation, although still very relevant and connected to us individually in our day-to-day.
#3strengths – Andrea Stringer argues that we need to spend more time on our strengths. I would add to that suggesting we need to change our mindset from improving to developing. I have since added my strengths to my Twitter profile as a step forward.
Education typically focuses on identifying shortcomings and challenges and what is needed to improve (NAPLAN, PISA). I suggest we often forget to balance working on areas for improvement with strengths.
PD is Sinking…Here Are 3 Ways to Save It – Brad Gustafson describes three strategies for further developing professional learning sessions: be responsive, get teachers talking and keep learning connected. Not sure if this is a silver bullet, but it does provide a good conversation starter.
It’s never too late to revive a meeting or PD. The practical tips below may sound surprisingly simple, and that’s because they are. I’m succinctly sharing three PD tid-bits combined with recent research on HOW professional learning works.
Prising Open the Housing of the Pedagogical Clock – Tom Barrett asks the question, is your class timetable the real school wide pedagogical statement? In the process, he unpacks the impact of such things as timetables and why simply changing things is not enough. This in part reminds me of David Zyniger’s findings associated with class sizes.
When we say personalised learning the ideal would be a valid timetable for all learners. In most cases though we attempt to find a balance between reliably moving humans around and offering a valid experience for everyone.
Hypothetical learning styles (modalities) – There has been a lot written about the problems associated with learning styles lately. See for example Mark Johnson’s satirical post or Stephen Dinham’s critique. This post from Charlotte Pezaro reframes the discussion around learning opportunities and asks us to instead consider the possibilities.
My argument against learning styles is an argument against limiting the learning experiences of our students. It does not mean that I expect that all students learn the same information in the same way all the time, and I definitely do not see this as a reason to move toward didactic pedagogies in which we expect that learners can just be told what they need to learn. I very much believe that no teaching or learning strategy has a guaranteed outcome in all cases all of the time (or even most cases, most of the time). Teachers must be experts in pedagogy, and know, understand, and be practised at a wide range of strategies and approaches to teaching and learning. A teacher is in the best position to decide, in negotiation with students and their families where appropriate and possible, what approaches and strategies will be best for any given learning objective.
Creating the time and space for self-directed, personalized, inquiry learning – David Truss provides an elaboration of self-determined learning that goes beyond simply offering students a ‘genius’ hour. It is better read as a provocation about what if, than a structured guide that explains how to. Truss provides an interesting take on the challenges of timetabling.
Students get course credit for their self-directed inquiries and passion projects. By implementing so much time in a students’ schedule to DCL, teachers must redesign their program to create time and space for students to work independently. When teachers plan their teaching time with students it necessarily needs to shift to include assignments that connect to, facilitate and support learning happening during DCL time. By also explicitly teaching inquiry learning as a course (Foundations of Inquiry), we create space for students to work on projects of their choice, assessing competencies of core skills rather than on content they are learning, which can vary based on their passions and interests.
Time For These Seven Edu Funerals – Michael Niehoff makes the call on seven aspects that he feels needs to change in education moving forward. What I find interesting is that many of the elements seem to be more prominent to me within secondary schools?
Only in education, do we continue to try to breath life into things that may never have been successful – and most certainly are not now. These things are so embedded in the culture, frameworks, policies, practice and mindsets of our schools and educational organizations, that many educators just blindly accept them, implement them and perpetuate them…..all regardless of their lack of success. Indeed, there is often overwhelming data or evidence that these things are not only unsuccessful, but often counterproductive. So, let’s have the funeral. Let’s start the fire. Let’s bury these SEVEN forever.
Trump is a Media Virus – Douglas Rushkoff casts his eye over the recent presidential election explaining how Trump is a media virus. Until we understand this, we will not be able to cure it. Beppe Severgnini made a similar point in his comparison with Silvio Berlusconi. This all reminds me of Roland Barthes work with myths in the 50’s.
