Bookmarked Making Room for Asset Pedagogies by Benjamin Doxtdator

But both UDL and CSP have more to offer than removing barriers. At heart, they are as Susan Baglieri argues, asset pedagogies: “it’s not only about access. It is not only about barriers.” We also need to recognize “the assets that disability experiences bring”. This recognition is part of a larger political project that goes beyond what Django Paris identifies as “simple notions of resilience” that leave out “the political underpinnings of work for social and cultural change.” We need to “understand young people as whole, not broken.”

Benjamin Doxtdator uses George Couros and Katie Novak’s book Innovate Inside as a launching point to critique innovation, technology and Universal Design for Learning. Although framed as a ‘review’, I think that this post is better considered as an investigation of ‘asset pedagogies’.
Listened Why does Jordan Peterson resonate with white supremacists? by Benjamin Doxtdator

I must admit that I often observe such debates as that involving Peterson from a far. Benjamin Doxtdator on the other hand goes the other way. The depth of detail he provides through he discussions and dialogue is inspiring, however to then turn it into a podcast with actual audio extracts takes it to a whole new level.
Liked ‘School shaming’ and the reactionary politics of neotrads by Benjamin Doxtdator

Along with phrases appropriated directly from the so-called alt-right, a small group of neotraditionalist educators have invented the concept of ‘school shaming’ to make their reactionary politics seem, well, less reactionary. Criticize a school for how it treats students, and you’re ‘school shaming’. Talk about structural racism and curriculum, and you’re playing ‘identity politics’. Oppose calls to shore up the authority of teachers in the face of supposedly out-of-control youth, and you’re ‘virtue-signalling’.

Bookmarked Reclaiming Educational Reform by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

You might think I’m overly critical of Ted Dintersmith, who probably really cares about education and the future of young people. When you watch Bill Gates tour High Tech High which he invested in years before it featured in Dintersmith and Wagner’s film, you get the sense that he probably really cares about young people, too. But we must not base policy on personality. Hoping that  Dintersmith may be the anti-Gates we’ve been waiting for confines us such a superficial analysis of personality. When billionaires like Dintersmith get behind efforts led by private schools to reshape admissions to colleges, we need to put these education reform agendas through a rigorous, historical analysis. Maybe you will enjoy Dintersmith’s book for the tour he takes you on of schools across the U.S., but you’ll need to look elsewhere to understand what’s really at stake in the movement to ‘disrupt’ ‘obsolete’ schools.

Benjamin Doxtdator continues his critique of Ted Dintersmith. Picking up where he finished last time, he explains that Dintersmith and Tony Wagner are not the alternative to the personalized education movement that we maybe hoping for. I always feel conflicted by such conversations wondering if I am trying to have my cake and eat it too?
Replied to In search of modern knowledge by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

What artifacts do we wish to surround ourselves with and care for? After we can answer that, we can begin to think about what we wish to make. 

Was it worth the experience worth the journey? I have always wanted to go to Constructing Modern Knowledge. Also intrigued by your take on rubbish. I feel that applies as much for the digital as it does the material world. I have cared for my online presence a lot more since taking more ownership over it.
Bookmarked When words won’t suffice: behavior as communication by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

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.

Benjamin Doxtdator unpacks behaviour in the classroom. He touches on knowing your child, student choices and systemic inequalities. This is useful post to read and critically reflect upon various practices. I think that it all often starts with the language that we choose to use to describe these things.
Replied to 🔖 Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

Bookmarked Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner, Ted Dintersmith (Scribner)
From two leading experts in education and entrepreneurship, an urgent call for the radical re-imagining of American education so that we better equip students for the realities of the future.

Chris, not sure if you are interested, but Benjamin Doxtdator wrote what I thought was an intriguing review of Most Likely to Succeed. Thought I’d share.
Bookmarked Beyond Champions and Pirates by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

If we’re serious about making schools better, then we can’t concede the topics of equity and social justice to the neoconservatives while re-shaping schooling to make it even more congenial to the structures that make people increasingly precarious. Makers and entrepreneurs aren’t the answer to the questions we have about equity. We’re not all pawns in some power struggle between the neoconservative and neoliberal movements, between the Champions and Pirates, as if there has only been one game in town, a match to which we must all buy tickets and watch.

