Read Write Respond #003


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) licenseMy Month of March

March has been a weird month. Everything just seems to have flown on by at school. We unpacked mindsets as a part of the instructional model. Intervention kept on intervening, with the highlight being the use of TouchCast and the green screen to support recordings. I also had the opportunity to pitch an idea as a part of an (unsuccessful) job application which was interesting. Wonder why more processes aren't like that?

At home, I am learning first hand just how much students in Foundation grow and learn, with my daughter coming on leaps and bounds. Actually both are flying with the youngest considering taking up the act of crawling.

In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:


Here then are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking …

Learning and Teaching

10 Practical Ways to Innovate in Your Classroom – AJ Juliani provides a range of ways to innovate your classroom, including everything from Genius Hour to sharing tutorials online.

I’m calling these 10 examples practical because I believe they are doable. They work in most grade levels, in most schools, in most situations. However, as we talked about in a previous post, you and your students are going to have to be the ultimate decision makers on whether or not any of these ideas would work. 

Learner Agency – More than just a buzzword – Claire Amos provides 10 ways you might provide Learner Agency in your classroom or school.

If the world around us wasn't changing so rapidly, we might have got away with sticking our heads in the sand and believing (like certain schools still do) that effective education means little, if any, learner agency and whole lot of control and teacher centred pedagogy.  Don't get me wrong, there is still a place for direct instruction and even rote learning, but if you are limiting yourself to such practice, no matter how awesomely charismatic you might be, you are doing your students a massive disservice.

‘I Don’t Know What To Do With This Child … They Can’t Speak English!’ – Anne Del Conte draws on her experiences working with EAL/D students to provide a collection of classroom strategies.

My plea is that our new language learners are not given ‘busy work’; like colouring-in, or childish toys to play with or books to read that are not age appropriate. Please don’t leave them in a corner to fend for themselves and grow bored while both of you wait until the EAL/D teacher comes to withdraw them for their special lessons. If you need help, just ask someone.

Explainer: how is literacy taught in schools? – Stewart Riddle and Eileen Honan provide an explanation as to how literacy is taught in Australia. 

There is no doubt that Australia is a literacy-dependent society. The demand on young people is growing within the context of international test rankings and competition, an increasingly globalised workforce and a transitioning economy that requires highly sophisticated literacy skills. As such, it is important that literacy teaching in classrooms reflects the very best approaches that research, policy and curriculum design can provide.

Best Way To Learn Any Subject: Curation – Robin Good not only provides a clear explanation of curation, but a grounding for its place within education.

Rather than diligently memorizing the notions written by others inside his textbooks or the theorems presented to him in class lectures, the learner who curates the subject he wants to learn, develops a true understanding of the subject and a personal opinion about it. I would venture to say that he now “owns” the subject, rather than simply “knowing” about it. 

6 Keys to Connecting With the Disconnected – Chris Wejr unpacks a range of solutions for supporting students who have become disconnected. 

Connecting is more important now than ever. According to a 2011 study of youth done by the Public Health Agency of Canada, just over half of our grade 10 students feel that they belong and have a teacher that cares about them in school. It is difficult for me to hear this as I know how hard we work in education. How can almost half of our students not feel cared for and a sense of belonging? The question must me asked… knowing this, now what? We know the links between positive school environment and mental health and we know the impact we CAN have on our students so what are we doing about this as educators, schools and as a society? 

The Day Began Gently – Jon Harper shares a range of ideas as to how we can better start the day off with ourselves, our students and our colleagues.

Tomorrow morning starts tonight. Plan right now how you are going to make it go well for your students, your staff and yourself. I may not get to lie next to my son as he gradually awakes. But I will hug him and kiss him the first chance I get. He may not run to greet me when I am pulling in the driveway. But I can run to him once I open the front door. And he might not tell me over and over again how much he missed me. But I can tell him.

Edtech

The Problem with #edtech Debates – Jose Picardo provides a great post adding to the debate over the importance of edtech and place within education (see postergate). It is an important post for the points made, as well as the links to other posts, including his case study of success. 