Even this article will be understood by many of Trump’s supporters as an attack, and by many detractors as an apologia. Yet understanding our response to Trump is the very best medicine we can take if we want to develop the ability to engage in the conversations his viral spread has proven need to take place.
This Simple Tweak in Goal-Setting Changed My Creative Output – As it comes to the end of the year, John Spencer reflects on his emphasis of process over product. As a caveat, he discusses short verses long term deadlines and how he balances process and product within this.
A year ago, I switched to process-oriented goals. Instead of saying, “I’m going to run 25 miles this week,” I’m said, “I’m setting aside 40 minutes five days a week to go running.” If I run slower, fine. If I run faster, okay. If something comes up and I can’t get it done, that’s fine. It’s not about mileage. It’s about routine. Instead of saying, “I’m going to make two videos per week,” I’m saying, “I want to spend about a half an hour a day working on sketchy videos.” I had almost an entire month where the video I attempted simply bombed. However, because I hadn’t focused on the product, I was able to take risks and learn from the mistakes. The process didn’t feel wasted.
In Which I Teach Like a Dirty Racist – Scott Millman unpacks what it means to ‘teach like a champion’ and questions the inherent inequality that seems to be built into such practices. Although such approaches may have a place in some situations, such as a beginning teacher, they should not be seen as the solution for every context.
If you watch video clips of teachers teaching like a champion, or more recently, of Michaela teachers putting the fun back into drill-and-fun, you’ll notice mostly white faces teaching mostly black and brown faces. It seems like “No Opt Out” and “No Excuses” are something we save for our poor children and our children of colour. I’ll take pains here to establish that I’m not accusing any of these folks (teachers or authors) of racism; I do worry, though, about how our unexamined good intentions might further entrench systemic inequality and racism in our communities.
FOCUS ON … PISA
With the release of the results from the recent PISA and TIMSS tests, there has been so much written about their purpose. It can be easy within such discussions to simply take a side. However, I hope that in collecting together some of the recent posts on the matter might help to form a more reasoned dialogue:
- It must be the chopsticks: The Less Reported Findings of 2015 TIMSS and Explaining the East Asian Outstanding Performance – Yong Zhao takes a glance at the recent TIMSS reaults and makes some interesting findings. His conclusion is that maybe we should all start eating with chopsticks if we want to improve.
- Two Worlds. PISA is Everybody’s Football – Mark Johnson argues that maybe instead of creating a divide when it comes to PISA and phonics, we admit there are some schools that could do with some support in developing clear literacy programs.
- PISA is about education systems, not teachers – Marten Koomen looks at the recent PISA results from the perspective of ‘assessment’. She suggests that there are two ways of looking at this, from a commodity perspective or a cultural perspective.
- PISA Hysteria Hits Record Levels Globally – David Price wonders with PISA etc if we have forgotten about the purpose of education or do.we truly believe that the intent is simply to score well in tests?
- OECD and Pisa tests are damaging education worldwide – A collective response to PISA from academics around the world, not only identifying issues with the testing, but suggesting actions.
- Did the Shift from Paper to Computer Bring Down East Asia’s (China’s) PISA Performance? – Yong Zhao investigates the impact of computers and digital testing on China’s PISA results.
- PISA Hits Snake Mountain – Jon Andrews turns to satire to make sense of the hysteria around PISA.
- Does Pisa really tell us anything useful about schools? – William Stewart examines the intricacies of PISA testing, making comparisons with the recent saga around ‘fake news’. He suggests that just as many people were consumed by the seemingly absurd, so to are we taken by a collection of results that are often taken to represent more than they do.
- PISA results don’t look good, but before we panic let’s look at what we can learn from the latest test – Stewart Riddle examines the recent PISA results revealing a stark story of inequality across the Australian education system.
- The Apocalypse of Education : TIMMS and PISA – John Goh reminds us that there is more to success than a number in a test score.
- Teach for the Best, not to the Test – Paul Browning asks if appeals to concerns around recent PISA results really reflect an education worth having? Instead, he suggests we should be spending our energy in providing more creative and entrepreneurial opportunities.
