📓 Neo-Liberalism

In a discussion of NBC’s The Good Place, Robin James provides a definition of ‘neo-liberalism’:

Michael’s big moral surveillance apparatus is a correction, or perhaps update, of Sartre: hell isn’t other people, it’s neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is the practice of transforming everything, even traditionally non-economic phenomena like friendship or learning, into deregulated, financialized markets. Financialized markets are ones built on investment rather than commodity exchange; deregulated markets nominally allow for any and all behavior, but tightly control background conditions so that only a limited range of behavior is possible. Privatizing formerly public things such as infrastructure or schools or prisons is a common method of transforming things into markets. Setting up the season 1 neighborhood so that the quartet of dead people torture each other, Michael is a technocrat  who effectively privatizes hell by contracting the work of abuse out to independent, uncompensated laborers. (After all, his whole approach is to disrupt eternal damnation by superficially flipping the good/bad script…It’s Uber, but for hell.)

📰 Read Write Respond #033

My Month of September (and August)

There are times when the mind says go and the body says no. Last month was one of those times. The whole family was struck down. This meant skipping the August newsletter. I am subsequently late getting this month out as we have just returned from a week away with the family in Fiji to celebrate ten years of marriage.

On the work front, I have been spending time speaking with different schools about reporting. It is always good to test out the solution. However, it always raises further questions, which I have been progressively working through.

In regards to my learning, I was lucky enough to attend the Google Innovator Energizer, exploring the cultures of change. I also presented at K-12 Digital Classroom Practice Conference 2018 on blogging and ongoing reporting.

In other areas, I have been listening to Dreams, Emma Louise, Darren Middleton and Troye Sivan. I also managed to get the IndieWeb Reader working. I have used Granary to add in my Twitter feed as a means of responding from my own site. It still is not perfect, but definitely shows a potential for a future where we all own our own data.

Warwick Resort, Coral Coast, Fiji

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

Reporting on Reporting – Innovation, People and the Process of Change

Thoughts on Presentations and Professional Development

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

Learning and Teaching

Twenty Two Projects to Challenge, Inspire and Engage Your Students: Bianca Hewes collects together a number of her project outlines that she has created with Canva. As with Kath Murdoch’s inquiry journeys, Hewes provides some great provocations. Although some of them could easily be translated, their strength lies in thinking differently. In addition, I too like Canva and use it to create the covers for this newsletter. For a different take, check out Benjamin Doxtdator’s investigation of the history of PBL.

These project outlines are all based on my PBL model, which is explained in my two books Are Humans Wild At Heart? and Why Do We Tell Stories? Both of these are published through Hawker Brownlow Education and are full of projects for English teachers to run with their students. Please, please if you use these projects OR if you use my model of PBL (discover, create, share), it would mean SOOO much to me if you credited my work. Many of the Praxis projects below were co-created with my very creative colleagues James Blanch and Kate Munro. Please respect our hard work by being thoughtful in your acknowledgement of your sources.

Teaching Boys: Deborah Netolicky reflects on her experience of teaching boys. She highlights three aspects: boys need a safe and trusting environment with high support and high challenge, boys respond to engaging curriculum content and boys benefit from regular, tangible feedback, a mixture of role-models, as well as hope and persistence. As I think about my own experiences teaching and parenting, I am left wondering why these approaches do not apply for girls too? Another interesting read on the topic is Adam Boxer’s question of boys and competition.

Schools and teachers can play a part in what kinds of behaviours and successes are normalised and rewarded within the school environment. Those working in schools can ask themselves questions about how gender is normalised. Are boys encouraged to be alpha competitors or are quieter achievement and ways of being also noticed and rewarded? Is the catchphrase ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘he was just joking’ used to dismiss put-downs of others or the objectification of women? Is strength and success measured by sporting prowess and outward expressions of courage or by a range of possible successes in multiple arenas? What does ‘courage’ mean to the school community? Are multiple ways of ‘being a man’ celebrated and held up as exemplars?

The Game of Quotes: Heather Marshall adapts the game Bring Your Own Book for the classroom. This involves a series of prompts to help think differently about what you are reading. Marshall also discusses creating your own prompts. This activity reminds me of the Hot Seat activity, where students are challenged to think more deeply about the text. I really like the idea of the Game of Quotes as a revision activity.

I created a presentation in Google slides with a couple of prompts. I used animations so that the students wouldn’t see the prompt until it was time, and silent reading instantly became a fun game! The room was filled with laughing, and page turning, and whispers of “I want to read that!” When was the last time a reading log or an online quiz caused a stir of echoes in the classroom?

