Bookmarked Managing Classroom and Student Blogs (freetech4teachers.com)
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.
Richard Byrnes reflects on his experience of blogging in the classroom. He addresses the question whether to have a single blog or several blogs, basically it depends on how you intend on using them:

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.

Bookmarked Problem Finding by Tom Barrett (The Curious Creative)
I have adapted some of the Design Kit steps below and have a HMW Framing template
Based on the methods of Design Kit, Tom Barrett breaks the process of framing a problem into eight steps:

  1. Describe the problem or issue
  2. List the stakeholders
  3. Re-frame the issue as a How Might We statement
  4. Describe the impact you are attempting to have.
  5. Why needs your help the most?
  6. What are some possible solutions to your problem?
  7. Describe the context and constraints you have to your future ideas.
  8. 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.

Bookmarked Quincy Jones on the Secret Michael Jackson and the Problem With Modern Pop (Vulture)
Music legend Quincy Jones on who he thinks killed JFK, the secret Michael Jackson, his relationship with the Trumps, and the problem with modern pop.
In this interview, Quincy Jones touches on a number of points, including Michael Jackson the Beatles and Marlon Brando. However, what stood out to my was his take on modern pop:

Do you hear the spirit of jazz in pop today?
No. People gave it up to chase money. When you go after Cîroc vodka and Phat Farm and all that shit, God walks out of the room. I have never in my life made music for money or fame. Not even Thriller. No way. God walks out of the room when you’re thinking about money. You could spend a million dollars on a piano part and it won’t make you a million dollars back. That’s just not how it works.

Is there innovation happening in modern pop music?
Hell no. It’s just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no fucking songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.

Bookmarked Many More Webs Bite The Dust (CogDogBlog)
Three years after publishing the first version of Another Web Bites The Dust (35 corpses), it was time to update, and add 24 more dead web sites to the video.
Alan Levine adds to his lists of web sites that have been shut down. Attached to this is a video montage:

Only a day later and another site has already been added, Wikispaces.

Bookmarked The cult of Mary Beard – podcast by Charlotte Higgins (the Guardian)
How a late-blossoming classics don became Britain’s most beloved intellectual
An intriguing insight into the life and times of Mary Beard. A classicist who has made her name as a popular intellect. Full of wit, there were two quotes that really struck me. One was about the supposed ‘logical’ path to a career:

Her career stands, in a way, as a corrective to the notion that life runs a smooth, logical path. “It’s a lesson to all of those guys – some of whom are my mates,” she said, remembering the colleagues who once whispered that she had squandered her talent. “I now think: ‘Up yours. Up yours, actually.’ Because people’s careers go in very different trajectories and at very different speeds. Some people get lapped after an early sprint.” She added softly, with a wicked grin: “I know who you are, boys.”

The other was on the lessons learnt about understanding the ‘Classics’:

This approach was neatly displayed in her bestselling history of Rome, SPQR (2015). The early history of Rome, the era of its fabled seven kings, is notoriously difficult to untangle. There are few, if any, contemporary sources. The whole story slides frustratingly away into legend, with the later Romans just as confused as we are about how an unremarkable town on a malarial swamp came to rule a vast empire. One way of handling this material might have been simply to have started later, when the historian’s footing among the sources becomes more secure. Instead Beard asked not how much truth could be excavated from the Romans’ stories about their deep past, but what it might mean that they told them. If the Romans believed their city had started with Romulus and Remus, with the rape of the Sabine women – in a welter, in other words, of fratricide and sexual violence – what can we learn about the tellers’ concerns, their preoccupations, their beliefs? According to Greg Woolf, “One of the things Mary has taught is to look at the window, not through it, because there isn’t really anything behind it.

For a text version, go here.

