📰 Read Write Respond #025

A lego busker out the front of 711
Background image via JustLego101.com
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My Month of January

I have been back at work for few weeks now. No extended summer holidays in my current role. My work this month has involved reviewing our reporting solution in light of recent changes, as well as supporting schools with their start of the year setup.

With the move from ten weeks of holidays to four, I have learnt to appreciate every minute. Whether it be going away for a few days to explore Bendigo or building endless flat pack furniture, my time was occupied. Looking back at my few weeks at home, we managed to get so much done, even in the insipid hot and humid weather.

Personally, I have spent the month head down in the world of the #IndieWeb. In particular, I have continued to craft my second space: collect.readwriterespond.com. This effort to better control my existence on the web fits with my focus of ‘intent’ this year. I sometimes find myself using the word deliberate, but it all feels far too adhoc for that. With all this in mind, I contributed to a collective podcast that Benjamin Doxtdator put together. I also got to catch up with Richard Olsen for lunch, which was nice as well.


In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:


Here then are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking this month …

Learning and Teaching

Quote from My Favourite Inquiry Journeys of 2017
Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/33263856@N02/5157195892
Quote via Kath Murdoch ‘My Favourite Inquiry Journeys of 2017’

My Favourite Inquiry Journeys of 2017…. – Kath Murdoch stops and reflects on twelve projects she has helped with in 2017. In summary, she pulls out some of the key aspects that went across all the different inquiries, such as authenticity, integrative, involves experts, learning is shared and emergent. This post is not necessarily a list of driving questions and/or units to roll out, but rather a source of ideas and inspiration. Along with her post on ten practices of an inquiry teacher and AJ Juliani’s reflection on choice-based learning, they provide some guidance going into the new year.

Using an inquiry based approach to teaching and learning is multi-faceted. At its heart, inquiry is a stance – it’s about how we talk to kids and how we think about learning. It is also about how we plan and the contexts we both recognise and create in which powerful inquiry can thrive. These contexts can be highly personal (one child’s investigation into their passion) and they can also be shared contexts that bring learners together under a common question. These shared inquiries form a powerful ‘backbone’ of the primary classroom.

Google Maps Moat – Justin O’Beirne discusses the addition of ‘areas of interests’ to Google Maps. He wonders if others, such as Apple, can possibly keep up? The challenge is that these AOIs are not collected — rather they are created. Added to this, Apple appears to be missing the ingredients to develop their own AOIs to the same quality, coverage, and scale as Google. Google is in fact making data out of data. For a different take on Google 3D imagery, watch this video from the Nat and Friends.

Google’s buildings are byproducts of its Satellite/Aerial imagery. And some of Google’s places are byproducts of its Street View imagery. So this makes AOIs a byproduct of byproducts. Google is creating data out of data.

Four Moves – Mike Caulfield has released a new site containing a series of activities to support the development of web literacy and fact checking. It focuses on the four moves: check for previous work, go upstream to the source, read laterally and circle back.

The Four Moves blog is based on research conducted by Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew, which found that students lack knowledge of basic web techniques for verification and source assessment, which puts them at the mercy of misinformation. Instructions are written for students using the Chrome browser due to the popularity of that platform in schools and among students. However, the features we are using are in general not browser-specific; faculty and students using different browsers should translate actions where appropriate by looking at your own browser’s documentation.

Explainer: the evidence for the Tasmanian genocide – Kristyn Harman provides some background to the extermination of indigenous people in Tasmania. Along with the map of genocide, resources like these are central to a call to change Australia Day. In another post on remembering, Louise Raw highlights why Winston Churchill was and is not the saviour of democracy he is sometimes portrayed as.

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.

How To Digest Books Above Your “Level” And Increase Your Intelligence – Ryan Halliday says to read above your level you need to ‘read to lead’. This involves ignoring the facts and storyline to focus on the key messages. Reading all of the introductions, prefaces and translators notes as they often provide context to the book. Make notes in books and write out quotes, physically. Apply what you learn. I am not sure I completely agree with everything Halliday suggests, but it does provide a useful provocation to think about the art of reading. For some just reading is what matters.

In short, you know the books where the words blur together and you can’t understand what’s happening? Those are the books a leader needs to read. Reading to lead or learn requires that you treat your brain like the muscle that it is–lifting the subjects with the most tension and weight.

Edtech

Quote from Panicked about Kids Addiction to Tech?
Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwl/4555399660
Quote via danah boyd ‘Panicked about Kids Addiction to Tech?’

Panicked about Kids Addiction to Tech? – danah boyd suggests that there is a lot of hype associated with kids addiction. Some of the problems may be associated with parents themselves. In response, she provides two activities for parents: verbalize what you’re doing with your phone and create a household contract. Mitchel Resnick’s provides a different perspective, suggesting time on task is not the problem, it is rather what is done with that time, for Cory Doctorow it is all an arms race focused on control, while Audrey Watters paints her own complicated picture of addiction. Each of these pieces add to a wider dialogue around moderation and other such technical answers currently being suggested as soutions to our digital overload.

