📰 Read Write Respond #078

Welcome back to another month. I feel like it has had a bit of everything, catching up with family visiting from interstate, eldest daughter managing to go on her first school camp in three years, as well as being being thrust into health and safety protocols.

On the Work front, I feel like I have spent much of my time trying to get to the bottom of a range of new defects that have come with a recent upgrade. I am always intrigued how aspects of the application that have not been fixed or improved are impacted.

Personally, I binged quite a bit this month, including The 100, Stranger Things, Birdman, Moon Knight and The Gray Man. I also listened to Tom Tilley’s memoir Speaking in Tongues. In regards to music, I enjoyed listening to Sam Prekop and John McEntire’s modular album Sons Of.

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

Self-Assessing Creative Problem Solving

Wouter Groeneveld discusses his development of the Creative Programming Problem Solving Test (CPPST), a self-assessment test for programmers that measures more than just divergent thinking.

If You’re Not Paying for the Product, You Are… Possibly Just Consuming Goodwill for Free

Troy Hunt posits that sometimes we are simply consuming goodwill.

Weary, old, a little broken, but not letting go of the dream: edtech in the 21st Century

Jon Dron shares his thoughts on how to help the edtech community find its soul again.

Four Tet on His 155-Hour Spotify Playlist, the Coolest Thing on Streaming

Kieran Hebden discusses his epic Spotify playlist, an artefact for listeners to explore.

Rewilding Cities

Clive Thompson thinks about the idea of monocropping and the impact of rewilding beyond just nature.

Read Write Respond #078

So that was July for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

Background image via “Lego Stranger Things (fx)” by decypher the code is licensed under CC BY-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #077

So another month passes. For me, someone ran into the back of my car. Sometimes life just happens, I guess. When I initially inquired about getting a loan car, I was told that I would need to travel to the airport to collect it. Unwilling to do this, we managed to get through most of the month with just one car. Although I did end up finding a loan car closer to home, it definitely made me think about our dependence on a vehicle differently.

On other matters, we continued to venture out more and more, step by step. We rejoined the Melbourne Zoo, ventured to a few country markets and ate out a bit more, including in Chinatown in the CBD. (Apparently exploring Chinatown was on Ms 6’s bucket list.) This is definitely not a return to normal, but maybe this is the new normal? Still not sure how I feel about going on a big holiday, but it feels like I am more and more in the minority.

At work, we survived the rush associated with biannual academic reporting, even as some people were on leave. In addition to that, I have continued doing my usual day-to-day stuff, such as testing improvements, responding to support calls and developing various guides. In amongst all of this, somebody thought we needed Office 365, so we have been learning about the benefits of collaborative software, even if we have been using

Personally, I finally found out what I was missing in regards to Hamilton, (although only my wife was lucky enough to see it on stage.) I also joined in the Minefield’s not quite a bookclub reading (or listening to) Jane Austen’s Emma. In regards to music, I enjoyed the thought that TISM are returning.

Foolishly, about 20 years ago, I said that the only way that TISM would ever reappear would be if the Fair Work Commission decided to raise the minimum wage. I thought I was pretty safe there. Because, as if anyone’s going to give those bloody battlers a decent go.

Then I got a phone call at 10am this morning. They said, ‘It’s happened’ and, shamefully, here we are.

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


Does a quiet classroom quietly harm children?

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’.

Teachers the fall guys for a failing system

Jenny Gore and Nicole Mockler suggest that most reporting on education overlooks the systemic challenges of inequity in our communities. They argue that what is needed is investment in teaching and an effort to raise the status across the board.

The Case for Making Classrooms Phone-Free

Tyler Rablin unpacks his decision to make his classroom phone-free.

‘The Waste Land’, a Century On

Barry Spurr celebrates 100 years since the release of TS Eliot’s poem The Waste Land.

Why A Good Idea Takes 13 Years To Arrive

Clive Thompson reflects upon the importance of slow hunches. Wonder how this works in the classroom?


How the Internet Turned Us Into Content Machines

Kyle Chayka explores the way in which the internet has turned us into content machines.

Is Google Dying? Or Did the Web Grow Up?

Charlie Warzel takes a dive into the current status of Google Search.

The Good Web

Ethan Zuckerman highlights is the need to be open for alternative options when it comes to making the good web..

Online Abortion Pill Provider Hey Jane Used Tracking Tools That Sent Visitor Data to Meta, Google, and Others

Jon Keegan and Dara Kerr use Blacklight privacy inspector to demonstrate the data collected by trackers on abortion sites. Another example of the way in which insight and awareness can be produced from the crumbs we leave.

The Modern QR Code Life

Wouter Groeneveld discusses his experience of the new normal associated with the use of QR codes and smartphones for viewing menus.


Persephone’s secret – The Eleusinian Mysteries and the making of the modern economy (Eat This)

Jeremy Cherfas speaks with Scott Reynolds Nelson provide a history from the perspective of wheat.

Ten Ways Billionaires Avoid Taxes on an Epic Scale

Paul Kiel provides a summary of ten ways the ultrawealthy avoid taxes.

Planting trees isn’t enough. Here’s why we need tiny man-made forests

Hannah Lewis explores the use of the Miyawaki method to rewild the world.

Collapse of the modern Liberal Party

Mike Seccombe traces Liberal Party back to John Howard’s remaking of Menzies’ party and how it was transformed again by the voters targeted from a distance who became members.


A website/app which provides a combination of sounds, visuals and serendipity.

Read Write Respond #077

So that was June for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

Cover image via “DSC_3604” by Joachim S. Müller is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #076

Welcome back to another month of global change and disruption, just glad to see Clive Palmer’s freedom posters have at least disappeared again and Biloela family allowed to return to central Queensland.

At home, there was finally some action in regards to fixing up our yard. We inherited a few issues when we purchased the property, such as a water tank on a lean. A part of me felt guilty in getting somebody else to do the work. My home, my problem, or something like that. I had done what I could in cleaning things up. However, I soon realised that sometimes there is a reason that you get somebody with the skills and tools to do the job. I am pretty sure it would have taken me months to achieve what a few guys and an excavator achieved in a few days.

On the family front, our youngest had to stay home for a few days two weeks running with a lingering cough. All of her RATs came back negative and her energy levels were normal. I was supporting a teacher who pointed out that in some ways lockdown was easier as we did not have to worry about all the coughs and sneezes meaning that everyone could simply battle on. Guess this is all a part of the new normal.

At work, focus turned to supporting the setup of academic reports. However, as seems to be the way, nothing ever quite goes to plan as we were inundated with requests for attendance data associated with a government audit. On further investigation it was discovered that there were some who were already aware of the requirement, they just forgot to pass this information on. I never cease to be surprised by the way in which one hand fails to speak with another. With so much outside of our control, it feels frustrating when something in our control is overlooked. In between all this, I continued creating guides to fill gaps in our instruction, as well as develop some spreadsheets and scripts to help automate practices.

Personally, I went on a journey with Patrick White’s Voss. I listened to new albums form The Smile, Florence and the Machine, Arcade Fire and Hatchie. I finished watching The Vikings. My daughters and I also went to Fiona Hardy’s book launch for How to Tackle Your Dreams at Readings’ Kids. In a Post-COVID world, they were in awe of all the books. Guess it is not the same as buying online.

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


A Culture of Thinking for Teachers

Cameron Paterson unpacks his learnings associated with leading difficult pedagogical change in schools.

Zombie Data with J. Clutterbuck and R. Daliri-Ngamatua (TER Podcast)

Jennifer Clutterbuck and Rafaan Daliri-Ngametua discuss the idea of zombie data, that excessive excessive, purposeless and redundant data.

The only question you need to ask about education technology

Dan Meyer discusses his simple rubric for evaluating edtech, “What happens to wrong answers?”

A Behind The Scenes Look At How I Create A Technical Video Course

Ben Collins methodically breaks down his process for creating a technical video course.

10 steps to running an event I’d want to attend

Doug Belshaw shares ten steps associated with running an event.


We Need to Take Back Our Privacy

Zeynep Tufekci highlights the limits associated with de-anonymised data and calls for collective change through law.

Does data science need a Hippocratic oath? (Future Tense)

Antony Funnell speaks with Kate Eichhorn and Kate Mannell about digital forgetting and whether data science needs a Hippocratic oath?

Tracking Exposed: Demanding That the Gods Explain Themselves

Cory Doctorow discusses Tracking Exposed, a collective of designers using adversarial interoperability to go beyond the guessing game of algospeak to provide a more concrete understanding of algorithms and content moderation.

The Many-Worlds Theory, Explained

John Gribbin takes a dive into the history of the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI).


Permanent Pandemic – Will COVID Controls Keep Controlling Us?