Technology isn’t always the solution, but isn’t the problem either. Let’s have an informed debate. Over to you.

Position on Digital Evolutionary Continuum – Mal Lee and Roger Broadie provide a continuum to help with plotting a school's journey to normalisation. 

Before embarking on your school’s digital evolutionary journey you need to know where you are and the likely path ahead.

'I Love My Label': Resisting the Pre-Packaged Sound in Ed-Tech – Continuing to unpack a more personal experience of edtech, Audrey Watters builds on the punk metaphor outlined by Jim Groom and Adam Croom to put forward a vision of the future less dictated by commercial algorithms and more curated by human communities. Jim Groom also provided a thorough summary of his experience at Indie Ed Tech Conference. This is fantastic post not only for Groom’s insights, but the breadth of links attached. 

Indie means we don’t need millions of dollars, but it does mean we need community. We need a space to be unpredictable, for knowledge to be emergent not algorithmically fed to us. We need intellectual curiosity and serendipity – we need it from scholars and from students.

Welcome to the Paradox (and Myth) of “Best Tool for X” – In the search for the best collaborative platform, Alan Levine touches on the paradox of deciding on the best tool for a task. The reality is that we only have a limited time to test and therefore often come to depend on others and our own intuition. 

This, welcome to Paradox. To really compare them, even a demo session won’t cut it. I won’t really know without putting it to use in a real situation, with real people. The time it would take to do this? And so I have to thus make some hunch guesses based on limited skim by, reviews, and what people I might know who have more experience. And while I understand why people want to know when they ask, and despite the endless flow of listicles that people publish, there can never be a simple answer to “What is the best tool for X?” There are a lot of importance differences between X for me and X for you.

The Overselling of Ed Tech – Alfie Kohn adds his thoughts to the debate on edtech, touching on the various promises made and the true impact of technology, to amplify what is already in place.

We can’t answer the question “Is tech useful in schools?” until we’ve grappled with a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?” If we favor an approach by which students actively construct meaning, an interactive process that involves a deep understanding of ideas and emerges from the interests and questions of the learners themselves, well, then we’d be open to the kinds of technology that truly support this kind of inquiry. Show me something that helps kids create, design, produce, construct — and I’m on board. Show me something that helps them make things collaboratively (rather than just on their own), and I’m even more interested — although it’s important to keep in mind that meaningful learning never requires technology, so even here we should object whenever we’re told that software (or a device with a screen) is essential.

The New Digital Divide – Cortney Harding examines the digital divide that is occurring between those who have and those who have not. This is not simply access to technology, but access to resources required to protect themselves and their digital presence.

The great promise of the Internet and the new digital world was that it would create a level playing field and allow everyone to access the same information. Unfortunately, it has also created a world where accessing that information has very different costs depending on how much money you make or the color of your skin.

ClassDojo and the Measurement, Management of Growth Mindsets – Ben Williamson provides a thorough discussion of the connection between growth mindset and Class Dojo. In the same vein as Audrey Watters, Williamson makes the link with fixing the individual and the Silicon Valley ideology.

The emphasis of both is on fixing people, rather than fixing social structures. It prioritizes the design of interventions that seek to modify behaviours to make people perform as optimally as possible according to new behavioural and psychological norms. Within this mix, new technologies of psychological measurement and behaviour management such as ClassDojo have a significant role to play in schools that are under pressure to demonstrate their performance according to such norms.

I’ve Seen the Greatest A.I. Minds of My Generation Destroyed by Twitter – The New Yorker provides a great summary of Microsoft's failed Twitter bot.

Why didn’t Microsoft know better? Plop a consciousness with the verbal ability of a tween and the mental age of a blastocyst into a toxic, troll-rich environment like Twitter and she’s bound to go Nazi.

Storytelling and Reflection

Publishing is dead. This is why – Jon Westerberg provides a summary of the state of newspapers, media and publishing. He questions the institutions that still push students through journalism degrees into professions that no longer exist. 

