📰 Read Write Respond #037

Cover for Read Write Respond #037 including a focus on flanarie
I think that it is fair to say that the new school year brings fear for those inside and out of education. I have been flat chat in getting everything in place for the schools we support. This feels strangely different to the rush of being in a school. I think what makes it hard is that structural aspects like timetables and attendance are often the last consideration in schools. However, what I am learning is that in an age of systems and technology things quickly breakdown when these aspects are not in place. Must admit, definitely have some work to do to make this process more seamless and streamlined as we scale up.

On the family front, I have been making the most of the nice weather with the girls. Getting out and about, including visits to IKEA, the aquarium and Lillydale Lake. My wife has also started her Masters in Educational Leadership.

Personally, I read Cory Doctorow’s novel Walkaway. A part of my attempt to read more fiction. Watched Season 1 and 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. I wrote a post on  On the Challenges of Being Typecast. I listened to Maggie Rogers, G Flip, The Killers and Missy Higgins.

Associated with my new word for 2019, I started some new habits, including writing regular quick thoughts (although I think I might move them to my main blog) and eating in a ‘twelve hour window’. This second habit was inspired by David Truss.


Here are some links that have supported my learning this month …

Learning and Teaching

Letter Grades are the Enemy of Authentic & Humane Learning: Bernard Bull discusses how grades work against authentic and self-determined learning. Although they are ingrained in education, he recommends considering the aspects of life free from grades and having these conversations with others. What is interesting is this is only one post being shared at the moment. Bill Ferriter shared his concerns about the association between standard grades and fixed mindset, while Will Richardson argues that grades only matter because we choose to let them matter.This continues some of the points discussed in Clive Rose’s book The End of Average and Jesse Stommell’s presentation on grades and the LMS. It is also something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education.


What future Antarctica?: Antony Funnell leads an investigation of the future of Antarctica, including the positioning of different countries in relation to 2048 when the current treaty to protect the continent expires. The feature investigates the geopolitics associated with military, research and resources. This also includes the place of the surrounding nations as launching points for this activity. I remember teaching about the resources associated with Antarctica in Geography, but what I feel was missed in hindsight was why it matters, especially as the world progressively warms up. Discussing the Arctic, Dahr Jamail explains how the degredation of such spaces impact us all. This is also something James Bridle discusses in his book the New Dark Age.


A New Approach for Listening: Maha Bali reflects on the different approaches to listening, including widely, deeply, openly, repeatedly, outside, inside, to silence, between the lines and to take action. On the flip side, Bali warns about lip service listening.


If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first: Austin Kleon provides a collection of quotes outlining the importance of reading before writing. It is interesting to think about this in regards to J. Hillis Miller’s argument that reading itself is an act of writing.


What the earliest fragments of English reveal: This collection of historical artefacts is insightful both from the perspective of language, as well as the origins associated with each. It seems that every piece involves some element of luck as to how it survived that it makes you wonder the texts that have been lost over time and how this may impact our appreciation of the past.


Technology

The Rise and Demise of RSS: Sinclair Target unpacks the history associated with RSS, including the parts played by those like Dave Winer and Aaron Swartz. This includes the forking to ATOM. Having come to RSS during the demise I was not aware of the background, especially in regards to ATOM, associated with the standard. (Although Cory Doctorow argues that Target focuses too much on the micro rather than macro.) It is interesting to consider that its demise is associated with the rise of social media. Ironically, I came to RSS dissatisfied with social media. Also, I wonder what happens if social medias promise fails? A return to RSS or is there something else again in the development of the web?


Teachers and Technology – Time to Get Serious: Neil Selwyn provides seven brief bits of advice for any teacher wanting to make sense of technology. They include: be clear what you want to achieve, set appropriate expectations, aim for small-scale change, pay attention to the ‘bigger picture’, think about unintended consequences, consider collective concerns and beware of over-confident ‘experts’. This all 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.


Steve Jobs Never Wanted Us to Use Our iPhones Like This: Cal Newport argues that the Steve Jobs’ initial vision for the iPhone was never meant to be a new form of existence where the digital encroached upon the analogue. He therefore calls for a return to the early minimalist days from early on. This is similar to Jake Knapp’s efforts to regain his attention by removing apps and notifications from his smartphone. I still have concerns about the analogue and digital divide and what that actually means. I also think the request for responsibility ignores the systematic concerns associated with smartphones. This is something Grafton Tanner picks up on in regards to Simon Sinek and ClassDojo.


12 Tips For Maintaining Momentum With Blogging: Closing off the 28 day blogging challenge, Kathleen Morris provides a list of strategies for maintaining momentum. On the flip side, Aaron Hogan provides a list of blogging rules that you do not have to follow. These include the idea that blogs need to look a certain way or be perfect. Shawn Wang says it is just about learning in public, while Bill Ferriter argues that we need to actively be someone else’s conversational followers.


‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism: In an interview with John Naughton, Shoshana Zuboff touches on the feeling of ‘informed bewilderment’ that marks that current transformation associated with platform capitalism. This includes the many aspects which feed into the surveillance economy, such as smartphones and digital assistants. Zuboff argues that the goal is to automate us. Rather than reviewing what should and should not be collected, the question that needs addressing is why is it collected at all.


Reflections

Book Launch: A Live Team Human Conversation with Douglas Rushkoff and Seth Godin (Team Human Ep. 117): Seth Godin and Douglas Rushkoff discuss why ‘team human’. They address how we got to now, the challenges faced in being human, the hope for the future and whether it matters that ‘NPR’ does not care. I purchased the book and corresponding audiobook. I loved Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus and Programming or be Programmed. I have also enjoyed the podcast. I also enjoy listening to Rushkoff read his own work.