Justin E.H. Smith questions whether the controls brought in during COVID will in fact keep controlling us long after the threat has passed.

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work

Judith Enck Jan Dell explains why recycling plastic is a ruse.

Why the parkrun practice initiative will encourage more GPs to engage in social prescription

Kate O’Halloran explores the parkrun phenomon and the way in which it is helping change people’s lives.

The secret world beneath our feet is mind-blowing – and the key to our planet’s future

George Monbiot discusses the world beneath our feet and the possible futures for farming.

Read Write Respond #076

So that was May for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

Background for cover image via “One Percent” by the great 8 https://flickr.com/photos/great8/6820722517 is licensed under CC BY

📰 Read Write Respond #075

Welcome back to another month.

Even though we had Easter and the school holidays, we were still conservative as a family about getting out and about, sticking to a few country drives and visits to friends.

On the work front, there was a return to being on-site three days a week. Even though my job is to largely provide virtual/phone support to schools across the state, it is argued that being together is more conducive to collaboration. However, this is also reliant on having the right space for such collaboration to occur. With the new normal being more fluid, adjustments are required. For example, a few days back we had an internal meeting where the organiser either forgot to, or was unable to, book a meeting room, therefore there were five people spread across an open work space speaking with a couple of colleagues on another level virtually. It just seems a bit absurd at times.

Personally, I have written a few posts on my blog, including a review of Clinton Walker’s book Stranded: The Secret History Of Australian Independent Music, a submission to DLTV associated with the Classroom of the Future and a summary of my responses to Cyber Security & Awareness – Primary Years (CSER MOOC) which I finally finished. In addition to Stranded, I also (re)read Franz Kafka’s The Trial. I must say it is an intriguing exercise rereading texts you grew up with in a new light. I also listened to Daniel Johns’ FutureNever, his continued break from the past.

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


Climate Game

Financial Times have created a game to educate users on the challenges required to keep global warming to 1.5C.

Going Rogue: Teachers Designing their Own Conferences as a Transgressive Act

Philippa Nicoll Antipas explores how we might do a conference for teacher professional learning and development from the ground on up.

What should ‘digital literacy’ look like in an age of algorithms and AI?

Neil Selwyn argues that we need to reframe our discussion of digital literacies to focus on algorithmic literacy.

It’s Time to Give Feedback Another Chance. Here Are 3 Ways to Get It Right

Peter DeWitt shares some reflections on feedback.

7 Things to Do Before You Start Your PhD

Kimberly Hirsh provides a list of things to do before starting a PhD.

Learning Synths

Ableton provide a playground space that serves as an online synthesiser, as well as a teaching tool.


Elderblog Sutra: 13

Venkatesh Rao reflects upon Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and what that might mean for the future.


Elan Kiderman Ullendorff shares a tool for finding random Substack newsletters.

Web3 Is Going Just Great

Molly White has created a site collating examples of how Web3 is not going as well as suggested.

Books Become Games

Justin Smith reflects upon the way in which the the publishing of books has become a game.

Fairlight CMI – the Sound You’ve Never Heard Of

James Vyver explores the development of Fairlight in the 1980’s, a musical instrument that involved access to an extensive sound library, a multi-track sequencer and a sampler.


Liz Wiseman on Standing Out at Work

Liz Wiseman talks about the way in which impact players look to how they can make a difference, rather than just play a roll.

Pop Music’s Nostalgia Obsession

Kevin Townsend, Shirley Li, Spencer Kornhaber, and Hannah Giorgis talk about the place of nostalgia in modern music and the way in which steaming allows us to easily fill our listening with more of the same.

Chocolate—the world’s most seductive treat and its dark shadow

Annabelle Quince leads a conversation into the history of chocolate and its relationship with child labour.

How Ikea tricks you into buying more stuff

Zachary Crockett explains how Ikea tricks shoppers into buying more.

The 9 Biggest Myths About Nonfiction Trade Publishing, Debunked

Summer Brennan debunks nine myths associated with publishing.

Read Write Respond #075

So that was April for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

📰 Read Write Respond #074

Welcome back to another month of the new normal. This month feels like it has had a bit of everything. It started with a visit from my father, who I had not seen since for a few years. While it ended with COVID. In addition to a whole lot of prizes and freebies, my wife brought COVID home from a conference she attended. Somehow my daughters and I managed to escape by isolating, even if everyone suggested we all just get it together as it is inevitable. No thanks. I am sure my time will come, but not this day (or month).

On the work front, I finally finished end of year activities. I also found a whole heap of tasks and incidents that had become lost in triage. As the organisation grows and morphs, some old groups are merged and made obsolete. The problem is that changing a name does not magically change a habit meaning that these incidents remain unresolved and unaccounted for. The funniest thing I find about working with technology is the human variability. So much time is spent managing the product, making sure that everything is right and correct, but this can sometimes be at the expense of clear processes and procedures.

Personally, I finally got around to writing my reflection on my top albums from last year. I read John Hirst’s The Shortest History of Europe and Richard Glover’s memoir Flesh Wounds. I also binged quite a bit, including Altered Carbon, The Witcher, Don’t Look Up, ABC series What is Music.

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


Key concepts for leading professional learning

Deborah Netolicky shares her thoughts on the key concepts associated with professional learning, including holonmy, a holding environment, meaningful collaboration and semantic space.

Belonging is inconvenient

Dave White unpacks the differences between independent, communal and networked learning, and how this is more than being face-to-face or online.

Waiting for Gonski with Tom Greenwell and Chris Bonnor

Cameron Malcher speaks with Tom Greenwell and Chris Bonnor about Australia’s long history of failed educational reform.

Rare Thoughts on Writing From Cormac McCarthy in This Unlikely Interview

Cormac McCarthy reflects upon the notion of inspiration when writing, as well as purpose of audience.

Google Magic

Ben Williamson pulls the curtain back on the magic associated with Google’s new Google Classroom feature ‘Practice Set’, which provides adaptive learning technology.


Are We Measuring Our Lives in All the Wrong Ways?

In an interview with Ezra Klein, C. Thi Nguyen discusses how Twitter gamifies communication.

“My Own Little Fiefdom”: Why Some Famous Novelists Are All About Substack

Adrienne Westenfeld discusses the way in which some novelists, such as George Saunders, Salman Rushdie and Chuck Palahniuk, have turned to Substack as a means of serializing fiction, teaching the craft of writing and generally engaging with readers.

Building a Digital Homestead, Bit by Brick

In a meditation on the architecture of blogging, Tom Critchlow wonders about pathways, archives and iterations.

A systemic (not individual) approach to content moderation

Cory Doctorow unpacks the idea of focusing on systemic speech acts as an answer for content management.


Forgetting, not memory, moves us forward

Antony Funnell explores the importance of forgetting when it comes to memory.

How To Make A Book Come To Life

Steve Brophy reflects upon the technical aspects associated with producing a book, including purchasing an ISBN, selecting art for the cover and choosing a platform to publish the book.

Our holiday from history is over

John Naughton wonders if the situation in Ukraine is history repeating and whether our post-1946 holiday is over.

Why We Listen to Music With Lyrics We Don’t Understand

Romano Santos explains that our appreciation of music goes beyond just the lyrics with meaning coming in many different ways.

Exploring the deep sea

Kerry Howell discusses the history associated with mapping our oceans.

Read Write Respond #074

So that was March for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

📰 Read Write Respond #073

I would like to say that it was a strange month, but every month feels strange at the moment.

At work, the end of year process has continued even if it is no longer the end of the year. The process of cleaning up data would be enough to keep me busy, but alas the return of schools also meant the return of support requests. With over 300 schools to support now, I am amazed that I still manage to stumble upon novel issues, but I do. I guess that is the joy of an ever growing project where there is always some new addition to stretch things that bit further.

On the family front, the return to school has brought its own anxieties. The government supply of rapid antigen tests has alleviated that to a degree, but the threat is still there. In addition to school, the children have returned to their extracurricular activities. The youngest is even trying out tennis. It almost feels like some kind of normality, except when you read the number of cases and they are just the ones we are aware of.

Personally, I finally got around to writing a post about my one word for 2022, memories. I think that I have added to my stress levels during the pandemic by setting unrealistic expectations on myself. Therefore, I am going to dedicate to letting my mind just wonder. I am hoping that will be more forgiving. Other than that, I listened to a lot of Methyl Ethel, in between reading David Malouf’s Johnno and Alice Pung’s Unpolished Gem. I also watched Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary on the Vietnam War, the Daredevil series before it was taken off Netflix and Suits.

Other than that, here are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


Using Thinking Routines: 10 Ways You Can Die

Ron Ritchhart provides a list of ways to help thinking routines to succeed. This includes using thinking routines in your own learning, respecting that thinking leads to learning, and appreciating that they are a part of a larger agenda.