Many people have unhealthy habits and dynamics in their life. Some are rooted in physical addiction. Others are habitual or psychological crutches. But across that spectrum, most people are aware of when something that they’re doing isn’t healthy. They may not be able to stop. Or they may not want to stop. Untangling that is part of the challenge. When you feel as though your child has an unhealthy relationship with technology (or anything else in their life), you need to start by asking if they see this the same way you do. When parents feel as though what their child is doing is unhealthy for them, but the child does not, the intervention has to be quite different than when the child is also concerned about the issue.

Arguing with the Digital Natives guy in four vexations – David White reflects on a debate with Marc Prensky in which they discussed the future of our digital world. White shares four vexations from the conversation, but the one that stands out to me is his concern about ideas associated with ‘effective and successful’ being separated from a discussion of equality. This links with Alvin Chang’s post looking at school borders and segregation, a topic also discussed on the Have You Heard podcast. It is also interesting to think about this alongside Simon Longstaff’s discussion about the technology and the design of a more ethical future.

My concern is that we rush to ‘make the world a better place’ without reflecting on who we might be doing that for and why. Action without reflection (or thinking) is of little value

The human solution to Facebook’s machine-produced problems also won’t work – Responding to Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious pledge to fix the statistical behaviour-modification machine that is Facebook, Doc Searls explains why Zuckerberg will fail. He suggests that changing facebook is like turning a cruise ship into an aircraft carrier, Searls argues that what has been gained though is a realisation that we all live in the digital world now. It is for this reason that it is important to support children with their online presence and making sense of social media. Alternatively, Dave Winer believes that Zuckerberg’s year will be complete once he lets Facebook rejoin the open web. We can only dream.

The best thing for Zuck to do is get the hell out, let it finish failing, and start over with something new and better, based on what he and others have learned from the experience. (Which tends to be the best teacher. And hell, he’s still young.) It should help him—and all of us—to know that all companies fail; they just fail faster in Silicon Valley.

EdTech Factotum #12 – Clint Lalonde reflects on blockchain. Rather than focusing on whether or not everyone should embrace it, he instead suggests that it is something that we need to be aware of. This is a similar point that Audrey Watters made during Episode 74 of the Contrafabulists podcasts, that it is not necessarily about which technology to choose, but asking why and how things actually work. For more on the blockchain, watch this attempt to explain it to a five year old, read Alex Hern’s analysis of Bitcoin or reflect on Leda Glyptis’ unpopular opinions.

Asking why is important and does often get lost in the rush to something new and shiny. But let’s keep asking how as well. In my mind, these are companion questions because, even though you or I may never use blockchain in our day-to-day life, there is a very good chance that it will be used on our behalf in the future. And there is already more than enough unknown technologies running our life right now.

Should Your Class Or Student Blogs Be Public Or Private? – Kathleen Morris unpacks the benefits of both private and public blogs. She provides a number of arguments with clear points evidence to clarify her points of view. This is particularly pertinent to schools and educators at the start of the school year. Personally, when I supported classroom blogs they were closed as I was not comfortable everyone who needed to be fully aware of the consequences was. I think though that Kin Lane’s advice on APIs can also be applied, that is, approach everything as if it is public even if it is not. On blogging in general, Chris Aldrich wrote a reply on the potential of blogging as a commonplace book, while Jim Groom suggests that it is an investment in your soul.

A dilemma that faces many educators new blogging is the question of whether they should be publishing their students’ information and work online. They might wonder if their class or student blogs should be public for anyone to see, or private for a limited audience (or no one) to view.

IRL Podcast – Bot or Not – This episode of In Real Life is dedicated to bots. Along with Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith’s investigation into the influence of Twitter bots, Kris Shaffer and Bill Fitzgerald’s guide on how to spot a bot, Kin Lane’s reflections on the waves of bots and Nicholas Confessore’s exposé into the follower factory, these resources provide a useful starting point for understanding bots and there implication on society today.

From politics to poetry, bots are playing an increasingly visible role in culture. Veronica Belmont investigates the rise of social media bots with Lauren Kunze and Jenn Schiffer. Butter.ai’s Jack Hirsch talks about what happens when your profile is stolen by a political bot. Lisa-Maria Neudert measures how bots influence politics. Ben Nimmo teaches us how to spot and take down bot armies. And Tim Hwang explores how bots can connect us in surprising, and meaningful, new ways.

Storytelling and Reflection

Quote via Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brains and Threatens Global Democracy
Image via https://pixabay.com/en/crowd-lego-staff-choice-selector-1699137/
Quote via David Golumbia ‘Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brains and Threatens Global Democracy’

Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brains and Threatens Global Democracy – David Golumbia discusses some of the changes to democracy associated with social media. He argues that we have lost the ability to think slowly, therefore making us more susceptible to irrational decisions. This touches on some of Peter Skillen’s points from a few years ago. Along with Zeynep Tufekei’s concern about free speech and Jordan Erica Webber’s look into micro-targetting, these posts paint a grim view of the future.

