Now it was Brian’s turn to say “No way” but Alanna wouldn’t budge. The only way she was going to trust a camera in her house from then on was if she knew that anyone was free to read its code and tell her what it was doing. She couldn’t reprogram it herself, but she also couldn’t do her own brain surgery, and she could trust the peer-reviewed, open process that designed the procedures they’d use if that day ever came.
“It’s not brain surgery, Brian,” she said, as she downloaded the code.
Private equity’s favorite shell game is to take over profitable businesses, sell off their assets, con banks into loaning them hundreds of millions of dollars, cash out in the form of bonuses and dividends, then let the businesses fail and default on their debts.
While most people might fog over in a faint at the site of HTML, to me it’s like good coffee. So in the img tag, src="" contains a URL we are calling some kind of Google API for charts that dynmically returns an image. Without bothering too much, I can guess easily for the value chld=BS|BZ|CA|MX|PR|US|VI|CN|JP|QA|SG|AU|NZ|DE|IS|ES|GB we are sending the list oc countries to map.
You can play with it in a web browser, by adding or removing countries. Try manipulating this URL
In following your blog Alan, I have learned to the love the URL. There is so much hidden in the code and not all of it is that complicated. A simple one that I got from you is ?random to pick a random post.
I’ll continue to blog here at EdTech Factotum. The only difference is now this will just be a regular ol’ blog and there won’t be any newsletters emailed to you fine folks. I’ll still post the occasional summary of what I read here. And you can still follow along via the RSS feed (remember those?), Twitter, or my EdTech Factotum Facebook page.
I have added Clint Lalonde’s linkblog to my blogroll.
“In our ‘news’ today we can see the tattler, the party pamphlet, the recondite journal of opinion, the yellow rag, the journal of commerce, the sob sister, the literary journal, and the progressive muckraker.”
John Maxwell Hamilton and Heidi Tworek point out that the ‘golden years’ of newspapers between 1940 and 1980 was an anomaly in a longer, four-century history of news. In part this is a myth carried by a certain group in society:
The 1940s to 1980s were a golden age for newspaper owners to make money and journalists to make news. But they were only a golden age for a certain group of people. Many citizens — women and African-Americans, to take just two examples — often did not see themselves in news reporting and had few opportunities to shape it. It is no surprise that most of those writing the laments for times gone by are white men. Those men have long practiced such lamentations. Even in the 1980s, discussions at the American Society for Newspaper Editors were filled with a “persistent nostalgia for a mythic golden age when news was better made and better respected by the public.”
Cory Doctorow touches upon the association between newspapers and advertising in a recent interview for …
This month I realised the limitations to using a priority matrix to organise my work. It was not capturing the different facets of my work, such as reporting, online portal, attendance and timetable. I am still organising my work around priorities, I have just taken to representing this in a spreadsheet, therefore allowing me to filter it in various ways. I still am not quite settled on this, but it will do for now
In regards to other aspects of work I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Hilary Hollingsworth on ACER’s work on reporting. I have also been helping some schools with the implementation of various administrative applications focusing on interviews and excursions. The more I do the more I realise how much of what is ‘transformative’ is built upon a raft of invisible parts that build to make the complex systems, which we so easily take for granted.
On the family front, my girls have taken to belting out duets together, even in the middle of the shops. Although the youngest one cannot keep up with every word of every line, she gives it a go. In general, it is fascinating watching them learn together.
Personally, I have found myself spending more time bookmarking and collecting my thoughts, rather than crafting long forms. It was interesting to read Doug Belshaw reflect upon this with his own writing. I think that Ian O’Byrne captures this best when he explains the interrelated nature of the different spaces.
In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:
Access can be made easier or more difficult depending on the way the assessment task is presented; both in terms of visual presentation and in terms of the language used. The number and type of procedures required can also differentially affect students’ successful completion of the task. This approach to analysis helped us to produce a list of recommended design elements that will be useful to teachers as they plan and write up their assessment tasks.
As I say — it’s the internet — you’re not stuck with that one story that comes to you. By going out and actively choosing a better story you will not only filter out false stories but also see the variety of ways an event is being covered.
When words won’t suffice: behavior as communication: Benjamin Doxtdator unpacks behaviour in the classroom. He touches on knowing your child, student choices and systemic inequalities. This is a useful post to read and critically reflect upon various practices and pedagogies. I think that it all starts with the language that we choose. Chris Friend also considers the influence of language in regards to learning management systems and assessment. In regards to behaviour, Riss Leung compares dog training with her classroom experiences.
