Replied to Read Write Collect | Aaron Davis (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

I’ve been following Aaron Davis for a while at Read Write Respond, but today I noticed a whole new part of his online presence at Read Write Collect that I’ve been missing all along!

Chris, your bookmark encouraged me to clarify my purpose and intent for developing another site. Like Michael Bishop, I think that the answer to my online presence is in having two distinct spaces, one for my long form posts and the other a collection of my presence on the web. I can see the benefit in consolidating everything into one space, as you do or better using a platform like Known, however it is working for now.
Replied to Why would you post on a blog? (The Possibility Post)

The Possibility Post is a global digital journal and portfolio that demonstrates who I am as a teacher and as a learner.

This is a useful reflection Ann, outlining some of the benefits to keeping a journal, such as organising resources, documenting the learning and reflecting on practice. I think that one of the challenges that I have grappled with are the technical aspects. You talk about collecting resources. I think that the challenge to anyone starting out is thinking about how you structure such a space. Here tags and categories are so important. This I like about the features associated with the indieweb is that it offers more functionality, such as post kinds (a development on the post formats). For example, replies or audio. However, even these have their limits, as each post can only have one format.

Wondering Ann if you have written or reflected anywhere on the technical features and constraints that you work with? I do notice that you mention the standards? I never went down that path.

Replied to Audience Doesn’t Matter

Audience is a function of the content that you create, the consistency of your creation patterns, the length of time that you’ve been creating, the opportunities that you have to be in front of audiences in the real world, the relationships that you have with people who have audiences larger than you do — and, as frustrating as it may seem, serendipity.

Great reflection Bill. I think that it is easy to be distracted by clicks and likes. I remember when I first started blogging, I thought that I was going to get inundated. The shock was that I almost had to beg for my first comment. I think that in part the Blogger user interface encourages a focus on statistics. I find that the fact you have make a choice to setup Jetpack means that at the very least users are more mindful of the impact and choice. When I moved to WordPress I also made the decision to stop checking the stats. I think that I have only randomly checked Jetpack a handful of time in the last few years.

In regards to “hits’ and ‘likes’, you might enjoy reading this post from danah boyd (although I assume that you have probably stumbled upon it before). She provides a different perspective on data and numbers:

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.

The only thing that I am unsure about is that by my nature of ‘responding’ I often have someone in mind associated with my writing and reflection, is this though a different sort of ‘audience’?

via collect.readwriterespond.com

Replied to Chopping Ancestors from WordPress oEmbedded Tweets (CogDogBlog)

After a few rounds of swinging the code axe, I am cautiously optimistic I have an answer. Be warned. What follows involves code modifications to your theme’s functions.php and for older posts, some clearing of stuff in your database. Now that there are maybe three readers left (Hi Tom!), here we go.

This is another great deep dive Alan. I have not quite got to the stage of carving things out in the backend, but have started down the road of a Child theme thanks to your help. I am interested in adding your solution at that level. It really bugs me how the default oEmbed bakes in the parent post.

P.S. Am I the third reader or a lucky forth?

Via collect.readwriterespond.com

Replied to Accessibility on the Web (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

I certainly don’t go out of my way to follow the topic of accessibility, though I do think about it occasionally. It’s apparently bubbling up more frequently as something in need of some dire attention on both the web and in real life.
I ran across three different pleas in less than the span of…

Just to add to the conversation Chris, Tom Woodward has done a bit in regards to investigating WordPress and accessibility that might be worth checking out:
Working on Accessibility
Javascript for Added Accessibility
Replied to Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us? | Facebook Newsroom (newsroom.fb.com)

In sum, our research and other academic literature suggests that it’s about how you use social media that matters when it comes to your well-being.

I find the answer to improving social media as being how it is used as being problematic. This was a message that was also presented in a recent RN Future Tense podcast. What about the side effects of using such platforms as Facebook? I recognise the improvements in functionality, such as the ability to snooze, take a break from seeing an ex or detecting suicidal posts. However, these only add to the data that I as a user would provide you to develop a richer profile of me. As Ben Williamson reminds in his new book,

Whether you like it or not, a data-based version of yourself exists out there, scattered among different databases as data points in massive torrents of big data. Data mining, algorithms and analytics processes are increasingly being put to work to know and understand you, and also to know and understand the wider populations, communities and societies to which you belong.