Who should read aloud in class?

Alex Quigley questions the practice of popcorn reading and instead focus on more fluent reading strategies.

How to explain an idea: a mega post

Mark Pollard unpacks the idea of an idea by demonstrating how to unpack an idea.

66 Event Design Questions

Melissa Emler provides a series of questions to consider when planning an educational event.

Learn with We Are Open Co-op

The We Are Open Co-op have collected together their various resources in one place, whether it be templates, online courses or episodes of the podcast.


How to avoid sharing bad information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

In light of the Invasion of Ukraine, Abby Ohlheiser shares strategies for how to avoid sharing bad information.

Lessons in Self-Hosting Your Own Personal Cloud

Ernie Smith discusses the challenges associated with hosting your own cloud.

What It’s Like To Stop Using Google Search

Clive Thompson reflects upon his move away from using Google as his primary search engine.

How Spotify may have just quietly changed podcasts forever

Alex Hern explains the significance of Spotify’s acquisition of Chartable and Podsights on their goal to become the YouTube for podcasts.


In Praising of “Listening Through” (Every Album By Your Favorite Artist)

Kevin Smokler discusses his process for returning to a favourite artists full catalogue like returning to a long lost friend.

Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla – why we’ve got the Vikings wrong

With the release of Vikings: Valhalla, Luke Walpole reflects upon our understanding of Vikings.

AFLW’s Kirsten McLeod wants to raise awareness about the ongoing symptoms of concussion

Kate O’Halloran reports on Kirsten McLeod’s challenges with concussion, explaining how it serves as yet another point of inequity associated with AFLW.

What gambling firms don’t want you to know – and how they keep you hooked

Rob Davies discusses the dark nudges used by betting companies tempt and manipulate users.

Read Write Respond #073

So that was February for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

📰 Read Write Respond #072

A thinking activity I like to use is to give an answer and then come up with the question. This month it feels like I have been the answer for far too many questions. Whether it be calling out problematic workflows, sorting out integration concerns, identifying access issues, fixing up spreadsheets, the answer for each seems to be me. In part it it has left me feeling like a failure in that I have not adequately built the capacity of others to sort things out, but sometimes in life when we find someone who can get things done we just go to them.

Sadly, as I started back at work in the second week of January, I did not have a much a break over Christmas. Just enough time to get a few things done around the house, such as fixing the shower. As well as catching up with a some friends. I had forgotten how much I missed in catch up with people in person. The mixed blessing is that my family and I subsequently stayed around home for much of the school holidays even though we were not in lockdown.

Personally, I have continued reading Proust’s Rembrance of Things Past, while I have been listening to The Weeknd and The Wombats. I have also been watching a lot, including Eternals, Tolkien, The Punisher and various documentaries on WWII and tanks.

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


Why Wordle Works, According to Desmos Lesson Developers

Approaching Wordle from the perspective of learning and teaching, Dan Meyer summarises the ingredients that have helped make it work so well.

5 strategies for reading complex texts

Rather than simply relying on simpler texts, Alex Quigley discusses some strategies for supporting students with grappling with more difficult texts.

How to Build the Perfect Castle

Epic History TV walks through many of the different variables in the process of building the perfect castle.


The History of the School Bell

Audrey Watters pushes back on the idea of the factory model in regards to the history of the school bell.

AI Won’t Steal Your Job, But It’ll Sure Make It Suck

Whether it be food delivery drivers working for a phantom boss or Amazon workers unable to stop for the toilet, Clive Thompson provides examples of the way in which AI has made some jobs suck.


The Fellowship of the Rockers

Ann Powers uses Get Back to reflect upon the myth of ‘band guys’.

On Songwriting

Through a series of posts, Kevin Hodgson explores his process of songwriting.

Monks, a polymath and an invention made by two people at the same time. It’s all in the history of the index

Anna Kelsey-Sugg and Julie Street discuss Dennis Duncan research into the index.

The Problem With ‘No Regrets’

Arthur Brooks explains that the challenge with regret is to acknowledge the past and use it for learning and improvement.

Read Write Respond #072

So that was January for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well, especially during this latest wave.

Image by Bryan Mathers

Inspired by the eruption of the volcano in Tonga, cover image via “Sheffield LEGO fest 2006: Volcano” by aldisley is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

📰 Read Write Respond #066

So here we are again.

I managed to scrape my way to the end of the school term. For the last few weeks I have felt like a boxer successfully avoiding the full impact associated with a barrage of punches, but never properly regaining their balance. If it was not academic reports, then it was attendance, while if it wasn’t attendance, then it was the parent portal. I often wonder what a mature solution might look like and keep coming back to the importance of building capacity. Something easier said than done. Time will tell.

On the home front, I learnt the importance of using the right tool for the task. I have spent the last few months using a handsaw to cut down some trees at the back of our property. It got down to the stumps so we borrowed a small electric chainsaw. As I wonder what is currently wrong with my elbow, I am left thinking I should have borrowed the chainsaw earlier. It also made the process of loading the green waste into 10 cubic metre skip so much easier.

Personally, it was again another dry month on the blogging front. In regards to reading, I started Catch 22. While with music, I have been listening to both Marina and Garbage’s new albums.

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


Emily and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Professional Development Session

Emily Fintelman poses a series of questions to consider when running professional development.

The Wonder of Writing: what writing a children’s book taught me about teaching writing

Kath Murdoch reflects upon the experience of writing a children’s book and provides a list of lessons learnt along the way.

The Middle Leader Manifesto: What 160 Leaders Say Matters

Ewan McIntosh identifies what it takes to grow a middle leader.

Make Your Case Stronger – Argue Against Yourself

Pam Thomson provides a series of negative strategies to get from a first to a second draft. Although focused on those writing research, it is a useful strategy for all ages.


typelit.io is a site that gets you to practice typing by reproducing classic pieces of literature.


The Tom Cruise deepfake that set off ‘terror’ in the heart of Washington DC

With the popularity associated with Deepfake Tom Cruise videos, Mark Corcoran and Matt Henry take a dive into the world of deepfakes.

What Really Happened When Google Ousted Timnit Gebru

Tom Simonite digs into the complex series of events that led to Timnit Gebru (and Margaret Mitchell) being ousted from Google’s AI team starting with her fleeing Ethiopia in the late 90’s.

Google Photos is so 2020—welcome to the world of self-hosted photo management

Alex Kretzschmar unpacks the open source alternatives to Google Photos.

Minimum Viable Self

Drew Austin reflects upon the nature of digital identity and the need to continually sustain it.

What magic teaches us about misinformation

Tim Harford talks about the importance of paying attention as a means of seeing beyond the magic of misinformation.


Degrees of Uncertainty – A documentary about climate change and public trust in science by Neil Halloran

Neil Halloran suggests that, even being sceptical of the data, we can be sure enough to say that drastic change is needed to curb global warming.

Rewilding: four tips to let nature thrive

Sophie Wynne-Jones, Ian Convery and Steve Carver published a set of guiding principles which specify what rewilding should involve and how it should be done.

A Cow with a Hole in It

Jess Zimmerman argues that rather than vulnerability in our writing, we should be aspiring for permeability.

What’s the Most Sustainable Diet?

After trialing a range of diets, Barry Estabrook reveals that the most sustainable strategy is to reflect upon your own life and identify aspects of change.

The ‘20-5-3’ Rule Prescribes How Much Time You Should Spend Outside

Michael Easter discusses the ‘20-5-3’ Rule for engaging with nature.

Read Write Respond #066

So that was June for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via justlego1O1 is licensed under CC BY-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #064

Welcome back to another month. I hope you are well.

On the family front, April has been the month of celebrations – our eldest turned double digits, my grandfather turned ninety and my nephew turned one. Makes for a lot of celebrations, even in these strange times. With the house, I experienced the highs and lows of selling things online. We inherited a 10-person spa when we bought our house and I advertised it for $50 dollars. Clearly from the responses this was well under what it was worth, although it did cost $1000 to move. On a positive note, we had my wife’s upright piano delivered, which was nice addition.

At work, we returned to three days in the office, so I am back on public transport for the first time since the start of last year. It really makes me appreciate how lucky I have been to work from home for so long. Although it is nice to catch up with people, I am not sure there are many gains, especially when so much of my work is done alone. The other part of this puzzle has been expanding our support team. This has left me wondering how you jump on a moving train travelling at full speed. Is it about a clear vision to buy into? Collating the appropriate documentation to support theme? Or hiring the right person? The problem I have found is that the work is the work, the problem is that you do not really know what that work is until you are in the middle of it.