Benjamin Doxtdator takes a look at Teach Like a Champion and Teach Like a Pirate. He questions the place of equity within all of this. In a second post, Doxtdator focuses on empowerment and its history. He continues his look at the work of Couros, Juliani and Spencer.

The concept of empowerment has more radical roots. In The Will to Empower (1999), Barbara Cruikshank argues that we can distinguish two different uses of ‘empowerment’: “the left uses empowerment to generate political resistance; the right, to produce rational economic and entrepreneurial actors.” I think the educators that I just surveyed complicate this left/right division since Robinson, Ferriter, and Richardson definitely occupy an identifiable strand of progressivism. Nonetheless, it’s a progressivism divorced from a call for political resistance


Ian O’Byrne also provides a useful breakdown of ’empowerment’ theory.

Liked Fish that swim upstream & shipwrecks by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

Paul Virilio argues that “every time a technology is invented, take shipping for instance, an accident is invented together with it, in this case, the shipwreck, which is exactly contemporaneous with the invention of the ship.” But his larger point was that we have now (mid 20th Century) entered the age of the generalized accident – think a global stock market crash – where “the possibility arises that it might destroy everything.”2 Obviously, with Facebook we can’t really call what happened with Cambridge Analytica an accident – an unintended consequence – since extracting and selling our data is Facebook’s business model.

Liked ‘Diversity of Thought’ is not the problem by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

The point isn’t to have an Indigenous woman’s voice on the panel so we can get ‘the Indigenous women’s perspective’ and hit a check box as if an obligation has been fulfilled. This approach essentializes the diverse experiences of Indigenous women. Instead, the reality is that the selection of which voices are permitted to participate has long been a rigged game to systematically – and often violently – exclude groups of people who the right-wing (and sometimes the socialist left) now accuse of playing “identity politics.”

Liked ‘Monocropping the Mind’ by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

On one level, the human capital narrative creates a restrictive idea of what is a valuable aim for education, most often preparing students for jobs in STEM. While national prosperity is supposed to hang on this monoculture experiment, there’s also a calculation that some – many – will fail unless they have the entrepreneurial skills and grit to make something of themselves. On another level, this free-market ideology is indeed an artificial ecology, propped up by massive (and often unacknowledged) state investment in information technology and biotech sectors and a stripping back of social services. We have gotten to a point where, as Shiva argues, alternatives are closed and killed off.

Bookmarked Disengaged by Design: The Neoconservative War on Youth by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

My broad argument is that no, students are not disengaged because schools are stuck in the past, but because schools are caught in the present strong current of policies that constantly re-shape and re-design schools – and life more broadly – to civically and politically disengage youth. To wage a war on them.

This is the text of a talk that Benjamin Doxtdator gave at #BrewEdWake on Saturday Jan 20, 2018 on the educational policies designed to disengage youth. This ‘war’ is in response to what students might offer:

Peterson is an example of what I have in mind when I talk about the ‘war on youth’, a phrase which comes from Henry Giroux. In the neoconservative attack, youth are triply marginalised because it is claimed:

  • they don’t know anything
  • they are ‘fragile snowflakes’ and ‘play victim’

  • they are dangerous to free speech (read: dangerous to the identity politics of wealthy white men)

These attacks are always racist and sexist, directed against people who are poor and the most marginalised and vulnerable. 

Doxtdator also wonders where the hope is:

It’s difficult to see radical possibilities of hope for youth in either of the main reform movements: the neoconservatives see youth as dangerous, but the neoliberal ‘future proof’ movement also tells a story about the value of youth that too often “forecloses hope” (Henry Giroux).

This is the story that is not told when we talk about students being ‘entrepreneurs’ and creating the future.

Bookmarked Stop Looking at My Bad Leg: Introduction to my new book: Reach for Greatness (Education in the Age of Globalization)

Current understandings of human nature and human learning suggest that human beings are differently talented (Gardner, 1983, 2006) and have different desires and interests (Reiss, 2000, 2004). Thanks to the diversity in the environment in which they are born, humans also have different experiences that interact with their natural talents and interests to give each person a unique, jagged profile of abilities and desires, stronger in some areas and weaker in others (Ridley, 2003; Rose, 2016). In other words, everyone has a handsome leg and, at the same time, a deformed leg.