The “Always Check” Approach to Online Literacy: Mike Caulfield continues his work on fact checking arguing that we need to develop the habit of doing a check every time we engage with a new link. He makes the comparison with checking your rear view mirrors when driving. Caulfield focuses on two steps: what is the site and is this new report correct/true. In a world where abundance is only a click away, maybe we are at a point where it is time to reassess what that actually means.

Now imagine a world where checking your mirrors before switching lanes was rare, three standard-deviations-out behavior. What would the roads look like?

Toolographies — the new essential ingredient of student research?: Matt Esterman proposes extending the idea of a bibliography to include the tools used. This is an interesting idea in the evolving place of research and libraries.

Perhaps we need to have students include a toolography, a list — perhaps annotated — of the tools they used to source, to organise and to present their information.

Responding to Challenging Behaviours with Elizabeth Saunders: Cameron Malcher speaks with Elizabeth Saunders about her work on challenging behaviour in the classroom. This comes back to the right to learn and be safe. What this looks like differs based on classroom and context. Saunders points out that this often comes back to differentiation and other proctive measures, rather than having students removed and isolated. It is interesting to listen to this interview alongside those from Katherine Birbalsingh and Paul Dix.

Elizabeth Saunders discusses the issue of students with challenging behaviours and how to respond to and engage with such students in order to overcome obstacles and maintain focus on learning in the classroom.

Edtech

“Seeing New Worlds” danah boyd on Team Human: In a conversation between danah boyd and Doug Rushkoff, she explains that at the heart of our current problems with media, facts and trust is capitalism. By design, capitalism gives you what you want. The problem though is that capitalism and democracy are no longer constrained within nation states as they may have been in the past. There is neither the opportunity for ‘nationalistic paternalism’ to moderate wants nor a means of managing different groups. Media in a multi-national environment has become confusing. We are now in a world of networks and social graphs. All media companies are in the business for amplification, the problem has therefore become what is amplified, which as so many have pointed out is often at the extremes. danah boyd says that we need an intervention, but to achieve that we firstly need t appreciate all the micro-decisions that got us to here. How do we deal with these well intended decisions when they have negative implications? One of the challenges is filling the data voids, rather than blocking various search terms we need to develop the content that maybe missing. For those who may not have kept up with boyd’s work since It’s Complicated, this is a really good introduction.

If we don’t support young people in building out a strategically rich graph, they will reinforce the worst segments of our society.

Leave No Dark Corner: Matthew Carney provides an insight into the digital dictatorship that China is exerting over its citizens through the use of “social credit”. This is a part of the wider global push of surveillance to use facial recognition in schools, universities and shopping centres. Yu Hua provides a different perspective on China’s rise, looking at the changes in generations. Foreign Correspondence also reported on the topic.

Social credit will be affected by more than just internet browsing and shopping decisions. Who your friends and family are will affect your score. If your best friend or your dad says something negative about the government, you’ll lose points too. Who you date and ultimately partner with will also affect social credit.

Are All Voices Equal?: Dean Shareski reflects on the place of voice in education. Whether it be students in the classroom or educators online, he argues that there are times when some voices are more important than others. This continues the argument that Thomas Guskey recently made about merely searching the web. I wonder where this leaves participatory culture, comments and blogging? Is it a reminder that such acts are first and fore-mostly selfish? Nick Jackson argues that it all depends on context.

I’m grateful for the advent of the web and social media by providing me with a voice. I’ve been able to publish many ideas over that last 12 years that previously would have only lived in my head. Through that publishing, I’ve been able to think through some things and had the benefit of others to add their thoughts as well. However, as much as this has democratized knowledge, it has also diluted the importance of expertise. The barriers of the previous publishing world lacked the ability to include all voices but it did help identify expertise. As adults and educators, I think we have to work harder to identify the smart people and allow their ideas to be heard over the din of social media. Expertise is not found in followers but on the quality and evidence of ideas that have proven the test of time.

Big Tech’s problem is Big, not Tech: Cory Doctorow provides a snapshot of the world of Big Tech we are in. He asks the question, why would we ask people to code if as it is becoming so it is illegal to do so? Doctorow puts forward the plea that human dignity and flourishing are bound up in the ability to act rather than be acted upon. If technology monopolies lock us away, this is clearly restricted. For more on Big Tech, read how Facebook is tackling moderation or how Google is controlling Android.

In this keynote address, author and advocate, Cory Doctorow, argues that Big Tech is a problem, but the problem isn’t “Tech,” it’s “BIG.” Giants get to bend policy to suit their ends, they get to strangle potential competitors in their infancy, they are the only game in town, so they can put the squeeze on users and suppliers alike.