Personally, I have been listening to a number of albums, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s G_d’s Pee at State’s End!, London Grammar’s Californian Soil and Amy Shark’s Cry Forever. However, I was really taken by Julia Stone’s Sixty Summers and All India Radio’s Afterworld. Continuing on my Marvel journey, I have been binge-watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I started writing about making small tools to automate repeatable processes using Google Sheets, but as per usual, I have been too busy to fully flesh things out.

On other matters, here are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


Video Games as Literature

Quinn Norton asks the question, what is literature and where mediums like comics and games sit with this.

City of the Future

Daniel Summerell shares a unit of work that involves working collaboratively to design a city of the future within Minecraft.

Why bizarre milkshakes will never replace world-class consent education

Amanda Keddie discusses the Australian Government’s resource developed to help schools address the challenge of educating young people about respectful relationships and the problems she has with milkshakes.

When Real World Mapping Meets Tolkien

Dan Bell steps through the process of turning a real world map into something from Middle Earth.

What Good Leaders Do When Replacing Bad Leaders

Andrew Blum provides strategies for dealing with the transition between leaders.


Atlas of AI with Kate Crawford

Kate Crawford speaks about her new book, Atlas of AI. In it, she attempts to capture the human side of artificial intelligence, whether it be the resources, the workforce, history, datasets or the escape to space.

The Next Generation of Robots is Here

Clive Thompson dives into the world of robotics. This includes the development of the Unimate, the challenge of replicating the human hand, the innovative opportunity provided by the X-Box’s 3-D-sensing chip, and the financial incentive offered by pandemic.

Hackers Used to Be Humans. Soon, AIs Will Hack Humanity

Bruce Schneier discusses the findings of an investigation into the future of AI and hacking.

The Observatory of Anonymity

Cory Doctorow discusses the problems on anonymity of de-identified data over time.

30 Days of HTML

Jen Kramer and Erika Lee breakdown HTML one element at a time.


What should become of the office?

Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens speak with Gideon Haigh about his book The Momentous, Uneventful Day: A Requiem for the Office. With so many forced to work offsite during the pandemic, the three consider the current purpose of the office and its futute moving forward.

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

Adam Grant explains that mental health is a spectrum and in the middle between flourishing and depression is the feeling of languishing.

How to Rewild Your Balcony, One Native Plant at a Time

Jeff VanderMeer shares eight tips for rewilding your yard even when there is limited space.

I’ve learnt a lot from Bluey, but can the show be more representative?

Beverley Wang talks about the way in which she was blindsided by Bluey with its sense of mortality. She talks about the power of co-viewing and the learning opportunities that arise with this.

How Donald Trump Wanted the End of History

Rebecca Solnit looks back on Donald Trump’s legacy and reflects on his effort to ‘end history’.

Read Write Respond #064

So that was April for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.

Image by Bryan Mathers

Image via JustLego101

📰 Read Write Respond #063

Where did March go? Each month I reflect upon different aspects of life, however this month it feels as if everything has blended together. Whether it be moving, unpacking, tidying up our old house, fixing things in the new house, or supporting schools with this and that, it was little surprise that I got run-down. Life has its ways of communicating at times, especially when we may not want to listen.

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


On “Easy” Books…Again

Pernille Ripp addresses the conundrum of whether to allow readers to read ‘easy’ books. She suggests that the task is to develop people who want to read, not just who can.

COVID coaches: tutoring only works when backed by quality teaching directed at the students who really missed out

Jenny Gore explains that if the tutoring program being implemented by the Victorian and NSW governments is to work then it needs to involve quality teaching.

Story Dice – The Handy Story Idea Generator

Dave Birss has turned the classic story ideas dice into a digital generator. There are two versions: five and nine words.

Change in Education and What Needs to be Done

Stephen Downes addresses what is currently unsustainable in education and what is subsequently needed in regards to change.

How to remember more of what you read

Steve Brophy explains his use of Roam Research and the Zettelkasten methodology to develop a deeper dialogue with what he reads.


From Me to My

Olia Lialina traces a history of the people who challenged the architecture and protocols in the development of the web. He explains how this has evolved to a web focused on graphic design.

The mess at Medium

Casey Newton reports on Medium’s latest pivot, this time away from having its own editoral team, instead moving to a freelance model.

You Don’t Need Substack To Build an Email Newsletter

Ernie Smith goes beyond Substack and Mailchimp to discuss a number of options associated with managing newsletters.

Free Markets

Cory Doctorow reflects on his experience of running a campaign associated with the audiobook for Attack Surface and the challenges faced by a ‘free market’.


The Commute: Walking 90km to work

In response to being asked to give a lecture about adventuring, Beau Miles decided to walk the 90 km to work as a point of stimulus. By slowing down, he captures aspects of the environment that often get overlooked.

Blokes Will Be Blokes

Anna Spargo-Ryan discusses the crisis in Federal politics, suggesting that Scott Morrison’s response has been akin to “bringing home a bunch of flowers because you worked late again.


Doug Belshaw has created a new site collecting together links associated with the climate emergency.

1991 saw the music industry turned upside down, and 30 years later, its echoes remain

Matt Neal reflects on the impact of 1991 in music and how Nirvana and the grunge movement changed everything.

Digital Portfolios
Quote via Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano ‘Digital Portfolios and Content’
Image via “Lego Flickr Pic” by minifig https://flickr.com/photos/minifig/370602535 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

FOCUS ON … Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

I learnt recently about the passing of Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano:

Silvia was someone who helped me foster my understanding and appreciation of the power of blogging in and out of the classroom. In celebration I went back into my links and bookmarks to curate a list of posts that have inspired me:

Visible Thinking Routines for Blogging

Tolisano expands on thinking routines to help learners make thinking visible they blog.

What Do You Want to Know about Blogging?

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano responds to number of questions about blogging, such as how to start out in the classroom, setup precautions, develop a habit and extend your thinking beyond the simple view of blogging

Blogfolios: The Glue that Can Hold it All Together in Learning

Silvia Tolisano highlights the power of the blogfolio as a means of extending learning.

Digital Portfolios and Content

Tolisano unpacks a number of questions and considerations associated with digital portfolios.

10 Tips for Embedding Digital Portfolios as Part of your Classroom Habits

Tolisano provides some suggestions for getting going with blogging, including being patient, celebrate the skills and share the ownership with students.

Blogging as Pedagogy

In this presentation from BLC17, Tolisano shares ways in which blogging helpos support four primary areas: reading, writing, reflection and sharing. She also includes a rubric for blogging and commenting.

5 Opportunities to Amplify Your Writing

Tolisano discusses some of the ways in which digital medium allows us to re-think writing and reading experiences to amplify ideas, connections, references, and audiences.

The Three Stages of Documentation Of/For/As Learning

Tolisano explores the different stages of documentation. She splits it up into before where teachers decide focus, during where the work is documented and after where you act on the work captured.

Literacy and Documenting Learning

Tolisano produced a series of posts examining the effects documenting has on the awareness, skills and habits associated with digital literacies.

Amplify Reflection

Tolisano brings together a collection of routines, taxonomies, and prompts that support reflection in ourselves and give a variety of choices to grow as reflective, metacognitive learners.

Curation as an Educational Challenge

Tolisano discusses the importance of curation in the classroom. To support this, she provides a number of platforms and practices to use

Computational Thinking and Learning for Little Ones

Tolisano reflects upon her computational experience with her grand-daughter.

Sketchnoting FOR Learning

Tolisano unpacks the different elements associated with sketchnoting and the power to make thinking more visible.

Fit2Learn: Learning How to Learn

Silvia Tolisano‏ breaks the ability and preparedness to learn into six different aspects: mental training, physical training, process, fuel, injury and events.

Professional Development: Got a Twitter Minute?

Inspired by Sharon Bowman’s book The Ten Minute Trainer: 150 Ways to Teach it Quick & Make it Stick, Tolisano provides a series of one minute activities to do with Twitter during workshops.

A Scavenger Hunt to Connect and Document Learning

Using the GooseChase app, Tolisano documents the creation of a scavenger hunt to help participants with build their own personal learning network.

Building a PD Learning Hub for your School

Tolisano suggests that having a platform to document learning, organize and archive initiatives, action research, and institutional memory not only helps teachers with reflecting, but it also gives them a space to practice digital literacies.

#remotelearning- It’s Happening

Tolisano compiles all of her resources to support online / remote learning.

Read Write Respond #063

So that was March for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.

Bryan Mathers' sketch

Cover Image via Marcel Steeman

📰 Read Write Respond #062

February felt like it had it all. In Melbourne, we were thrown into a circuit breaker lockdown. In the middle of this, my wife and I were successful in buying a new home. Having lived in our current home for twelve years, I had forgotten how much is involved in getting things organised to move. I guess sometimes it pays to be naive or maybe a little ignorant, but it has definitely kept us busy.