Will what we see as publishers now — Buzzfeed, Vox — eventually be seen only as advertisers? And will the profession of journalism one day cease to exist?

Why? – Chris Harte reflects on the question why and wonders if reinstating it at the centre of learning may help to develop a deeper inquiry into life's big questions. 

Maybe by engendering a love of the question why? in our children, we can help them to ask the big questions. To disrupt the status quo. To enquire into the depths of the universe and the meaning of life. To question peacefully, truthfully and with the intent of making the world a better place. To stare boldly into the eyes of the heavens and ask why?

#rawthought: What If We…Ditch “Best Practices”? – The ever creative Amy Burvall wonders about the notion of ‘best’ practice and questions whether we instead need to think about what some have termed as next practice. 

What if we… stopped being so sure of ourselves and instead became confident in our uncertainty (like Keats’ “negative capability”?). What if we…felt free to explore a host of options to test what works best in the here and now, and in respect of the context? What if we…embraced the fact that a “best practice” is really flexibility and evolution over time?

True for Us, True for Them – Emily Garwitz reflects on learning and suggests that what works for us as teachers should also apply for the students in our classroom.

Here’s something I know to be true: I learn by trying and failing and then trying again. True for us, true for them. I learn through active, experiential learning rather than passive learning. True for us, true for them. I learn through collaborating with others. True for us, true for them. I learn by moving, thinking out loud, getting personalized feedback…true for us, true for them. 

Trouble Brewing at Snake Mountain High – Jon Andrews provides a satire reflecting on the current state of education, with the battle between autonomy and edu-businesses. This was also the seed for a whole collection of posts, including The index-cardificationof education, A pedagogy of Astro Boy: education and social justice, The Missing Superheroes and Skeletor Loves it When Planning Comes Together. 

I’m not paying you to think. I’m paying you to do. We don’t have time for all this PD guff, collaboration, staff voice and the like. Look, I’ve seen enough. You have your work cut out turning this place around. I want no excuses – from you or the students. I want a return on investment.

How the Tories picked free schools: chaotic, inconsistent and incompetent – It took a three-year legal battle for Laura McInerney to see papers on why some free school applications succeed and others fail. Her story provides an insight into political side of education and the challenges associated with change. 

Scientists have discovered that people make fairer choices when they are being watched, if only by a robot. England needs more schools to cope with increasing pupil numbers and I believe free schools can be a solution, but only if people have faith in the process. To make that happen, someone needs to be the robot. So I will keep on asking for information – even if it lands me in court.

How Does Your School Innovate? – Steve Brophy unpacks change in schools, making the case for the iterative process. 

Traditionally at schools,  the pilot or trial is the go to method to validate the effectiveness of a particular tool, approach or change in practice and I have been a part of many trials and pilots in my career.  Some successful, some total failures.  My issue with the pilot as a methodology is that we determine the course but often we don’t tend to stray from that original determined path.

Stop Innovating in School. Please – Will Richardson makes a plea to focus on what matters most and that is learning not teaching.

To put it simply, innovation in schools today is far too focused on improving teaching, not amplifying learning. The real innovation that we need in schools has little to do with technologies or tools or products designed to improve our teaching. The real innovation, instead, is in relearning why we want kids in schools in the first place. 

Network Leadership – Cameron Paterson investigates leadership in a networked era. He outlines a series of steps needed to move from traditional hierarchical leadership, to one more fluid and agile.

Education is moving from a narrow pipeline metaphor to an incredibly diverse web of outside networks and knowledge is becoming literally inseparable from the network that enables it. Reminiscent of Ivan Illich’s learning webs, knowledge is now distributed across networks of connections, and learning consists of immersing oneself in networks by creating and sharing. The future of learning lies in networks, and networks require a new form of leadership, prioritising peer to peer relationships to build creative capacity.

Playing the Game of School – Edna Sackson shares a great activity to help appreciate what school might mean and how it might feel to be in one.

