Bookmarked RTO in 2024: Fast Company’s 8-point guide for designing an office your workers actually want to return to (

It’s not just the office floor plan that needs revision; it’s how those floor plans fit into a future where the typical Monday-to-Friday work week is no longer a given. 

Source: RTO%20in%202024%3A%20Fast%20Company%E2%80%99s%208-point%20guide%20for%20designing%20an%20office%20your%20workers%20actually%20want%20to%20return%20to by Liz Stinson

There is so much focus on creating the right spaces, but what remote working has highlighted for me is that there is no point in having the ‘right spaces’ if the way people work together is still fractured. We can create all the fluidity we like or creating different spaces, however if this does not have purpose to how people are actually working, then it seems fractured. Just because you have a collaborative space, it does not mean people magically collaborate, instead the focus on ‘collaborative space’ becomes about the space, ignoring the real challenge, collaboration and the way we work.

“Laura Hilliger’s Generational Gripe” in FBT on EOY and Endurance – by Laura Hilliger ()

Bookmarked Does a quiet classroom quietly harm children? (

I think every classroom and school has a duty to this generation in particular, who spend so much time isolated on their phones and online to make it a weekly, if not daily, norm to say hello to somebody new and look to work on something together. The challenge to my high school’s staff was to just choose one lesson per two-week timetable so that across subject areas every student might have 15% of lessons where the class is mixed-up and speaking to others is normalised. In a short space of time, this regular practice during learning can change expectations and remove the fear and anxiety towards meeting, greeting, and working with anyone you’re with at any time. 

Richard Wells goes beyond the well-meaning quiet classroom and puts out the challenges to consider allocating time for students to practice ‘working with others’. He suggests that not getting students to engage outside of their usual groupings because they hate it becomes a self-perpetuating myth.

For me it says so much about what it is we consider important. It also reminds me of the work of Sherry Turkle and her argument that we need to reclaim conversations through unitasking.

The trouble with talk begins young. A few years ago, a private middle school asked me to consult with its faculty: Students were not developing friendships the way they used to. At a retreat, the dean described how a seventh grader had tried to exclude a classmate from a school social event. It’s an age-old problem, except that this time when the student was asked about her behavior, the dean reported that the girl didn’t have much to say: “She was almost robotic in her response. She said, ‘I don’t have feelings about this.’ She couldn’t read the signals that the other student was hurt.”

The dean went on: “Twelve-year-olds play on the playground like 8-year-olds. The way they exclude one another is the way 8-year-olds would play. They don’t seem able to put themselves in the place of other children.”

Replied to Belonging is inconvenient (David White)

Sometimes at my institution we slide into thinking which implies that full, residential courses are the authentic way to learn and everything else is either geared relative to this or simply a pipeline into it. We need to design on the basis that there are multiple authentic modes of learning for multiple communities of students. Not all of these require belonging and community but where they do we need to acknowledge that it’s hard work, time consuming, and that access-to-a-building or being-in-a-cohort is not a proxy for membership-of-a-community.

Dave, I always appreciate the way in which you provide frameworks for making sense of things. In this case the differences between independent, communal and networked learning, and how this is more than being face-to-face or online. I was interested in your point about belonging and its relationship with time.

One of the key reasons that students can feel part of a community on residential courses is because they have made a huge commitment in time and effort just to turn-up. In traditional undergraduate terms this is likely to mean relocating the majority of their life to a new city for three years. It’s not just about the physical buildings it’s inherent in the format. In this sense, belonging is exclusive – available only to those who have the time to invest.

This has me thinking about belonging and its association with collaboration, and how whether if we all had the time whether we would naturally wish to collaborate?

I was listening to someone reflect upon the perils of outsourcing compared to just doing something yourself. I had a similar experience today. As a part of my work in improving processes, I had created a spreadsheet template, which provided feedback as you went. I had someone email to say how useful it was, except it seemed to be broken. On further investigation, I realised that I had not implemented a recent update throughout the whole spreadsheet. I managed to put together a fix quickly. However, the issue was that the template had been copied 150 times and to apply the fix, I had to open upon each spreadsheet and past in the updated set of formulas. I thought for a minute whether I needed to rope somebody else in to help me. But I decided that it was my problem and best to make sure it is fixed properly, so I put my head down and hammered it out.
Listened ‘The way we get through this is together’: mutual aid under coronavirus | Rebecca Solnit from the Guardian

There is a long, rough road ahead. Without radical change, the way food, shelter, medical care and education are produced and distributed will be more unfair and more devastating than before. It seems likely that conservatives will argue for brutal austerity and libertarian abandonment of the most desperate, while the rest of us are going to have to argue for some form of post-capitalism that decouples meeting basic needs from wage labour – perhaps the kind of basic income that Spain is planning to introduce.