The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger: Quinn Norton discusses the complexities of online identity and the associated context collapse. She shares her experience of being hired and fired by the New York Times after a Twitter account was created that retweeted the past out of context. This is a fascinating insight into the world we are now in when, right or wrong, the past never sleeps.

Don’t internet angry. If you’re angry, internet later.

Your DNA Is Not Your Culture: Sarah Zhang discusses Spotify’s move to team up with AncestryDNA to provide richer results. To me, the strength of Spotify is big data, whether it be in choice or collections. Through the use of algorithms this data can uncover some interesting and sometimes novel patterns, but the move to inject ancestory into the mix surely is stretching it too far?

It’s a nice message. But it elides history. Mixed ancestry does not necessarily mean a harmonious coexistence, past or future. African Americans have, on average, 24 percent European ancestry. To take a genetic-ancestry test is to confront a legacy of rape and slavery—perhaps to even recognize one’s own existence as the direct result of it. There is a way to use genetics and genealogy to uncover injustices and properly account for them. The 23andMe-sponsored podcast Spit, for instance, has featured some nuanced conversations about race. But it’s not through feel-good ads that paper over the past.

Storytelling and Reflection

Virginia Trioli on being a difficult woman in a difficult world: In a speech at the Women In Media Conference, Virginia Trioli reflects on the challenges of being a women in the media. She shares a number of anecdotes that remind us that even with the #metoo movement, that we still have some way to go in regards to gender equality. Some of the advice Trioli recommends are to learn from your mistakes, own who you are and regularly take stock of where you are at. These lessons are useful for anybody (man or woman.) This post and Emma Watkin’s story are also reminders that so often there is more at play that goes unrecognised.

Much like the principles of building muscle mass — the way your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibres after a workout by forming strong, new protein strands — your mistakes do not you weaken you, they build you up. They solidify you. They give you emotional and mental muscle. Or at least they should. Because you have to own your mistakes. You have to claim them and allow that destruction/reconstruction process to take place. It’s incredibly empowering.

Our Daily Bread | Eat This Podcast: Jeremy Cherfas explores how an ordinary grass became the main source of sustenance for most of the people alive on Earth. Through this month long series, Cherfas assembles a narrative combining history, biology, definition, technology, sociology, politics, religion and innovation. Some of the questions I was left wondering were the place of Indigenous Australians in this story. Maybe these ideas and more will be unpacked in a longer book version of the series?

A history of wheat and bread in very short episodes

5 thoughts on self-help: Austin Kleon shares a handful of thoughts about the self-help genre. This includes being skeptical of the genre, the association with individualism, often such books are accidents and advice is autobiographical. This reminds me in part of the idea of bibliotherapy.

The joy and luck, for me, of writing my books, is that I’ve stumbled my way into a form (specifically: the illustrated gift book) that is not only commercial and popular, but also allows me to be as weird and as visual as I want to be. (I really do think of the books as fancy zines.) If they are shelved in self-help, so be it!

Hope Stands Tall: Kate O’Halloran breaks down the incident which involved Moana Hope walking off the stage during a panel discussing women’s football. The problem, as O’Halloran explains, relates to control and power of bodies. For me, I have concern about the expectations placed on AFLW. Like many forms of change and innovation, people often want their cake and to eat it too. It would seem that there is an expectation of parity on the field when I doubt there is parity off the field. O’Halloran wonders if the answer is breaking free from the AFL’s shackles?

It should go without saying that men who participate in Australian rules football (or rugby league, or any other sport for that matter) also put their own bodies at such risk. Those choices, however, are not questioned in the same way women’s are, because men are seen as having autonomy over their bodies and their decisions, while women’s bodies – in the minds of dinosaurs like Malthouse at least – are still subject to men’s control.

Reclaiming Educational Reform: Benjamin Doxtdator continues his critique of Ted Dintersmith. Picking up where he finished last time, he explains that Dintersmith and Tony Wagner are not the alternative to the personalized education movement that we may be hoping for. I always feel conflicted by such conversations wondering if I am trying to have my cake and eat it too?

You might think I’m overly critical of Ted Dintersmith, who probably really cares about education and the future of young people. When you watch Bill Gates tour High Tech High which he invested in years before it featured in Dintersmith and Wagner’s film, you get the sense that he probably really cares about young people, too. But we must not base policy on personality. Hoping that Dintersmith may be the anti-Gates we’ve been waiting for confines us such a superficial analysis of personality. When billionaires like Dintersmith get behind efforts led by private schools to reshape admissions to colleges, we need to put these education reform agendas through a rigorous, historical analysis. Maybe you will enjoy Dintersmith’s book for the tour he takes you on of schools across the U.S., but you’ll need to look elsewhere to understand what’s really at stake in the movement to ‘disrupt’ ‘obsolete’ schools.

Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit? (Don’t Blame Cars): Jonathan English reflects on the demise of public transport in America. Although it can be easy to blame cars, the real issue is the lack of investment. Build it and they will come. It would be interesting to take a similar look at transport in Australia.

Service drives demand. When riders started to switch to the car in the early postwar years, American transit systems almost universally cut service to restore their financial viability. But this drove more people away, producing a vicious cycle until just about everybody who could drive, drove. In the fastest-growing areas, little or no transit was provided at all, because it was deemed to be not economically viable. Therefore, new suburbs had to be entirely auto-oriented. As poverty suburbanizes, and as more jobs are located in suburban areas, the inaccessibility of transit on a regional scale is becoming a crisis.

FOCUS ON the Modern Learning Canvas

Modern Learning Canvas - Instructional Model

The Modern Learning Canvas has been developed to support schools and teachers to design and implement innovative, evidence based learning and teaching. Influenced by the Business Model Canvas, it is designed to paint a picture of context. Here then are a collection of resources and examples associated with the Modern Learning Canvas and Richard Olsen’s Inquiry Oriented Innovation process:

📑 20 Tech Tips in the Mathematics Classroom

Aimee Shackleton:

20 Tech Tips in the Mathematics Classroom – Teacher Information, Robots and iPad Apps

Desmos – online graphing calculating system www.desmos.com

Desmos provides a range of questions and challenges associated with graphing (see Dan Meyer for more http://blog.mrmeyer.com/)

Graphing Stories – handouts, videos and stories associated with graphs www.graphingstories.com

Which One Doesn’t Belong – find a reason why each one does not belong wodb.ca/index.html

It is not about the answer, but about the discussion. The next step to Which One Doesn’t Belong is getting students to make their own

Maths Tweet Blogosphere exploremtbos.wordpress.com & https://twitter.com/ExploreMTBoS

What Can You Do With That? #WCYDWT https://blog.mrmeyer.com/2010/teaching-wcydwt-introduction/

Visual Patterns http://visualpatterns.org

Between 2 Numbers – If this then what www.between2numbers.com

Three Act Maths by Dan Meyer https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jXSt_CoDzyDFeJimZxnhgwOVsWkTQEsfqouLWNNC6Z4/pub?output=html

101 Questions – pose questions based on a provocation www.101qs.com

Youcubed – a collect of tasks that could be used as starters www.youcubed.org

WolframAlpha – a space to ask computational questions www.wolframalpha.com

EquatIO https://www.texthelp.com/en-au/products/equatio/

📰 Read Write Respond #031

Read Write Respond Newsletter 031

My Month of July

LinkedIn recently reminded me that it has been two years in my current position. I was shocked, time has flown. As I touched on recently, it has been a whirlwind of an experience as is the nature I imagine of working within a transformational project. The biggest lesson learnt is that in a lean environment (or at least an attempt at a lean environment) you sometimes get stuck doing what needs to be done, rather than what you may prefer to be doing, which in my case is working with teachers and schools. I am currently working on refining a scale-able implementation process associated with student reporting.

At home, the common cold came back, again. I swear we had overcome it for this season, but no. Also, new term and new song for my daughter’s school. So I think I am up to 20+ listens of Try Everything from Zootopia. Another great growth mindset anthem. Might also say something about the algorithms at play.

I am learning through practice that the easiest way to learn something is to watch and copy somebody else. Scary how quickly our youngest picks everything up. Understanding Mal Lee and Roger Broadie’s point about the young being digitally proficient by the age of three.

I attended DigiCon18. Although I went to some interesting sessions and sparktalks, what was great were the conversations in-between. This included discussing the Ultranet with Rachel Crellin, the pedagogy associated to ongoing reporting with Chris Harte, connected learning with Jenny Ashby, parenting and partnerships with Lucas Johnson, implementing the Digital Technologies curriculum with Darrel Branson, purpose and leadership with Riss Leung and direct instruction with Richard Olsen.

In other areas, I have been listening to Amy Shark, Florence and the Machine, DJ Shadow, The National and Guy Pearce. I started reading Adam Greenfield’s Radical Technologies. I also updated my site, moving back to ZenPress and adding in a new series of header images developed by JustLego101.