Just as I try (and sometimes fail) to de-center myself when addressing student misbehavior, I try to de-center myself when I write. The vast majority of the students that I teach won’t be racially profiled in a behavior policy or by the police and that’s why I think it is especially important for me to seek out literature that reflects on those systemic injustices.
Setting aside the importance of hobbies and the amateur spirit, what worries me the most is this faulty idea that you should only spend time learning about things if they have a definite “ROI.” Creative people are curious people, and part of being a creative person is allowing yourself the freedom to let your curiosity lead you down strange, divergent paths. You just cannot predict how what you learn will end up “paying off” later.Who’s to say what is and what isn’t professional development? (An audited calligraphy class winds up changing the design of computers, etc.)
Some, like the Greens, argue manufacturers and retailers need to take more responsibility for the lifecycle of their packaging. “Product stewardship” and extended producer responsibility (EPR) requires manufacturers to factor the disposal of packaging into its design and production.
The Brick Wall: When I taught robotics I would show my students a video involving the use of a simple Lego kit in a science laboratory as a point of inspiration. The Brick Wall takes these possibilities to a whole new level, providing a collection of videos useful for thinking about what is possible in regards to programming, Lego and robotics. Some other series and collections that I have stumbled upon lately include the New York Times’ podcast Caliphate, which explores the world of ISIS, as well as Amy Burvall’s creativity vlogs as a part of the #LDvid30 project.
I think there is a reasoned response to technopanic. Perhaps a sense of techno agency is necessary. Now more than ever, faster than ever, technology is driving change. The future is an unknown, and that scares us. However, we can overcome these fears and utilize these new technologies to better equip ourselves and steer us in a positive direction.
It’s not necessarily their [technologies] intentions but the structure and configuration that causes the pain
Truth in an age of truthiness: when bot-fueled PsyOps meet internet spam: Kris Shaffer continues his work in regards to bots, unpacking the way in which our attention is hijacked through attempts to influence and advertise. It is important to appreciate the mechanics behind these things for they are the same mechanics that those on social media engage with each and every day. One of the points that Shaffer (and Mike Caulfield) make is that whether something is true or not, continual viewing will make such ideas more familiar and strangely closer to the truth.
Harald D. Lasswell wrote that the function of propaganda is to reduce the material cost of power. On a social-media platform, that cost-reduction comes in many forms. By their very existence, the platforms already reduce both the labor and the capital required to access both information and an audience. Automated accounts further reduce the cost of power, for those who know how to game the algorithm and evade detection long enough to carry out a campaign.
Email has changed since then, but not much. Most of what’s changed in the last 45 years is email clients—the software we use to access email. They’ve clumsily bolted on new functionality onto the old email, without fixing any of the underlying protocols to support that functionality.
Programming with Scratch – An educator guide: Anthony Speranza provides an introduction to Scratch. An often underrated application, Scratch provides an insight into some of the ways that the web works, particularly in regards to ‘blocks’. Sometimes it feels as if you are not really coding unless you are working with some form of language. The problem is that this is not how the world works. More often than not it is about building on the ideas (and snippets) of others. Look at WordPress’ move to Gutenberg. In addition to this, we interact with ‘blocks’ each and everyday in the applications and sites that we use. One only needs to use something like Mozilla’s X-Ray Goggles to start realising that inherent complexity within the web. For more insight into Scratch, listen to Gary Stager on the Modern Learners podcast.
Scratch is a graphical programming language and online community where users can program and share interactive media such as stories, games and animations. Whilst it is targeted at 8 to 16 year olds, anyone of any age can write a program in Scratch.
Both Google and Facebook may argue—and may even believe—that they simply want to help increase the supply of quality journalism in the world. But the fact remains that they are not just disinterested observers. They are multibillion-dollar entities that compete directly with media companies for the attention of users, and for the wallets of every advertising company that used to help support the business model of journalism. Their funding and assistance can’t be disentangled from their conflicted interests, no matter how much they wish it could.
Storytelling and Reflection
What We Talk About When We Talk About Digital Capabilities: In a keynote at the UCISA Digital Capabilities event at Warwick University, Donna Lanclos unpacks the effect of analytics and the problems of profiling when trying to identify improvements. A skills approach is an issue when decisions get made on your behalf based on the results of a preconceived checklist. Lanclos suggests that we need to go beyond the inherent judgments of contained within metaphors and deficit models, and instead start with context.
The history of Anthropology tells us that categorizing people is lesser than understanding them. Colonial practices were all about the describing and categorizing, and ultimately, controlling and exploiting. It was in service of empire, and anthropology facilitated that work. It shouldn’t any more, and it doesn’t have to now. You don’t need to compile a typology of students or staff. You need to engage with them.
