To me, it doesn’t seem like narcissism to remember life’s seasons by the art that filled them—the spring of romance novels, the winter of true crime. But it’s true enough that if you consume culture in the hopes of building a mental library that can be referred to at any time, you’re likely to be disappointed. Books, shows, movies, and songs aren’t files we upload to our brains—they’re part of the tapestry of life, woven in with everything else. From a distance, it may become harder to see a single thread clearly, but it’s still in there.
The PISA-shock type media coverage has huge policy effects. Governments make decisions that have lasting fallout on our education systems as a result of this coverage. However the deep inequities of performance based on socio-economic background that show up in detailed PISA results and the differences between the jurisdictional schooling systems is where the media should be shining the spotlight. This is where the real story of what is happening in school education in Australia can be uncovered. This is where policy makers should be searching for policy changing data.
When we talk about school change, we usually refer to changeleaders, but by far the largest number of change influencers are the global tribe of curious, somewhat subversive teachers who are committed to school being a better place for their students. They are our agents of change.
- Focus on learning, not on change.
- Focus on the ‘why’ not the ‘how.’
- See change as a journey, not a blueprint.
- Share ideas by taking down walls not building fences.
- Know the importance of ‘winning the war,’ not fighting battles.
This reminds me in part of Will Richardson’s keynote for TL21C a few years ago. There Will argued for 10% at a time.
Tempting as it is to legislate against manipulated ‘facts’, it both misguided and dangerous
There is another change, too. In the past, those with power manipulated facts so as to present lies as truth. Today, lies are often accepted as truth because the very notion of truth is fragmenting. “Truth” often has little more meaning than: “This is what I believe” or: “This is what I think should be true”. On issues from Brexit to same-sex marriage, all sides cling to their view as the truth, refusing to engage with “alternate” views. As Donald Trump has so ably demonstrated, the cry of “fake news” has become a way of dismissing inconvenient truths. And from China to the Philippines, repressive regimes use the charge of “fake news” to impose censorship and crush dissent.
This is why Mike Caulfield’s work is so important. Rather than pushing solutions onto citizens, we need to build the capacity of people to dig further.
Facebook’s problems are more than a temporary bad PR issue. Its behavior contributes to a growing negative view of the entire tech industry.
Facebook never sought to be the vector of in-depth knowledge for its users, or a mind-opener to a holistic view of the world. Quite the opposite. It encouraged everyone (news publishers for instance) to produce and distribute the shallowest possible content, loaded with cheap emotion, to stimulate sharing. It fostered the development of cognitive Petri dishes in which people are guarded against any adverse opinion or viewpoint, locking users in an endless feedback loop that has become harmful to democracy. Facebook knew precisely what it was building: a novel social system based on raw impulse, designed to feed an advertising monster that even took advantage of racism and social selectiveness
The other comparison is with Facebooks intrusion into the third world:
As in the 1990’s, when Big Tobacco felt its home market dwindling, the companies decided to stimulate smoking in the Third World. Facebook’s tactics are reminiscence of that. Today, it subsidizes connectivity in the developing world, offering attractive deals to telecoms in Asia and Africa, in exchange for making FB the main gateway to the internet. In India, Facebook went a bit too far with Free Basic, an ill-fated attempt to corner the internet by providing a free or nearly free data plan. Having some experience with Western colonialism, the Indian government rejected the deal.
More information to add to the discussion regarding sharecropping and Facebook.
Over the course of nearly 200 years, female journalists have been under threat because of their gender, race, beat, views, and coverage.
Sometimes it pays off to think small. Think next door, down the hall, at the next meeting. Act large in small spaces. Notice who’s speaking and who isn’t. Practice not knowing and being curious. Be kind. Welcome warmly and mean it.
via Audrey Watters newsletter
It’s not tools, culture or communication that make humans unique but our knack for offloading dirty work onto machines
There are two ways to give tools independence from a human, I’d suggest. For anything we want to accomplish, we must produce both the physical forces necessary to effect the action, and also guide it with some level of mental control. Some actions (eg, needlepoint) require very fine-grained mental control, while others (eg, hauling a cart) require very little mental effort but enormous amounts of physical energy. Some of our goals are even entirely mental, such as remembering a birthday. It follows that there are two kinds of automation: those that are energetically independent, requiring human guidance but not much human muscle power (eg, driving a car), and those that are also independent of human mental input (eg, the self-driving car). Both are examples of offloading our labour, physical or mental, and both are far older than one might first suppose.
Although it can be misconstrued as making us stupid, the intent of automation is complexity:
The goal of automation and exportation is not shiftless inaction, but complexity. As a species, we have built cities and crafted stories, developed cultures and formulated laws, probed the recesses of science, and are attempting to explore the stars. This is not because our brain itself is uniquely superior – its evolutionary and functional similarity to other intelligent species is striking – but because our unique trait is to supplement our bodies and brains with layer upon layer of external assistance.
My question is whether some automation today is actually intended to be stupid or too convenient as a means of control. This touches on Douglas Rushkoff’s warning ‘program or be programmed. I therefore wonder what the balance is between automation and manually completing various tasks in order to create more complexity.
I have observed differences in how student blogs work in a variety of areas. There appears to be a spectrum in at least six key areas
Having said this, she is also mindful that every school has its own context and exists at a different point on the continuum of six aspects: duration, privacy, content, reflection, quality and control.
One of the questions that I am frequently asked about blogging and have included in my webinar on the topic is “do you recommend that I have just one blog or should all of my students have their own blogs?” There is not a clear cut answer to this question because the answer depends upon how you envision using blogs in your teaching practice.
If your use of blogging is going to be limited to just distributing information about your class(es) to students and their parents, one blog is all that you need. Even if you teach multiple courses, one blog is sufficient if you’re only using it to distribute information. Simply label each new blog post with the name or section of the course for whom the information is intended. From a management standpoint it is far easier to label each blog post on one blog than it is to maintain a different blog for each course that you teach. That is a lesson that took me one semester to learn.
In regards to students, for a single class Byrnes recommends a group approach:
The solution that I recommend is to create a group blog for each class that you teach. Create the blog using whichever platform you like then make each student an author on the blog. To track who wrote what on the blog make sure that the author’s name (first names only or use pen names with young students). Alternatively, you can have students label or tag posts with their names or pen names to sort out who wrote what. As the creator and owner of the group blog you will be able to see who wrote what from your administrative panel, but that doesn’t help parents who want to check the blog to see what their children have been sharing.
While if you have 25+ students in a class then use something like Feedly to manage blogs. My question about this approach is that it assumes that the blogs are private. If you use Campus Press (Global2) then there are other built-in options.
Although I have blogged about my own experiences and Kathleen Morris wrote an extensive post capturing an array of possibilities, I think that it is always useful to stop and consider other perspectives.
I have adapted some of the Design Kit steps below and have a HMW Framing template
- Describe the problem or issue
- List the stakeholders
- Re-frame the issue as a How Might We statement
- Describe the impact you are attempting to have.
- Why needs your help the most?
- What are some possible solutions to your problem?
- Describe the context and constraints you have to your future ideas.
- Re-write a different version of your original HMW statement.
Here is an image I made based on the How Might We format:
I remember when I ran Genius Hour, I used HMW, however I struggled with supporting students in developing these. I think that Barrett’s steps helps with that.