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

REVIEW: New Dark Age – Technology and the End of the Future

My Life in Black and White

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

Learning and Teaching

Bill Cohen on Authentic Learning

Teaching Game Design with Bill Cohen (TER Podcast): Cameron Malcher interviews Bill Cohen about game-design through play-based learning. Cohen goes beyond the usual coding and computer-aided approaches to focusing on ‘low-tech’ games. This included engaging with board games and outdoor games. This play-based approach focuses on developing clear metalanguage, feedback for mastery and working with an iterative design process. This reminds me in part of Amy Burvall’s notion of ‘rigorous whimsy‘ and BreakoutEDU. Some resources Cohen shared include Boardgame Geek and Lady Blackbird, while in a seperate post, Clare Rafferty shared a list of games associated with History. For a different take on games, in a recent episode of the IRL Podcast, Veronica Belmont and Ashley Carman take a look at gamification in everyday life. Some examples of this include notifications on smartphones, likes and retweets on Twitter or the endorsements on Linkedin.

If there is one thing that I have learnt as a teacher is that nothing leaches out fun more than dropping a layer of education over the top of it – Bill Cohen

Encountering harmful discourses in the classroom: Ian O’Byrne discusses the challenges of engaging in harmful discourses. He provides some ways to responding, as well as a number of ways to be proactive. This touches on what danah boyd describes as the weaponisation of worldviews.

Howard C. Stevenson from Penn’s Graduate School of Education indicates three steps to address these harmful discourses as they enter your classroom.

  • Start with you – Process your own feelings, and address your own vulnerabilities before entering the classroom. Develop a support system with your colleagues.
    Practice – Classroom reactions usually happen in a split second. Prepare yourself for these instances by role-playing with colleagues in your building, or online with your PLN.
  • After an incident – Resist the urge to condemn the action or content. First try to understand the motivation if is disseminated through your classroom or building. Allow the school’s code of conduct to address instances where students actively spread this information. Strongly explain to students that these harmful discourses and the messages being spread about individuals and groups are not accepted. You will not accept the silencing of voices.
  • Keep talking – After these events, the best course of action is to keep talking. Difficult discussions will often ensue, but children and adults alike need to be able to process their feelings and reactions. This is an opportunity to shut down and be silent, or engage and promote change.

How well do we ‘face up to’ racism?: Anna Del Conte provides some take-aways from a course on racism. Some of the activities included what racism is, a timeline of diversity in Australia and listening to stories. Another resource I am reminded of is Dan Haesler’s interview with Stan Grant. In part this stemmed from Grant’s speech addressing racism.

Multiculturalism is not an outcome but a process. Racism may not be deliberate BUT anti-racism is always deliberate.

Can Reading Make You Happier?: Ceridewn Dovey takes a look at bibliotherapy and the act of reading as a cure. Some argue that readers are more empathetic, while others suggest that it provides pleasure, whatever the particular outcome maybe, reading has shown to provide many health benefits. As Kin Lane suggests, when in doubt, read a book. Zat Rana suggests that this reading is not about being right or wrong, but rather about being open new ideas and lessons.

So even if you don’t agree that reading fiction makes us treat others better, it is a way of treating ourselves better. Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”

Historic Tale Construction Kit – Bayeux: This site allows users to recreate the Bayeux Tapestry. Clearly this is a great resource for history students, but it is also an interesting approach to storytelling.

Two German students originally wrote the Historic Tale Construction Kit, with Flash. Sadly, their work isn’t available anymore, only remembered. This new application is a tribute, but also an attempt to revive the old medieval meme, with code and availability that won’t get lost.

Edtech

Background Image via JustJego101

Webmentions: Enabling Better Communication on the Internet: Chris Aldrich provides an introduction to webmentions. This includes unpacking the specification, the notion of mentions, the idea of kinds and way in which sites are potentially able to connect two-ways. This continues Aldrich’s efforts to document the IndieWeb, which has included a thorough overview of the IndieWeb, the future of feed readers and reimagining academic research. This introduction is different to Aaron Parecki’s guide to sending your first webmentions or breakdown of the oAuth standard.

Breaking down the walls between the internet’s many social silos, Webmentions offer a new level of freedom for web interactions.

Twenty Years of Edtech: Martin Weller looks back at twenty years of EdTech, highlighting the various moments that have stood out across the journey. This brings together many of the pieces that he has written for his 25 years of EdTech series that he has written to celebrate 25 years of ALT. As he points out in his introduction, we are not very good at looking back. This post then offers an opportunity to stop and do so in a structured manner. Another interesting take on history is Ben Francis’ post on the Firefox OS.

What has changed, what remains the same, and what general patterns can be discerned from the past twenty years in the fast-changing field of edtech?

Learning To Code By Writing Code Poems: Murat Kemaldar discusses the connections between coding and poetry. He re-imagines the various rules and constructs in a more human form. This continues a conversation started between Darrel Branson, Tony Richards and Ian Guest on Episode 234 of the Ed Tech Team Podcast about whether everyone should learn poetry and coding. This is also something Royan Lee shares.

