Bookmarked The Information on School Websites Is Not as Safe as You Think (nytimes.com)

Some tracking scripts may be harmless. But others are designed to recognize I.P. addresses and embed cookies that collect information prized by advertisers.

E.K. Moore discusses the presence of trackers on school websites. One of the interesting points was the impact of YouTube on all this:

Google’s DoubleClick ad trackers, for instance, are commonly found on school pages that host YouTube videos, like the Community Website Introduction video on a school site in Massapequa, on New York’s Long Island. The trackers tee up videos containing advertising on the school page, once its own video finishes playing.

I have reflected upon this topic elsewhere.

Bookmarked Take control of your learning (bluyonder.wordpress.com)

TC is not the solution for how we provide quality learning and teaching. The staff at TC will tell you that it is the best approach for their learning community. Schools like this become an example of what can be done and what’s possible. We cannot extract the intellectual rigour, analysis and innovative practice from TC – they’ve learned the work by doing the work. What the rest of us can extract is that change can and is happening so let’s take control of our learning.

Greg Whitby reflects on the work of Templestowe College (TC).
Bookmarked Creative Corner (My Other Blog)

It’s been a case of long time no post however I have just attended the 2018 Digicon at ACU where I shared my updated collection of Digital Toys and things. Here are the slides which list them…

John Pearce has collected a number of resources associated with makerspaces and drones. He always seems to find the right balance between pedagogy and the applications at hand.
Bookmarked The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger (The Atlantic)

It is strange to see such a version of yourself invented and destroyed by networked rage. It made me sad and angry, but even more, I think, it inspired a horrified confusion in myself and those familiar with my work and my character. A digital effigy of me was built and burned.

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.

Marginalia

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

Not everyone believes loving engagement is the best way to fight evil beliefs, but it has a good track record. Not everyone is in a position to engage safely with racists, sexists, anti-Semites, and homophobes, but for those who are, it’s a powerful tool.

We are powerful creatures, but power must come with gentleness and responsibility. No one prepared us for this, no one trained us, no one came before us with an understanding of our world. There were hints, and wise people, and I lean on and cherish them. But their philosophies and imaginations can only take us so far. We have to build our own philosophies and imagine great futures for our world in order to have any futures at all. Let mercy guide us forward in these troubled times. Let yourself imagine, because imagination is the wellspring of hope. Here, in the beginning of the 21st century, hope is our duty to the future.

Bookmarked The Game of Quotes: Getting once reluctant readers whispering by Heather Marshall (The Book Sommelier)

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?

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.
Bookmarked 003: Land of 1000 SPLOTs (Reclaim Today)

In this episode of Reclaim Today we are joined by Alan Levine (better know as Cogdog online) to talk all things SPLOT (the simplest possible learning open tool thingy). But forget the acronym and focus on the opportunity because Reclaim is working closely with Alan and wants to work with others to build out a library of tools for educators and technologists working in and on the web.

Bookmarked Bob Murphy: the creative soul writing a new chapter post AFL | Kate O’Halloran by Kate O’Halloran (the Guardian)

In Bob Murphy’s newly-released memoir, Leather Soul, he describes his impromptu speech to teammates at the Railway Hotel in Yarraville after that famous win. “This premiership, for some long-suffering Bulldogs people, means they can actually die happy,” he told them from a bar stool, pint in hand. Murphy remembers a quick rebuke from former captain Matthew Boyd, who told him the observation was “a bit fucking morbid”. Over coffee, Murphy and I agree that for many, it was true.