The devastating economic effect of the pandemic will make innovation essential, whether it is rethinking higher education or food distribution, or how to fund news media. The Green New Deal offers a model for how to move forward on jobs and leave fossil fuels behind as that sector founders and climate catastrophe looms. Protests in many fields – including nurses demanding PPE, and warehouse, delivery and food-service workers protesting against exploitative or unsafe working conditions – suggests that workers’ organisations may be gaining strength.

Replied to Equality City – Year 7 Enrichment Program, Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Campus by Lee Hewes (Lee Hewes)

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be asked to run an enrichment program for year 7 students at NBSC, Manly Campus. The program involved leading students through a week of inquiry based le…

Thank you for sharing Lee, I love the different ways in which you utilise Minecraft for different purposes.
Replied to Let’s build our ideal future (

If we want to have a different, better future, we have to make decisions that are uncomfortable and inconvenient. We have to recognize the bits of us that are in control, when it feels like we have so very little control. I’ve said it many times, to family, friends, clients and colleagues – our actions matter. Now more than ever.

We all have time now. Time to reflect. Time to do some research. Time to choose differently. It’s not enough to imagine the ideal future, we have to make decisions that get us there.

Great call to action Laura. It reminds me of a post I wrote a few years ago

Sometimes our desire to change education is beyond our means. Whether it be because we are not a part of leadership, there are no funds to support such a change, it does not fit within the school’s annual implementation plan, the list goes on. The challenge for us in this situation is often how we actually respond, just as much as what our eventual response is. Instead of baulking at the challenge, one answer is to break the problem down into its parts. In doing so, it is important to look at what it is that is trying to be evolved and consider whether there is anything that we can do to get one step closer towards our ideal.

Replied to The power of sharing digitally (

We live in an amazingly connected world, and sharing digitally allows us to collaborate and learn from each other. It’s collaboration on a global scale… and you will never fully know the potential of your sharing, unless you are willing to put your thoughts and ideas ‘out there’.

David, this example reminds me of the serendipitous story associated with Adrian Camm’s ‘Permission to Innovate‘ card.
Liked when trust is lost (

Breaking down barriers to knowledge flow should be of prime importance for anyone in a leadership position. Leadership is helping make the network smarter. Networks in which knowledge is more visible and flows faster are able to learn faster and better. The example of this epidemic should hit executives in the gut and get them to seriously reexamine every single control mechanism that stifles the flow of knowledge or fails to foster trust among workers.

Replied to Caution: Collaboration & Competition (

Here are some wonderings…
To increase the level of professionalism, could we increase all teachers award salary?
If teachers become instructional leaders, why not simply decrease their teaching load? 
If we want to create a collaborative and authentic partnership approach to professional learning, we need to have a balance of power.
If we want teachers to develop professionally and instructional specialists are the answer, we must be careful that they are not used as performance managers.

Great reflection Andrea. Building collaborative teams is hard enough, adding competition into the mix never helps in creating the culture required.

I remember having a ‘build it and they will come‘ approach to collaboration. However, my experience since is that there are many nuances to creating a collaborative environment.

🗒️ Ideas

James Somers discusses the notion of ‘Collaborative Circles’ and ideas focusing on the work on coders Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat:

After years of sharing their working lives, duos sometimes develop a private language, the way twins do. They imitate each other’s clothing and habits. A sense of humor osmoses from one to the other. Apportioning credit between them becomes impossible. But partnerships of this intensity are unusual in software development. Although developers sometimes talk about “pair programming”—two programmers sharing a single computer, one “driving” and the other “navigating”—they usually conceive of such partnerships in terms of redundancy, as though the pair were co-pilots on the same flight. Jeff and Sanjay, by contrast, sometimes seem to be two halves of a single mind. Some of their best-known papers have as many as a dozen co-authors. Still, Bill Coughran, one of their managers, recalled, “They were so prolific and so effective working as a pair that we often built teams around them.”source

Bookmarked How To Make The Most Of Trello By Syncing Cards Across Multiple Boards by Maria Sergo (

The Unito Power-Up operates under the assumption that no Trello board should be an island. Collaboration works better when it crosses the boundaries of boards, and even tools. That’s why Unito is a great way to sync (connect) information between Trello boards, letting your cards exist in more than one place at the same time.