In all languages, there is probably a word for love. You kinda know what it means, but not really, because it is so subjective. But still, there is a word for it. But in JavaScript, there is no “love,” until you say there is. It can be whatever you want it to be.

18 best practices for working with data in Google Sheets: Ben Collins provides a guide for working with data in Google Sheets. Some of the useful steps that stood out were documenting the steps you take, adding an index column for sorting and referencing, creating named ranges for your datasets and telling the story of one row to check the data. This is all in preparation for his new course on data analysis. Another tip I picked up from Jay Atwood has been to import data, if moving from Excel to Sheets, rather than simply copying and pasting.

This article describes 18 best practices for working with data in Google Sheets, including examples and screenshots to illustrate each concept in action.

Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags: Cory Doctorow provides a commentary on the current state of affairs involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Rather than blame the citizens of the web, he argues that the fault exists with the mechanics in the garage and the corruption that they have engaged with. The question that seems to remain is if this is so and we still want our car fixed, where do we go? Doctorow has also recorded a reading of the article.

It’s fashionable to treat the dysfunctions of social media as the result of the naivete of early technologists, who failed to foresee these outcomes. The truth is that the ability to build Facebook-like services is relatively common. What was rare was the moral recklessness necessary to go through with it.

How the Blog Broke the Web: Amy Hoy reflects on the early days of publishing on the web, where people would handcraft pages and connect them using a contents page. This was superseded by Moveable Type and the chronological blog, subsequently killing off the non-diariest. I was not really engaged in the web back then so it is hard to comment as Jeremey Keith, Duncan Stephen and Kicks Condor have, but it does remind me of the current debates around blogging. I think that all these spaces are forever changing and developing. Sometimes this is based on wholesale changes, but usually people have their own particular reason. Maybe some people will drop off with Gutenberg, but then again sometimes these things have their day.

Movable Type didn’t just kill off blog customization. It (and its competitors) actively killed other forms of web production.

Are We Listening?: Jose Picardo argues that the question about whether we should have more or less technology in schools misses the point. What matters is how it is used. For example, those who argue for more knowledge often fail to put the effort into actually understanding how technology is used in education. This comes back to the importance of why and having a framework to guide you. For a different perspective on technology in the classroom, read David Perry’s thread.

The very teachers who read William and nod vigorously about the need to know stuff before you can understand or do stuff in the context of curriculum are unable to draw parallels between their dismissal of digital technology and their own lack of knowledge about it. Rather than finding virtuosity and pride in learning about how what technology works best and in what context—so as to be able to discern the best tool for particular tasks—we seem happy to eschew whole new toolkits on the dodgy grounds of ignorance and misconception.

Storytelling and Reflection

Throwing Ideas Under the Bus

Throwing Our Own Ideas Under the Bus: Ross Cooper discusses the idea of putting your worst foot forward taken from Adam Grant’s book Originals. This involves trusting the idea at hand and starting with reasons why it might fail. Cooper suggests that this can be useful as it disarms the audience, critique involves effort, helps to build trust and leaves audience with a more favourable assessment. He also looks at this alongside Simon Sinek’s concept of ‘start with why’, highlighting the reason why and the challenges that might be faced. I wonder if the challenge in focusing on the why and why not is about finding balance? This reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s discussion of Generous Orthodoxy.

As an elementary school principal, here’s the approach I’ve been taking with change: “Here’s what we’re doing, here’s why we’re doing it, and here are some of the ways I will support you!” Now I’ll be toying around with the idea of also proactively addressing the elephants in the room. Furthermore, we should allow for teachers and staff to respectfully and honestly discuss these obstacles, as opposed to us trying to sweep them under the rug. After all, flaws will be talked about in one way or another, and critical conversation that gives everyone a voice is preferred to potential venting in the faculty room.

The future will be dockless: could a city really run on ‘floating transport’?: Alex Hern discusses the rise of floating transport, something that I touched on recently with the demise of oBike in Melbourne. Hern captures a number of stories from around the world of hope for efficiency, but also issues associated with shared spaces. I am taken by Hern’s closing remarks concerning reliability over flexibility. This leaves me thinking that sometimes what is required is community and sometimes that involves patience. What is the cost to the public/private transport industry when everyone relies on private personal transport models like Bird or Uber?

Ultimately, floating transport is going to have to learn another lesson that conventional transportation bodies have taken to heart: flexible may be fun, but cities run on reliable.

i am sorry: Pernille Ripe reflects on life as a connected educator. She discusses the stress, anxieties and perceived responsibilities that come with being an educelebrity. Although we often talk about the technicalities associated with being (digitally) literate, what is sometimes overlooked are the social consequences. This is something that Austin Kleon also recently reflected upon.