I have been watching a few of the Bob interviews lately. He really provides a different of the world on and off the field. I remember seeing this side in a documentary a few years back featuring the various AFL captains discussing life on and off the field.
Bookmarked Encountering harmful discourses in the classroom (W. Ian O’Byrne)

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.
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.
Bookmarked Flexible Seating: What’s the Point? by Chris Wejr (chriswejr.com)

There is little to no clear research of the impact of classroom design on student achievement and with so many variables to consider, I don’t think there is a single optimal classroom design for all students and educators. Having said this, based on what I have read and the conversations I have had with people I work with and online, I think I will try to keep the following in mind when I work with teachers to redesign or reflect on classroom design:

  • Be specific on the problem, purpose of the change, strategies to implement, and markers for success. Without doing this, how will we know our time, efforts, and money are making a difference?
  • Keep some desks*. I am not saying you need to keep all of them but before making big changes, switch up a portion of the class and leave a good number of desks for those students who need their own personal space. *Note that this is more for grade 2/3 and above as many early primary classrooms have not used desks for years and lessons/instruction take place at the carpet.
  • Use small tables. Large tables actually take away from flexible seating as they present only one or two options for students. With smaller tables, you can put them together or move them apart as needed. If you are buying tables, you can also get tables that can be raised or lowered based on the need to stand or sit.
  • Offer comfortable areas. When starting small (in elementary/middle), for quiet reading, students may enjoy a bean bag chair or a bucket chair. Be clear with students the purpose of these areas so that when there is instruction or individual or small group work occurring, these are not used.
  • Offer seating options (stools, standing desks). You need not change your whole classroom to offer some seating options for students who may benefit from self-reg tools. Start with a few stools and some standing desks (or small, tall tables) to and see if student learning and achievement benefits from this. If we have evidence of increased success for an individual with a certain tool from past years/teachers, please embrace this as to go back to a standard chair may make the learning more difficult for the student. We can build on evidence from past success/struggles.
  • Fail small*.  One of the most common mistakes I have made is making significant (large) changes and waiting too long to see if it is working.  If you have a clear understanding of the purpose and the strategies, use the defined success markers to see if what you are doing is effective. After a short time (weeks or 2 months), check to see how the strategy is working. If it is working… keep going, if it is not, stop and pivot.  I have tried and observed classroom design that actually hindered learning so it is important to know the impact of the strategy.  *HT to Simon Breakspear for helping me with this.
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.
Bookmarked The 5-Step Research Method I Used For Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene, and Tucker Max by Ryan Holiday (Medium)

As a researcher, you’re as rich as your database. Not only in being able to pull something out at a moment’s notice, but that that something gives you a starting point with which to make powerful connections. As cards about the same theme begin to accumulate, you’ll know you’re onto a big or important idea.

The five steps that Ryan Holiday suggests when conducting research are:

  • Prepare long before gameday
  • Learn to search (Google) like a pro
  • Go down the rabbit hole (embrace serendipity)
  • When in doubt, turn to the classics
  • Keep a commonplace book

This continues on from Holiday’s past reflections associated with the processes of writing. It also touches on the importance of a ‘commonplace book‘.

Bookmarked Why Revolutionaries Love Spicy Food How the chili pepper got to China. (Nautilus)

Food historians have pointed to the province’s hot and humid climate, the principles of Chinese medicine, the constraints of geography, and the exigencies of economics. Most recently neuropsychologists have uncovered a link between the chili pepper and risk-taking. The research is provocative because the Sichuan people have long been notorious for their rebellious spirit; some of the momentous events in modern Chinese political history can be traced back to Sichuan’s hot temper.

Andrew Leonard looks at how chilies found their way to Sichuan. There is some argument that there is a correlation between risk-taking revolutionaries and the heat of the chilies. What is interesting is the history of the capsicum and the place it holds in other cultures.

The act of eating chili peppers is an acquired taste in Mexico. Children do not come out of the womb craving a scorching hot cuisine. They’re trained, by their families, to handle the chili’s burn with small doses that gradually increase.

Personally, I love chilies, but never remember been ‘trained’ when I was young. I think I like the sensation of experiencing what I eat, not just tasting it.

Via Katexic newsletter

Bookmarked Are we listening? (Shooting Azimuths)

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.

