Liked 30 Day Challenge For a Happier Teacher You by Pernille Ripp

If you are like me, January brings excitement, positivity but also exhaustion. This quiet month is one where I sometimes find my energy running low, my creativity running out, and rather than take the time to take care of myself I barrel on as if that will do the trick. So this year, much like the years before, I am challenging myself to take better care of myself, as well as those around me. And so the 30-day challenge is back. A challenge meant to remind me of all the good. Challenge me to take better care of myself. Challenge me to slow down. Challenge me to focus more on meaningful interactions, rather than hurried conversations. Feel free to join me if you want or create your own.

Replied to Exit Option Democracy by an author (Thought Shrapnel)

What I do accept, though, is that Vertesi’s findings show that ‘exit democracy’ isn’t really an option here, so the world of technology isn’t really democratic. My takeaway from all this, and the reason for my pragmatic approach this year, is that it’s up to governments to do something about all this.

Zuboff’s book sounds interesting. Having just finished Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway, I have been listening to quite a few interviews associated with the book. One of the messages which he argues for is hopefulness. I think that an informed pragmaticism is all we can wish for. This is what I tried to capture in my post.
Replied to State of the Indieweb in WordPress by David ShanskeDavid Shanske

As we move into the end of the first month of 2019, here is what I personally am hoping to see.

  • The release of Yarns Microsub
  • At least one of the two theme conversions I worked on being released in the WordPress Theme Directory, giving us another option for individuals who better integration
  • Redesign, improvement, and enhancement of the Facepiles in Semantic Linkbacks.
  • Look at the future of Webmention and Semantic Linkbacks. Every year, there is talk of why they aren’t merged. This is partly to do with the storage design. It may be time to standardize the storage.
  • Improve MF2 Feed to generate a compliant feed for times when the theme cannot be modified to encourage more interaction
I look forward to the changes, especially in regards to new themes and facepiles. I am interested in your work associated with Independent Publisher.
Bookmarked Authentic Learning Experiences by an author (User Generated Education)

I absolutely love planning authentic learning experiences. I get to use my creativity to plan and implement them. It does take lots of pre-planning – finding resources, usually videos, and purchasing, gathering, and organizing the resources used.

I also love watching how excited learners get doing them. There is 100% engagement. I’ve said before that being an experiential educator, there is lots of pre-planning but the learners work harder than me during classtime – as it should be.

Jackie Gerstein discusses the qualities of authentic learning:

  • A state of flow
  • Interdisciplinary standards and skills are addressed
  • The focus is on learners learning rather than teachers teaching
  • Often are minds-on, hands-on activities.
  • Learners do not ask, “Why do I need to know this?”
  • The learning activities are open-ended so learners put their “selves” into their projects.
  • Projects are long term not finished in one class period.
  • Troubleshooting and iteration often occur.
  • The learners become a community of learners sharing ideas, asking for help, brainstorming.

She also provides a range of resources for digging deeper into this topic.

Replied to The Boing Boing blog turns 19 today (Boing Boing,Boing Boing)

The Boing Boing blog turns 19 today,Nineteen years ago today, Mark decided to do some research on the new Blogger service for an article in The Industry Standard, and so he created a blog and started posting to it (the Standard spike…

I am intrigued how you would describe the maturity of Boing Boing? How do you think it has changed and developed in the last 18 years, other than new additions?
Replied to Hierarchies and large organisations by an author (Thought Shrapnel)

[W]orking in a group of 10 people within a large organization feels both right and wrong at the same time. On the surface it feels like the kind of group you’re meant to work in, but something major is missing. A job at a big company is like high fructose corn syrup: it has some of the qualities of things you’re meant to like, but is disastrously lacking in others.

Paul Graham

Doug, I am wondering what this says about schools? Is there an ideal size for teams and organisations?
Bookmarked Fables of School Reform by an author (The Baffler)

Over the past five years, more than $13 billion in venture capital has been sunk into education technology startups. But in spite of all the money and political capital pouring into the sprawling ed-tech sector, there’s precious little evidence suggesting that its trademark innovations have done anything to improve teaching and learning.