This is the introduction to Yong Zhao’s new book Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for All. It continues some of the ideas Rose discussed in his book, The End of Average. However, on first glance it seems to overlook other aspects to education, such as society.

One quote that caught my attention was the association between experiences and greatness:

experiences have costs and risks. Every experience requires time, and some require money and extra effort. Thus, adults want every activity their children experience to be positive, to lead to some desirable outcome. They don’t want their children to waste their time, energy, or money, or worse, to have experiences that may have a negative impact. Responsible adults naturally have a tendency to prescribe experiences for children. The result is that many children are allowed to have only experiences deemed to be beneficial and safe by adults.

I think that this is where the difference between individual and society stands out, in that you cannot have people achieving their own sense of greatness if the access to experiences is not equitable. This was not something discussed in a recent debate on the ABC around private vs. public education.

I am also intrigued by the link with Wagner’s work too, and am interested in its association with the wider discourse around personalization and how this differs from ‘personalised’ learning.

I recorded a short reflection for a collaborative podcast put together by Benjamin Doxtdator on the topic of taking pause in 2018. The following people also provided contributions:

  • Ximena on being more aware of the growing inequality produced through research and digital technologies.
  • Kay Sidebottom on the microfacism that stop us from pausing at all.
  • David Webster – Who is profiting from supposed simple solutions
  • Phil Wood on sustainable timescapes.
  • Deborah Netolicky on data, metrics and the impact of interventions.
  • Jelmer Evers on the stories we are being told globally.
  • Alan Levine on the power of walking, while walking.

You can listen below:

Microcast #002 – Taking Pause

Microcast #002 – Taking Pause


Microcast #002 – Taking Pause

Rather than a write a ‘year in review’, reflecting and gathering what’s already happened, I starting thinking about what kind of ‘productive interruptions’ and pauses might come our way in 2018. I don’t intend this to be a list of predictions, as if we can wrangle education into  knowability though forecasts, but as some thoughts about who and what should give us pause in the coming year. When and why should we take pause?

Benjamin Doxtdator recently wrote a reflection of taking pause. He closed the post with a request for anyone willing to provide an audio contribution for a collective podcast. Although short and maybe a little rough, here are my thoughts. I actually think think that I misread it as taking pause over the break …

Further Reading:

Replied to The Propaganda behind Personalised Learning (Long View on Education)

So what do we do? Educate ourselves. Follow critical educators on Twitter, read books that expose corporate interests, and support the work of people like Audrey Watters who act as independent journalists.

Another thought provoking read Benjamin. I really like your call for people to educate. I am also intrigued by your four filters:

  • Funding
  • Expertise
  • Ideology
  • Flak

I think that they provide a useful framework to get started. I just wonder about the entry point for many teachers who are already a part of the ‘learning machine’? I agree about supporting those like Watters and mobilising. I wonder if this is a part of what Howard Stevenson and Alison Gilliland describe as a ‘democratic professionalism’.

My question and concern is whether a structural systemic knowledge is enough? I really like Ben Williamson’s approach focusing on the assemblage:

In this broad sense, a data assemblage includes: (1) particular modes of thinking, theories and ideologies; (2) forms of knowledge such as manuals and textbooks; (3) financial aspects such as business models, investment and philanthropy; (4) the political economy of government policy; (5) the materiality of computers, networks, databases and analytics software packages; (6) specific skilled practices, techniques and behaviours of data scientists; (7) organizations and institutions that collect, broker or use data; (8) particular sites, locations and spaces; and (9) marketplaces for data, its derivative products, its analysts and its software.source

An example of this is his work around ClassDojo. What I think is useful about this approach is that it incorporates skills into the wider critical discussion. For me, that is a part of my interest in Google’s GSuite. That is also, in part, what drives me to do my ‘eLearn Update’ newsletter. I just wonder if there is a limit to dialogue from the outside?

Apologies if this is a complete misreading Benjamin.