On the work front, schools have been getting into the swing of things again finalising the end of last year, as well as all the census activities. One particular challenge I have is when people say they get what you are on about, but you know that it has not quite clicked. No matter how much you rush, I have found that building capacity takes times. The issue is that systems and deadlines do not always allow for such time.

Personally, I finished reading Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy and listened to a lot of Daft Punk. Sadly, long form writing.

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


A free chapter of The Data Detective audiobook

In this excerpt from The Data Detective, Tim Harford shares the importance of scientific curiosity when it comes to being a data detective.

50 Great Classic Novels Under 200 Pages

Emily Temple follows up her list of 50 short contemporary novels with a focus on classic novels.

Edtech sci-fi

Ben Williamson puts together a collection of science fiction texts which depict education.

Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole

Charlie Warzel profiles Mike Caulfield and his work with four moves and SIFT.


Facebook and the news: should the divorce be permanent?

In response to Facebook’s decision to temporarily remove all news in Australia, Waleed Aly, Scott Stevens and Belinda Barnet investigate whether if it is even right for news organisations to depend upon Facebook as the modern form of distribution in the first place.

An Appeal for Friction Writing

Richard Hughes Gibson pushes back on the frictionless experience to help foster clearer judgement.

American Idle

Eugene Wei takes a deep dive into the world of TikTok. He explores the the various features and the user experience. This includes the way in which creativity feeds creativity, the abstraction of a bunch of steps into an effects or filters (e.g. Duet feature), improvement on productivity, ability to easily remix based on length, the place of the network and comments in regards to context and success, the way in which the message is in the medium, and how TikTok is entertainment Cheetos.

Privacy Without Monopoly: Data Protection and Interoperability

In this EFF white paper, Bennett Cyphers and Cory Doctorow continue the conversation about adversarial interoperability and the means of breaking up big tech by opening it up to data flows that also have a focus on privacy.

Praxis and the Indieweb

Daniel Goldsmith reflects on the IndieWeb and where it is heading. He lays out a number of concerns and criticisms, including that you never really own your own data, that there is a design bias towards a few select individuals, that the technical requirements are too high and that cost is often exclusionary.


Beyond Burned Out

Jennifer Moss reflects on the results of a global survey on the impact of burnout during COVID-19.

How too much mindfulness can spike anxiety

David Robson reports on the growing research around mindfulness and its limitations. In particular, Robson criticises the one-size-fits-all approach that some take.

The masks, the music, the magic: remembering the genius of Daft Punk

With the release of Epilogue, Daft Punk have announced that they are calling it quits.

Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Changed Political Pop Forever

Spencer Kornhaber discusses the legacy associated with Lady Gaga’s track Born This Way and the criticism raised about the song.

Read Write Respond #062

So that was February for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image: “go go curiosity!” by Johnson Cameraface is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #061

What a strange month. I must admit, I have found myself lost for words. Even with the return of some sense of normality with the inauguration of Joe Biden, it leaves one thinking about what lies beneath the surface and what it means moving forward.

On the family front, my wife planned for university onsite over summer break, but was then thrown into an online course. With that, it limited our time to get away. This turned out to be fortunate with the merry-go round that is Australia’s internal border closures. Subsequently, we spent the time hanging around home, cleaning up and catching up with friends. Our youngest also finished up at kindergarten and started school. She was well and truly ready. There were no tears, instead she actually helped console some of her friends from kindergarten.

At work, it was a case of the calm before the storm. I spent time tying up loose ends and preparing as best as one can before schools returned. The problem is that no matter how prepared you are in regards to videos, guides and training, when everyone wants to speak to you yesterday it just creates for long days and chaos.

Personally, I have taken on a new theme this year, that of ‘ideas’.

My One Word for 2021 is Ideas

Thinking about the idea of the novel, I purchased an audiobook version of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. I soon realised that this was not the book to listen to around the house, so I then turned to Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philopsohy with a thought to ideas over time. In regards to music, I did a lot of reflection on 2020, so did not really listen to much other than that.

Music of 2020 in Review, or the Year of New Beginnings

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


The Future of Professional Learning

Across two posts (one and two), Dean Shareski reflects upon the future of professional development. Two of the points that have stood out: the flexibility offered by online learning that will not go away and learning in-person will become more about connections and relationships.

Four Learning Models That Are Working in Remote (and Concurrent) Classrooms Right Now

AJ Juliani discusses four models for structuring learning when you have some students onsite and some offsite: Station Rotation, Choice Boards, Playlists and E5 ( Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate)

8 Quick Checks for Understanding

Jay McTighe unpacks a list of eight formative assessment techniques that can be used for quick pulse checks.

Why Do We Keep Reading ‘The Great Gatsby’?

Wesley Morris explores the lasting legacy of The Great Gatsby.


Neofeudalism and the Digital Manor

Cory Doctorow discusses the idea of ‘manorial security’, where we place our trust in platform capitalism to keep us safe. In response, he wonders if companies like Apple, Facebook and Google have an opportunity for a Ulysses Pact where in a position of strength these platforms decide to step away from user data.

How @realDonaldTrump Changed Politics — and America

Derek Robertson reflects upon Donald Trump’s Twitter account. He documents some of the history associated with it and the platform it has allowed. Alternatively, Kevin Quealy documents all of Donald Trump’s Twitter insults.

A framework for digital resilience: supporting children through an enabling environment

Cliff Manning discusses the Digital Resilience Framework and the importance of collective action.

Before You Post That Hot Take

Ian O’Byrne talks about doing the personal work before sharing a hot take. you move to the local context. Read up. Problematize your perspectives. Question your assumptions and biases. Listen to others.

Mashapedia: Technologies of Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow

Pavel Anni has put together a companion to Cory Doctorow’s novel, Attack Surface and the Little Brother series documenting the various technology and terms discussed.


Maybe we shouldn’t change the date of Australia Day after all

Luke Pearson explains that changing the date of Australia Day is only the first step in correcting Australian culture.

The American Abyss – A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.

Timothy Snyder, the author of On Tyranny, places the current situation in time. Exploring comparisons between the lie perpetuated by Trump and that perpetuated by Hitler. Richard Evans goes aginst this, explaining that Trumps roll as an isolationist is counter to the fascist mandate

The UX of LEGO Interface Panels

George Cave breaks down the different interface panels in Lego. This includes exploring coding associated with size, colour, shape, texture, position and texture.

20 Years Ago, Donnie Darko Turned ’80s Pop Into Nostalgic Dread

Tom Breihan reflects upon Donnie Darko and the vibe set by the eighties soundtrack that was ahead of its time.

Read Write Respond #061

So that was January for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image: “LEGO Bernie Mittens Meme” by Ochre Jelly https://flickr.com/photos/ochre_jelly/50919271613 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #060

In these strange times, I have found that some things change, while other things stay the same.  At work, I am still working from home which is a change, however we have still been inundated at the end of year with schools rolling their system over. It does not worry me and am always happy to help (well that is my job), what concerns me though is the dependency again and again on so few. I tried recording a series of short videos to go with the guides. However, people just feel hesitant in doing something for fear of breaking the system.

On the family front, December was again the dance between birthdays, end of year activities. This included an ad hoc kindergarten graduation. We were also blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas together, as well as catch up with some family and friends over the break. Considering the year we have had and the virus that is rampant in some parts of the globe, it feels like the small things matter even more.

Someone have all the kids a graduation balloon for finishing kindergarten

Personally, I finished reading Fiona Hardy’s How to Write the Soundtrack. I also publish a piece on creating the space to fail in part with the demise of the Global2 blogging project. In regards to listening, I dived into The Avalanches, Four Tet and Taylor Swift.

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


The Power of Engaging Families

Cameron Paterson discusses going beyond the information evenings, bake sales and parent involvement in his reflection on family engagement.

Lessons Learned – Reflecting on educational equity in the COVID-19 era

Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt consider the various discussions and evidence associated education during the current pandemic to identify five narratives that have stood out.

Algorithmic Autobiographies and Fictions – How to Write With Your Digital Self

Sophie Bishop and Tanya Kant share their approach for helping learners grapple with their digital data.

Skodel – The easiest way for schools to understand student wellbeing

Skodel uses 30-second check-ins to build up a interactive picture of student wellbeing over time.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Could Be Our Standards

Michael Niehoff discusses the proposal to redesign of education around the United Nations Global Goals.


The Zoom Gaze

Autumm Caines reflects upon the rise of Zoom during the pandemic and explores some of the implications. She unpacks some of the features, assumptions, practices and power dynamics associated with the ‘Zoom Gaze’.

From Tech Critique to Ways of Living – Neil Postman Was Right, So What?