Citizen of Apple, State of Lego: Julian Stodd explores the evolving idea of ‘citizenship’. Whereas it was defined by geography and culture in the past, Stodd wonders if in the future it will be subscription based. Rather than depending on the state and taxes to provide societies infrastructures, we now rely on the various multi-national platforms, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Google. This reminds me of the conversation that was had recently around being a citizen of the #IndieWeb. If states lose their sway, I wonder if this opens up other alternatives? This is something Aral Balkan touches upon. I wonder what this means for rituals or habits.
Imagine a future state, one of multiple citizenships, so i can be a Citizen of the UK, a Citizen of Apple, and a Citizen of Lego, not traversing physical borders to move from one to the other, but rather conceptual, or internalised ones. Each providing real utility, it’s own type of ‘space’, and each giving us it’s own component of culture. Perhaps in this model, ‘Culture’ becomes a meta entity that we each construct, through a combination of our geolocation within space, and our subscriptions online.
If we are looking at learning across the lifetime today, we need to think beyond the teacher/student and schooling constructs. Education is already larger than that. This is no different from recognizing that health and wellness is about so much more than a patient/doctor interaction. These professionals do and will continue to play a valuable role, but limiting many of our conversations about education to these formal contexts is inadequate for the challenges and opportunities of our age. In fact, it has always been inadequate. Formal education has a role to play today and in the future, but it is one of many spokes in the lifelong learning wheel.
The risks of treating ‘academic innovation’ as a discipline: Rolin Moe argues that we need to recognise the often negative history associated with ‘innovation’ in the way that we use it. If we don’t do this we risk the word being simply an emotive tool. This touches upon Audrey Watters message to respect history, rather than live in the ever present that so many try to perpetuate.
Negotiating the future we want with the history we have is vital in order to determine the best structure to support the development of an inventive network for creating research-backed, criticism-engaged and outside-the-box approaches to the future of education. The energy behind what we today call academic innovation needs to be put toward problematizing and unraveling the causes of the obstacles facing the practice of educating people of competence and character, rather than focusing on the promotion of near-future technologies and their effect on symptomatic issues.
12 tips for great speaking: Steve Wheeler provides some useful tips and reflections on the art of the keynote. They include use humour, minimal text, engage with your audience, don’t speak too quickly, repeat key points and only stick to three of them. In part, this reminds me of Presentation Zen and the idea of a minimalist slidedeck, while Emma Cottier also wrote an interesting post share a range of tips and tricks associated with Google Slides. Although not necessarily about ‘keynotes’, Andrew Denton recently shared some tips for a better conversation that I think relate to this conversation, including be respectful and empathise with the interviewee (or audience).
If you are lucky enough to be invited to address an audience of your peers at a conference, a lot will depend on what you say and the manner in which you say it. You want your speech to be memorable, inspiring and thought provoking. You’ll also need to be convincing if you want to put your arguments across effectively. So I’ll share some of the top tips I recommend for keynote speakers.
Burden of Proof: Malcolm Gladwell wonders how much ‘proof’ we need in order to do something about CTE, a neurodegenerative disease found in people who have had multiple head injuries. Gladwell’s focuses on Owen Thomas and his suicide in 2010. In regards to the question of breaking point, there was no reference of Aaron Hernandez, whose case involves murder and suicide. I wonder how long until this becomes a case in AFL?
Sometimes proof is just another word for letting people suffer.
We need to (once again) question whether the contemporary reform fever does any more than treat symptoms while deeper structural conditions continue to ensure, as the original Gonski report put it, unacceptable links between young people’s socioeconomic backgrounds and levels of achievement. We need to be careful not to stray too far from where the first Gonski report started out. That is: addressing inequalities in Australian schooling through re-distributive funding.
At the national level, however, the story is different. What NAPLAN is good for, and indeed what it was originally designed for, is to provide a national snapshot of student ability, and conducting comparisons between different groups (for example, students with a language background other than English and students from English-speaking backgrounds) on a national level.
This is important data to have. It tells us where support and resources are needed in particular. But we could collect the data we need this by using a rigorous sampling method, where a smaller number of children are tested (a sample) rather than having every student in every school sit tests every few years. This a move that would be a lot more cost effective, both financially and in terms of other costs to our education system.
FOCUS ON … GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Adopted on 14 April 2016, it became enforceable on 25 May 2018. Here then is a collection of posts exploring what it all means. Although not exhaustive, it provides a starting point:
Facebook and Google targeted as first GDPR complaints filed: Alex Hern reports on Noyb’s test of the new regulations. The case being tested is whether the processing of data for targeted advertising can be argued to be necessary for the fulfilment of a contract to provide services such as social networking or instant messaging.