Those who celebrated the Facebook revolution and the Twitter revolution were celebrating the replacement of (relatively) calm reflection with the politics of reactivity and passion. This domination of System 2 by System 1 thinking is the real social media “revolution.” The question that remains is whether democracies have both the will, and the means to bring considered thought back to politics, or, whether digital technology has made politics impossible.

Facial recognition’s ominous rise: are we going too far too fast? – This is a strange article documenting the rise of NEC. In it, Ben Grubb provides a range of examples, including Crown Casino tracking VIPs and Westfield estimating age, gender and mood. On the one hand, it can be read as being positive – which you would assume as the author’s expenses to iEXPO2017 were paid for by NEC – in that we can now do all these things with technology, but at the same time it asks the question as to whether we ought to? It reminds me in part of the post discussing Hitachi’s use of cameras to improve student life at Curtin University. My question is probably, “why would you?”, as Tony Longstaff warns can does not equal ought.

Already facial-recognition technology is being used at Crown Casino in Melbourne to identify VIPs and banned guests. Australian state and federal policing agencies are also deploying it, with South Australia Police using it to identify criminals and to search for missing persons.

The best thing ever written about “work-life balance” – Austin Kleon discusses work-life balance. Reflecting on Jocelyn K. Glei’s supercut on the subject, Kleon notes the difference in responses between men and women. For men it is often about creating the write conditions, while for women it is making do with whatever spare moments there are. For the late Ursula K. Le Guin it is not about spare time, but rather occupied time.

You can have it all, just not all at once – Kenneth Koch

The Line 6 DL4 Is Quietly the Most Important Guitar Pedal of the Last 20 Years – Dale Eisinger takes a look at the influence of technology on music, in particular the looping pedal. From Radiohead to Battles, Eisinger lists band after band influenced by the features and constraints of the humble pedal. There is a long history of technology influencing music. An example is the BBC documentary Synth Britannia which describes the influence of synthesiers on bands like Depeche Mode and New Order. It is also interesting to think about the DL4 as a ‘non-human’ actor and unpack what this might mean, especially for the modern busker.

As technology democratized around the turn of the century, digital audio workstations like Pro Tools revolutionized the home studio, and ultimately changed the course of music with their boundless potential. A less commonly discussed breakthrough of the era involved musicians’ outboard gear, such as guitar pedals, which moved from analog to now-inexpensive digital architectures. Chief among the hardware that benefited from this shift were delay pedals, a class of effect pedal that gives an echo or repeating effect to a sound. Delays were generally expensive, since they required either actual tape loops or expensive memory within their makeup. Digital technology changed that, introducing with it the kind of lower-priced loop pedals that encouraged experimental strains of ’00s indie rockers to recreate with live instruments a similar effect as sampling. There was one pedal in particular that emerged as a favorite: the Line 6 DL4 delay modeler.

The Victorian State Education System…from the inside out and the outside in – Former principal of Templestowe College, Peter Hutton, reflects on his connection with the Victorian Department of Education. It is a real insight into a part of education that many teachers never really experience. It will be interesting to see where his ‘EdRevolution’ goes and grows.

Unless there are parental complaints, if the school’s numbers are stable or growing and your data is tracking ok, essentially DET allow you to innovate and do as you please. I have loved this level of professional autonomy and dare I say trust shown by DET in its’ Principals. Not really the ogre that people sometimes suspect. In fact many senior staff have provided me with encouragement and professional support during the more innovative years at TC.

FOCUS ON … Digital Hygiene

Quote via Take the time to review and reinforce your digital hygiene
Quote via Ian O’Byrne ‘Take the time to review and reinforce your digital hygiene’
Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/pasukaru76/5978434781

There are so many posts out there which support users with reviewing their digital presence online. See for example Boost your digital fitness with a data cleanse and Digital Trace Audit: A #clmooc New Year’s ‘Unmake’ Cycle. Ian O’Byrne though has spread his out across the whole month. Unsure which link to include, I have instead provided a summary of all the posts here. I think that the statistics are clear, we could all do more.

READ WRITE RESPOND #025

So that is MONTH for me, how about you? 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? Otherwise, archives can be found here.

Read Write Respond Newsletter

Cover image via JustLego101.

📰 eLearn Updates (January 2018)

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

Updates

Resources

Drive

Chrome

Research

Docs

Gmail

Calendar

Slides

Forms

Sheets

Classroom

Drawings

Geo Tools

Connecting Classrooms

Keep

YouTube

Photos

  • When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind – Tom Simonite explains that 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.
  • Go-to Google Photos tips for 2018 – Daisy Lui provides some tips associated with Google Photos, including the ability to share, remove clutter and organise using labels.

General

🤔 Citizen of the Indieweb?

I was looking around Github today at a few WordPress themes and plugins and I noticed Matthias Pfefferle’s profile in which he describes himself as a:

Citizen of the @indieweb

This made me wonder, when are you an actual ‘citizen’, that is when do you belong to, in or are a part of the Indieweb? Is it when you develop your user page? Is it when you check IRC/Slack Community regularly just because? Or is it when you have a site that has the badge on it? Or is is simple, are you a citizen if you want to be?

This reminded me of Audrey Watters reflections on the Contrafabulist podcast (can’t remember the exact episode) when she wondered when you actually become a New Yorker?