Bookmarked pfefferle/ZenPress (GitHub)
ZenPress - Pure Zen for WordPress
I recently started exploring David Shanske’s 2016 IndieWeb Theme for Read Write Collect. Before, I had been using Matthias Pfefferle’s Zen Press. I really like Zen for its looks and still may go back or use it for my main site. It has the feel of Medium without being in Medium. My concerns were:

  • There were small quirks with how Syndication Links and Search Results were presented (since changed)
  • I could not master my widgets, particularly the way it repeated some widgets at the bottom of the page, even after I had changed them in Appearance settings. (Since discovered to be unrelated to the theme)
  • I was unable to get a child theme to work, even with the help of Chris Aldrich. (Zen has five stylesheets which not being included, however this still did not solve the problem.)
  • I could not get the Notes post kind to work with Micro.Blog as I think a default heading was included within the RSS (again fixed since)
Bookmarked Behind the Revolutionary Power of Black Panther (TIME.com)
The revolutionary thing about Black Panther is that it envisions a world not devoid of racism but one in which black people have the wealth, technology and military might to level the playing field—a scenario applicable not only to the predominantly white landscape of Hollywood but, more important, to the world at large.
This piece captures some of the hope and hype associatwd with the new Black Panther film. It also provides a discussion of the original Black Panther movement. Along with this post from the BBC, they explain why the movie is so important right now in a step to give voice back to a marginalised voice within society. As Austin Collins explains in The Ringer:

How much better would most superhero movies be if, rather than fall back on the plain anonymity of World War I and II villains, they rooted themselves in a live, urgent sense of culture? What if Christopher Nolan’s Batman films had anchored themselves in a genuine sense of economic disparity, rather than continually paying lip service to that idea through a vaguely conceived millionaire and his abuses of power? What if the Avengers’ Ultron had more of a palpable fear of public surveillance? Seeing Bruce Wayne or even 007 get a tour of their new toys, meanwhile, is always fun, as tropes go, but imagine that those toys, and the monied, technologically advanced societies they imply, had become possible only through an element that had the power to reverse the course of colonial history. Wouldn’t those tools seem more powerful, the stakes in their design that much higher? That’s what it feels like to watch Black Panther.

Bookmarked Eight steps to write a literature review (W. Ian O'Byrne)
A literature review is not an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is a document in which you briefly summarize briefly each article that you have reviewed. The literature review does contain a summary of your research, but it goes beyond the typical annotated bibliography by focusing on a specific topic of interest and includes a critical analysis of the relationship among different works, and relating this research to your work.
Ian O’Byrne summarises eight points to work through in thinking about literature review:

  • Define a topic and audience
  • Iteratively search and re-search the literature
  • Take notes as you read
  • Consider the type of review you’re writing
  • Keep your review focused, but also broad
  • Think critically and be consistent
  • Develop a logical structure to your argument
  • Use critical feedback as your guide

I never knew that literature reviews were so nuanced. Along with his post on annotated bibliographies, these resources are those to save for a later time.

Bookmarked The True Power of Technology (pernillesripp.com)
the true power in technology is not just the readiness. The skills. The playing around with tools to create something impossible. It is the power to be seen. To not be alone. To feel that in the world, someone values you. That someone out there gets you.
A like your point Pernille. My only concern is that connections are not always guaranteed. As Bill Ferriter explains in regards to audience, connections are not a given, especially when we expect them to have certain comments. Here I am reminded of Clive Thompson’s argument about it being harder to write for ten than ten thousand:

Going from an audience of zero to an audience of ten is so big that it’s actually huger than going from ten people to a million.

Although connections are powerful, it is important to not over-hype the hoped for outcomes. All that we can do is create the conditions for comments. A point Kathleen Morris makes.

Bookmarked Cursive Handwriting and Other Education Myths (Nautilus)
The grip that cursive has on teaching is sustained by folklore and prejudice.
This is a deep dive into the benefits of cursive handwriting. This is another one of those ‘the way it has always been done’ stories. It is useful to read this along side Bernard Bull’s post and the Future Tense podcast which explores handwriting in general.