Comments on ClassDojo controversy: Ben Williamson addresses a number of questions leveled at Class Dojo, especially in light of the current concern around data. One of the points that he makes that really stuck out was the notion of ‘sensitive data’. Often this is defined by privacy, however as Williamson explains the collection of data over time actually has the potential to turn the seemingly arbitrary into sensitive data.
I am a data factory (and so are you): Nicholas Carr reflects on the metaphors that we use and demonstrates some of the flaws, particularly when they are used against us inadvertently. Although not explicitly about GDPR, it has ramifications for the way we talk about it.
READ WRITE RESPOND #029
So that is May 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? Otherwise, for those concerned about privacy and sharing thier email address, archives can be found here.
@dogtrax been poking around for a bit and can’t figure out any way to add the #IndieWeb plumbing to @edublogs. You could (and should) manually put an h-card on your home page, but since @edublogs do not provide users with the freedom of adding plugins to WordPress you won’t be able to add any of the cool webmentions or have post marked up with h-entry to allow you to play.
I have been wondering about this for a while. My thoughts were whether you could bake the code into the HTML of the post. Obviously though without the appropriate piping associated with rel=me and Bridgy it isn’t going to work.
I wonder what would be involved in making it work? They have added plugins before, what would an IndieBlogs plugin look like? My concern is that this might mean for primary aged blogs?
I see real prospect for something like Micro.Blogs in schood, but again there is the issue around Rel=Me.
I imagine that until it is built into the core then it will be a hard ask.
The General Data Protection Regulation is coming into force.
These tougher rules on data protection were approved by the EU Parliament in April 2016, but a lot of us didn’t hear about them back then. Perhaps you first heard GDPR mentioned in discussions about recent controversies to do with the questionable use of people’s data.
Or maybe it was when you started receiving a deluge emails.
But what is GDPR, and why should we care about it? And could these new regulations impact our health? What happens with our medical data now?
To help answer these questions, Jordan Erica Webber is joined by the Guardian’s technology reporter, Alex Hern, and Dr Rachel Birch of the Medical Protection Society.
This episode of the Chips with Everything podcast provides a useful starting point for all things GDPR, especially in regards to the health sector.
We are too often expected to create classes like the opera house, where a “successful” course gets all students, no matter where they come from or what they care about, to think “glacier” when given the right stimulus. To give the correct answer on a test given a specific predetermined question. But what would our classes look like if they instead replicated the experience of a sculpture garden, with that evocative face, filling me with a sense of wonder, compelling me to physically turn around despite myself and investigate a question I developed on my own?
We shouldn’t teach students. We should inspire them. And then we should get out of their way.
In a keynote for PL 2018 New Learning Horizons: Digital and Hybrid Pedagogy, Chris Friend discusses the way in which the language that we use in educational technology (especially around learning management systems) reinstates power and hierarchy:
A learning management system of one form or another seems ubiquitous in today’s universities. We’ve grown so accustomed to them that we expect to use one even in our face-to-face classes. But their ubiquity brings with it their ability to change the way we see learning. What exists in an LMS becomes the way we see our classes. What if inside that LMS, the button students clicked when they finished a project read, “share my creation” rather than “submit”? How would that small change influence students’ relationships to their own work, much less the class they are a part of? These small reminders of authority structures appear throughout our environments. In my school’s LMS, I work with “users” in an “org unit”, not students in a class. Every time I see the words “org unit” I question how we view our institution and whether we really think we work in the best interests of students.
Friend suggests that rather than ‘teaching’ and ‘submitting’ work, we should be ‘inspiring’ and asking students to ‘share’ their work. Associated with this, rather than dictate the end outcome, allow students to interpret it themselves and provide their justifications for the standards:
My favorite way to assess students? Ask them. Ask them to show what they’ve done for a class. Ask them to show how they know they’ve achieved the course outcomes or standards or learning goals or whatnot. In an engineering class, ask them how they know they’ve solved a particular design challenge. In a science class, ask them how they know they performed a viable experiment and can trust their results. In a music class, ask them how they know whether their performance of a piece accurately or creatively interpreted the intentions of the composer.
Although Friend is talking about a post-secondary environment, this still has ramifications for primary and secondary schools.
The new Google Sites is just as bad at teaching kids to write the web as the old Google Sites. No where can I find a link to a source code or how to get to a plain text editor. #edtechchat
Firstly Greg, (new) Sites is still in ‘beta’ to my knowledge. Unless it has changed in the last few days with GDPR it is not available in Takeout.
Secondly, I think that they are designing it for automagical websites. You provide the content and AI does the rest. Wasn’t their answer to everything last year AI? (This year it is accessibility IMO).