📰 eLearn Updates (December 2017)

This is a look at the resources and updates associated with G Suite for December

Updates

Resources

Drive

Chrome

Research

  • The Web Is Abundant. Find Another Source – Mike Caulfield explains how in a world with 100s of possible sources, so much of what you do is less about finding coverage than about limiting it through filters. This is why searching Google’s curated news site, rather than running a general search, is so simple , but powerful.
  • Year in Search: The moments that defined 2017 in Australia – From from slime to sport, covfefe to cryptocurrency and hurricanes to hot cross buns – Google highlights the eclectic searches done by Australians in 2017.
  • How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches – Hiroko Tabuchi explains how climate denialist ads are an example of contrarian groups can use the internet’s largerst automated advertising systems to their advantage, game the system to find a mass platform for false or misleading claims.

Docs

Gmail

Calendar

  • Update Google Calendar resources using the Calendar Resource APIs – Google introduced the new Calendar experience on the web, including the ability to add more structured data about your buildings and resources. We’re now making it easier to add and edit that information with updates to the existing Calendar Resources API, as well as adding two new APIs: Buildings and Features.

Slides

Forms

  • EDU in 90: Quizzes in Google Forms – Drea Alphonso and Tim Anderson explore the basics for quiz creation in Google Forms, including set up, question types, and grading.

Sheets

Sites

Classroom

Drawings

Geo Tools

  • A crabtivating journey: Street View joins a crab migration of millions on Christmas Island – Street View is venturing to Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, to join more than 45 million local residents for their annual trip from the forests to seas. Christmas Island’s famous, endemic red crabs have begun their once-a-year migration.
  • Google Maps’s Moat – Justin O’Beirne discusses the addition of ‘Areas of Interests’ to Google Maps and explains that the challenge for Apple is that these AOIs aren’t collected—they’re created. And Apple appears to be missing the ingredients to create AOIs at the same quality, coverage, and scale as Google.

Connecting Classrooms

Keep

YouTube

Blogger

  • A Glossary of Blogging Vocabulary – Richard Byrne provides a vocabulary for unpacking blogs. Although not explicitly about Blogger, it still provides a useful reference.

Hapara

  • The Evolution of Monitoring – Hapara has compiled a resource bringing together a number of educators to reflect upon their experiences of monitoring.

General

🤔 #WhatIf People Only Conversed from their Own Sites?

In a recent Chips with Everything podcast, Jordan Erica Webber paints the picture of a world where people have ‘feeds’ that are owned and manipulated by third-party vendors. The question that this poses is what if people were able manage their own feeds? This is the future that Tim Berners-Lee suggests in response to ‘how to fix the internet’:

This would also give you access to all of the data you create. We don’t have much control over how our data is used, yet we are also limited in what we can do with it ourselves. Berners-Lee gives the example of fitness-activity data: rather than it being locked up with a company, we should be able to decide whether or not to share this information and with whom. “If you can’t read it, it should be because I’ve decided that you shouldn’t read it – not because our machines won’t talk to each other,” he says. An app on the Solid platform could pull in your own data, plus any that others have shared with you. “[It’s] much more powerful for you as a user, because you can integrate all the data that you have got access to,” he adds.

I am not sure how MIT’s Solid project exactly works, maybe this is what Dave Winer talks about. However, I wonder what a #IndieWeb world would look like? Instead of worrying tagging people on Twitter or Facebook, use Person Tags to notify other users. Syndicate comments across sites. Whatever happens, we need something more than this.

📓 Terms of Service for You and an Adult

“Eligibility. You may use the Service only if you can form a binding contract with Canva, and only in compliance with this Agreement and all applicable local, state, national, and international laws, rules, and regulations. You must be 13 years old or older to use or access the Service, unless you are under 13 years old and your use of the Service is directly supervised by your parent or guardian or another authorized adult (e.g., a teacher) who agrees to be bound by this Agreement. Any use or access to the Service by anyone under 13 who is not directly supervised by an adult is strictly prohibited and in violation of this Agreement. The Service may not be available to any Users previously removed from the Service by Canva. By using the Service, you represent and warrant that you have the full right, power and authority to enter into this Agreement and to fully perform all of your obligations hereunder. You further represent and warrant that you are under no legal disability or contractual restriction that prevents you from entering into this Agreement.” Canva Terms of Service (Emphasis my own)

This is pretty vague. Who is responsible for the account? The teacher? The student?

Via Richard Byrne

📓 #IndieWeb Page – User:Readwriterespond.com

My name is Aaron Davis and am a K-12 technology coach from Melbourne, Australia. I am interested in how together we can work to make a better web.

I use Read Write Respond as a place to record longer posts and reflections, Read Write Collect to collect together disparate parts of the web in the one place and Read Write Wikity to organically grow ideas.

Longer Reflections

I have written a number of posts and reflections:

Itches

  • Improve my workflow associated with the collection and co-claiming of my online presence. This includes posting via Android.

  • Coordinate the different conversations and connections associated with my site in the one place, whether it be webmentions, syndicated links, facepiles and theaded conversations.

