Replied to Learning Spaces Aotearoa by Steve Mouldey

Rooms that give no sense of you in the space do not give us a sense of belonging. Classroom/learning space wise think of both a blank class of rows but also new ILE spaces with no display areas for learners to mark their space. In our day to day lives we have all seen work pods or office spaces where people have put pot plant, pictures etc. on their little screen areas behind desktop computer.
We do this in our living rooms, man caves etc. How do we enable this in learning spaces?

Thank you for sharing your reflections Steve.

I really liked some of the suggestion, such as developing walls that make us think, making sure that students belong in their spaces and thinking about our spaces from the perspective of different learners.

This is another post to add to the list.
Replied to Educational Use of Twitter in Teaching, Learning, and Socializing by W. Ian O’Byrne

Twitter is a communication tool that allows participants to provide updates in 140 characters or less. 10,000s of educators from across the world use Twitter. The benefit of Twitter is that it is an open and global conversation.

This provides a useful starting point for EduTwitter Ian. One to add to the list.
Replied to Media for the people by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller

Fascist propaganda led directly to modern advertising, and modern advertising has now led us right back to fascist propaganda, aided and abetted by people who saw the right to make a profit as more important than the social implications of their work.

I think this is the time to take more direct action, and to build institutions that don’t just speak truth to power, but put power behind the truth. Stories are how we learn, but our actions define us.

This reminds me of danah boyd’s call for:

  • Create a sustainable business structure without the pressure of ROI
  • Rebuild the social networks
  • Develop new ways of holding those who are struggling
Replied to Stop Setting SMART Goals by Dan Haesler (Cut Through Coaching & Consulting)

Next time you’re asked to set a goal why not consider other approaches – for example, an Appreciative Inquiry – to explore the possibilities first. Then, once you’ve settled on a goal, you can use the SMART acronym to check how well you can articulate your next action.

I agree Dan, SMART goals (or SMARTER goals) can be limiting. In recent years I have chosen to instead focus on one word, based on the work of Kath Murdoch and Edna Sackson. I find this allows for a breadth of opportunities, rather than limiting things.
Replied to On Beyond Like (The Place Where Conversations Happen) by Kevin Hodgson (Kevin’s Meandering Mind)

Is there any doubt that the world would be a little better place if we took the time to talk, even in digital spaces, with each other? A “like” or a “plus one” or a “boost” or whatever is something, to be sure, but is it enough? Does it have depth? Nope. I can’t even remember what I liked yesterday and I bet you can’t either.

I was thinking about this topic recently when developing a session on blogging. I created a paper blog and added a space for ‘likes’, ‘read’ and ‘comment’.

Paper Blog inspired by Bianca Hewes
Paper Blog Template inspired by Bianca Hewes

My intent was to get people to think about the different points of data and what they might mean.

Personally, I have a long history of sharing quotes from posts that grabbed my attention. My issue was this wealth of knowledge was shared within someone else’s house. I have therefore taken to posting on my own site. This has led me to organise responses into different kinds, including likes, bookmarks, replies, listens, watches and reads.

For me, a ‘like’ often refers to something I thought was interesting, but do not really have anything else to add, either personally or as a comment to the author. In many respects these ‘Likes’ are for me firstly. I think that they are similar to Chris Aldrich’s read posts. (I use ‘reads’ for books.) I often link to articles I like in my own writing, rather than hit originals with endless pingbacks. See for example this post by Richard Olsen:

A screenshot taken from Richard Olsen’s post ‘Evaluating expert advice on schools and learning’

In addition to sharing in someone else’s house, I felt I had lost my purpose in plastering Twitter with endless quotes that were simply feeding the stream. I have subsequently tried to be more mindful, fearful of becoming a ‘statistical zombie’ as danah boyd puts it:

Stats have this terrible way of turning you — or, at least, me — into a zombie. I know that they don’t say anything. I know that huge chunks of my Twitter followers are bots, that I could’ve bought my way to a higher Amazon ranking, that my Medium stats say nothing about the quality of my work, and that I should not treat any number out there as a mechanism for self-evaluation of my worth as a human being. And yet, when there are numbers beckoning, I am no better than a moth who sees a fire.

Compared to the simplicity of just liking, favouriting or clapping, using my own site to ‘like’ involves more effort than a quick click. Although micropub clients provide an easier workflow, I find the effort put into crafting a like makes it something more than just clicking a button. I really like what Clay Shirky says:

The thing I can least afford is to get things working so perfectly that I don’t notice what’s changing in the environment anymore.

Maybe then rather than beyond like we need to reimagine what the like is all about and start from there?