At least it is easier to use than (old) Sites and responsive.
On a side note, I really enjoyed Kin Lane’s recent post on choosing to ‘seize the day’ and not be overrun by fear.
Each day I am able to seize the widest possible definition of my day that I can. Across multiple cities, states, or countries if I so choose. I do this without being shot. I do this without the financial system crumbling around me, or the government invading my home. I do this without any brown person hurting me or taking my job. I do this without dying of cancer received from being scanned at the airport. Why is it that I’m able to move around so freely? What makes it so that I can seize the day without a gun on my side, or within arms reach? It is because I’ve chosen to seize the day from the fears I’ve been programmed with in the past, and from the possible futures these fears can dream up. I’ve seized the day for me. Not for what might be. It is my day. I get to decide. I get to enjoy it to its fullest, without any concern for tomorrow.
Riding on these wild oscillations is the pivot of calm, measured leadership and practice, providing the cornerstone and reference points required for the kind of purposeful reflection that results in progress. But this can only be achieved by treating complexity as a feature, not a bug. For the more we embrace simplistic approaches to improving education, easy answers and facile solutions, the more we undermine the place of teachers, whose role in the education of children begins to be perceived as that of actor, rather than agent.
And this is why I have come to believe that the greatest educational snake oil of our age is the belief that there are simple solutions to complex problems
One can now go to the admin interface for their comments and webmentions (found at the path /wp-admin/edit-comments.php), click on edit for the particular comment they’re changing and then scroll down to reveal a droplist interface to be able to manually change the webmention type.
They are some great updates, especially the ability to edit webmentions via the dashboard. Thanks Chris for sharing. I still need to get around to making modifications to my post kinds one of these days.
Currently, my main blog serves as a space for me to narrate my work, or think out loud. I see it as a machine where I consume, curate, and archive materials on my breadcrumbs site, synthesize each week in my newsletter, and then perhaps pull together the loose threads (as I see them) in posts on my blog…or elsewhere. All of these ideas are half-formed at best. They may go on to other things or spaces. As an example, bookmarks saved in the breadcrumbs often turn into blog posts. A series of blog posts have turned into keynotes or lectures. A collection are currently morphing into a book or two. But, all of these ideas are raw, and serve as pre-prints to work that may live later on, or always exist in their current format. When content turns into an article, publication, or other content outside of my main website, I usually bring it back to my spaces by providing a “Director’s Cut” version of my work that includes the Google Doc of the original draft or other insights.
There are times Ian when I wonder why I post what I do. Then there are moments like this, and also recently with another post, where the comments and interaction have really stretched my thinking.
I also really like your point about little beginnings leading to greater things. I have found that the more deliberate approach of using my blog for more, rather than social media, has led to more connections. Reminds me of Amy Burvall’s point about ‘gathering dust for stars.’
As teachers are asked to increasingly use data, be aware of research, collaborate, and engage in ongoing professional learning, workload remains an issue. Collaboration and professional learning take time. Professional learning, in particular, often happens in teachers’ own time, and using their own funds. Time and resourcing are important considerations influencing to what extent teachers are able to collaborate and participate in effective professional learning.
Deborah Netolicky reflects upon the need for time and collaboration called out in the recent Gonski review. I have been a part of the introduction of Disciplined Collaboration in my previous school, as well as the development of collaborative presentations for conferences. I think that this comes back to the challenge of funding associated with such endeavors. Even if various administrative tasks are taken from teachers, they need to be done by somebody and that is still a cost.
The question is no longer as much about whether automation and artificial intelligence will come after my job, but whether or not I am continuously learning the skills, skillsets, and knowledge that will still make me viable and valuable whether automation or artificial intelligence comes after my job or not.
David, I am really intrigued by the comparison between flight and AI. What I feel is missing in the conversation are the consequences associated with such change. For example, we are now grappling with the challenges associated with fuel and pollution. Listen to RN Future Tense for an interesting take on where things are at.
I am not against the ‘future of things’, AI and changes in work, but I think that we need to do more work to understand and appreciate such changes. For me, this involves:
Asking questions as a part of critical reflection
Learning from and through others (as you touch on elsewhere)
Continually engaging in new challenges to disrupt habits
To the River is an immensely beautiful read in its entirety. Complement it with Laing’s subsequent existential experiment in the art of being alone, then revisit Virginia Woolf on the shock-receiving capacity necessary for being an artist.
As always, this not intended to be an exhaustive list, but rather a series of reminders, starting points or check-ins. The continual pursuit of connecting learning and the real world will only get more vital and intense. These various paths to authenticity can help solidify that connection.