READ WRITE RESPOND #012
So that is December for me, how about you? I hope that you were able to spend some time slowing down and reflecting. As always, interested to hear.
Also, feel free to forward this on to others if you found anything of interest or maybe you want to subscribe?
Someone asked me whether I would miss the classroom in my new position as a coach in a central office. I must admit that it is not necessarily the classroom that I miss the most, but rather connections to schools. I have been lucky enough to visit quite a few schools this month, each with their own story to tell.
In other news, I have been doing a lot of work around the use of G Suite and how it might be used to support the transformation of education.
On the home front, our youngest daughter has teetered on the edge of walking all month, while our eldest continues to develop in regards to playing the keyboard. This even included writing out her first song! Apparently the full stops is where you stop in music too.
In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:
Adding the Learning Back to Space – A reflection on being shown around one of the most remarkable learning spaces that I have ever seen.
A Comprehensive Guide to Google Chrome – Everything from multiple accounts to going further with extensions, this post addresses all facets of Chrome.
My Secret Art of Blogging – An extended response to Naomi Barnes' post exploring the act of writing. It is an insight into the process of writing, not the usual why.
Learnification and the Purpose of Education – A short reflection on the idea of learnification and Gert Biesta's argument about the purpose of education.
Breaking the EdTech Machine – A reflection on the place of innovation and transformation in relation to educational technology.
Copying the Web – A guide to Google X-Ray Goggles and Chrome Developer Tools, two applications for getting to the code.
Do Great Teachers Make A Great School? – Many argue that the best way to improve education is by getting in the best teachers. I wonder if it is also about creating the best environments in which to flourish?
In regards to my thinking, these are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking …
Learning and Teaching
Emoji Writing Prompt Generator with Google Sheets – Eric Curts adds to a twist to his Writing Prompt Generator by adding Emojis into the mix. People often ask about the difference between Sheets and Excel, I never read about this sort of thing happening within Excel?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is so, then emojis should be able to bring even more meaning and ideas and inspiration than just words alone. Giving students a random set of emojis could be a great way to help inspire their writing, as the student tries to find a way to work each image into their story or poem.
As we teach we use what Pauline Gibbons calls interactional scaffolding which is never planned because it depends on the interactions that spontaneously occur in every lesson. In scaffolded reactions, teachers:
listen to learners’ intended meanings
build on learners’ prior experiences
recap what students have said at regular intervals to remind students of key points
appropriate student responses and recast them into more technical or academic wording
engage in longer exchanges with students …and so provide opportunities for students to say more or rethink how they have expressed something.
allow learners more time to respond e.g by asking them for further explanation of their ideas
allow adequate wait time in a variety of ways
Creating Virtual Reality Content in Minecraft with Year 4 – Lee Hewes shares some of his learning associated with a recent project involving the use of Minecraft to create 360 degree videos.
My latest class project, which we have just finished and I am about to describe, is perhaps the project that has challenged me the most, both as a player of Minecraft, and from a classroom perspective. It was also, however, way cool! The project, which was guided by the driving question, “How can we use Minecraft to help endangered animals?” was focussed on having kids learn about human impact on the environment, sustainable living practices and animal conservation.
Paper Twitter: Why and How to Teach Digital Technologies with Paper – Royan Lee suggests starting with paper before jumping into the digital when it comes to Twitter. This reminds me of a post from Thomas Martellone about modelling with paper. To support this move to paper, Lee provides a link to folder full of resources to get you going.
Paper Twitter is a process I’ve borrowed, unsurprisingly, from many of my friends on Twitter. I’ve put my own little spin on it to quite a bit of success, so I wanted to put it out in the world. I have shared my Google folder with you (with instructions for facilitation in the notes of the slides) in hopes that it will inspire you to think a little differently about your next Ed-Tech workshop.