Replied to Thesis submitted. Next steps. by an author (Marginal Notes)

Last week I submitted my thesis. No hoopla. No fanfare. No round of applause. It was merely a matter of printing four copies, getting them bound, then dropping them off at the reception desk of a University office building. Quite an anticlimax really. In return I was given a pro forma acknowledgement of receipt and the promise that they would be passed on to the relevant department. I needed no more than that, but I can’t help thinking how deflated some people must feel; all that effort and not even a ‘congratulations’ or ‘you must be delighted?’ Perhaps there might be something to be gained from the University rethinking that small but significant aspect of the examination process.

Massive congratulations Ian. I assume that eventually it maybe published somewhere digitally. Can’t wait to read it. Exciting times!
Replied to Logic and rhetoric: the problem with digital literacy by Naomi Barnes (Critical Theory of Technology)

Below are 5 approaches to digital literacy that language researchers in digital rhetoric have identified.

  • The error model
  • The apprenticeship model
  • The dialogic model
  • Situated learning model
  • The gift economy model
This is an intriguing post Naomi.

I have thought about digital pedagogies before, but only ever as a part of a wider discussion of pedagogy. I had never really thought about the intracies.

The five models have me reflecting upon what models I have used in the past and within what context. It then has me considering what models work best in my current context, working with teachers.
Replied to The Importance of Teacher Voice by Cameron Paterson (Learning Shore)

An informed and engaged population starts with teachers. Protecting liberal democracy requires curriculum disobedience in the same manner that university professors protect their academic freedom, and upholding professional ethics, just as the medical profession adhere to the Hippocratic Oath. For too long educators have allowed others to set the agenda. The tacit knowledge of teachers is often devalued and teachers are voiceless in discussions about education policy. Education has yet to put in place a system that guarantees teacher’s a voice and makes it an accepted, integral part of the day-to-day operations of schools.

I enjoyed this post Cameron and look forward to Flipping the System. However, I am left wondering if great teachers make great schools? I actually worry that maybe great teachers are in fact bad teachers?

I found it interesting reading your post on collaboration alongside this one. I always thought that if you provided the opportunity for teachers to work together that collaboration would be there. However, my experience has been that there are some who are more interested in their own agency and self-interest. It is for this reason that I cringe at awards and individual recognition. Maybe I am wrong? Jealous of the success of others? However, I would like to think that my interest is in supporting the wider systems, whatever that may look like.

Replied to Why Google’s feed succeeds when Facebook’s fails by an author (Duncan Stephen)

Throughout its history, Google has focused on what people really want from it. This is why its search engine has been so wildly successful.

Google became so good at it, that it began to reasonably predict what I might be coming to it for. Nowadays it is bringing me things that I didn’t even know I wanted. That is seriously impressive.

Does that ‘seriously impressive’ ever make you seriously concerned about how they were able to make such recommendations? It makes me wonder about the shadow profile that Google are building? I prefer my own feed. That is how I found this post. It wasn’t via Google, it was via my own network.
Replied to The Importance Of Students Using Their Own Digital Kit by Mal Lee, Roger Broadie (The Digital Evolution of Schools)

Critical is that digitally empowered students can use their ‘own’ suite of digital technologies largely unfettered within the school walls, and have ready connectivity.

That carries with it the school’s and teacher’s appreciation of how best to build upon that ownership to grow the learners and their learning. It entails a willingness to trust students to use in their everyday school learning the technologies they already use 24/7/365, the need to empower them, recognise, to value and build upon the students being digital, while understanding how they can take advantage of that capability in their teaching.

It obliges the school to understand this is a digitally empowered generation, with a digital mindset, ever rising expectations, who have long taken charge of their learning with the digital, who will do so lifelong, who have grown being digital by naturally using the apt technologies in near every facet of their lives and knowing how best to take advantage of that digital skillset.

I am all for handing over control and ownership to students. Agency is not my concern. I just wonder how much agency students can have when rather than schools (or education departments) making critical decisions, it is the market?

The way that you describe the take-up of technology it becomes about what was learnt when three? If you asked me ten years ago if I would recommend Facebook, I might have said yes, it is where everyone is, why not. Now, I would definitely say no. Thankfully no one I worked with agreed with me back then.

I have similar concerns about ‘devices’ and software. Although I like the idea of digital agnostic, especially Matt Esterman’s idea of a toolography, I just wonder about position we put students in following this path? Who is responsible for any data breaches in this circumstance? Even more so if that compromises a whole network?

