Bookmarked Common Sense Media Misses the Mark on COPPA (Jim Siegl)

Schools should think of COPPA as a subset of their overall privacy responsibilities. I would argue that schools should prioritize overall privacy for students of all ages, and compliance with FERPA. There are few cases where paying attention to this would not also aid in the schools’ role in vendors’ COPPA compliance.

Liked It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech (WIRED)

Discussing the democratic problems with YouTube and Facebook, Zeynep Tufekei argues that we can decide how we want to handle digital surveillance, attention-­channeling, harassment, data collection, and algorithmic decision­making, we just need to start the discussion.

Zeynep Tufekei explains that just because we can all create a social media account in seconds this supposed ‘democracy’ is a phantom public. Although it may seem that we can all ‘connect the world’s, each of the platforms is controlled by algorithms designed to keep the prosumer engaged and advertised. This is something that Tufekei also discusses in her TEDTalk. The change needed is systemic:

We don’t have to be resigned to the status quo. Facebook is only 13 years old, Twitter 11, and even Google is but 19. At this moment in the evolution of the auto industry, there were still no seat belts, airbags, emission controls, or mandatory crumple zones. The rules and incentive structures underlying how attention and surveillance work on the internet need to change. But in fairness to Facebook and Google and Twitter, while there’s a lot they could do better, the public outcry demanding that they fix all these problems is fundamentally mistaken. There are few solutions to the problems of digital discourse that don’t involve huge trade-offs—and those are not choices for Mark Zuckerberg alone to make. These are deeply political decisions. In the 20th century, the US passed laws that outlawed lead in paint and gasoline, that defined how much privacy a landlord needs to give his tenants, and that determined how much a phone company can surveil its customers. We can decide how we want to handle digital surveillance, attention-­channeling, harassment, data collection, and algorithmic decision­making. We just need to start the discussion. Now.

Bookmarked Professional Development Gets Personal : Stager-to-Go (stager.tv)
Gary Stager provides a series of tips for PD success in a recent article for the Hello World magazine:

Ask participants to take off their teacher hats
and put on their learner hats!
Expect the impossible, and your students will
surprise you.
Whimsy, beauty, playfulness, and mystery are
powerful contexts for learning.
Focus on powerful ideas, not step-by-step
mechanics.
Offer maximum choice in projects and processes.
Establish an absence of coercion. Operate under
the assumption that your students want to be
there. “Nothing beautiful can ever be forced.”
– Xenophon
Supply sufficient materials and time, quality
work takes time and you don’t want people
waiting around for materials.
Papert teaches us that the best learning results
from hard fun.
Less us, more them. Provide a minute or two of
instruction, suggest a prompt or challenge, and
then shut up. The more agency one can bestow
upon learners, the more they will accomplish.

Bookmarked 16 Best Alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack Plugin (WPBeginner)

Are you looking for the best alternatives to the Jetpack plugin for WordPress? Check out these best alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack plugin.

The team at WPBeginner provide a useful reflection on Jetpack:

Like all things in life, Jetpack plugin comes with its own advantages and disadvantages that you need to keep in mind when choosing Jetpack alternatives.

### Pros of Using Jetpack Plugin

These are the advantages of using Jetpack plugin on your WordPress website.

  • One plugin to rule them all. You get all essential features in one easy to manage package.
  • Jetpack is highly optimized for performance with Automattic’s (company behind Jetpack and WordPress.com) powerful infrastructure running in the background.
  • It has a nicer user interface than your typical WordPress plugins.

### Cons of Using Jetpack Plugin

Following are the disadvantages of using WordPress Jetpack plugin on your website.

  • Using Jetpack requires you to create a WordPress.com account.
  • The Jetpack core is free but many of its features require a paid subscription.
  • It has limited email functionality. You cannot email your subscribers without publishing a blog post.
  • Your website becomes dependent on one plugin which makes it harder to replace in the future.

 

Bookmarked Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher by Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher Blog)

I’ve been asked about the podcasting equipment setup and software that we use on the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast. After 220 episodes in one year and over 430K downloads, we’ve settled on a configuration we like. In this post, I’ll share the setup and help you get started.