FOCUS ON … Measuring the Success of Technology


READ WRITE RESPOND #003

So that is March for me, how about you? As always, interested to hear. 

Also, feel free to forward this on to others if you found anything of interest or maybe you want to subscribe?

đŸ€” #WhatIf we stop measuring everything with an imaginary age?

In a recent report in The Independent, it was highlighted that Donald Trump uses the grammar of an 11. My interest is not necessarily on the quality of Trump’s delivery though, but rather the ’11 Year Old’ who actually represents this standard. Who decided what an 11 year olds langauge was? And worse, how can it not have changed or morphed since Abraham Lincoln? I am left wondering what the langauge of a 35 year old is? Or have I stopped growing?

đŸ€” What if as life-long learners we were taught our whole life?

via GIPHY

There is a place for the teacher to support the learner in regards to how to learn, but imagine if we were supported by a teacher ALL of our life, what would that look like? Does it happen now and we don’t even know it? What curriculum would you use at lets say 36? What would it mean to differentiate learning in this environment? Would our approaches be different? Why or why not? As usual, I hold on loosely to this idea. Really not sure.

đŸ€” What if we had ATR that allowed you to quickly scan music and split it into its parts?

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Often when asked about predictions for the future, I wonder if there will come a time when we can quickly and easily remix music, leaving our own mark. To me, this would need some sort of Audio Track Recognition. I wonder though whether at the same time that such technology becomes available, whether copyright will simply hold us back. This is something Steven Johnson reflects on in his presetnation at Google, it is well worth a watch:Â

đŸ€” What if Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woods was mashed up with Nine Inch Nails’ Perfect Drug?

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Often when I listen to music I wonder what if would sound like if it were mashed with something else? A recent example was listening to Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woods:

I was left thinking what it might sound like if it were mashed up with Nine Inch Nail’s Perfect Drug

I will continue to imagine

via GIPHY

đŸ€” What if realist fiction included real characters too?

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I can still remember the day. An overcast Saturday morning in March at Longfellow Reserve. A small oval at the back of Mooroolbark. It was day two of the last game of the season and for many of us the last game of our junior careers. I had been brought up from the seconds for the game. Gone from opening to batting no. 11. It did not matter as we were bowled out in 20 overs, leaving a pointless 20 overs to bowl again. It was decided that everyone would get two overs a piece. So here I was, having barely bowled all year, lumbering up with my leggies (my answer to being a chucker.) I had no idea who I was bowling to, let alone what I was trying to do. Really, I just wanted to let ’em rip. The eyes of the batsman lit up. Easy pickings. Sadly not. The batsman tried to slog me for six and instead of caught off a top edge. He trudged off as I celebrated. The batsman was Sam Mitchell, the four time Hawthorn premiership player. This is me, my story. Slightly desperate and somewhat pathetic. Sadly, this is a story that seems to be silenced too often in young adult fiction.vvvvvvv

đŸ€” What if there was no digital technology involved with education?

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Would we really have more control over things, taking the power back from multi-nationals? What sort of artefacts would students create and for what audiences? What impact would this have for student’s engagement and agency?

đŸ€” What if staff were given the time to participate in a thinkerathon to drive learning?

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Whether it be to develop a deeper understanding of what is being studied or how students are learning. Maybe this could be driven by the Modern Learning Canvas? Better yet, students are supported in running their own thinkerathons? A time when they gather together to reflect on their learning in order to realign it moving forward.

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đŸ€” What if instead of spending so much time on engagement – whatever engagement is – we focused on authenticity and action?

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Many teachers spend hours concocting activities and assignments that have little meaning to students all in the name of engaging learning. Instead, more voice and choice could be provided to students to take action to find problems worth solving and share solutions with an authentic audience.

My Month of February

Thank you for reading. This month my daughter has grappled with the exhaustion with being a Prep student. While school has really kicked into gear. This year I have been put in charge of ‘intervention’. It has included organising groups, liaising with teachers and organising various programs. As a school, we have also continued with our journey in regards to developing a whole school instructional model, with the current focus being effort and mindsets.