Replied to Freshly Brewed Thoughts: November 2, 2018 by Laura Hilliger (Freshly Brewed Thoughts)

I try to believe there are good people everywhere. In Big Pharma, there are dedicated scientists who really are trying to help people, right? It’s not their fault that capitalism functions as it does. They’re just trying to help. It’s the soulless executives that use unbranded marketing to convince people that they’re sick, not the scientists.

Interesting piece about pharmaceuticals Laura, especially the onus put on the consumer to be critical:

So what can people do? Experts I asked advised paying close attention to signals of underlying financial connections, both on websites and social media posts and in messaging from seemingly benign health groups. Matthew McCoy, the medical ethics professor, says people should be vigilant if an organization’s funding sources and board members are obscured, or “if the life cycle of a group seems to perfectly match the push for FDA approval for a drug.”

It’s valuable advice. But it puts on the onus on patients, who shouldn’t have to know better.

This reminds me of the argument as to whether it is unethical to work at Google? For example, is an engineer for Docs impacted by wider choices as AI investing in the military or the development of a modified search engine for China? It would seem that from the response of workers that they are inadvertently.

I wonder if rather than trying to identify the parts in isolation, that we are better considering the various actors? I really enjoyed this breakdown of Latour’s work in this regard. For example, consider this description:

Gravity, he has argued time and again, was created and made visible by the labor and expertise of scientists, the government funding that paid for their education, the electricity that powered up the sluggish computer, the truck that transported the gravimeter to the mountaintop, the geophysicists who translated its readings into calculations and legible diagrams, and so on. Without this network, the invisible waves would remain lost to our senses.source

Not sure what this looks like in regards to Big Pharma, however I think that James Bridle’s book helps extend this conversation, especially with his discussion of Eroom’s Law:

Over the past sixty years, despite the huge growth of the pharmacological industry, and the concomitant investment in drug discovery, the rate at which new drugs are made available has actually fallen when compared to the amount of money spent on research – and it has fallen consistently and measurably.

Replied to Syndication Links 4.0.0 Released by David ShanskeDavid Shanske

As promised previously, I’ve built new syndication code and added supported for Bridgy and Indienews, which both uses Webmentions to trigger a syndication action. This is disabled by default.

Well done with all your work getting this done. I look forward to using it. Thank you.
Replied to On Collecting Bookmarks by Ton Zijlstra

What do you use for bookmarking? How do you use bookmarks?

I responded to Frank’s response to bookmarks and the realised that you had started the conversation.

I have been bookmarking on my (second) site for a while now. In the past I used Diigo, but I would save everything without much thought. I tinkered with Radio3, but it just did not work for what I was after.

I feel posting on my site has made me more conscious of what I save and share. I have progressively extended this too incorporating the various post kinds.

Before I save bookmarks, I use a combination of Pocket and Trello as a temporary store. I have documented this here.

Hope that helps.


Replied to A cabinet of bookmarks by Frank Meeuwsen (Digging the digital)

It is my way of public experimenting. I just try stuff on this blog and see where it goes, both in terms of my own satisfaction and reactions of my readers. Since my wife is a bit behind on my blog and I haven’t heard from my mum yet, I’m glad the other readers responded. Ton started his day with some musings on his bookmark-strategy (yes, that is a thing for people like us) that resonated some of the talks we had last week. Peter responded with his strategy on how to save bookmarks.

I have been bookmarking on my (second) site for a while now. In the past I used Diigo, but I would save everything without much thought. I feel posting on my site has made me more conscious of what I save and share. I have progressively extended this too incorporating the various post kinds. I look forward to seeing where your bookmarking takes you.
Replied to Too Long; Didn’t Read #171 by Ian O’Byrne (W. Ian O’Byrne)

I’m currently reading Twitter and Tear Gas by Zeynep Tufekci. It’s a fascinating read that is making me question a lot of my thinking about these digital, social spaces.

I too have started reading Twitter and Tear Gas. I too am being challenged by it. I somehow thought that it wouldn’t be applicable in the field of EdTech. What it has me thinking is that in ‘networked publics’ there is not imaginary line where EdTech (whatever that actually means) starts and stops.

Thank you too for the shoutout. It definitely has sparked some interesting conversation. I read a post today about mindfulness apps, yet it overlooked the collection of data associated with the completion of various. We are asked to be conscious of our breathing, yet ignore the data that we share on a daily basis.

Replied to Meditation in the Time of Disruption by Mike Powell (The Ringer)

Using Insight Timer, which greets you with a large map charting everyone currently meditating on the app (as well as a tally of how many people have meditated today and a ticker of how many are meditating at that very moment), it can be impossible to feel alone. The first few times I use it, it reminds me of wandering into a good used bookstore: You’ll probably find what you want eventually, but you’re going to get lost in some weird stuff along the way.