Wikity, One Year Later – Mike Caulfield looks back on a year of Wikity. I love that he learnt PHP just for this project. I must admit that it was not until this elaboration that I saw where it could fit. I think that it is something I am going to have to install and tinker with to find out more
What does “wikified social bookmarks” mean? Well, like most social bookmarking tools, we allow for people to host private sites, but encourage people to share their bookmarks and short notes with the world. And while the mechanisms are federated, not centralized, we allow people to copy each other’s bookmarks and notes, just like Delicious or Pinboard
Our discourses often don’t reflect the complexity of this and we cheer and celebrate when we use terms like ownership, sharing, participation, agency. No. Adding one student to a committee with 5 faculty and 2 administrators isn’t empowering. Creating a committee of 6 students isn’t empowering. Emancipation is much harder work and it’s a long process that will always need to be reevaluated.
My aim in any badge system is to encourage particular types of knowledge, skills, and behaviours. Whatever system I come up with will be co-designed and go beyond just the use of G-Suite for Education. As the TPACK model emphasises, the system will have a more holistic focus: integrating the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge required for purposeful educational technology integration.
Of the main elements that have and will make up a learning environment, Mastodon (or variant builds thereof) seems well suited for handling cross-community collaboration.
Welcome to the Tech Gypsies podcast, Kin Lane and Audrey Watters' weekly discussion of the latest technology news.
If you’re learning about web development, Jekyll is the equivalent of immersion to learn a foreign language. It can be hard at first, but you’ll see results faster and be practicing with more fluency than in any other way.
Storytelling and Reflection
When ‘What Works’ Doesn’t: Comparative Pedagogies and Epistemological Diversity in Education – Frances Vavrus challenges the idea around what works and best practices, suggesting that such stances ignores context. Having recently started reading Gert Biesta’s book on measurement, it is important to note that there is more to education than what can be measured.
The educational landscape today is marked by numerous texts for teachers that identify ‘what works’ in the classroom and ‘best practices’ for bolstering student achievement in different subjects. Although these guides may provide valuable information for educators, they frequently ignore a central imperative of critical studies in education to situate educational knowledge within the contexts in which it is produced.
Regardless of how we define the skills needed by today's global graduates, however, it's undeniable that these needs will continue to morph as our ability to create and share expands and as we face increasingly complex global challenges—climate change, workforce shifts, changing demographics, the growing global threat of terrorism and violence, and more.
Assessing capabilities is harder than assessing subjects – and the evidence base is much less well-formed. Knowing that a student achieved a level 8b in critical and creative thinking is not particularly useful. But from the trial we are finding that students need to become more critically reflective and develop digital portfolios of evidence.
No Excuses and the Pinball Kids – Tom Sherrington adds his voice to the debate around 'no excuses' in regards to behaviour management. It is a useful post in that Sherrington touches on the nuances of something too often painted black and white.
Within the 10% there is a small % – maybe up to 30 students out of 1000 – who simply hit the boundaries all week long. They get knocked from sanction to sanction, from meeting to meeting, from intervention to intervention, without their behaviours changing. They’re trying, we’re all trying but there are only so many detentions you can sit. We’re way beyond excuses here…these are not bad people; they just find life difficult and need a lot of support to manage time, relationships, learning, concentration. The weekly Support Planning Meeting between our SEN team, Behaviour team and Heads of School is one part of a matrix of provision planning that looks to support these students. ‘No excuses’ is way off the map in terms of being relevant here. Nobody is making excuses; they’re too busy trying to find solutions.
10 Secrets to Raising an Award-Winning Student – Chris Wejr reflects on rewards as a measurement for success and wonders how we can do better to raise the standards of all students.
As a community, we need to help ALL students go over/around these hurdles so we can create the conditions to bring out the best in each of them. Having said this, we need to ask ourselves, as a school community, if traditional awards ceremonies actually promote excellence and bring out the best or if they simply promote achievement using narrow criteria defined by adults within the building. Are awards the best we can do to highlight student learning and growth in our schools?