In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:

Inspired by the work of David Culberhouse and Ian O’Bryne, I also started a new blog to develop disparate ideas and wonder ‘what if?

Learning and Teaching

Ways to Use Lego in the Classroom – Mark Warner provides a range of examples about how to use Lego in the classroom. In some ways it reminds me of Lee Hewes’ post exploring the potential of Minecraft, its strength is its breadth of ideas.
When I’m not busy working on our teaching websites, I can usually be found playing Lego with our children! It’s an incredibly creative toy, but it can also be used to support work in a number of different curriculum areas. Here is our HUGE list of ways to use Lego in the classroom.

Learning with Lego – Mark Anderson collects together a range of links and resources associated with the use of Lego in the classroom. Really like the idea of making up small bags of basic blocks for each student. Creativity needs constraint.

I’m often surprised that teachers don’t think to use Lego to help in the classroom as a learning tool.

How Might We the Content?: Applying Design Thinking in a High School English Classroom – Dan Ryder provides some examples for how he has used design thinking in the English classroom. A great exanple of process over product.
The above are just a few ways to tackle English language arts curriculum through the lens of design. Some have been robust explorations I’ve done with students, others one day sprints, and yet others notions and fancies that I’ve just yet to find the time to put into practice.
How to Make Good Lean Startup Hypotheses– In Part Eight of his series unpacking his work around producing a lean startup, Tim Kastelle explores the challenge of creating a clear hypothesis. Although not intended, this has ramifications for inquiry and project-based learning.

We need to start our lean startup process with discovery – and that is harder to hypothesise. But we can’t look for false precision, that will lead us down the wrong path.

How to Talk About Your Project – Seth Godin provides a thorough set of questions to explore when entering into a project. Although aimed at professional projects, there are some really useful questions when engaging in PBL.

Successful project organizers are delighted to engage in a conversation about all of these questions. If you’re hiding from them, it’s time to find out why.

So Assignmenty – Alan Levine discusses the idea of an assignment and wonders about the options.

Is the purpose of an assignment to complete the assignment? When we are Assignmenty, we ask learners to do the minimum to achieve some level of reward. Assignmenty things have fixed fences around their yard. Do we leave holes, gates, doors for learners to go farther? is that crazy (or stupid?)

The Thinkerathon – Doug Belshaw provides an alternative to the usual brainstorming task. Along with Dan Rockwell’s argument that brainstorming needs two sessions, it highlights the importance of time and space when digging deeper.

Creativity isn’t just sticking colourful post-it notes on walls — an important part of it involves discipline and process. That’s why we continually zoomed in and out of ideas, continually moving forward while our ideas morphed and evolved.

Gender and Group Work – Alex Quigley explores the topic of group work. Rather than a clear answer, he provides a excellent series of reflective questions to guide things.

If we accept the notion of the ‘wisdom of crowds‘, then what is the magic number for group size? There is no fixed answer, but research evidence shows that any group size above six is unlikely to be effective. Why is this? Well, successful group work relies on group goals, but alongside individual responsibility. With too many students in a group it is too easy for social loafing (students putting in less effort when they know they can because other group members pick up the slack) to happen. Better to have a smaller groups, such as trios or fours. Of course, even then, they’ll need training.

Three Resources for Learning More about Fair Use and Copyright – Bill Ferriter provides a collection of resources to support the teaching of copyright.

Assuming that everything we do with copyrighted content is legal is lazy and irresponsible.  Worse yet, it sends the wrong message to the kids in our classrooms, who learn to respect and/or disrespect the ownership rights of content creators by watching the important adults in their lives.

What kids *really* want from us when they ask for help
 Dan Haesler shares a strategy to support teachers when students ask for help with issues around bullying and wellbeing.

I think the LATE model offers any adult – a parent or other family member, teacher, coach – a simple way to better engage with youngsters when they seek our help. Furthermore, it’s pretty good model to use when anyone – young or old, family member or work colleague – needs our assistance.

