Replied to by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (

The tools exist now for us to create networks free from corporate control and spying from our own websites. We can still use social media as outreach but as educators we should be modeling a better way.

This is what I was trying to capture in my post on creating a deliberate social space for students.
Liked by john john (

I wonder if we should spend some time explaining to pupils why we choose the tools we use, the affordances of said tools and the drawbacks. In the case of “free” tools why companies give them away. I don’t believe we think about these reasons in enough depth.

Replied to What is the Value of OLDaily? by Stephen Downes (

But in 2019 there’s no community that encompasses all of these things. Indeed, each one of these topics has not only blossomed its own community, but each one of these communities is at least as complex as the entire field of education technology was some twenty years ago. It’s not simply that change is exponential or that change is moving more and more rapidly, it’s that change is combinatorial – with each generation, the piece that was previously simple gets more and more complex.

This is an interesting reflection on the development of a blog over time. For me, it highlights the role of connections with community and the other) voices. When I think about my own work I can’t help but be influenced by the work that I am engaged in. As much as I would like to think that I am covering ‘learning and teaching’ in my newsletter. However, it cannot help but be learning and teaching based on my current experiences and perceptions.
Bookmarked Can AltSchool—The Edtech Startup With $174M From Billionaires Like Zuckerberg And Thiel—Save Itself From Failure? by Susan Adams (Forbes)

Founded by ex-Googler Max Ventilla, AltSchool has been burning cash in a failed attempt to create a profitable private school network and fighting to sell an expensive edtech product in a crowded field.

This is a fascinating look at the hype and promise surrounding AltSchool. I know schools change over time, but it must be an odd space to be in somewhere that is so open about adapting and evolving much of what it does. The story of investment in Venilla’s vague outline has me thinking about Audrey Watters’ post about interconnected nature of technology investment. This is a useful read alongside Ben Williamson’s Big Data in Education.


But as Ventilla admits when he lets his guard down, reaching profitability will be quite a stretch. The story of how AltSchool arrived at this point—burning cash in a failed attempt to create a profitable private-school network and fighting to sell an expensive edtech product in a crowded field—shows that the best intentions, an impressive career in tech and an excess of Silicon Valley money and enthusiasm don’t easily translate into success in a tradition-bound marketplace where budgets are tight.

efore starting AltSchool, Ventilla says, he read two dozen books on education and emerged a fan of Sir Ken Robinson, a British TED Talk speaker known for lamenting the dearth of creativity in early education, and Angela Duckworth, a psychologist and the winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant who has written about the need for children to cultivate “grit.” The quality of primary and secondary education in America, stuck in an industrial-age model, has been in steady decline for the last century, says Ventilla, citing the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, a worldwide test of reading, math and science ability in which U.S. 15-year-olds ranked 38th out of 71 countries.

Though Ventilla’s business plan was no more than a vague outline, he was a Silicon Valley insider, and investors bought in. “He was talking about a shift from a lecture-based model of education to a learner-centric model,” says First Round Capital partner Josh Kopelman, who sits on AltSchool’s board. “That made total sense to us.”

via Audrey Watters

Bookmarked Four things teachers can do to help young people critically navigate social media by Luci Pangrazio (EduResearch Matters)

In this post I look at what is happening and how teachers can help students navigate social media platforms and critically reflect on issues they may face on a daily basis.

Luci Pangrazio provides four ways that schools and teachers can support young people in the social media issues:

  1. Find out what students are doing with social media and what challenges they face
  2. Develop understandings of the structure of social media platforms
  3. Provide opportunities to critically reflect on the construction and interpretation of digital identities
  4. Analyse how news is presented on social media

I still think that the most effective way to engage with social media is through the use of a managed environment. I really like the way Edublogs classroom blogs supports this and think blogging is a useful starting point for understanding the structure. In regards to reflecting on what students are doing, I have found Dave White’s Visitor/Resident tool the most useful.

Bookmarked Teachers and technology: time to get serious by Neil Selwyn (Impact – Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching)

The most useful education technology knowledge does not come from globe-trotting ‘gurus’, keynote speakers and product evangelists. Instead, the best technology advice can often come from simply trying things out for yourself and/or speaking with colleagues working in similar situations and circumstances. There is still a lot to be said for teachers drawing on local knowledge and trusting their own judgement.

Neil Selwyn provides seven brief bits of advice for any teacher wanting to make sense of technology. They include:

  1. Be clear what you want to achieve
  2. Set appropriate expectations
  3. Aim for small-scale change
  4. Pay attention to the ‘bigger picture’
  5. Think about unintended consequences
  6. Technology use is a collective concern
  7. Beware of over-confident ‘experts’

This 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.

Bookmarked Privacy Postcards, or Poison Pill Privacy by Bill FitzgeraldBill Fitzgerald (FunnyMonkey)

For those who want to use this structure to create your own Privacy Postcards, I have created a skeleton structure on Github. Please, feel free to clone this, copy it, modify it, and make it your own.

Bill Fitzgerald provides a framework for unpacking privacy when it comes to apps, especially in the Play Store.
Liked Meme Histories – Learning the Web So We Can Make It Better by dave dave (

I believe that people sometimes need to learn to work building their objectives on the fly given what they’ve been confronted with. So how do I design activities that allow for people to learn to persist through that uncertainty and still be willing to accept half answers when that’s as far as they will get?