  • Explore different possibilities and potentials, especially those associated with third and fourth generation users. This includes the automation of some of the processes, such as generating older creations, as well as the options for hosted sites, such as Edublogs and WordPress.com.

  • Better understand the technical side of the IndieWeb, such as H-Cards and WordPress plugin. This includes setting up child themes for my various sites to make customisations.

Read Write Respond #024

My Month of December

One of the weird quirks of working in a central role within education is the measurement of time. Here in Australia, this is usually a time in the year when schools wind down and teachers clean up for the year. However, in project land, there is always something happening. Whether it be supporting schools with timetables, developing new modules or sorting out idiosynciouses with solutions, Christmas provided a welcome break.

On the family front, December is always a busy month, with three out of four people having birthdays within three days of each other. Other than that, there is the usual festive activities, such as breakup parties, musical concerts and Christmas lights.

Personally, I have started reading Ben Williamson’s new book Big Data in Education. A fascinating read so far, especially in relation to the Digital Technologies. Other than that, I have been doing a quite a bit of work on my new site collect.readwriterespond.com building on the #indieweb ethos. A reminder of why a domain is more than just purchasing a custom URL.


Why Would You? an image by langwitches in response to my post

In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:


Here then are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking …


@Dogtrax on Maps by mrkrndvs is licensed under CC BY-SA


Learning and Teaching

Use Maps & Mapmaking in Your ELA Classroom – Kevin Hodgson discusses the power and potential of maps in extending comprehension and representing understanding. I have written before about visualisation before, however Hodgson’s post provides a range of ideas I had not considered.

What maps can bring to the writing classroom is a visual connector point, and maps provide an easy connector to the learning going on in the Social Studies classroom, too. While our maps are rooted in imagination, as all maps are, the maps they see in other classrooms give students insights into the interpretations of the larger world. Where you pin yourself depends on where you are situated.

10 low impact activities to do less of – or stop altogether – Tom Sherrington outlines a range of activities to reassess, such as subject report comments, detailed lesson plans and original teaching resources. In another post reflecting on moving forward, Eric Sheninger suggests letting go of the status quo, drive-by professional development and avoiding technology. Both of these posts are useful in asking the simple question ‘why would you?’

Teachers and leaders across the country do too many things that have unacceptably high ratios of time and effort relative to their impact and/or they are unjustifiable educationally. Sometimes I think that the debate about workload is tinkering around the edges when actually we need much more fundamental change. I also think that we need to get assessment and accountability machinery back into perspective, making them more organic and more human.

The World War Two Guide to Office Warfare – Bryan Lufkin discusses a guide developed by the CIA. The document is about doing little things that add up, such as discriminate against workers, complete tasks the long way and be non-cooperative. This is a fascinating historical document and makes one wonder what it might look like if it were written today? What would be different? Would there be anything the same?

The US urged citizens to become everyday saboteurs in World War Two – and the same tactics might just be found in your office.

20 ways to take care of yourself over the holidays – Jennifer Hogan provides a list of activities for teachers to take care of their wellbeing during the holiday period. This is something that needs to be considered during the term as well. I also wonder whether some of Hogan’s list might also be useful for students too?

The days leading up to the holiday break can be event-filled and stressful for educators. I want to encourage everyone to make time for self-care during the holiday break. We have to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

Predictions for Journalism 2018 – NiemanLab collects together the thoughts from a number of significant figures in journalism on the future of journalism in 2018. Although we need to be sceptical about predictions, the NiemanLab publication, along with posts from Bryan Alexander and Mike Caulfield, provide an interesting perspective of where things are at and might be going.

The best we can do is to listen to weak signals about emerging technologies in the present, to recognize patterns early, and to build out possible, plausible, and probable scenarios that describe implications. Amy Webb



“Storifried” by mrkrndvs is licensed under CC BY-SA


Edtech

Storify Bites the Dust. If You Have WordPress, You Don’t Need Another Third Party Clown Service – Alan Levine reflects on Storify’s announcement that it will be shutting down. He provides a number of options of what to do, including downloading the HTML content and stripping the links from it. This is a reminder why #IndieWeb and owning your content is so important

There are two kinds of people or organizations that create things for the web. One is looking to make money or fame and cares not what happens once they get either (or none and go back to flipping burgers). The other has an understanding and care for the history and future of the web, and makes every effort to make archived content live on, to not leave trails of dead links. Storify is Type 1.

Anatomy of Tracking Links in Computer Science PRnewswire – Miguel Guhlin provides a useful explanation for tracking links via email campaigns. After reading Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction, this is a useful post as to how universities and algorithms combine.

Those annoying emails and click-tracking links aside, you may find something of value from online graduate programs that are doing anything they can to get you to visit their site and get you to give them your money.

Fostering Democratic Dialogue with Digital Annotation – Nicole Mirra discusses the hope and potential of sites, such as Hypothes.is, for generating discussion around texts and ideas. Although there are some who mourn the death of the comment, posts like this remind us that maybe comments have just changed. I am intrigued in the possibilities of the #IndieWeb in further organising the disparate parts.