Edtech

President Obama Discovers Coding – Gary Stager pushes back on the latest hype around coding and technology, identifying some of the historical roadblocks as he sees it.

Computer literacy must mean the ability to do something constructive with a computer, and not merely a gen eral awareness of acts one is told about computers. A computer literate person can read and write a computer program, can select and operate software written by others, and knows from personal experience the possibilities and limitations of the computer.

OEB 15 – What does it take to scale adoption of technology at your school? – Jenny Luca reflects on her journey to scale technology overtime. A useful post, especially in relation to the various nuances associated with context.

Having a coherent strategy around technology platforms to utilise in a school or district system goes some way to meeting the challenge of scaling teaching innovations. When teachers are provided with the tools that allow for collaborative practice, quick and easy insight into student work in progress, ease of providing formative assessment, tools that allow students to become creators of content and the ability for group work to be managed effectively, there lies the potential for teachers to have opportunities to rethink their pedagogical practices.

Why Social Media Education Is Needed In Schools – Jackie Gerstein makes a case for teaching social media, making the comparison with sex education. She also provides a range of links and resources to support the endeavour.

One of the goals for education is to provide students with skills for living their lives safely and productively now and in the future. This is in line with driver’s education, home economics, and other skills based classes where the intent is to teach teens skills for being safer in their everyday life. We know that teens and driving can be dangerous. Instead of banning it in schools, we attempt to teach them proper and safe driving practices . . . and driver’s education isn’t just talking about safe driving practices. The same is true with just being a talking head about social media. It needs to be modeled and used in the classroom so students get to experience “proper” social media uses.

Ethics submission draft – Evangelical? – Ian Guest develops a series of categories for the different types of educational uses you find or Twitter. Not only did this leave me thinking what sort of user am I, but also whether the four terms captures all the nuances.

Based solely on my observations during my time on Twitter, I’ve noticed that people seem to regard the platform in a number of different ways. The following classification then, is purely my own interpretation of the attitudes people appear to exhibit: evangelists, advocates, agnostics and atheiest.

Amazon’s Plans for OER – Audrey Watters responds to Kayne West’s tweet that we need cheaper textbooks by unpacking the news that Amazon is set to develop a platform to support OER.

Textbooks cost too much, and everyone knows it, as the 64,000 retweets of Kanye West perhaps underscore. But that inflated price tag is just one of the problems that OER purports to solve. (See David Wiley’s 5 Rs of open content: the ability to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute work.) It remains to be seen if Amazon Inspire will support these activities or if the “problem” that Amazon really seeks to solve here is a stronger foothold in the education market.

Why Open Practice – Martin Weller provides a good introduction to the different reasons for going open.

I gave a presentation recently trying to set out the arguments for engaging with open practice in higher education. I’ve shifted from the “because it’s awesome” argument to a more nuanced one. My starting point is that open practice is a smorgasbord of components from which one selects those parts that you feel most comfortable with and will most benefit your current role.

What is the Value of a Bot? – danah boyd unpacks the world of bots, posing a range of questions in the process. In addition to this, she provides links to other posts on the topic.

Who gets to decide the value of a bot? The technically savvy builder of the bot? The people and organizations that encounter or are affected by the bot? Bots are being designed for all sorts of purposes, and most of them are mundane. But even mundane bots can have consequences.

Blockchain for Education: A Research Project – Audrey Watters casts a critical eye over the blockchain. Not only does she provide a range of information and questions to consider, but she also includes a range of links to go further if you would like.

So buzz and bullshit aside, what – if anything – can blockchain offer education technology? And more generally, how does blockchain work? (And then again, specifically how does it work in an educational setting?) What problems does blockchain solve? What are its benefits? What are its drawbacks? Who’s developing and who’s investing in the technology? To what end?

Storytelling and Reflection

The Measure of Success – JL Dutant provides a harrowing reflection on the challenges of success and the need to go beyond the usual measurements used.