There is clearly a tension between the different approaches that may lead to a great education for children, and the ensuing debate can be very healthy, but I think it would be healthier if it were more moderate and balanced. At the minute, it seems as if the tenor of the debate and the policy agenda are being set by those who believe the most and shout the loudest, and I’m not sure that is good for anyone.
The Unconference – David Truss shares his thoughts on unconferences compared to more traditional professional development experiences.
Unconferences are not about adding content to your brain, they are about synthesis of ideas, and about dialogue that challenges you to think about where you stand on a topic. They help you both make and articulate your perspective. They are about listening intently and asking questions. They are about making tangential connections that you might not make without a dialogue on the topic. They are about reflection and learning in a self-directed, empowering way, with a group of people that you wouldn’t normally be exposed to.
Third Places and School Community – Robert Schuetz unpacks the ideas of Ray Oldenburg in regards to third space. In the process he wonders what all this might mean for online learning?
Oldenburg's research from 1989 focused on face-to-face interaction, but the internet has become a principle place for social interaction. Can third places be established in social media? Whether it's in-person or virtual, I believe in the power and longevity of informal learning. I am looking forward to raising a coffee mug in the name of our school community.
Learning Ecosystem Participant Model – Dave Cormier offers a model of online participation. To me this is something of a continuation of the work presented by Dron and Anderson within Teaching Crowds, as well as White and Le Cornu’s work around visitors and residents.
Four kinds of participants in a learning ecosystem
Consumer (What temperature do i take the turkey out?)
Student (How do I prepare a turkey from purchase to eating)
Rhizomatic learner (How can I come to my own approach to turkeys?)
Mentor (How can i help others with their turkeys?)
Big data analysis allows an online bookstore to recommend what a student might like to read next based on previous purchases and downloads she’s made. That suggestion is based on data collected from millions of other consumers and used to spot trends (a reader who likes history books might also be interested in historical fiction). But little data analysis can help the student learn something about her reading habits: Is she more likely to read more pages in the morning? Which words did she highlight to look up in the dictionary? How many times did she re-read the same chapter? A teacher can then use this little data to pinpoint the student’s exact strengths and weaknesses and develop a personalized learning plan to meet her needs. This is what the Dysart school district is hoping to do for every student, from the most high-tech classrooms to the most traditional.
FOCUS ON … Trump and the US Election
Here is a collection of thoughts and reflections associated with the recent US Election. I am still trying to make sense of it all and there is so much commentary out there. This then is only just a start to a further conversation:
Absorbing the Impossible – Maureen Dowd on being bored with the Clinton's
Banning Ads Is Nice, but the Problem Is Facebook’s Underlying Model – Mike Caulfield has written a lot this month and has promised to produce a book. What has stood out the most is his work around Facebook.
How Educators Should Understand Hillary Clinton’s Server – Gary Stager explains why the incident around Hillary Clinton’s email server is neither an issue, nor a surprise.
I blame the media. Reality check time – danah boyd on the election outcome and the role that media played in creating a spectacle.
Acts of Resistance – Martin Weller shares some strategies to support resistance, such as encouraging diversity and supporting others.
Librarians Are More Vital to Our World Than Ever Before – John Spencer suggests that librarians are needed more than ever to build empathy within a divided world.
#Trump – New Mechanics Of Power – Julian Stodd describes how the power dynamic has moved from the traditional hierarchical model to a networked model built around collaborative technologies.
8 Reasons Educators Should Reconsider Using Social Media Right Now – Peter DeWitt reflects on the wave of responses online suggesting that maybe it is time to reconsider how we use social media.
Education Technology Under Trump: A Syllabus – Audrey Watters sets some assignments for edtech under Trump presidency.
Ain’t Nothing New About The Post-Truth World – Richard Olsen argues that the solution moving forward is inquiry and the empathy and understanding that it brings.
What leadership lessons can we learn from Donald Trump? – Paul Browning suggests that Trump has outlined a clear vision to make America great again, it remains to be seen if he can gain the trust.
3 problems Trump's victory brought into sharp focus – Doug Belshaw highlights three problems that are becoming evident with Trump's win: fake news, surveillance and the lake of literacies.