If benefits are gained by how we use social media then I would argue that the #IndieWeb has a lot to offer, as well as the movement to claim your own domain. This means that I am more mindful of my space and potentially decide how to share my data and information.

Audrey Watters asks the questions ‘who is telling the stories’ of the future and about research:

Where do these stories about the future come from? Like, how do we know about “what’s happening” and “what’s trending” in education? Who are the people who are telling us what the future of education or technology or education technology is supposed to like? Who tells these stories? Who benefits from these stories? Who funds these stories? Why do we find these stories compelling?

Clearly, in this case it is Facebook and this is a concern.

Replied to Groups, communities, collectives or …? (Marginal Notes)

Twitter is classified by Stephen Downes as a Group, based on the fact that power is centralised and held by the platform, rather than being in the hands of the participants. Membership is closed by dint of the requirement to create an account and there are rules which members are obliged to follow.
In addition to the criteria he uses to disti…

This is an interesting discussion Ian. I wonder if you have read Teaching Crowds by Jon Dron and Terry Anderson. I have summarised it here. However I think that this graphic captures it:

A representation of the ideas presented in Teaching Crowds
Graphic taken from a presentation at GAFE Summit, 2016

What intrigues me about labeling Twitter as a ‘group’ ignores the many features built into the platform and the affordances they allow. For example, the focus on hashtags allows for the formation of ‘Communities of Interest’, while lists can be used to develop ‘Circles’. Maybe Downes’ reference to ‘sameness’ is assocaited with the idea of ‘templated self’.

A self or identity that is produced through various participation architectures, the act of producing a virtual or digital representation of self by filling out a user interface with personal information.

It has definitely left me wondering.

Replied to Chris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

I’ve switched over to David Shanske’s IndieWeb-friendly fork of the TwentySixteen Theme tonight. Liking it a lot so far. Can’t wait to see what little surprises I run across under the hood and how we can potentially make it better for the community.

Really interested Chris in what David Shanske’s theme might have to offer. Having spent some time lately trying to get my head around the ‘motor under the hood’, I am wondering about the difference between David’s approach to fork the 2016 theme, compared to your approach of creating a child. Is there simply fors and againsts for both? Or is one more ideal? Just wondering as per usual.
Replied to Storify Bites the Dust. If You Have WordPress, You Don’t Need Another Third Party Clown Service (CogDogBlog)

There are two kinds of people or organizations that create things for the web. One is looking to make money or fame and cares not what happens once they get either (or none and go back to flipping burgers). The other has an understanding and care for the history and future of the web, and makes every effort to make archived content live on, to not leave trails of dead links. Storify is Type 1. After getting enough of a value based on the free labor of grunts like you and me who built content in it, they got bought by Adobe, and swept up into some enterprise product

Thank you Alan for your investigation into alternatives to Storify. By chance, I had gone down a similar rabbit hole wondering how I could store a set of Tweets. I was under the impression that being embedded if the original tweet were deleted then they would not show up in the blog. It was for this reason that I explored pasting the text. I am assuming from your discussion(s) that this is not the case?

I still like the idea of using TAGS to collect the links, but rather than pasting the text:

The book traces the changing focus of the history of second wave feminism over the 20th/21st centuries. Providing essays situated in each of the three ‘Acts’. I’m live tweeting Fraser’s overview of the history and spirit of the wave
“Second wave feminism came out of the New Left after WW2.

Act1 – Began life as an insurrectionary force that challenged male domination in state organised capitalist societies”

Act2 – the feminist imagination turned from redistribution of power/economy to recognition of difference – identity/cultural politics dominated

Act3 – still unfolding but we are seeing the reinvigoration of feminist and other emancipatory forces to demand that the runaway markets be subjected to democratic control

A user could just paste the URLs:

http://twitter.com/DrNomyn/statuses/940413626082455552
http://twitter.com/DrNomyn/statuses/940414094946873344
http://twitter.com/DrNomyn/statuses/940414496564166661
http://twitter.com/DrNomyn/statuses/940414918280429568

Will continue to think about this, especially as I do not always want the parent tweet necessarily embedded. I also have to investigate your Storify Embeddable Link Extractor, but it looks to be a great tool for all situations.