Audrey Watters brings together a tangled narrative of innovation associated with educational technology. She explains how in search of the mercurial solution, computers and coding are brought in with the only clear outcome being privitisation:

Outfitting struggling schools with computers was a self-evident bid to render the public education system more efficient and effective—and the entirely foreseeable fallout from that blitz has been the recent push toward vocational training that prepares students for a technological future: “everyone should learn to code.” The tech-mogul variant of that directive is “everyone should learn to privatize.”

This is all built on the back of networking between the same names for the last thirty years:

You know the old aphorism: those who don’t learn from history are condemned to network their way into well-connected luxury and clout.

This is a useful read alongside Ben Williamson’s Big Data in Education.

Marginalia

Outfitting struggling schools with computers was a self-evident bid to render the public education system more efficient and effective—and the entirely foreseeable fallout from that blitz has been the recent push toward vocational training that prepares students for a technological future: “everyone should learn to code.” The tech-mogul variant of that directive is “everyone should learn to privatize.”

The financialization of education, that is to say, is not particularly new nor is it coming from a particularly innovative crowd—just a decidedly persistent one.

Any sort of “review” in the ASU+GSV framework would be a kind of networking or power brokering—it’s who you know, not what you know; it’s not how you wield the findings of your own research (or learn from that of others) as much as it’s how you wield your relationships.

Still, what hasn’t changed, it seems, are many of the figures involved in funding these ideas—together with the ideas themselves, which have remained stalwartly gadget-obsessed and market-centered for the past thirty-odd years, despite all the talk about innovation.

What was the appeal of Theranos to a group more commonly associated with education policy and education technology investments? Perhaps it was simply that Theranos promised the same kind of miraculous technological fix that continues to dominate the reveries of ed-tech investors. It is, after all, much the same story that startups usually peddle: incumbent players in an industry—be it health care or education—have little interest in disrupting status-quo arrangements. No, only a bold, outside innovator can see beyond the constraints that expertise typically places on those working within a field.

But you know the old aphorism: those who don’t learn from history are condemned to network their way into well-connected luxury and clout. Besides, why dally with the notion of history at all when everything is moving so very fast along such clearly delineated pathways to personal success? There’ll be an app for making the past entirely irrelevant soon enough—peddled as new and “disruptive” by the same diligent entrepreneurs who’ve been vying to privatize every last public school over the last three decades. And with any luck, it’ll be the toast of next year’s ASU+GSV.

Bookmarked The ‘Uberfication’ of education: warning about commercial operators (The Sydney Morning Herald)

An Australian unionist is leading a global campaign against the commercialisation of education, both in developing countries and in Australia.

Education International is targeting “educorporations” including Pearson and Bridge International Academies. This continues on from Audrey Watters post documenting the financial intertwining that is inherent within educational technology.

Anna Hogan says she fears the use of laptops with scripted lessons in Africa could lead “to the complete annihilation of what it means to be a teacher professional which is what the scary future of teacher becomes if it starts to become adaptive learning”.

“Logging onto the computer and students are doing all their curriculum work on the computer and the algorithms are telling them what their weak areas are. The teachers are totally hands off and just facilitating,” she says.

In Liberia outsources its education system, Graham Martin-Brown elaborates on Liberias decision to outsource its education system. This includes a few follow ups too.

Bookmarked Teachers and technology: time to get serious by Neil Selwyn (Impact – Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching)

The most useful education technology knowledge does not come from globe-trotting ‘gurus’, keynote speakers and product evangelists. Instead, the best technology advice can often come from simply trying things out for yourself and/or speaking with colleagues working in similar situations and circumstances. There is still a lot to be said for teachers drawing on local knowledge and trusting their own judgement.