It’s taken all the willpower I have to fight back from that and to stay in the profession. I’ve long since stopped looking for the Boson. That way lie only black holes and ‘spooky action at a distance‘. I get that it’s important to measure and to parcel out and to make sense of things out there in the world, but it’s also important to remember that we have an inner world without which the outer world can make no sense.
Algorithms: Are They Giving Students a One-Sided View? – Peter DeWitt makes the connection between digital algorithms and student voice, wondering if we are limiting students perspective through our pedagogical practice.

There is nothing wrong with seeing what you like on Facebook or Google, but we should also be exposed to those things that we didn’t even realize exist, and our students could benefit from that too. When we talk about learning, too many students want to give us the answer they think we want to hear, instead of the answer they may want to say. And that is like an on-line filter bubble or algorithm that only gives us the information it thinks we want. Student voice is about so much more than that. It’s about breaking out of the streamline and having better dialogue to build understanding.

A Minimum Viable Product Is Not a Product, It’s a Process – Yevgeniy (Jim) Brikman provides a different take on the usual perspective of the minimum viable product as being on a single trajectory.

This, in a nutshell, is the MVP process. Whether you’re developing a product design, marketing plan, or writing code, always ask: What is my riskiest assumption? What is the smallest experiment I can do to test this assumption.

Visions of Education Futures – Jackie Gerstein outlines a vision for the future. Although writers like Audrey Waters make me more sceptical about such lists, it does provide a clear idea about what if.

Writing, inventing, creating media, and entrepreneurship for change will drive educational endeavors supporting the belief that all humans want to live a life based on, “I want to do things that will change people’s lives.” Problems will always exist in the world, but the collective whole of the human race, given the advancements specified in this article, will actively and proactively seek their amelioration.

Connecting Disparate Dots (Recombinant Innovation) – David Culberhouse talks about the need to stop looking for the new innovative idea, instead we need to more actively connect the dots around use to remix old ideas.

They are exploiting what already exists, in ways that were never previously visualized.  They are finding fertile ground for innovation not just in the creating, but in the combining.  Combining and cross-pollinating those disparate dots that were yet to be linked or considered.  In many ways, they are creative concept and idea recyclist.

Teacher Problems – Natalie Scott provides an account of education in refugee camps. I remember reading the account of teaching underneath a tree in Malawi via Tom Whitby’s blog, this post also provides a priceless insight into another world so often ignored.

From both perspective of humanities and welfare, this is a powerful read. Important in putting many of our gripes in perspective, but also appreciating the life from which some of our students of come from.

Just Make Stuff – Radical Transparency as the New CV – Amy Burvall puts forward a compelling case for a revisioning of the traditional CV to focus instead around making stuff and sharing it in an open fashion.

One reminder
 you can make the coolest “stuff” in the world and still be a jerk. So in this ever-shrinking, uber-connected space that flirts between the “IRL” and the virtual, it is beyond important to play nice. Here are some tips: build up the work of others, and attribute everything; refrain from negativity as much as possible – populate the Web with pleasing things; if you get jealous that someone is better, make more stuff (you will get better too and it distracts); ok, just accept people will be better or their work will be more popular (but realize there is a niche for everyone); share your own work freely (but make it unique enough so people will know it’s yours); encourage remix of your work (remix is the heart of creativity- embrace it).

Our Undereducation – Will Richardson responds to Donald Trump’s statement that he loves the ‘undereducated’. Richardson argues that this is reflection of the education system we have created and what needs to be changed to fix it.

We can’t be ok with what this system has to some extent wrought. We should be working hard to rethink that system to eliminate the “undereducated” as a lovable constituency for those hoping to ascend to the most powerful leadership position in the world.

Email newsletters are the new zines – Simon Owens provides a great discussion of newsletters and how they are different to the average blog.

It’s tempting to merely argue that the recent crop of newsletters are what came to replace the independent blogosphere of the mid-aughts. But I actually think its antecedents stretch back further to the zine culture that thrived in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s.