Alan Jacobs explores a new way of living that includes technology, but is not solely focused on technology. His argument is that the standard critique of technology has failed, because it has not necessarily stepped back to capture the wider picture of things.

Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine

Adrienne LaFrance makes the comparison between the nuclear threat of the doomsday machine in the 70’s and the position served by Facebook today to connect so many people.

Timnit Gebru’s Exit From Google Exposes a Crisis in AI

Alex Hanna reports on Timnit Gebru’s exit from Google and the implications that this has for research into artificial intelligence.

Slack Is the Right Tool for the Wrong Way to Work

Cal Newport continues his discussion about email and productivity tools, taking a dive into the world of Slack, explaining why it is the answer for the wrong problem.


War on 2020

War on 2020 is a series of satirical sketches about the year produced by The Chaser and The Shovel. They cover a range of topics, including the absurdity of QAnon, Dan Andrews being labelled a dictator, the frenzied stockpiling of toilet paper and the solidarity around the Black Lives Matter movement. However, the highlight of them all was Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton’s review of 2020.

How Science Beat the Virus – COVID-19 Changed Science Forever

Ed Yong continues his reporting of the coronavirus, this time he unpacks the steps associated with getting to a point where we have a vaccine. In separate article, Yong explores what 2021 may look like.

13 Ways Music Got Us Through 2020

Drew Litowitz explores the ways in which the music world responded to the pandemic. This included Bandcamp Friday, a dearth of cover songs, quarantine pop albums, music videos created within constraint, exploration of virtual gatherings, and a growing coalition of artists and music industry professionals pushing back on steaming inequities.

Monetizing the Final Frontier – The strange new push for space privatization

Clive Thompson enters the burgeoning frontier of outer space. He explains how NASA’s funding has slowly dwindled over time and been replaced by private industry stemming from various non-government opportunities.

#IStandWithDan vs #DictatorDan: how fringe accounts gamed Twitter during Melbourne’s lockdown

James Purtill reports on the influence of social media in regards to the messaging around Melbourne’s lockdown.

Hedge School

Steve Brophy has started a newsletter designed to help people with running their own race in life, seems pertinent right now.

Read Write Respond #060

So that was December for me, how about you? As always, I hope you are well.
Bryan Mathers' sketch

📰 Read Write Respond #059

Welcome back for another month.

Victoria started to see the other side of lockdown. However, even with all the donut days, it still feels weird to step out and see people be half-hearted about masks and social distancing. Confidence takes time. I think that Tyson Shine captures this best with in reflection on travelling interstate. Having said all that, it was nice to catch up with family and friends again, as well as get my haircut for the first time in six months.

Personally, I continued immersing myself in the worlds of Marcus Yallow and Masha Maximow carved out by Cory Doctorow in his new novel Surface Attack. In addition to this, I enjoyed Katie Miller-Heidke’s new album. In regards to my writing, I reflected on the magic of technology, as well as the new normal beyond the classroom.

Beyond that, here is what had me reading and responding:


Learning Strategies

Could a Peasant defeat a Knight in Battle?

Designing school when students have the Teacher’s Copy

Little Yarns

Verse by Verse


Facebook, QAnon and the world’s slackening grip on reality

Google Photos — Bait Meet Switch

The Substackerati

Webring History: Social Media Before Social Media

School Library Websites: Essential Features And Examples


The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done

From MP3 to vinyl — listening to music in the 21st century

The opal fossils that changed a miner’s life and introduced a new species from Australia’s deep past

Vale Sizzler: the cheese toast king couldn’t keep up with dining trends

Read Write Respond #059

So that was November for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via Willis Lam

📰 Read Write Respond #058

So there goes October, with spring at its best and worst … Bless you.

On the family front, Ms 9 returned to onsite learning as Melbourne has lowered its restrictions based on drop in case numbers. This return has produced equal amounts of anxiety and excitement. In addition to this, on the weekends my daughters and I have returned to parks and playgrounds. This included exploring Cobbledicks Ford on the Werribee River after we had a conversation about bridges and fords.

With work, I am continuing to ‘try and skate to where the puck is going‘. This means highlighting issues before people have realised they exist. The greater challenge though is to get everyone skating in that direction so that these problems do not exist in the first place. To do this I am trying to develop a number of resources to help everyone, the irony though with proactive measures is that I have to deal with the initial requests first. calls first This often involves providing answers before people realise their is even a question.

Personally, I have been diving into the world of Cory Doctorow, reading his books Makers, Little Brother and Homeland. I also wrote a reflection of steaming services as the lights are turned off on Google Music. In regards to listening, I have been enjoying releases from Oneohtrix Point Never, Autechre and Matt Berninger. While my wife and I have been bingeing on Sons of Anarchy.

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


Remote Teaching Tip: Assessments in an Online Environment

Bill Ferriter suggests that before you worry about how you are going to assess learning online, you need to address the question of what you are assessing for.

Do We Need to Sort Out Silent Reading?

Alex Quigley explains that although reading lots adds value, there is a danger of fake reading associated with with approaches like DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) or ERIC (Everyone Reads in Class).

Does Virtual Learning Work for Every Student?

Amanda Woytus reflects upon who has and has not benefited from learning online.

Make a Digital Escape Room with Google Apps

Richard Wells provides a few notes associated with the creation of digital escape rooms using Google, including a useful graphic.

Play “What’s The Rule?” to Develop Computational Thinking

Ian O’Byrne discusses the use of the game ‘What’s the Rule’ to develop Computational Thinking, another unplugged activity.

The Seeds That Seymour Sowed

In a new forward for Seymour Papert’s Mindstorm, Mitchel Resnick reflects upon Papert’s legacy after 40 years. He talks about the ideas that have taken and the seeds that lie dormant.


Good Intentions, Bad Inventions: The Four Myths of Healthy Tech

Amanda Lenhart and Kellie Owens demystify four common myths about technology.

Something In The Water And The Bones – Rebel Code, Rebel Code

John Philpin unpacks the question, should everyone learn to code? In response, he suggests choose something that you are passionate about, understanding that appreciating how technology works with that.

Anatomy of a Podcast

Nick Hilton reflects on the experience of putting together a documentary podcast.

Audio’s Opportunity and Who Will Capture It

Matthew Ball unpacks the impact that technology has had on music and video. He suggests that audio is ripe for innovation.

To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks

Eli Pariser reflects upon Walt Whitman’s creation of Fort Greene Park in 1846 and suggests we need an online version of a shared public space.

What AI College Exam Proctors Are Really Teaching Our Kids

Clive Thompson explores the rise of proctoring software in higher education and wonders if we are teaching a whole generation to tolerate surveillance.


Transmissions – The Definitive Story

A new podcast series focusing on New Order/Joy Division. Having enjoyed what The Current have done in regards to Prince, I look forwards to the hearing the voices and versions associated with New Order.

‘Predators can roam’: How Tinder is turning a blind eye to sexual assault

In an investigation, the teams at 4Corners and Hack uncover the way in which Tinder responds to claims of assault.

Are we losing our ability to remember?

Scott Taylor unpacks the problems with memory. He talks about the way in which our short term memory is restricted to four-chunks. Two strategies that help counter this is: spaced repetition and offloading memory.

Grapefruit Is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet

Dan Nosowitz takes a dive into the world of the grapefruit. The fruit has its origins in the Caribbean, however how it came to be labelled ‘grapefruit’ is not clear.

Rebecca Solnit on Black Swans, Slim Chances, and the 2020 Presidential Election

Rebecca Solnit reflects upon the world that we are currently in. She calls for hope, not optimism.

Read Write Respond #058

So that was October for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image: “robot” by Johnson Cameraface is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #057

I think that Colin Walker captures it best:

I’m sorry, but how the hell is it October already?

Here in Melbourne we are slowly coming out of lockdown. However, I am not sure what that actually means as the world passed one million deaths, and they are just the ones we know about.

Work has meandered on. I have been supporting a couple of new schools with their transition and thinking about the challenge of transformation. So much of the work I do is about walking through processes, clicking this, doing that. The problem is that each step maybe relatively simple, but tied together processes become complicated. However, the wider problem is actually helping people make sense of how the system actually works. That is what keeps me wondering.

Personally, I have been listening to Sufjan Stevens and The Naked and Famous. I have also been reading Cory Doctorow’s Makers (again). Again, I have started a number of pieces, maybe that is enough at the moment.

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


COVID 19 – School Leadership in Disruptive Times

Alma Harris and Michelle Jones put forward seven propositions that require further consideration while leading during disruptive times.

A History of Punctuation

Florence Hazrat traces a history of punctuation, arguing that it is far from dead and still continuing to evolve.