What I found fascinating was the way that those who engaged with our piece grabbed hold of particular ideas and ran with them in ways we did not predict – it reminded me of the incompleteness of any single text and how texts could only reach their full potential as a sources of knowledge production when engagement continues beyond the page. Annotation made ideas that could have simply died in print live on and flourish collectively.

Some Fool Use – Austin Kleon discusses the need to embrace what may seem foolish when working with technology in order to create new possibilities. Talking about the potential of Lego, Tom Barrett discusses the challenge of ‘finding the edge of the page’. This was something that I tried to do with my QuickMakes session a few years ago.

Whether it’s Microsoft Excel or adding tape, pushing against constraints, finding out the limits of the tools, that’s what makes art interesting. It’s not that the tools don’t matter — it’s finding the appropriate tools, or, maybe even better, the inappropriate tools, and finding some fool use for them.

Coding Will Save You Hours Of Your Life – Alice Keeler provides an introduction to Google Apps Script. This is a useful starting point for creating your own solutions. I have collected some more resources on Sheets and Apps Script here.

We are teachers, we need to do repetitive tasks all the time due to the fact that we have more than one student. Knowing some basic coding can help you make light work out of repetitive tasks.

Bounded Systems: Affordances and Breakouts – Naomi Barnes discusses the boundaries and gates developed in online spaces. Associated with Greg Thompson discusses the need for a politics of technics. This is all epitomised by Facebook’s announcement of a messenger app for children. Although these are aspects which we need to support students in developing digital literacies, I think that there are better solutions than adding them to Facebook.

When we make private trouble public on social media, it is still a private space. It is owned by companies who are intent on keeping our political bodies private. For example, the #metoo campaign encourages women to speak out about incidents of sexual harassment as solidarity. However, unless women speak up outside of social media, the circle is still closed. But if they do speak outside social media, they risk losing jobs or initiating precarity and poverty. Social media is run by the same business plan that mobilised the gig economy as a virtue. Flexibility is the new white male. Being on board and in a team that doesn’t complain, is the new glass ceiling. The circle is rapidly closing.



“Just Innovate” by mrkrndvs is licensed under CC BY-SA


Storytelling and Reflection

Excuse Me While I “Just” Go Innovate – Pernille Ripp pushes back on continual call to just innovate, arguing that she innovates every day when she teachers, plans and contacts home. The problem is that these things do not count as innovative in many experts eyes. Bill Ferriter adds his own take on the reality of the classroom teacher, explaining that he does not check his emails during the day, that he is responsible for a range of people and that working with children is his number one priority. It is interesting to compare this with recent discussion between Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon on the Modern Learners podcast in regards to the failure of teachers to engage with learning how to learn, as well as Richardson’s call from a few years back that the system is broken. For more on Ripp’s work, read Jennifer Gonzalez’s profile.

It has been building for a while. This idea that teachers need to “just” innovate more. That we need to break the system, try a new idea every day. That we need to just do more. Just do it better. Just be more.

Design Thinking is Contagious and Rots Your BrainRichard Wells highlights a number of problems with schools, such as engaged learners and grades, suggesting that design thinking provides an answer for improving things. Lee Vinsel clearly does not agree, instead suggesting that Design Thinking belongs in a marketing department, rather than a classroom. makes the case for Design Thinking. Harold Jarche thinks we need sense-making. I wonder if the answer is a cocktail of ideas combined in the development of our own solutions?

Moran holds up the Swiffer — the sweeper-mop with disposable covers designed by an IDEO-clone design consultancy, Continuum — as a good example of what Design Thinking is all about. “It’s design as marketing,” he said. “It’s about looking for and exploiting a market niche. It’s not really about a new and better world. It’s about exquisitely calibrating a product to a market niche that is underexploited.” The Swiffer involves a slight change in old technologies, and it is wasteful. Others made this same connection between Design Thinking and marketing. One architect said that Design Thinking “really belongs in business schools, where they teach marketing and other forms of moral depravity.”

Simple strategies to help you transition better between work and home – Steve Brophy discusses developing deliberate habits to support the move from work to home. The key seems to be recognising these changes. Taking a different approach, Maria Popova talks about taking a “telescopic perspective” to identify the work our time asks of us.

If we think a spaceship docking at the International Space Station, there is so much care given to the transition from one to the other. One wrong move could spell death for many so there are no stones left unturned when it comes to safety protocol. Once the spaceship docks, it locks into the ISS and pressurises a compartment between the two. Once pressurised, the hatch at the spaceship will open and the astronauts will move into the transition space. They close the hatch behind them and then open the hatch at the ISS. The process is done with extreme care. Each space is vital and movement between each is careful and considered. What if we transitioned with the same precision?

How Schools Can Contribute to Much Needed Civil Discourse in Society – Bernard Bull discusses the need in education to model civil discourse amid truly diverse beliefs and values. In part, this touches on the challenge of civic reasoning that Mike Caulfield has been unpack. Judith Butler reminds us though of the limits of supposed free speech and knowing what that ‘bargain’ means.