 

FOCUS ON … Mindsets

The perils of “Growth Mindset” education: Why we’re trying to fix our kids when we should be fixing the system​ – Alfie Kohn provides a critique of ‘growth mindsets’ wondering if the real problem is effort or if it is the quality of the curriculum and pedagogical approach being used.

An awful lot of schooling still consists of making kids cram forgettable facts into short-term memory. And the kids themselves are seldom consulted about what they’re doing, even though genuine excitement about (and proficiency at) learning rises when they’re brought into the process, invited to search for answers to their own questions and to engage in extended projects. Outstanding classrooms and schools — with a rich documentary record of their successes — show that the quality of education itself can be improved. But books, articles, TED talks, and teacher-training sessions devoted to the wonders of adopting a growth mindset rarely bother to ask whether the curriculum is meaningful, whether the pedagogy is thoughtful, or whether the assessment of students’ learning is authentic (as opposed to defining success merely as higher scores on dreadful standardized tests).

The Problem With Having a ‘Growth Mindset’ – Peter DeWitt explains why mindsets has such a low effect size (0.19) and how we can change that by not being so fixed in approaches as teachers.

If we truly want to teach the growth mindset it means that we have to dig a little deeper into the practices that we already have in school. The growth mindset is not just about the student “trying harder” but it’s also about our teaching practices, and whether we change them to meet the needs of the students, or expect students to change in order to meet the needs of the teacher.

Carol Dweck Revisits the Growth Mindset – Carol Dweck reflects on a range of concerns with various interpretations of Mindsets, including going beyond effort, supporting both short and long term goals, as well as closing the achievement gap, rather than using the idea of the fixed mindset to deny it.

How can we help educators adopt a deeper, true growth mindset, one that will show in their classroom practices? You may be surprised by my answer: Let’s legitimize the fixed mindset. Let’s acknowledge that (1) we’re all a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, (2) we will probably always be, and (3) if we want to move closer to a growth mindset in our thoughts and practices, we need to stay in touch with our fixed-mindset thoughts and deeds. If we “ban” the fixed mindset, we will surely create false growth-mindsets.

The Stanford professor who pioneered praising kids for effort says we’ve totally missed the point – In an interview with Dweck, Jenny Anderson unpacks the ongoing research being conducted around the mindsets and the brain.

The key to instilling a growth mindset is teaching kids that their brains are like muscles that can be strengthened through hard work and persistence. So rather than saying “Not everybody is a good at math. Just do your best,” a teacher or parent should say “When you learn how to do a new math problem, it grows your brain.” Or instead of saying “Maybe math is not one of your strengths,” a better approach is adding “yet” to the end of the sentence: “Maybe math is not one of your strengths yet.”

​The Problem with Growth Mindset – Alex Quigley identifies some of the problems and challenges associated with mindsets, especially the tendency to reduce the intervention to a few simple scripts that ignore the various skills required to support it.

Yes – confidence and motivation is crucial, but confidence without competence is simply hot air. Even if we eschew the praising of intelligence, we can just as easily fall prey to empty bombast about hard work and fetishizing failure. We are also in danger of repeating the essential importance of effort for our students, but without providing students with the strategies to apply their efforts with the required degree of skill.

I Did My Best Job Teaching A “Growth Mindset” Today – Here’s The Lesson Plan – Larry Ferlazzo reflects on a lesson he used to introduce growth mindset with his students. The post includes a range of useful links and resources.

Students came in to the class finding the phrase “Growth Mindset” on the overhead. I asked people to raise their hand if they had every heard of it before today. A fair number had, since we have a big focus on Social Emotional Learning at our school. I explained that the class today would be a refresher for them and an introduction to those who didn’t know much about it.

The Educator with a Growth Mindset: A Professional Development Workshop – Jackie Gerstein provides a range of examples and resources to support the unpacking of concept of growth mindset.


READ WRITE RESPOND #002

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I can be contacted at (mrkrndvs@gmail.com) or via Twitter, while you can usually find me at readwriterespond.com.