So it is time for me to step back a bit. To do less work publicly, to share less, to not be so immediately available. To be just Pernille, the person who doesn’t have all of the answers necessarily. That only creates something because she cannot help it. That gives all of her when she is in a public space, but then steps back when she is private.

Facebook’s Push for Facial Recognition Prompts Privacy Alarms: Natasha Singer discusses Facebook’s continual push for facial recognition. She traces some of the history associated with Facebook’s push into this area, including various roadblocks such as GDPR. She also looks at some of the patent applications. This made me wonder how many patents actually come to fruition and how many are a form of indirect marketing? Elsewhere, Doug Levin explains why facial recognition has no place in schools, especially the way Curtin University is using it.

Cameras near checkout counters could capture shoppers’ faces, match them with their social networking profiles and then send purchase confirmation messages to their phones.

The anti-cottonwool schools where kids stare down risk in favour of nature play: This article from the ABC discusses a couple of schools in Western Australia that have reduced the rules on outdoor play. This reminds me of Narissa Leung’s use of old bricks and Adrian Camm’s use of odd material to engage with play.

Mr Smith said whereas students would previously come to the office complaining of injury, they are now too busy to make a fuss. “Students are becoming more resilient and getting on with it.” The school has just three rules — no stacking milk creates, no walking on the large wooden spools and no tying rope to yourself.

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting: Erika Christakis discusses the challenges of parenting in a digital age. This all comes down to distractions and as I have touched on before, this is not always digital. I really like danah boyd’s strategy for dealing with this, that is to say why you are using a device. This openness offers a useful point of reflection. I think that the conclusion to this article says it all though, “put down your damned phone.”

Parents should give themselves permission to back off from the suffocating pressure to be all things to all people. Put your kid in a playpen, already! Ditch that soccer-game appearance if you feel like it. Your kid will be fine. But when you are with your child, put down your damned phone.

FOCUS ON … SPACE

Murdoch on Noticing

I was recently challenged on the place of space in regards to learning. I recorded a microcast on the topic, but I haven’t had the chance to put all my thoughts together. In the interim, I have collected together a number of posts on the topic. If you have any others to add to the mix, I would love to read them.

  • Imagining Different Learning Spaces: Jon Corripo provided his suggestions for redesigning a classroom space which again sparked my imagination.
  • Flexible Seating: What’s the Point?: Chris Wejr reflects on his experiences in reviewing flexible learning spaces. This includes the reasons to re-design, as well as a series of thoughts associated with the process of re-imagining.
  • Why I Hate Classroom Themes: Emily Fintelman reflects on classroom themes and wonders what impact they are really having on learning. She suggests that our focus should be on how spaces are structured and strategies that can be used to give students more voice.
  • Flexible Classrooms: Research Is Scarce, But Promising: What is interesting about this report is that rather than discussing furniture in isolation, it is considered as a part of a wider conversation about learning and environment. The impact of flexible spaces though can be almost incidental at times, as is with the case of Maths. This speaks of agency as much as it does of the chairs in the classroom.
  • Adding the Learning Back to Space: A reflection on an outdoor learning space and the potential of technology to increase learning and engagement.
  • Benefits of Flexible Learning Spaces #1 Teaching in Teams: Stephen Rowe explains that teachers working in teams is a significant benefit that arises from teaching in an open learning space.
  • Designing Learning Spaces – putting the cart before the horse: June Wall and Jonathon Mascorella define learning environments as a set of physical and digital locations, context and cultures in which students learn.
  • Learning Space Design Inspiration: Steve Brophy collects together a number of ideas and inspirations associated with learning spaces.
  • Beanbags in Space: Matt Esterman suggests that what most teachers want is a more shiny version of what they have, because they are not trained as designers (usually) and are so often hemmed in by the expectations of current reality.
  • Inquiry, noticing and the changing seasons… A tribute to the late Frank Ryan: Kath Murdoch reflects on the potential of the environment associated with inquiry.
  • Coalescent Spaces: Dave White considers the impact of digital technologies on the creation of coalescent learning spaces.
  • Seeing Spaces: Bret Victor reimagines the makerspace built around tinkering and argues that it is in ‘seeing’ that we are able to make this a science.
  • Communities, Networks and Connected Learning with Google: Technology enables us to easily develop digital communities and networks inside and outside of the classroom. The reality though is that connected learning is as much about creating spaces for learning and building on that.

READ WRITE RESPOND #031

So that is July 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, maybe you want to subscribe or buy me a coffee? Archives can be found here.

Read Write Respond Newsletter

Cover image via JustLego101.