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:

Technology can be done well as well as badly. What I am arguing is twofold: firstly that the many of the reasons commonly given against the use of technology are really not very good and betray a fundamental misunderstanding about how technology works to support teaching and learning; and, secondly, that you would be a much better critic of technology if you knew more about its application and its impact, both positive and negative.

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.

Bookmarked Microfilm Lasts Half a Millennium (The Atlantic)

Millions of publications—not to mention spy documents—can be read on microfilm machines. But people still see these devices as outmoded and unappealing. An Object Lesson.

Craig Saper discusses the rise and fall of microfilm. From its beginning in the 19th century to its demise with the rise of digital storage. It is always interesting to trace the history of particular technology, such as PowerPoint, PDF and email. It helps make sense where we are today.
Bookmarked The anti-cottonwool schools where kids stare down risk in favour of nature play – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (mobile.abc.net.au)

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.

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 enage with play.
Bookmarked Every School is a Good School | It’s All About Learning (mepsprincipal.edublogs.org)
John Goh reflects on his experiences of the Singapore education system. He does so making comparisons with education in New South Wales. He touches on training, the structure of the day, doing less and lifelong learning. This provides a different perspective to Pak Tee Ng’s work.
Bookmarked TER #115 – Teaching Game Design with Bill Cohen – 22 July 2018 (Teachers’ Education Review)

Timecodes

  • 00:00 Opening Credits
  • 01:31 Intro
  • 01:44 Selective Schools
  • 18:46 Feature Introduction
  • 20:31 Interview – Bill Cohen
  • 01:09:12 Sign Off
Cameron Malcher interviews Bill Cohen about game-design. Cohen goes beyond the usual coding and computer-aided approaches to focusing on ‘low-tech’ games. This included engaging with boardgames 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 has shared a list of games associated with History.

If there is one thing that I have learnt as a teacher is that nothing leaches out fun mor than dropping a layer of education over the top of it – Bill Cohen (50 mins)

Malcher also provides a reflection on the place and impact of select entry schools on equity and equality.

Bookmarked Mark Zuckerberg Is Doubly Wrong About Holocaust Denial (The Atlantic)

Truly tackling the problem of hateful misinformation online requires rejecting the false choice between leaving it alone or censoring it outright. The real solution is one that has not been entertained by either Zuckerberg or his critics: counter-programming hateful or misleading speech with better speech.

Yair Rosenberg touches on the dangers of simply suppressing disinformation. He explains that the only way to respond is to correct it. This continues some of the conversation associated with danah boyd’s keynote at SXSW.

via HEWN by Audrey Watters

Bookmarked ‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people by Anna Clark (the Guardian)

When the people of Flint, Michigan, complained that their tap water smelled bad and made children sick, it took officials 18 months to accept there was a problem.


Anna Clark provides a breakdown of the environmental disaster in Flint. Whether it be failure to deal with corrosion or the choice to change the water source, again and again the story comes back to money. It is a reminder that Adelaide’s water is not so bad after all.

What happened in Flint reveals a new hydra of dangers in civic life: environmental injustice, the limits of austerity, and urban disinvestment. Neglect, it turns out, is not a passive force in American cities, but an aggressive one.

Bookmarked 'Data is a fingerprint': why you aren't as anonymous as you think online by Olivia Solon (the Guardian)

More recently, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, a computational privacy researcher, showed how the vast majority of the population can be identified from the behavioural patterns revealed by location data from mobile phones. By analysing a mobile phone database of the approximate locations (based on the nearest cell tower) of 1.5 million people over 15 months (with no other identifying information) it was possible to uniquely identify 95% of the people with just four data points of places and times. About 50% could be identified from just two points.

Olivia Solon demonstrates some of the problems that we face with privacy. This touches on some of the challenges that Michael Golumbia addresses in his post on personal data. Both authors come to the same conclusion, we are expecting too much of the consumer.

via Ian O’Byrne