Replied to What the New York Times doesn’t get about Teachers Promoting Tech. (bigtechcoach.com)

Teachers aren’t in it for the money! Every teacher I know spends hundreds and hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets to make up for the shortfalls of declining budgets and underprivileged kids. Many of those free T-shirts end up in the school counselors office for the kids that comes to school underdressed because of family situations out of the school’s control. Those free pencils and pens? Teachers slip them quietly to the kid that comes to school each day in part to get out of the homeless shelter they live in. Those rare instances when a teacher earns a piece of equipment or free software- it doesn’t go to them, it goes to the school. And the gift card I received? It was redeemed within an hour. . . to buy a book on how to teach coding to every kid in every classroom.

Interesting reflection Keith. I understand what you are saying about teachers ‘not being in it for the money’. I wonder though if this misses a wider point. The increasing influence of private providers in education, both at a school and policy level. I too am a ‘Certified Innovator’ and have presented for the EdTechTeam, but I do not badge my participation on my blog. That is my choice. I am happy to disclose (https://readwriterespond.com/2016/08/how-are-you-disclosing/), but see no need or benefit in plastering this on my front page to the web, especially when such badges lack any layer of credentialing associated with Open Badges.
Replied to The Propaganda behind Personalised Learning (Long View on Education)

So what do we do? Educate ourselves. Follow critical educators on Twitter, read books that expose corporate interests, and support the work of people like Audrey Watters who act as independent journalists.

Another thought provoking read Benjamin. I really like your call for people to educate. I am also intrigued by your four filters:

  • Funding
  • Expertise
  • Ideology
  • Flak

I think that they provide a useful framework to get started. I just wonder about the entry point for many teachers who are already a part of the ‘learning machine’? I agree about supporting those like Watters and mobilising. I wonder if this is a part of what Howard Stevenson and Alison Gilliland describe as a ‘democratic professionalism’.

My question and concern is whether a structural systemic knowledge is enough? I really like Ben Williamson’s approach focusing on the assemblage:

In this broad sense, a data assemblage includes: (1) particular modes of thinking, theories and ideologies; (2) forms of knowledge such as manuals and textbooks; (3) financial aspects such as business models, investment and philanthropy; (4) the political economy of government policy; (5) the materiality of computers, networks, databases and analytics software packages; (6) specific skilled practices, techniques and behaviours of data scientists; (7) organizations and institutions that collect, broker or use data; (8) particular sites, locations and spaces; and (9) marketplaces for data, its derivative products, its analysts and its software.source

An example of this is his work around ClassDojo. What I think is useful about this approach is that it incorporates skills into the wider critical discussion. For me, that is a part of my interest in Google’s GSuite. That is also, in part, what drives me to do my ‘eLearn Update’ newsletter. I just wonder if there is a limit to dialogue from the outside?

Apologies if this is a complete misreading Benjamin.

Replied to AI, algorithmic decision making, ethics and the under-representation of women in tech (Radio National)

Ethical principles for algorithmic decision making; more women in the tech industry; inclusion in AI and design – these of all issues of increasing significance in the future.

This was an important episode addressing the ethical questions that need to be considered in regards to algorithmic decision making, as well as gender equity within edtech. My only question was the voices chosen.

I wonder if there was an opportunity to have a female voice to discuss the topic. Whether it be Audrey Watters, Cathy O’Neil or danah boyd. Maybe choosing an ‘equitable’ voice could be construed as token. However, I fear that continually hearing from males perpetuates the issue at hand.

Replied to Finally! Simple Blog to Blog conversations in WordPress. by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

IndieWeb and Webmentions plugin for WordPress FTW!
I don’t think I’d used it before or really seen it happening in the wild, but Khurt Williams used his website to reply to one of my posts via Webmention. I was then able to write my reply directly within the comments section of my original post…

I was wondering how I was meant to facilitate a threaded comment. Wondering Chris, is that with the Threaded Comment plugin? I remember seeing it listed as ‘optional’. Can’t remember if I installed it.

I still want to know how to bake more code into my responses/posts etc. Is it something that you handcraft or put into the theme?

I remember when I thought I had my head around WordPress and blogging. Then I found the IndieWeb and realised I had sold myself a lie.