Forget college report cards and standardized tests. How are we doing in helping people learn how to embrace civil discourse, nurturing intellectual virtues, being strong advocates for causes and convictions, but also showing a deep respect for the inherent value in others, as well as their rights? Math and language arts are valuable. STEM education and coding is pretty useful as well. However, if we are really interested in contributing to a better future for young people, we are wise to think about what we will contribute to the future of civil discourse.

The Contradictions of Good Teaching – Matt Barnum looks at the results of a recent study looking at the impact of teachers. Some of the findings were that teachers do have an impact, statistical models of measurement are often bias and there is a negative association between test scores and happiness standards. This takes me back to the question, “do great teachers make great schools?” For Deb Netolicky it is about the good enough teacher.

A new study that tries to quantify this phenomenon finds that on average, teachers who are good at raising test scores are worse at making kids happy in class.

CPD minefield! –The secrets to planning and preparing effective technology CPD – Jose Picardo provides a number of tips to supporting the implementation of professional development, including the suggestion to avoid one-size-fits-all, provide plenty of examples, emphasise the why and make sure you do not forget where the students and parents sit within the wider scheme of things. He also highlights a number of options, such as lunchtime sessions, briefings and teachmeets. I have discussed the idea of starting the learning early, the ingredients that make a good conference and the potential of coaching to support digital pedagogies. I think though that Picardo’s post reminds us is that the best approach is a always a mixed.

How human beings make and justify their decisions is a fascinating area of study. Psychologists have long warned about our proclivity to fall prey to irrational decision-making, logical fallacies, prejudice and bias, which often determine why new ideas are adopted. Psychology has shown that we instinctively place more importance on our own ideas than on those of others. It’s a well-documented psychological phenomenon called the Not Invented Here Bias. This bias suggests that your idea could be rejected by others simply because it is not their idea, and not on its actual merit.

Why Teachers are now Gardeners not Carpenters – Richard Wells provides a comparison between the educator as carpenter verses the educator as a gardener. I have written about trees before and the way in which they each grow in their own way, depending on a multiplicity of reasons. Interestingly, Yong Zhao suggests that gardeners are in fact dictators. In part, this is what Bernard Bull touches on when explaining that how we pick the produce impacts what produce we pick. What I find intriguing about gardens is that they do not stop growing if we stop caring for them, something that I learnt when my mother died.

Carpenters have to work in a controlled environment. Their job is to use their tools to shape each product to a predetermined design and function. The pressure is all on the carpenter to get each product right, money is spent on purchasing quality tools, products are compared to gage quality, and when the wood is not pliable, it is often discarded. Mistakes are to be avoided and taking risks is dangerous to say the least. The finished products are perfected to fulfil a specific job/specialism for life making it obsolete once future requirements change. The carpenter’s workshop is a perfect analogy for the needs of the 20th century and it’s classrooms. The Gardener’s life is messier but just as fulfilling. Compared with other life on earth, humans have a very long childhood. This is because we expect children to learn about and prepare for the world through play and experience. This long childhood lends itself to the gardener’s approach and should lean both parents and teachers to a role of planning and nurturing a nourishing and dynamic space where any number of variables might impact on progress but children learn to adapt and find their space in a ever-changing ecosystem. The gardener is a great analogy for a 21st century teacher.



“@AudreyWatters on Telling Stories” by mrkrndvs is licensed under CC BY-SA


FOCUS ON EdTech Year in Review

Each year, Audrey Watters’ unpacks the stories we were told about education technology in 2017. In response to her post about robots, John Johnston stated that he did not know where to start quoting. I think that this can be said about all the posts, especially when they are supplemented by additional resources.


READ WRITE RESPOND #024

So that is December for me, how about you? 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? Otherwise, archives can be found here.


Cover image via JustLego101.

📓 On WordPress and Webmentions

In a backchannel conversation, I was asked about what is involved in setting up webmentions. I responded there, but thought that I would keep a note of it here:


Hmmm, my suspicions to why my webmentions/linkbacks are not getting through is that they are being flagged as spam by spam filters. On the WordPress Webmention Plugin page, there is some code that you can add to functions.php file to prevent this:

function unspam_webmentions($approved, $commentdata) {
  return $commentdata['comment_type'] == 'webmention' ? 1 : $approved;
}

add_filter('pre_comment_approved', 'unspam_webmentions', '99', 2);

There is also More on Webmentions on the IndieWeb.org, but really it is a part of the IndieWeb plugin.

I was never really interested in endless mentions under my posts until facepiles.

In the end, it is a very technical solution at this point in time, but I feel it is worth persevering with. Like Chris Aldrich, I am not sold on Mastodon as the supposed solution to the social media and the web, but feel that there needs to be something better than FB and their shadow profiles.

Here is to hoping.

📓 Creating an Archive of a Set of Tweets

I really the way Naomi Barnes shares her readings and responses via Twitter. This is something that I have done in the past. For example, check my quotes associated with danah boyd’s book It’s Complicated. Beyond replying to the first tweet to create a connected stream of responses, I used a hashtag (#ItsComplicated in the case of boyd’s book) to organise the responses. This is a method often encouraged by authors / publishers more and more. See for example the use of #intentionthebook to collect responses associated with Amy Burvall and Dan Ryder’s book Intention.