I have collected a number of posts on podcasting before, however Vicki Davis definitely adds to the perspective.

via Stephen Downes

Liked Is Technology Addictive? (Audrey Watters)

I was supposed to speak to a reporter today about iPhones and addiction, but the interview fell through. I jotted down some of my thoughts in preparation for the call, and I thought I’d post them here in case it’s a topic I decide to return to and flesh out more in the future…

Liked The Shape of Stories (The Confident Teacher)

When our students read and write they draw upon their knowledge of stories – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. The language and words and patterns become known and understood, matched and linked together. Over time, students develop what we can term a ‘mental model‘. That is to say, the more we read, the more we understand, the more we develop a ‘model’ of different types of stories and their respective worlds.

We know that the earlier we read, and the greater the volume of our reading, the more fine grained and precise our ‘mental model’. For many children who join school, they are well on the way with being read to and the shape of stories – mental models – are already emerging in their minds. By secondary school, I can teach a gothic story, but most students could write a good attempt with little to no teaching. The shape of the story is already well formed in their minds.

Liked When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind (WIRED)

Google’s caution around images of gorillas illustrates a shortcoming of existing machine-learning technology. With enough data and computing power, software can be trained to categorize images or transcribe speech to a high level of accuracy. But it can’t easily go beyond the experience of that training. And even the very best algorithms lack the ability to use common sense, or abstract concepts, to refine their interpretation of the world as humans do.

Liked Digital Governance by Eylan (Eylan Ezekiel)

Through using digital tools in the cloud, governance at Larkrise Primary School has been made more effective and easier to manage. Though we’d recommend it, this is not about the technology, but about a shift in culture. There is more we could do and would love to connect with others using similar approaches.

Bookmarked More on the Role of Audience in Social Spaces

We’ve got to stop telling people who are new to social spaces about the “power of audience” because the truth is that most of today’s audiences are muted at best, choosing consumption over participation in nine conversations out of ten.

Bill Ferriter questions the story that we keep on telling about audience and instead suggests three approaches that should be encouraged:

(1). Bring Your OWN Audience

Instead of trying to build a huge audience of strangers, concentrate on building a small audience of peers

(2). Be a Participating Member of Someone Else’s Audience

Start commenting on the work of others.  Start responding to people’s posts in Twitter.  Let people know that you are listening and learning from them.  Show gratitude for the time that they put into thinking and sharing transparently with others.  Provide challenge to their core ideas — and then push those ideas out through your networks.

(3). Draw attention to the ideas of your audience

I want you to think about my buddy Bob for a minute.  He took his own time to read my original bit on audience.  Then, he took even more of his own time to craft a reply that challenged my thinking and articulated concepts that I hadn’t considered. Instead of spending that same time on his own growth, he was making an investment in me and in our intellectual relationship. That matters, y’all — and I need to respect that investment in some way.


Ferriter has been writing a lot recently about reflection, audiences and comments. Personally, I have taken to being more intentional with my comments by sending comments from my own site. This has had its hiccups, but I think that it offers an alternative future and positive possibility.

Liked Four Moves (Four Moves)

The Four Moves blog is maintained by Mike Caulfield, who has been helping teachers integrate digital citizenship skills into the classroom for over 10 years. It is based on research conducted by Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew, which found that students lack knowledge of basic web techniques for verification and source assessment, which puts them at the mercy of misinformation.

Listened IRL Podcast Episode 8: Bot Or Not from irlpodcast.org

Veronica Belmont investigates the rise of social media bots with Lauren Kunze and Jenn Schiffer. Butter.ai’s Jack Hirsch talks about what happens when your profile is stolen by a political bot. Lisa-Maria Neudert measures how bots influence politics. Ben Nimmo teaches us how to spot and take down bot armies. And Tim Hwang explores how bots can connect us in surprising, and meaningful, new ways.