Meme histories. That’s how.

Bookmarked Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Some Thoughts from ASU+GSV (Hack Education)

I wanted to do a lot of screaming at the event, I confess.

But I didn’t want to just scream at the investors and entrepreneurs about the misinformation they heard and they spread. I wanted to scream at all those reporters and all those pundits who uncritically repeat these stories too and at all those educators who readily take it all in.

Audrey Watters reminds us why we must always consider and question the stories that we are told and therefore tell in return.
Replied to Podcast #39 – Using Adaptive Change Methods to Revolutionize Education (Modern Learners)

Do you know the difference between technical change and adaptive change? Most change in schools involves technical change, like “dressing up” the current situation, but not really addressing the underlying issues. Adaptive change, as defined by Harvard’s Ron Heifetz, is changing culture, worldview, and self-worth. These are the changes that are the hardest to make and require a re-imagination of our culture and our basic roles. The message is that we need to stop “playing around the edges” and make changes that really get to the core.

Another interesting listen, with so much to reflect upon.

One thing that stood out though was Will Richardson’s reference to “a post shared on LinkedIn and Facebook.” I wonder if this is the ‘Modern’ world, one ruled by platform capitalism? If:

We need to stop “playing around the edges” and make changes that really get to the core

then I wonder if this is really the core?

I understand our focus should be about ‘learning’, but if there is anything to come out of the recent Cambridge Analytica revelations, then it is surely that we need a better model moving forward.

The future may not involve everyone to #DeleteFacebook, but I would hope that those leading technological change would lead the way? I have the same concern about Anil Dash writing about the open web in a post on Medium. For me, the future is the IndieWeb, for others it is a Domain of One’s Own. I think that both of these discussions touch upon the idea of a canonical URL.

Replied to Assessment in the digital world….with a pencil by Gill (a macgirl in a pc world)

My current setup for my reading conference notes looks like this – a summary page at the start with hyperlinks to individual pages for each of the student records. The different colours on dates are for the fact that I share my grade with another teacher so this solution allows us both to take notes and know where the other teacher is up to.

When Reading Conferences rolled out across the WMR a few years ago, I pushed for doing conferences online. Initially this was via Google Docs and then Word documents on Dropbox.

In a Secondary environment, this allowed access to multiple stakeholders, both teachers and students. In hindsight, it did not work. Not only did students feel that reading was done to them, but it was also left to the English teachers. I reflected about it here.

When I moved down to Primary, I discovered the limits of capturing things like running records digitally. I can really see the possibilities of the pen in supporting this.

How do you see this continuing to evolve? Are students actively involved?

Bookmarked Tools come and go. Learning should not. And what’s a “free” edtech tool, anyway? by Lyn (

Do I need this tool? Why? How does it really support learning?
What are the costs, both monetary and otherwise, of using this service? Do the rewards of use outweigh the risks?
Is there a paid service I could explore that will meet my needs and better protect the privacy of my information and my students’ information?
How can I inform parents/community members about our use of this tool and what mechanisms are in place for parents to opt their children out of using it?
When this tool and/or its plan changes, how will we adjust? What will our plans be to make seamless transitions to other tools or strategies when the inevitable happens?

Lyn Hilt reflects on Padlet’s recent pivot to a paid subscription. She argues that if we stop and reflect on what we are doing in the classroom, there are often other options. Hilt also uses this as an opportunity to remind us what ‘free’ actually means, and it is not free as in beer. We therefore need to address some of the ethical questions around data and privacy. A point highlighted by the revelations of the ever increasing Cambridge Analytica breach.
Bookmarked The webinar must die: a friendly proposal by Bryan Alexander (Bryan Alexander)

Type I webinars are a mistake in 2018, and they need to die. We can leave them behind and take our presentations and conversations to other platforms, either Type II or by flipping the webinar. Or we can re-invent, re-use, and reboot Type I. In a time where discussions are more fraught and also more needed, we should do this now.

Bryan Alexander reflects on webinars comparing the lecture style with the more interactive videoconference. He argues the lecture style must go and is better presented as an asynchronous experience on a platform like YouTube, allowing for engagement through the comments. Another possibility is to flip the lecture presentation therefore allowing the webinar to be a discussion of the various points.
Replied to Virtually the same? by Matthew Esterman (Medium)

What kind of learning experience can ‘other’ realities provide that our physical realities don’t?
What effects will (dramatically) reduced cost and much more prolific access to VR equipment mean for schools?
What professional learning will be required for teachers, parents and students to fully utilise these kinds of technologies?
How do we ensure that we don’t just create a new method of information consumption but critical thinking, collaboration and creativity?

I have written about VR before, from the perspective of Google Cardboard. Some ideas that I thought of were as a means of supporting vocabulary, real life learning, telling stories and sparking curiosity. It is an interesting space.
Listened The EduProtocol Field Guide: By Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern from The TeacherCast Educational Network

In this episode of “Ask the Tech Coach,” we sit down with Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern to discuss their new book Bring Your Teaching into Focus: The EduProtocol Field Guide