Fables of School Reform: 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. This is all built on the back of networking between the same names for the last thirty years. This is a useful read alongside Ben Williamson’s Big Data in Education.


Why Are Pregnant Black Women Viewed as Incompetent?: In an extract from Tressie McMillan Cottom’s new book Thick, she unpacks the politics and biases associated with being being a black women. She reflects on the feeling of incompetence she was made to feel when she was pregnant. This a harrowing story made even sadder by the grim reality of the statistics. This makes me wonder about the realities of Australia’s indigenous people and and systemic inequality in Australia’s society.


Playable Lego Piano: I recently stumbled upon the Lego Ideas series. The intent is for creators to share their custom creations, with some going through the process of being put into production. There are some fantastic creations, but the one that stood out to me was the working piano. What stood out for me was the way in which pieces were appropriated for different purposes.


Focus on … Flanerie

Ian Guest on Flanarie

For a couple of years now, I have been focusing on one word, rather than goals or resolutions. This was inspired by Kath Murdoch. My word this year is flanerie. Here then is a list of readings and resources associated with the topic:

Are there any other texts that you would add to my list to guide my personal inquiry this year?

Read Write Respond #036

So that is January for me, how about you? As always, happy to hear.


Also, I am interested if anyone has any feedback on the style and structure of this newsletter. I would love to know if there are things that people like or if there are things that you would change? I am looking to change things up in the new year.

Bryan Mathers sketch

Cover image via JustLego101.

17 responses on “📰 Read Write Respond #037”

  1. Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

    A return to RSS or is there something else again in the development of the web?

    There are other options out there, though in many cases distribution is uneven. There are new specs like JSONFeed which many sites and feed readers support just in the last year.
    There are also simpler methods than RSS now including the microformats-based h-feed which one can use to create a simple feed that many feed readers will support.
    Part of RSS’s ubiquity is that it is simply so prevalent that most common CMSs still support it. The fact that the idea of RSS is so old and generally un-evolving means there isn’t a lot of maintenance involved once it’s been set up.

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  2. Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

    This makes me wonder about the realities of Australia’s indigenous people and and systemic inequality in Australia’s society.

    You might be interested in the last section of a recent episode of On the Media. It discusses a documentary (bordering on reality show) relating to indigenous peoples of Canada, which I think made brief mention of Australia and a similar project there. While I’m sure there are some very striking differences between these indigenous peoples, there are also some not surprising similarity in the ways in which they are exploited and marginalized.
    In general I liked the idea of what the documentary was and represented and wish there were versions for other countries.

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  3. Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

    Are there any other texts that you would add to my list to guide my personal inquiry this year?

    You might take a quick search into some of the writings of Nassim Nicholas Taleb relating to the idea. He mentions some of the benefits of being a flâneur interspersed in several of his books as side topics, but I’m sure he’s got to have an essay or two on the overall topic.
    He’s one of the people I’ve noticed using the word (in his case as a title which he might put as a profession on his business card) in the past 20 years who seems to have brought it to the social forefront to the point that many of your other references have been influenced by it.
    I think there’s a lot to be learned about the overarching idea, so I’m interested to see what you come up with on an extended survey of the word as you progress.

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  4. Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

    eating in a ‘twelve hour window’

    Ha! I recently ran across sever people pushing fasting apps including one called Zero which encourages fasting for 16 hours (or essentially skipping one meal a day.)
    Many have been quietly pushing this for the past few years in relation to things like the paleo diet, etc. I’ll also note that Nassim Nicholas Taleb has mentioned something like it frequently (since you mention flaneuring below).

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    1. I really must get into Taleb’s work. Thank you for the suggestion. I have tried reading a few of his posts and watching some of lectures. However, I never seem to have enough patience or time to properly take it all in. One of those writers where if you are not giving 110% you get lost quickly.

      1. You’re right about the 110% part! The sad part is that he’s not naturally a good communicator. I might even say he’s a really bad communicator. As a philosopher, he’s got some genuinely useful and powerful thoughts, but he is positively abysmal in communicating it quickly and effectively. I’d attribute some of it to what I’ve seen as his eschewing “the man”, “the system”, governments, and even editors. Of all the interesting writers I know, he could certainly benefit from working with a great editor if he could bring himself to trust one.
        Sadly, until that day, we’re just left with sifting through some chaff to find the wheat in his work.

  5. Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

    Learning and Teaching
    Letter Grades are the Enemy of Authentic & Humane Learning: Bernard Bull discusses how grades work against authentic and self-determined learning. Although they are ingrained in education, he recommends considering the aspects of life free from grades and having these conversations with others. What is interesting is this is only one post being shared at the moment. Bill Ferriter shared his concerns about the association between standard grades and fixed mindset, while Will Richardson argues that grades only matter because we choose to let them matter.This continues some of the points discussed in Clive Rose’s book The End of Average and Jesse Stommell’s presentation on grades and the LMS. It is also something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education.

    Thanks for aggregating a variety of sources here!
    I’d recently come across Robert Talbert’s post Traditional Grading: The Great Demotivator which likely fits into this same sub-topic.

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  6. Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

    This a harrowing story made even sadder by the grim reality of the statistics.

    I’m almost losing count of how many racial health disparity stories I’ve been seeing lately. It’s so common I’ve got tags for it on my site now.

    👓 I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman | Time

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