Replied to How to tell the good mental health apps from the bad (Radio National)

In part two of our look at the relationship between depression and digital technology we ask how can you to tell the good mental health apps from the bad? Harvard Medical School researchers estimate there are more than 10,000 on the market, but only a fraction have been scientifically evaluated. We also explore the use of online tracking technology for relapse prediction.

The power of applications to provide feedback and extend our capacity and capabilities seems a worthy task. The question though is at what cost. I like the app evaluation model provided by the American Psychiatric Society, but am concerned about the tendency to turn to the ‘easy’ option. This is epitomised to me by Martin Seligman and the potential of Facebook to support positive education:

Along with creative developments in gaming, Facebook seems like a natural for measuring flourishing. Facebook has the audience, the capacity, and is building apps (applications) that speak to the development and measurement of well-being worldwide. Can well-being be monitored on a daily basis all over the world? Here’s a beginning: Mark Slee counted the occurrences of the term laid off in Facebook every day and graphed the count against the number of layoffs worldwide. Sure enough, they moved in lockstep. Not thrilling, you might think. But now consider the five elements of well-being: positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment. Each element has a lexicon; an extensive vocabulary. For example, the English language has only about eighty words to describe positive emotion. (You can determine this by going to a thesaurus for a word such as joy and then looking up all the related words, and then counting the synonyms of all those related words, eventually circling back to the core of eighty.) The hypermassive Facebook database could be accessed daily for a count of positive emotion words—words that signal meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment—as a first approximation to well-being in a given nation or as a function of some major event. It is not only measuring well-being that Facebook and its cousins can do, but increasing well-being as well. “We have a new application: goals.com,” Mark continued. “In this app, people record their goals and their progress toward their goals.” I commented on Facebook’s possibilities for instilling well-being: “As it stands now, Facebook may actually be building four of the elements of well-being: positive emotion, engagement (sharing all those photos of good events), positive relationships (the heart of what ‘friends’ are all about), and now accomplishment. All to the good. The fifth element of well-being, however, needs work, and in the narcissistic environment of Facebook, this work is urgent, and that is belonging to and serving something that you believe is bigger than the self—the element of meaning. Facebook could indeed help to build meaning in the lives of the five hundred million users. Think about it, Mark.”

I have written about Facebook elsewhere and do not want to go into that here. I wonder though if there could be a means of collecting and collating such responses, while still holding onto the data? Is this one of the compromises to the ‘internet of things’?

Replied to #Ascilite17 by Greg Thompson (drbeardface.net)

Stiegler argues, the double potential of technology is that it also has the potential to deliver what he terms “singularisation”. One of the ways of thinking about this is to consider how it is that culture can interrupt (or catch up) with the ultrarapid technological change that students, schools and school personnel are increasingly contending with.

The history of personalisation, automation and machine learning is something that cannot be spoken about enough. EdTech seems to have a habit of seemingly surpressing many of these aspects in the desire for simplicity. People like Audrey Watters, Ben Williamson, Naomi Barnes and yourself do a good job of at least maintaining an alternate dialogue.

What I find interesting is that in placing hope with ‘big data’ we embrace a particular approach to data and identity. Firstly, it seems based on the premise of collecting coapieus amounts of data. Secondly, it depends on a rigid foundation of personal data collection.

A part of my current position involves aligning schools with SIF compliance. Along with APIs, such standards seem to be assumed. This world is far from simple and it consequences are not always clear.

I am intrigued with the idea of a ‘politics of technics’ and ‘singularisation’ wondering what that might actually mean in practice for the classroom teacher? School principal? EdTech coach? System leader? Researcher? Is it about identifying other possibilities? As I read Jenny Mackness’ recent words about changes in ‘learning and teaching’, I wonder if this is a part of it? At the very least we need different and divergent stories and I don’t know that we hear enough of them.

Replied to October 6, 2017 by Clive (Clive Thompson)

The story of why I’m @pomeranian99

Clive, I was intrigued by the story of how you came to your username. I had a similar story of confusion in choosing ‘mrkrndvs’. As an educator, many misinterpret it as ‘Mr Krndvs’ but soon get tongue tide. It is in fact my name without vowels, which is not so obvious as I do not go by my first name.