This episode is dedicated to unpacking bots. Along with Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith’s investigation into the influence of Twitter bots, Kris Shaffer and Bill Fitzgerald’s guide on how to spot a bot, and Kin Lane’s reflections on the waves of bots and Nicholas Confessore’s exposé into the follower factory, these resources provide a useful starting point for understanding bots and there implication on society today.
Liked Reading a Book is The Answer (kinlane.com)

Reading a book is the answer for a lot of what troubles me. When I’ve had to much screen time–read a book! When I’m tired from work and want to turn on the TV–read a book. When I’m frustrated with the current state of things in this country–read a book. When I can’t shut down the voices in my head because I’m spinning out about something–read a book.

Listened ‘A different dimension of loss’: inside the great insect die-off – podcast by an author from the Guardian

Scientists have identified 2 million species of living things. No one knows how many more are out there, and tens of thousands may be vanishing before we have even had a chance to encounter them

Go here for a written version of this Guardian long read.
Replied to Detritus and Debris: Weeding My Social Networks (dogtrax.edublogs.org)

My criteria was: does I recognize this name, even remotely? Do I ever see or notice this person in my timeline? If not, the likely result was an unfollow. I haven’t yet made it to the bottom of my follower list, so more are likely to go.

Thank you Kevin for providing the impetus to weed my account. There is so much written about leaving Twitter and although I am not at that point, I have been feeling somewhat indifferent about it of late, so it was good to stop and reflect.

For so long I followed any educator who followed me. It just seemed right. But I have noted the consequence within spaces like Nuzzel. Although I have used lists in the past, but with my tendency to use Twitter on my phone, this can be tedious.

I went through and removed two thirds of follows. I basically kept those who I have had some conversation and connection with. I am not sure what difference this might make to how I use Twitter, especially with my dive into the #Indieweb. Time will tell.

📰 eLearn Updates (December 2017)

This is a look at the resources and updates associated with G Suite for December

Updates

Resources

Drive

Chrome

Research

  • The Web Is Abundant. Find Another Source – Mike Caulfield explains how in a world with 100s of possible sources, so much of what you do is less about finding coverage than about limiting it through filters. This is why searching Google’s curated news site, rather than running a general search, is so simple , but powerful.
  • Year in Search: The moments that defined 2017 in Australia – From from slime to sport, covfefe to cryptocurrency and hurricanes to hot cross buns – Google highlights the eclectic searches done by Australians in 2017.
  • How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches – Hiroko Tabuchi explains how climate denialist ads are an example of contrarian groups can use the internet’s largerst automated advertising systems to their advantage, game the system to find a mass platform for false or misleading claims.

Docs

Gmail

Calendar

  • Update Google Calendar resources using the Calendar Resource APIs – Google introduced the new Calendar experience on the web, including the ability to add more structured data about your buildings and resources. We’re now making it easier to add and edit that information with updates to the existing Calendar Resources API, as well as adding two new APIs: Buildings and Features.

Slides

Forms

  • EDU in 90: Quizzes in Google Forms – Drea Alphonso and Tim Anderson explore the basics for quiz creation in Google Forms, including set up, question types, and grading.

Sheets

Sites

Classroom

Drawings

Geo Tools

  • A crabtivating journey: Street View joins a crab migration of millions on Christmas Island – Street View is venturing to Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, to join more than 45 million local residents for their annual trip from the forests to seas. Christmas Island’s famous, endemic red crabs have begun their once-a-year migration.
  • Google Maps’s Moat – Justin O’Beirne discusses the addition of ‘Areas of Interests’ to Google Maps and explains that the challenge for Apple is that these AOIs aren’t collected—they’re created. And Apple appears to be missing the ingredients to create AOIs at the same quality, coverage, and scale as Google.

Connecting Classrooms

Keep

YouTube

Blogger

  • A Glossary of Blogging Vocabulary – Richard Byrne provides a vocabulary for unpacking blogs. Although not explicitly about Blogger, it still provides a useful reference.

Hapara

  • The Evolution of Monitoring – Hapara has compiled a resource bringing together a number of educators to reflect upon their experiences of monitoring.

General