Neil Selwyn provides seven brief bits of advice for any teacher wanting to make sense of technology. They include:

  1. Be clear what you want to achieve
  2. Set appropriate expectations
  3. Aim for small-scale change
  4. Pay attention to the ‘bigger picture’
  5. Think about unintended consequences
  6. Technology use is a collective concern
  7. Beware of over-confident ‘experts’

This reminds me of my call for pedagogical coaching when it comes to technology. Also another post to add to my list of research associated with technology.

Liked Learn In Public (swyx.io | Learn In Public)

People notice genuine learners. They’ll want to help you. Don’t tell them, but they just became your mentors. This is very important: Pick up what they put down. Think of them as offering up quests for you to complete. When they say “Anyone willing to help with __ __?” you’re that kid in the first row with your hand already raised. These are senior engineers, some of the most in-demand people in tech. They’ll spend time with you, 1 on 1, if you help them out (p.s. and there’s always something they want help on). You can’t pay for this stuff. They’ll teach you for free. Most people don’t see what’s right in front of them. But not you.

Another interesting take on why to blog.
Who is responsible when no one is in charge? This is the question that I am currently grappling with as we work with our insurance company to work with a building company who then subcontract out various jobs. Even though we are told we are a priority customer and that they are sorry for the hassle – is that what they say to everyone – I cannot think of one situation that has gone to some sort of plan.

The problem is, who do you speak to? Clearly the phone operators are just doing there job, while the various trades are doing theirs. (Note: we have had two different trades turn up randomly on the wrong day) Do we speak with the project manager in charge? Probably, if you can get a hold of them and they are able to actually bring your job up on the computer?

Although the ‘rise of the robots’ may resolve some of this, I think it comes back to care amd customer service. It really has me considering what cover we get and how much we pay. Maybe sometimes you pay for what you get?

I am currently read (or listening to be correct) to Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway. What interests me is the idea of the future. There are many aspects of the novel that seem far beyond today, yet at the same time there is an uncanny plausibility that haunts the whole time.

I think this experience is no different to other novels set in the future as well as the fast:

The books challenge us how we live without telling us how to live.

I have lost count the amount of times that the art of making a sandwich has been used as the ultimate example of human algorithms. Although I agree it can be useful, I do not think that it provides the nuance for appreciating machine learning. For me this comes in the form of music.

I love listening to music with my daughters. One minute it might be a Disney classic, the next some pop song off the radio. What interests me is when I introduce something new to see the response. Each decision influences the next choice. This rather than sandwiches captures the challenges and complexities associated with ‘algorithms’ and ‘machine learning’.

Liked The Open Web by Nate CullNate Cull (Mastodon)

Somewhere between 2000 and 2019 the IT industry seamlessly transitioned from

“we provide precision engineering tools, your data is yours, you should not need to trust us or anyone, mathematics is your guarantee, crypto 4 ever. ”

to

“give us your data. all of it. give. no secrets. hold nothing back. in return we will… train AIs on it.. and provide unspecified ‘services’… for someone, who may be you… that can change at any time… and we are funded by, uh. Look, a unicorn!”

via Daniel Goldsmith
Bookmarked Lana Del Rey’s Recent “Fan Tracks” Reflect Some of Her Strongest Songwriting Yet (Pitchfork)

“Mariners Apartment Complex,” “Venice Bitch,” and “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it” continue Lana’s lyrical hot streak. … She continues to tease the tropes that have so often been used to pigeonhole her, including femme-fatale melodrama, sadness as a form of rebellion, kitschy sexuality, and her beloved Americana imagery, all prim debutantes in pastels.

I am intrigued as to what Lana Del Rey’s album will be like. I have really enjoyed what Jack Antonoff has done with St Vincent and Lorde.
Bookmarked 27 types of blog posts by Frank Meeuwsen

The list below is far from exhaustive and exclusive. That is the beauty at the same time. Nothing has to be done, everything is possible. Take advantage of this list and of course fill in the comments.

This post from Frank Meeuwsen is a useful list of blogging ‘posts’ or ideas. It is interesting to read this against Edublogs ideas for educators and students. I still think that there is a level above defining the many faces of blogging.