I was signing up for a Hotmail account sometime in the early 00’s and somewhere in the terms and conditions I misread that you would have to pay for a proper name. I therefore came up with ‘mrkrndvs’ as an alternative. I assume in hindsight that the ‘cost’ was probably in reference to purchasing a custom domain

Thankfully, I have long forgotten the other iterations of online usernames I used in those halcyon days. I do get pressure now and then to take on a more ‘professional’ username, but for me it is a part of the story of who I am. I feel that I have come to fit it overtime.

Replied to How to strive and thrive by using fuzzy goals and mental models (transformative learning)

What do you do when the end goal is not as clear? The answer is fuzzy goals

Goal setting is such an interesting topic. Smart goals seems to be a lot of people’s default. I have reflected before on the need to be open when developing pedagogical practices:

More than just SMART, the purpose of goals are to provide focus. A useful guide is the How Might We question, as it incorporate the what, the when and who in a succinct manner. In addition to this, I have found the Modern Learning Canvas useful in regards identifying particular points of innovation.

This is something Vivian Robinson touches on in Student-Centred Leadership:

When goals involve new challenges, how can you possibly know if it is achievable, if it is realistic, and how long it will take you to achieve it? In the absence of such knowledge, it may be better to set a learning goal or a broader performance goal that expresses your shared commitments and helps keep you focused.

The problem in a world driven by data and accountability, we are often uncomfortable with embracing the wicked and fussyness of the unknown.

Replied to A microcast about microcasts by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

I’ve wanted to create a podcast for a long time, but the effort involved just seemed like too much. So using my own website, I thought I’d see what I could come up with in under an hour in terms of creation and posting. Here’s the first “episode” of my microcast which I’ve conceived of, …

I loved the depth of reflection that you provide Chris, connecting it with the past and considering all the different elements. I think that I need to give the idea some more consideration. I opened up Voxer and recorded a short note while cooking tea. Forgot all the contextual elements. Had to finish it as the hamburgers needed flipping.
Replied to Creating a personal Learning Board of Directors (transformative learning)

What if instead of being the sum of the five people we spend the most time, we set up a Learning Board of Directors. A deliberate choice of people who inspire us, provide feedback, clarity and encouragement, who are interested in our growth and development and won’t shy away from the tough conversations. Some of the Learning Board members you may not know but their guidance from afar is through intellectual inspiration and advice in the form of blogs, podcasts or videos. Below is the list that I came up with.

Another thought provoking post Steve. It reminds me in part of Cameron Paterson’s call to find people who scare you, as well as Tom Barrett’s creative council.

A few questions that I was left wondering is whether the board of directors changes over time? And needs to change? Does having a ‘board of directors’ involve creating the conditions to properly embrace these guides and mentors? And do those on the board always choose to be there or do we choose them? Such an interesting idea. I am left reflecting on staff meetings where gathering together does not always guarantee anything is actually achieved.

Replied to Revealing a heavy heart and awakening through fear and dialogue (transformative learning)

I learnt that I’m not afraid of public speaking. I actually enjoy speaking in public. I’m afraid of the feeling of being judged in public. I’m afraid of letting go and not being in control.

This is a great reflection. I could not agree more about the realisation that it is about the critique, more than the actual performance. I refer to it as being comfortable in your own skin. Take for example Gary Stager. He shared his limited preparation associated with a recent TEDTalk:

I wrote the talk an hour before showtime and delivered it with no monitor or timer in front of me. I’m sure that the performance suffers, but that the message may manage to be worthwhile nonetheless. I hope you or some teenagers find it interesting.

This is in contrast to someone like Amy Burvall, who felt that the TED format, something critiqued on method as much as content, required something different:

Usually when I give keynotes, I don’t really make a script per se…I know what I’m talking about and prefer to speak naturally and let my slides, which are very visual, guide me. But TED-style talks are different…they are timed and must be precise, therefore requiring a script. Every word counts – like a poem. The trick is, you want to practice that bad boy till it’s part of you, like a tattoo, but still come off sounding like it’s the first time you’ve ever said it.

She even went to the length of creating an animated version to thoroughly prepare:

Thanks Steve for sharing. It definitely challenges me to push myself beyond my usual comfort zone.