I really like the look of this power-up to sync cards across different boards. It addresses one of my biggest frustrations with Trello.
Replied to Knowing Me, Knowing You. (

If we accept that Collaboration is complex, why do we assume all teachers will collaborate because research says it is effective?

I really like your point about subtly enforced collaboration. It can be so easy to say ‘let’s all collaborate’. The problem I have found is that unless people see where they fit in with it or benefit then it can really flop. I have written about this more here.

Originally published on Read Write Collect

Bookmarked Blog Case Study: Student Run Newspaper by Kathleen Morris (The Edublogger)

A student run newspaper is one type of blog that can offer many advantages for students. This post showcases an impressive newspaper run by the students at Zurich International School in Switzerland (ZIS).

The Lion’s Journal is another example of a collaborative production to add to the many faces of blogging.
Bookmarked Professional learning and collaboration: Where have they Gonski and where are we going? (the édu flâneuse)

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.
Replied to Teaching’s far from a 9-to-3:30 job: Here’s what our day really entails – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) by Daniel Steele (

What has been a surprise over the past 10 years is how hard it can be to convince people of the power in collaborating to support and build up one another up in schools and staffrooms.

I think that this is a useful and important message, yet what I feel is missing is collaboration. I wonder what story could be told to capture the power of working together?
Bookmarked 3 Ways To Model Collaboration and Partnership in Schools and Classrooms by Michael Niehoff (Getting Smart)

Collaboration is a great term, but I actually prefer the word partnering. Collaboration sounds like working with others while partnering sounds like a long-term investment in a relationship that is mutually beneficial to all.

Michael Niehoff reflects on collaboration (or partnering), arguing that the challenge is to walk the walk. He breaks this down into three areas – collegiate, community and digital – providing suggestions for each. This includes team teaching, engaging with community organisations and writing in a collaborative blog. I have touched on some of these ideas before and feel that collaborating with Steve Brophy was one of the richest professional experiences I have had. However, I am mindful that collaboration is not always a given. There are often systemic structural elements that can impede and disrupt.
Liked Björk on Creativity as an Ongoing Experiment (

I think the best connections or collaborations are when you don’t assume anything and there’s no projection and there’s no pressure and people are not forced up against the wall and like, “This is what we’re doing.” The few moments where we’ve found each other in that sort of situation, something was not right. I think where collaboration works best is when you drop all that and you just really start from scratch and you really try to make something that’s different than what you’ve done before, and you try to find a coordinate, which you wouldn’t have found on your own or with somebody different. That’s when it’s fertile.

via Oliver Quinlan

Collaboration Should Be Natural

Gary Stager wonders about all the hype surrounding Google Docs and it’s collaborative edge. In discussing his decades of experience, he suggests that writing is selfish and that collaboration should not be forced. Instead, he argues that for collaboration to work it needs to be natural.

Cooperation and collaboration are natural processes. Such skills are useful when the creative process benefits from interdependence. The best collaboration mirrors democracy when individual talents, knowledge, or experiences are contributed to produce something larger than the sum of its parts.

Work with your friends. Work with people you trust. Work with people who have different skills or expertise. If that doesn’t produce the result you desire, you will find others to collaborate with. That is how you learn to collaborate. You may teach it, but the students will not stay taught.

Honestly, I could not care less about whom my students (kids or adults) choose to work with. The only reason to assign group size is scarcity of materials (we have to share). Even in those largely avoidable scenarios, it hardly matters if group size varies a bit. The main consideration is inactivity by some members when a group is too large.

Collaboration is both selfish and selfless. You give of yourself by sharing your talent and expertise, but the collaboration should benefit you as well.Source

This is a useful provocation in thinking about technology and 21st century learning.