Education is the Answer – Seth Godin argues that the answer moving forward is education.
Ed Tech and the Circus of Unreason – Helen Beetham touches on five responsibilities moving forward: overcome inequalities, clarify disruptions, stop talking about edtech as 'the fix', unpack the dark side of social media and critique the third space.
Make Education Great Again (#MEGA) – Graham Martin-Brown wonders if we have missed something with our focus on coding and technology, instead suggesting more attention be given to the Humanities to develop deeper awareness.
Social media and public pedagogies of political mis-education – Ben Williamson discusses the impact of computational propaganda and the need to be more aware of algorithms, big data and filter bubbles.
Betsy Devos and the Wrong Way to Fix Schools – Douglas Harris shares how the choice of Betsy DeVos is a win for Charter schools, but a lose in regards to improving the overall state of education in America.
2016 Elections Increase VUCA in Education – Grant Lichtman reflects on the present election and explains how that it will only increase VUCA nature of education.
**THIS** might just be the biggest challenge facing your school… – Dan Haesler makes the case for unity and belonging to be a central focus for schools and education.
READ WRITE RESPOND #011
So that is November for me, how about you? Maybe there is something that you have read that stood out to you. As always, interested to hear.
p dir=”ltr”>Also, feel free to forward this on to others if you found anything of interest or maybe you want to subscribe?
It seems that from a number examples shared on online that it is a lot easier to bring about change and transformation in a new school without the supposed baggage of embedded behaviours. This makes me wonder though whether a new school with the ‘best’ teachers as the answer for change is akin to those diets which provide initial success, but are more often than not sustainable in the long term? Those sorts of diets that people follow to loose 10kg for a wedding and then put on 20kg after all the gloss has worn off? Not sure, but I think that we need a more nuanced approach to change. One that celebrates, builds and supports what is in place, rather than looks for solutions on the outside. What about you?
Many make the argument for collaboration, for the development of social capital, for communities of practice, what if this is all in vein because we continue to come back to the same system in place, same purpose for showing up. What if changed started with why, started with not only knowing that there is another way, but being clear about what that might be?
I was browsing a bookstore yesterday when I came upon an ‘Essential’ pile of books. One about Economics, another about Physics. Then there was one about remembering all the things that you learned in Geography at school, but have forgotten. This got me wondering about what would and would not be in these books and all of the ones that I had bought over time on philosophy, psychoanalysis, literary theory, religion etc … What if all these books were feeding our desire to be in control and own something that simply cannot be owned? I wonder if NAPLAN preparation books fit this mould as well?
There have been a lot of companies of late that offer fast and efficient delivery of a wide range of things. People seem to be carrying parcels on their back, on bikes, however possible. The problem with this is that such disruption seems to only occur in high-populated inner city spaces? What if such change and disruption was only afforded to a particular class of people? What if innovation was in fact inequitable?
A dominant model for online learning too often is focused on applications and transactional processes. For example, how to use Google Drawings or manage Google Drive. This is useful in knowing what to do and how to go about it, but it does not necessarily capture why. A different approach to structuring online learning would be through the use of Open Badges.
As I have explained elsewhere:
Open Badges are online representation of a skill you have earnt. … They allow you to verify different information, such as a description, issuer, criteria of achievement and standards met.
One of the challenges is that Open Badges need to be managed as they require a certain level of authentication.
Doug Belshaw outlines this in a postÂ on some work with a school in implementing G Suite, in which he states:
My aim in any badge system is to encourage particular types of knowledge, skills, and behaviours. Whatever system I come up with will be co-designed and go beyond just the use of G-Suite for Education. As the TPACK model emphasises, the system will have a more holistic focus: integrating the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge required for purposeful educational technology integration.
What such an approach offers is a focus on the pedagogies and behaviours, such as analysing data, identifying trend growth and collaborating in the classroom. This allows technology to be properly integrated. It also allows you to add on any additional badges as they may arise.