📰 Read Write Respond #051

Background Lego image depicting a doctor wearing a mask when treating patients with coronavirus.
Welcome back for another month. Seems kind of wrong to say ‘another’ as March felt like a roller-coaster. The quote doing the rounds at the moment is:

There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.

It would seem that this is only the beginning.

On the family front, we have been spending the month trying to find some semblance of balance. Whether it be schools (finally) closing, staying at home to flatten the curve, shopping around for the household staples or my wife’s work in responding to requirements of leadership in a time of such change, it has been a whirlwind. I think that the biggest challenge has been learning to respect and appreciate each other that bit more living all facets of life in the same space.

At work, the month started with an adjustment to a new working space. Personally speaking, I just get on with things wherever I am. However, I am not sure of placing a support team in the middle of a project space was the best move? Like doing a stand-up routine in the middle of a library, the competing expectations are always going to clash. This issue was however put on hold as we moved to an off-site model, which has been refreshing.

Personally, I started reading Paul Browning’s new book Principled. I have enjoyed thinking about the wicked problems so many leaders are currently facing and where Browning’s ideas fit within all of this. In regards to music, I have found solitude and respite in both Four Tet and Brian and Roger Eno. I have also been tinkering with the free Moog Model D app on the iPad. I started writing some notes on online learning and the challenges of supporting schools, but never found the time and space to finish these pieces. I did however manage to write my reflections on space on a more regular basis.

Here then are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


Resources For Teaching Online Due To School Closures

Kathleen Morris provides a number of topics and tools to consider if forced to move learning online. This includes how to structure online learning, what are some options for a learning hub, the different tools available to support learning experiences and some things to consider if moving online. Bianca Hewes also discusses the potential of Project Based Learning in an online environment.

This Is The Time

Dean Shareski suggests that the current crisis provides a time to stop and reflect upon the education. However, Joel Speranza argues that it is time to adapt our pedagogy, rather than rethink it. Robin DeRosa and Sean Michael Morris suggests that the transition to online learning needs to be about care, compassion and community

‘Another stinging insult’: teachers are being used as martyrs in COVID-19 agenda — EducationHQ

Steven Kolber discuses the stress the current situation places on teachers by the coronavirus pandemic. This comes on the back of schools that are already at breaking point. Although the Victorian government finally bit the bullet and closed schools, the focus now turners to childcare and kindergartens.

Seven Reasons to Geek Out on Educational Theory

John Spencer reflects on his work writing a dissertation and the new found appreciation of theory. Some of theory related posts include Jesse Stommel bibliography for ungrading and Lucinda McKnight and Narelle Wood’s discussion of the dangers of descriptive writing structures.

10 Tips For Parents Homeschooling Young Children

With so many parents being forced or deciding to keep their children home from school, Kathleen Morris shares her experiences of homeschooling. A useful post, especially alongside Austin Kleon’s reflections.


Tips and Tools for Improving your Remote Meetings and Presentations on a Budget

There has been a lot written about the various applications that allow you to connect online via video. However, Aaron Parecki addresses the various tools which can help improve the audio and visual quality of recordings.

Technological Revolutions and the Governance Gap

Tim Kastelle discusses the challenges of governance required to keep up with technological change. This touches on Jaron Lanier’s argument that AI (and technology) is more than just a tool, it is an ideology.

Webmentions with WordPress for Open Pedagogy

Chris Aldrich provides a series of posts explaining how the PressEd Conference, which focuses on WordPress, could be run using WordPress. This is also a concise introduction to the IndieWeb.

We Need A Massive Surveillance Program

Maciej Ceglowski puts forward the idea of utilise the surveillance infrastructure developed by platform capitalism to aid in the fight against coronavirus. Mark Andrejevic and Neil Selwyn explore the use of smartphone data and apps that have already been used.

Zoom Calls Aren’t as Private as You May Think. Here’s What You Should Know

With all the hype around Zoom as the solution to productivity in a time of social distancing, Allen St. John discusses some of the features and practices that people may not be fully aware of. For more information on using Zoom, Alex Kutler has created an extensive guide.


Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance

Tomas Pueyo follows on from his post exploring why we need to act now and unpacks what the next 18 months could look like. However, Gideon Lichfield suggests that much of this depends on how we adapt to social distancing and the the new normal.

Coronavirus Is Serious, But Panic Is Optional

Margo Aaron breaks down the way in which the media drives panic and fear around coronavirus. In a separate post, Caroline Chen reflects on the confusion created by through poor reporting.

What Our Contagion Fables Are Really About

From Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year to José Saramago’s Blindness, Jill Lepore traces the portrayal of pandemics in literature through time. For a full list of book, Bryan Alexander has collated a list, while Cory Doctorow has shared a number of his own stories on the topic.

In a climate crisis, Beds Are Burning is making a comeback

Paul Donoughue discusses the legacy of Midnight Oil’s 1986 track, Beds are Burning. This is all part of a longer history of protest songs.

A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry – A look at the history of battle in popular culture

Bret Devereaux provides a fascinating trip through battles of the past and in fiction. This includes an exploration of Ancient Greece and the Siege of Gondor from Lord of the Rings.


By Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Providing an account of the crisis unfurling around the world, an Italian doctor reflects on the life and death decisions being made, while Craig Spencer provides a day in the life of an ER doctor.  Both highlight why social distancing is so important.

Building on this, Ed Yong explains that there are two groups of people in a pandemic: everyone involved in the medical response and those practicing social distancing. This is a point that Norman Swan elaborates on the Coronacast podcast. Accounts from the Spanish Flu pandemic provide a historical evidence about the benefits. Tomas Pueyo says the challenge is to act now (which is always really yesterday). For Yascha Mounk this means cancelling everything.

Defining what is and is not appropriate when it comes to social distancing, Kaitlyn Tiffany explores a number of questions such as whether you should cancel your dates, dinner parties, and gym sessions. Asaf Bitton explains how the current crisis is different to a ‘snow day’, while David Truss questions whether the idea of social distancing is better understood as ‘physical distancing’. Amy Hoy provides a simulation game to play with some basic rules associated with social distancing.

In regards to visuals, Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre visualise the positive impact of social distancing in an animation of matchsticks catching fire. Gregg Gonsalves the same metaphor in a still image. Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris animate the ‘Flatten the Curve‘ graph and represent the spread interupted by social distancing as a tree diagram. Brian Iselin represents the difference between infecting 2.5 people (the average) and 1.25 people.

From a literary perspective, Samuel L Jackson reads a new version of Adam Mansbach’s Go the Fk to Sleep called Stay the FK at Home, while Jessie Gaynor rewrites the opening lines to ten classic novels based on social distancing.

Read Write Respond #051

So that was March for me, how about you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via JustLego101

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