Let’s move on from ‘Unintelligible Intelligences’ – IQ, Multiple Intelligences, Emotional Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence…

Donald Clark reflects on the tendency of the IQ test to prioritise logical and mathematical skills, the false hope of single measure associated with Multiple Intelligences and the confusion between personality and Emotional Intelligences.

The art of inquiry teaching…from a distance

Kath Murdoch shares two posts (one and two) unpacking strategies for incorporating inquiry into the remote context:

Digitally Literate Educator

Ian O’Byrne has put together a course for designing a technology infused unit of work.

A Teacher-Led Renewel

Simon Lindsay reflects on the current situation and the impact that it has on the way in which we collect data around students and learning. With the inability to complete various standardised tests, such as NAPLAN, it has placed the importance of teachers back in the spotlight.


Flamethrowers and Fire Extinguishers – a review of “The Social Dilemma”

The Librarianshipwreck provides a lengthy review of The Social Dilemma and the redemption of with the Humane Technology movement.

YouTube’s Plot to Silence Conspiracy Theories

Clive Thompson provides a behind-the-scenes perspective to how the algorithm team at YouTube are trying to address the problem of conspiracy theories and fake news, while also increasing growth and connecting people with interests.

12 unexpected ways algorithms control your life

Sasha Lekach unpacks a number of examples of algorithms and their impacts, including getting into university, your ability to get a mortgage and getting hired.

I Scanned the Websites I Visit with Blacklight, and It’s Horrifying. Now What?

Aaron Sankin discusses Backlight, a privacy-inspection tool, and what it uncovers in regards to our privacy on the web.

The Digital Home

The Digital Home project, an Alannah and Madeline Foundation initiative, is a social research program examining the changing aspect of technology for Australian families in staying connected, informed and healthy through social isolation.

Designed in Minecraft, built IRL

Lauren Kelly reports on the use of Minecraft as a tool for rethinking spaces.


Attack Surface: audiobook for the third Little Brother book (Kickstarter)

Cory Doctorow is trying to disrupt the market by running his own Kickstarter associated with the audiobook for his new novel Attack Surface.

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled (Planet Money)

Laura Sullivan explores how recyclable plastic actually is and why we are having this conversation. The reality is much of what we think is ‘recyclable’ is in fact not.

How Cities Come Back From Disaster

Derek Thompson discusses the four events and the innovations in city design that they made possible.

The mystery of the Murray-Darling’s vanishing flows

Michael Slezak, Mark Doman, Katia Shatoba, Penny Timms and Alex Palmer explore where the missing water in the Murray-Darling Basin has been going.

Welcome to the 21st Century: How To Plan For The Post-Covid Future

Tim O’Reilly uses scenario planning to explore possible new normals.

Read Write Respond #057

So that was September for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via JustLego101

📰 Read Write Respond #056

Welcome back again.

I attended a webinar this month presented by Steve Brophy. The focus was on leadership and looking after yourself during times of stress. I was in the middle of a breathing exercise when Ms 4 decided to interrupt and ask what I was doing. I explained I was in ‘a meeting’ so she went back to playing. I rejoined the session. The discussion had moved to another technique. This time Ms 8 interrupted with a question or complaint about her sister. I feel that this captures the current context best. There is little deep work, no Pomodoro timers, it is all about making do. I believe that the current round of lockdown has made us more resilient (well I am at least hoping it has), however I fear I have just become far too pragmatic. Doubt you will find this in any published parenting manual.

In regard to work, there has been another change to my email signature. With the latest restructuring I have gone from being a ‘subject matter expert’ to a ‘functional consultants’. However, at the end of the day, I continue to provide technical support and guidance with reporting and attendance and seemingly everything in-between.

On other matters, I have continued dipping in and out of James Michener’s Space. I signed up for a few other webinars, but seemed to get lost in the busyness of everything. I have found some solace and escape in music though. Whether it be exploring VCVRack and modular synthesisers, as well as listening to The Killers, Washington, AJ Cook, Washed Out and Jacob Collier.

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


Evaluating Assessment

Jon Dron compiles a list of principles associated with feedback and assessment.

Sir Ken Robinson Obituary

Stephen Bates reflects upon the life and legacy of Sir Ken Robinson.

4 Ways to Teach You’re (sic) Kids About Grammar So They Actually Care

Brett Healey discusses some strategies for teaching grammar, including showing students how grammar works within texts, use authentic examples, provide room for discussion and encourage play.

The Screens that Ate School with Anna Krien (TER Podcast #153)

Anna Krien speaks with Steve Kolber on the TER Podcast about her piece The Screens that Ate School.


WindowSwap is a project that users randomly click between different videos taken from people’s windows. It is useful provocation on so many levels.


A Tale Of Two Ecosystems: On Bandcamp, Spotify And The Wide-Open Future

Damon Krukowski takes a look at the differences between Bandcamp’s music marketplace with Spotify’s audio-first strategy. This also led me to listen to Krukowski’s podcast from a few years ago Ways of Hearing.

What Windows 95 Changed

Anil Dash reflects on 25 years since the release of Windows 95 and how things have changed.

Machine-enhanced decision making; and clapping, flapping drones (RN Future Tense)

Antony Funnell explores the world of machine learning and the way that it can provide efficic

MP3 is 25 Years Old

Lewin Day discusses the history of the MP3. Progressing from various compression formats, to a business model build around codecs to an open format that broke the model.

The Endless Doomscroller

Ben Grossner has created a lens into the way in which social media can lead us into a world of despair.


We Won’t Remember Much of What We Did in the Pandemic

Tim Harford discusses the association between memory and place, explaining why remembering the quarantine will be so hard.

Patient Zero (RN Presents)

In this series, Olivia Willis leads a discussion of what constitutes a ‘patient zero’. She explores four particular case studies of outbreaks, including cholera, AIDS and COVID-19.

The city is a lie – From Ancient Egypt’s deltas to Edinburgh’s crags and peaks, the city pushes back against the dream of human separateness

Sam Grinsell argues that the notion of the city being somehow separate and contained from the world beyond is a lie.

Trump’s History of Racism and the Reckoning It Has Forced

Ibram X. Kendi argues what Donald Trump has done more than any president before him to highlight the racism inherent in American society. The question is what will happen next.

Forest Fires Are Setting Chernobyl’s Radiation Free

Jane Braxton Little discusses the forests that surround Chernobyl and the purpose they serve in stopping the spread of radiation and the dangers of forest fire. At least there was one positive to the Australian bushfires.

Read Write Respond #056

So that was August for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via JustLego101

📰 Read Write Respond #055

Welcome back for another month. Some things change, some things stay the same.

On the family front, my wife continues to ride the waves of being in leadership during such chaotic times. One minute talking about building back better, next minute scrambling plans for how learning online might be for Victoria’s second wave. All while balancing study as well. In the meantime, the kids have taken to finding joy in forgotten places, such as the backyard. This included using the sticks from the apple tree to create a homemade tent.

At work, the month started with questions from schools about whether they needed to change things back to normal within their system to frantically checking that everything was still in place from last time schools to move back online. In between all of this, I have been supporting new schools and continuing to develop various resources. I am not sure if it is just me, but there is a different level of scrutiny when recording video content compared with written material.

Personally, I have continued to live the life of working at home where everything morphs into everything else. However, Troy Hunt wrote a useful reminder about not sweating the small stuff. I have found it important to remember that things could always be worse. I am still employed and as Damian Cowell recently explained, there are always worse jobs.

In regards to writing, I wrote a reflection on stealing time, as well as some more pieces about space. I have also been continuing my dive into the sonic spaces of Joseph Shabason, listening to DIANA. I have also been enjoying Taylor Swift’s pivot.

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


Steve Collis on Innovation in Learning Design

Steve Collis reflects on the challenges associated with  designing for emergence.

‘Reality Pedagogy’ Is Teaching as a Form of Protest

Christopher Emdin discusses the importance of pedagogy as a response to the world around us.

Blended Content Studio

Mike Caulfield breaks down some of the pieces associated with the structure of blended learning and some consideration in regards to the creation of video content.

Librarians turned Google Forms into the unlikely platform for virtual escape rooms

Aliya Chaudhry reports on how some librarians have turned to the creation of digital escape rooms.

What does ‘back to basics’ really mean? What ‘reforms’ are being signalled this time?

Naomi Barnes reflects on the many iterations of ‘back to basics’ education and highlights the way in which this empty signifier means more than just reading, writing and arithmetic.

Why Should We Allow Students to Retake Assessments?

Thomas Guskey responds to concerns raised around offering students the opportunity to retake tests and assessment.


The Constant Risk of a Consolidated Internet

Ian Bogost reflects on the recent Twitter hack to highlight how centralized the internet has become. One with little room for design and creativity.