Barnes has taken this a different way and developed a hashtag to collect all her readings (#NBNotes), but rather than tagging each subsequent post, this is just saved for the initial Tweet.

I really like Barnes’ intent to share. I just wonder if there is a means of owning these notes. Ideally, taking a POSSE approach, she might live blog and post this to Twitter. I vaguely remember Chris Aldrich sharing something about this recently, but the reference escapes me. This is also limited with her blog being located at WP.com. I therefore wondered about the option of pasting the content of the tweets into a blog as an archive.

Clearly, you can embed Tweets, often by adding the URL. However, there are more and more people deleting their Tweets and if you embed something that is deleted, this content is then lost. (Not sure where this leaves Storify etc.) Another approach is to use Martin Hawksey’s TAGS to create an archive and then use this data to paste into a post. I have documented the steps with gifs here. If each of the tweets included the unique hashtag, the archive could be created using this, however as it is not, the easiest way of capturing the tweets would be to search for ‘@DrNomyn’.

The problem then is that the archive includes all tweets. Although I could query this, it is easy enough to use the Filter option in the Data menu of Sheets to focus only on tweets from @DrNomyn (Column B) and to organise Tweets in chronological order (Column E). The quickest way to get these Tweets into a post is to highlight the cells in question and copy them.

Then just paste this text into the post. I would then add blockquotes, but this maybe a personal preference. I guess there are other things that could be done, such as adding blockquotes via the sheets and even removing links to the actual Tweets (if desired), but I think that this offers a start.


_I just realised that TAGS only captures 140 characters, not the extended length. I guess this solution may not work_ I realised that I needed to downloaded a new copy of TAGS. Here then is a copy of the tweets:

The current challenge to 2nd wave feminism is what to critique.
Which understanding of androcentrism?
Which interpretations of gender justice?
Which modes of feminist theorising should be incorporated into the current political imaginary?
Fraser urges feminist to ‘break that unholy alliance’ between feminism and marketisation and forge new ones between ’emancipation’ and ‘social protection’
The personal became political.
Boundaries of contestation became more than just the socio-economic
What happened in homes and was attached to bodies were thrust into the public sphere in order to politicise
The first issue the New Left focused on was the Vietnam War and the role capitalism was taking in supporting neo-colonialism to support the West.

Soon attention was turned to other core features of capitalism that had become ‘naturalised’
Materialism, consumerism, social control, sexual repression, sexism, heteronormativity were all normalised under capitalism.

Social activists began to organise to break through these normative political routines
Fraser argues that feminism can no longer ignore economic inequality if it wants to be taken seriously as a politically transformative force. Revive Act1 (redistribution) with the cultural insights of Act2 (recognition)
Act2 – the feminist imagination turned from redistribution of power/economy to recognition of difference – identity/cultural politics dominated
Feminism [and I’m going to add on the shoulders of the Civil/Indigenous Rights, LGBTIQ, and independence movements to which it should be eternally thankful] began questioning the exclusions of social democracy
Attention turned to the politics of recognition.
Unable to transformatively address the androcentrism of capitalism, feminists began targeting the harms capitalism caused in an effort to transform culture
Feminism must also integrate transnationalism into its agenda.
How might feminism foster equal participation transnationally across entrenched power asymmetries and divergent world views?
Feminism MUST be intersectional if it wants to address the inequalities of capitalism
The history of 2nd wave feminism:

Western Europe and North America saw unprecedented prosperity after WW2.

Keynesian economics showed how to incorporate the unions and built welfare states

Mass consumption had apparently tamed social conflict
But the ‘success’ of Keynesian economics ignored the exclusion from the labour market of women and people of colour.

The ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ was shattered by the New Left – the radical youth who took to the streets
Fraser suggests that instead of synergy between redistributive and recognitive agendas, 2nd wave feminism developed a binary where people had to choose which side they thought worked best
Act3 – still unfolding but we are seeing the reinvigoration of feminist and other emancipatory forces to demand that the runaway markets be subjected to democratic control
Second wave feminism came out of the New Left after WW2.

Act1 – Began life as an insurrectionary force that challenged male domination in state organised capitalist societies
Neoconservative forces have (for a time) defused 2nd wave feminism’s radical currents but we are beginning to see it’s reanimation [Fraser predicted it in 2014, I reckon we can say it’s here in late 2017]
Fraser argues that, despite good intentions, the emphasis on identity dovetailed too neatly with neoliberal desires to make people forget about egalitarianism and redistribution of capital
At present 2nd wave feminism is deepening its signature insights
– critiquing capitalism’s androcentrism
– analysis of male domination
– gender -sensitive revisions of democracy and justice
By the 1980s the political project of feminism had died down due to decades of Conservative governments. The fall of the Communist bloc also didn’t help ‘socialist’ movements
The book traces the changing focus of the history of second wave feminism over the 20th/21st centuries. Providing essays situated in each of the three ‘Acts’. I’m live tweeting Fraser’s overview of the history and spirit of the wave