Is it just me or does the combination of mindfulness and platform capitalism seem slightly ironic? I respect the lofty aspirations to develop:

A platform to give meditation away for free to everyone on the planet.

However, if this is built on the back of angel funding, then there is clearly some windfall at play? When the developer starts analysing the data:

In the course of charting user data and trying to discern exactly what Insight Timer actually is, Plowman has noticed that “People who come in with preferences set to secular and highly scientific teachings start to meander.”

It provides insight into the benefit that such a platform could gain, especially when combined with other data points.

Replied to
I first heard of Mastery Transcript Consortium via Grant Lichtman’s blog:

One of the most powerful elements of the MTC design to date is the input they received from colleges in advance of launching the initiative. In discussion with directors of admissions and college presidents, Scott and his team found a receptive audience “if you can give us something that we can initially scan in two minutes”. It is also more than serendipitous that this effort was launched the same year that dozens of colleges and universities signed on to the “Turning the Tide” manifesto that refocuses college admissions on depth, interest, and passion, and away from multiple advanced placement courses, grade point average, and shallow community service experiences.

I also remember Scott Looney talking on the Modern Learners podcast:

For me it picks up on what Todd Rose discusses in his book End of Average, as well as some of what is being attempted in the Open Badges space.

I think that it is something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education. There is also a PYP primary school near me that has mapped out the various learnings and marks them off, I don’t see that as any different?

I still think though Audrey Watters sums it up best when she asks:

What is “competency”? Who decides? How is it different from current assessment decisions? (Is it?)

According to Will Richardson if the focus of ‘mastery’ is about better teaching then we are still missing the point.

The other thing to consider is the place of ‘grades’ in US schools. How prevalent are ‘grades’ in Australia? I am not against mastery or any such intervention, I am just mindful of it being seen as the solution.

Replied to We are All Leaders (or can be) #9x9x25 Post 4 by Jenni Hayman (Community Educator)

Excellent post-secondary leaders balance service to their institutions with service to their teams, colleagues, learners, and communities – keeping a clear focus on organizational mission and vision. This type of service leadership requires a willingness to be available and support daily departmental activities. Service leadership also means supporting and empowering colleagues that are implementing strategic initiatives. Support and empowerment mean hiring, onboarding, and providing professional development opportunities for team members, leveraging their strengths, and removing obstacles to their success. Excellent post-secondary leaders are lifelong learners, they continue to read, research, and actively participate in review of emerging teaching practice and learner support strategies. They learn about useful technology for their practice. Excellent leaders measure, document, analyze, and evaluate successful initiatives, listen carefully for diverse and dissenting perspectives, and quickly learn from mistakes and failures.

Jenni I really enjoyed your reflection on learning and leadership. It has me thinking whether there is a difference between leadership the verb and leadership the noun? I often catch myself being distracted and focusing on my own place and position. I guess this is the leadership that we can always be doing better.
Replied to The Future of PD for Faculty by Mel Young (Disruptive Pedagogy)

Our Teaching and Learning Hub started a Level-Up Challenge this fall that challenged faculty to make one small change to a lesson (or course/program) to make it more impactful for learners. Faculty must share their level up experience on our Hub blog and they will earn a Level-Up button. Many of our faculty who’ve already leveled up are asking if they can earn multiple buttons! We are currently working on a program for the winter semester that will continue to challenge our trailblazing faculty to keep trying new things!

A few years ago I was looking into different options for recognising learning in an attempt to celebrate more personalised successes and journeys. I wonder if Open Badges would be of use? In particular, the notion of constellations where learners are able to join together different accomplishments to tell a particular story depending on the story that needs to be told.
Replied to On Reading by Denise Nielsen (Out-of-Office Hours)

But none of us read the way we used to. I don’t exclude myself. Although a voracious reader, I have gone from reading a book or two a week to maybe one every month. I read more online, finding myself losing focus more easily, finding it more difficult to immerse myself in a body of literature…

I really like your point Denise that we do not read the way that we used to. It makes me think about notion of ‘networked publics’ defined by danah boyd in It’s Complicated:

Networked publics are publics that are restructured by networked technologies. As such, they are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice.(Page 8)

In the time before social media we still had networks, they were just different. I wonder if one of the challenges we have is recognising that what we did yesterday is different today.

In regards to reading and writing, I like the way J. Hillis Miller puts it:

As we read we compose, without thinking about it, a kind of running commentary or marginal jotting that adds more words to the words on the page. There is always already writing as the accompaniment to reading.

I agree with you that student write and read today, I sometimes think that one challenge is valuing this.