📓 DigiCon18 Sparktalks

Lucas Johnson:

Even superheros need partnerships now and then

Research says that quality professional learning is situated in context. Partnerships can help support this.

Types of partnerships might include other schools, parents, the wider community, industry, external education services and tertiary institutions

Ways to initiate partnerships: Google it, make a phone call, chat to leadership, contact central office, connect with a PLN and go to social media.

Robert Roes:

Robert Roe: We all have stories to tell

Robert Roe: We are more involved in education than we always appear, how then may we capture this journey over time?

Libby Downes

Libby Downey: sharing her journey to digital portfolios

Libby Downes: It is useful to develop your own permission forms to address the questions of your particular context

Libby Downes: On the diff between free and paid SeeSaw incl activity, rolling over of data and analytics

Steven McGlade

Sharing the power and importance of being enthusiastic

If you are going to run lunchtime code clubs let it evolve. Set basic standards, such as creating, constructing and being nice.

Roland Gesthuizen

40 years in 26 minutes

We have always been integrating technology, whether it be codifying data i.e. the alphabet

Weaving machines were programmed with cards

Been improving computer literacy of teachers since 1982!

ACEC conference in 1983 with a session on … artificial intelligence

Back in the 90’s, kids could save shopper dockets to get computers

In 1995 CSF was released

Typing labs came back with computer labs

In the 2000’s we had the Smartbooad war

Now you can buy Commodore64’s again. Are we back at the beginning?

📓 Linda Liukas (#DIGICON18 Keynote)

Linda Liukas provided some interesting reflections in her keynote on technology and how we associated with it. There were a number of connections with the work of James Bridle and discussions of metaphors and humans.

Linda Liukas:

Every time I found something that I did not understand with coding, I thought how would a six year old understand it

The something missing in the coding space is storytelling

We need a more radically diverse group to solve the big problems

Even the biggest problems in the world are tiny problems stacked together

How do you cross the chasm between the easy examples of algorithms to a world of real algorithms

Discussing the way in which YouTube videos are actually being designed by algorithms

True learning is grounded in action, this is particularly challenging when it comes to technology

We can jam 300000 transistors in the tip of a pen, but we do not know how a computer works anymore

While computers are magical, they are not made of magic, they are made of logic

Computers as: content creators, linkers, scenographers and gear gurus

There’s hundreds of computers in every single home

There is a lot of diff kinds of data: behavioral, incidental, demographic, derived, aggregated

Computers are no closer to being human, they just have new ways of processing the data

The greatest thing for students is being a part of the process

What are we good at versus what computers are good at

The next big thing in computer education will be small data and storytelling

The world of technology is full of suitcase words that need to be unpacked

The metaphors that we use to describe the internet are quite important

Technology is built on our humanity

Imagine what being computer literate meant in the age of the combustion engine?

People uses technology

Notes captured with Noterlive

📓 Luke Pearson (#DIGICON18 Keynote)

DLTV have always included people from diverse backgrounds. Luke Pearson was another great presenter. Unlike Rafranz Davis and Chris Harte who incorporated an explicit focus on technology, Pearson offered a different take on ‘STEM’, change and accessibility.

Pearson In The Wind:

Sometimes you need to just follow the journey and stop worrying about the outcome

Indigenous teachers are the canary in the goldmine measuring the state of indigenous education

Twitter is often where you find your kindred spirits

In giving a voice to IndigenousX https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/series/indigenousx Guardian Australia became the leading indigenous voice in Australian media

In Australia, we did not have beasts of burden to cart around to develop the need for the wheel

IndigenousX stands for indigenous excellence – celebrating the specialised skillsets

There is a long history of associating racism with the humanities, but so much actually stems from science

The failure of indigenous students is a failure of the system

Our science and tech is so much more advanced than what is available in many remote communities

Notes captured with Noterlive

📓 Tetris Everlasting (Chris Harte Keynote #DIGICON18)

Chris Harte Unstuck:

Tetris everlasting, in education we always have things

Discussing Generation Z http://generationz.com.au

KIPPERS https://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/kippers.asp

Emotional Agility: 1) Emotions ar data not directions 2) emotions are not good or bad – they just are 3) enotions pass 4) courage is fear walking

We need to focus on ‘unGoogleable’ questions

Google Earth School https://earth.nullschool.net and the See Think Wonder protocol http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/03_ThinkingRoutines/03c_Core_routines/SeeThinkWonder/SeeThinkWonder_Routine.html

Learning should be about the whole of life, not just work

We need depth in sikos, but also connections across

Like normal growth, learning growth is not linear

We can’t literally see ‘learning’ rather it is something that happens in the brain. Instead it is about knowledge, mindsets, skillsets and toolsets

Notes captured with Noterlive