How SDKs, hidden trackers in your phone, work

Sarah Morrison digs into the way in which APIs and SDK kits provide the framework for tracking.

What’s wrong with WhatsApp

William Davies discusses the place of private groups in the rise of the web.

The TikTok War

Ben Thompson reflects on the growing concern around the political implications of TikTok. In a follow-up piece, he discusses the different internets and the role they play.

The Age of Mass Surveillance Will Not Last Forever

In a new introduction for Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and Homeland, Edward Snowden reflects on the change in consciousness in the last ten years.

The rise and fall of Adobe Flash

In other histories, the Walkman turned forty and the car radio turned ninety.


Jacob Collier: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Jacob Collier re-imagines the idea of a solo performance with multi-part presentation for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

The End of Open-Plan Everything – Walls Are Back

Amanda Mull discusses the challenges associated with turning around years of open planned spaces.

Our remote work future is going to suck

Sean Blanda discusses remote work’s focus on tasks, the ways in which people can become forgotten, the culture of disruption, and the challenge associated with career growth.

Is SARS-CoV-2 airborne? Questions abound—but here’s what we know

Beth Mole unpacks the data on coronavirus and aerosol transmission, with the push to recognise the distribution beyond just droplets.

Mystery Road offers a different model for police shows in the age of Black Lives Matter

Hannah Reich discusses the problems associated with a one-side perspective of police portrayed on the screen.

Susan Rogers on Take 5 Podcast

Zan Rowe speaks with Susan Rogers about working with Prince, archiving his music and our experience of music.

Read Write Respond #055

Ben Folds captures the current moment best, stating:

It used to be ‘that song is so 2008’. Now it’s ‘ugh, that song is so 10am. What are you thinking? With that old song you old man?

On that note, stay well and thank you for reading. I hope you found something of interest. Oh, and thank you to my one avid reader for.picking up the careless mistakes in my last newsletter.

Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via JustLego101

📰 Read Write Respond #054

What day is it again? Let alone what month? I really respect those people who have kept count of the days. Sadly that is not me, maybe it should be?

On the home front, The Victorian government relaxed restrictions. It would seem that some people responded as if the witch is dead. Wrong. We are now on the edge of an outbreak that has forced many back into isolation once again. However, then I open the internet and see the rest of the world in turmoil and am reminded how lucky and privileged my family and I are.

At work, we crawled our way through to the end of the semester doing all the usual last minute reporting runarounds. It is always a challenge to balance between problem solving and building capacity. Although people seem happy with my support, I still wonder what steps I can take to help others help themselves? With this in mind, I have been exploring creation of short videos.

Personally, I have been listening for solace in soundscapes from Chris Beckstrom and Joseph Shabason, as well as rewatching the Marvel series.

Here then are some of the posts that have distracted my thinking:


Build Back Better

Simon Breakspeare explains the importance of honouring the effort and adaption that many staff and students have gone through and building upon some of the lessons learnt.

Toddlers and teens – better understanding their digital needs

Antony Funnell dives into a range of initiatives currently being developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to help children make better use of the digital world.

The 7 elements of a good online course

George Veletsianos reflects on his experience studying online learning to provide some advice about what to look for as many sectors stay online for the foreseeable future.

The Inhumanities; Or, the war on the humanities & why our humanity is at stake

Mark Tredinnick responds the challenge being made to the traditional liberal arts education in Australia.

Writer’s Notebook: 5 myths to debunk

Narissa Leung responds to some the myths associated with the use of writer’s notebooks to support learning.


The Ed-Tech Imaginary

Tracing a narrative from Frankenstein through to Skinner, Audrey Watters wonders about the possibilities of creating a different ed-tech imaginary focused on care not conquest.

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Virtual Meetings

The team at We Are Open Coop have created an email-based course that helps map out a lay of the land when it comes to virtual meetings.

How Big Tech Monopolies Distort Our Public Discourse

Cory Doctorow responds to Shoshana Zuboff questions about mind control powers supposedly held by platform capitalists and instead suggests they are good at lying to us.

How To Write Great Microcopy

Anthony Diké provides a series of tips for designing for the web, such as being clear, concise and useful, as well as creating a framework to ensure wording stays consistent.


Do Protests Even Work?

Zeynep Tufekci explores the potential of protests to challenge the legitimacy of those in power.

Jacob Collier on staying creative and his 646 track song “All I Need”

Charlie Harding talks with Jacob Collier about recording music during a pandemic, his method for collaborating with other artists from around the world and how he mastered the live streaming rhythmic multiverse.

Taking a Long Term View During Turbulent Times

Tim Kastelle discusses the current challenges facing organisations and the importance of slow thinking.

Why must Indigenous claims for justice always be cast as an attack on the state?

Stan Grant discusses the long history of waiting to be recognised in the Australian constitution. The current crisis is therefore a critical test for democracy.

Yes! and … How to be Effective in the Theatre of Work

Tom Critchlow explores the analogies between the improv acting and the work of a consultant.

Read Write Respond #054

So that was February for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via JustLego101

📰 Read Write Respond #053

Welcome back for another month.

The social isolation associated with coronavirus continued in our home this month. However, my wife has progressively ramped up her return to working onsite full time. Our eldest has continued to learn from home. This has been a real learning curb for both of us. I have found it a challenge to know my place and how to best help her. Her school has done a good job structuring the work, but that assumes she cares to do it. She does care about her passion project, Minecraft. We have therefore learnt to compromise and I have learnt to prioritise what I challenge her on. With junior students returning, she heard the bell ring the other day and said she even missed that.

At work, I have been asked to document all of the issues I have supported so that this can be handed over to the wider support team. One of the challenges with this hand-over is that this is intended to distribute the work, but ironically until I actually complete this task (currently up to 140 questions to be documented) I still need to support most calls that come in for attendance and reporting. I must say, finding balance between support, testing, documentation and improvements definitely leaves me busy, but also feeling a little incomplete as I never quite seem to finish anything.

Personally, for another month I have not found the time and space for reading much. Maybe I need to turn off my feeds? Maybe it is because I am not having to travel to work at the moment? Maybe I am just a little depressed like so many of us right now? Or maybe I am just privileged?

With my writing, I reflected on reimagining a new normal, posted a presentation for #pcPopUp2020 on the What If Web and continued with my thoughts on space.

I have been listening to a lot of online mixes while I work, while my daughter and I have been sharing Carly Rae Jepsen’s B Side album and Dua Lipa’s new album in our breaks to stay upbeat. For some escapism, I watched Dark Phoenix, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, The Rise of Skywalker and Solo.

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


Mining for gold…what have we discovered? And what now?

Kath Murdoch discusses some of the discoveries made during the recent period of online learning and wonders what lessons may remain?

Schools must now ‘build back better’ to free teachers and students from old regimes

Steven Kolber reflects on the return to school and the need to learn from the experience of online learning to build back better.

If I were to start a school…

David Truss asks the question, if you were to start a school, what would it look like?

This principal gives school report cards an F and is calling for a rethink of how we assess children

Rebecca Carmody reports on the opportunity provided by the pandemic to reimagine reporting.

Move to Online Learning: 12 Key Ideas

Dave Cormier unpacks his experiences over time associated with supporting online learning and provides a summary of 12 ideas learnt.


‘Expert Twitter’ Only Goes So Far. Bring Back Blogs

Cal Newport questions the limit of tweets and threads to communicate complex and changing content. He instead calls for a return to blogs to support these conversations.

Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia

Naomi Klein critiques Andrew Cuomo’s invitation for a ‘screen new deal’ to rescue New York from the current ordeal.

How Facebook Could Use Giphy to Collect Your Data

Owen Williams discusses Facebook’s latest acquisition, Giphy and explains how this is yet another data point for the company to mine. A useful reminder about the fun tools we use every day.

Why Remote Work Is So Hard—and How It Can Be Fixed

Cal Newport looks at the history of remote working and unpacks some of the challenges with the move to remote working conditions.

Rabbit Hole

Kevin Roose dives down the rabbit hole in an investigation into the impact of social media and online life on today’s society.


The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them

Erin Bromage provides some perspective on why some places are riskier than others and how to avoid them.

The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations

Kim Stanley Robinson discusses the waddy in which the current crisis has rapidly rewritten our imagination about what is possible.

The Importance of Trust

Paul Browning and Margaret Barr talk about the place of trust within an organisation.

Flattening the Truth on Coronavirus

Dave Eggers encapsulates all the confusion associated with responses to the coronavirus in one piece.

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months

Rutger Bregman recounts the story of a group of Tongan boys who were stranded on a desert island in the 1960’s and how they learnt to survive.

Read Write Respond #053

So that was May for me, how about you? I hope you are safe.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via Andrew Becraft