Bookmarked The Two Definitions of Zettelkasten by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (

What do we mean when we say Zettelkasten? There’s a specific set of objects (cards and boxes or their digital equivalents), but there’s also a spectrum of methods or practices which can be split into two broad categories.

Chris Aldrich talks about what we talk about when we talk about zettelkasten. He continues his dive into the histories attached to note-taking. For me, this all reminds me of Doug Belshaw’s discussion of ‘digital literacies’ and the dangers of dead metaphors. What Belshaw encourages a discussion.

Our definition of digital literacies is something created by a community and continually negotiated. More often than not, this definition is taken for granted, rarely given air. Belshaw does not identify the eight different elements as an answer, but as a point of discussion. The definition is start of this discussion.

Bookmarked How to Make Notes and Write by Dan AllossoDan Allosso (

First, we’ll cover techniques (and a few tools) you can use to turn what you’re reading, watching, and hearing into useable information. This process has as much to do with taking ownership of ideas as it does with apps. Second, we’ll look at how you can organize and link ideas to make them useful to you and direct them at new questions. Third, and maybe most important, we’ll focus on how you get that information back out of your notes and into a form you can use to share your ideas with others.

Dan Allosso provides a guide to how to make notes and carve them into ideas. Chris Aldrich has also provided an annotated copy of book to annotate with Hypothesis.

Replied to

Clive, I was listening to Clinton Walker talk about his new book Suburban Songbook. He explained how he went looking for a particular reference and when unable to find it, wrote a book to fill the gap. It reminded me of your post of ‘reporter’s block‘.
Liked One provocative question: what on earth does evidence-based really mean? (EduResearch Matters)

So, what kind of ‘evidence’ is being referred to by the former Minister when he rightly insists we need to ensure that pedagogy is evidence-based’. Is he referring to evidence derived from primary research, such as randomized control trials (RCTs) and observational studies; or secondary research, including systematic reviews of the research literature? The fact is there is no single type of evidence. It is generally recognised that different evidence types have different methodological strengths. At the pinnacle of the ‘hierarchy of evidence’, are systematic reviews, followed by RCTs, cohort studies and then case-controlled studies, case reports and finally expert opinion. Without identifying the type of evidence to which he refers, the former Minister, appears to resort to lay-opinion disguised as evidence.

Bookmarked First Steps to Getting Started in Open Source Research – bellingcat (bellingcat)

The promise of open source research is that anyone — not just journalists or researchers at select institutions — can contribute to investigations that uncover wrongdoing and hold perpetrators of crimes and atrocities to account.

When we say “anyone”, we mean anyone: if you’ve an internet connection, free time, and a stubborn commitment to getting the facts right, then you too, can be an open source researcher.

Giancarlo Fiorella provides a number of tips for getting started with open source research. He talks about being clear about your interests, getting on Twitter to debate and disemminate, find your people, conncect with communities, and continue to grow and experiment.
Replied to Schools are surveying students to improve teaching. But many teachers find the feedback too difficult to act on (The Conversation)

Education departments are increasingly investing in student surveys to improve classroom standards. But a study has found teachers don’t change their practice in response to student feedback.

Ilana Finefter-Rosenbluh, Melissa Barnes and Tracii Ryan discuss the challenge between collecting feedback and improving outcomes. This has me thinking about the power of disciplined collaboration and the importance of dedicating time and process. It also reminds me of John Danaher’s reflection on the purposefulness of teaching and that feedback received is always unhelpful
Liked “When I saw my peers annotating”: Student perceptions of social annotation for learning in multiple courses (

Social annotation (SA) is a genre of learning technology that enables the annotation of digital resources for information sharing, social interaction and knowledge production. This study aims to examine the perceived value of SA as contributing to learning in multiple undergraduate courses.,In total, 59 students in 3 upper-level undergraduate courses at a Canadian university participated in SA-enabled learning activities during the winter 2019 semester. A survey was administered to measure how SA contributed to students’ perceptions of learning and sense of community.,A majority of students reported that SA supported their learning despite differences in course subject, how SA was incorporated and encouraged and how widely SA was used during course activities. While findings of the perceived value of SA as contributing to the course community were mixed, students reported that peer annotations aided comprehension of course content, confirmation of ideas and engagement with diverse perspectives.,Studies about the relationships among SA, learning and student perception should continue to engage learners from multiple courses and from multiple disciplines, with indicators of perception measured using reliable instrumentation.,Researchers and faculty should carefully consider how the technical, instructional and social aspects of SA may be used to enable course-specific, personal and peer-supported learning.,This study found a greater variance in how undergraduate students perceived SA as contributing to the course community. Most students also perceived their own and peer annotations as productively contributing to learning. This study offers a more complete view of social factors that affect how SA is perceived by undergraduate students.

Bookmarked Ongoing conversations and explorations in reading. Not debates. (a macgirl in a pc world)

When I teach reading, I have to consider the research on reading and on child development in general and wellbeing and supporting children who have experienced trauma and a myriad of other areas. Teaching – wonderful but complex. The art of teaching is using what we know from the science in all areas and working out how and when to apply it, then checking to see what impact it has had in our context, with our complex humans and all of their needs.

Gillian Light with another example of what I deemed as pedagogical cocktails.
Bookmarked Become a Better Digital Researcher: Tips From Tedium (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

If you’re a longtime reader of Tedium, you might wonder how I manage to uncover so many strange stories. Well, let me tell you. Hopefully it’s inspiring.

Ernie Smith discusses how he conducts research. He touches on some of the different sources, such as, Google Books, Google Patents, Internet Archive and a library card. Overall, he estimates that he reads 200 articles a day. In addition to his sources, he provides a number of tips for building out ideas and pieces, including:

  • Look past the accepted answer
  • Build an overall context behind the history in question
  • Don’t go into a story looking to tear anyone down
  • Focus on interesting framing
  • Make it unique by building in personal anecdotes

It is always interesting reading about how different people conduct their research. Whether it be Maha Bali’s reflection on researching and writing a paper in 10 days, Naomi Barnes’ comparison to walking around city streets, Lucy Taylor’s advice on completing a PhDRyan Holiday’s five steps or Ian O’Bryne’s process for writing a literature review. At the end of the day, I feel that the method often comes down to the intended outcome. Writing a post for Tedium is going to be different to writing a long book which is different to doing a PhD.

Bookmarked Counting learning losses (code acts in education)

As the three examples I’ve sketchily outlined here indicate, learning loss can’t be understood as a ‘whole’ without disaggregating it into its disparate elements and the various measurement practices they rely on. I’ve counted only three ways of measuring learning loss here—the original psychometric studies; testing companies’ assessments of reading and numeracy; and econometric calculations of ‘hysteresis effects’ in the economy—but even these are made of multiple parts, and are based on longer histories of measurement that are contested, incompatible with one another, sometimes contradictory, and incoherent when bundled together.

Ben Williamson explores what we talk about when we talk about learning lose. He discusses Barbara Heyns’  1978 publication Summer Learning and the Effects of Schooling, data associated with NWEA MAP Growth test in the US, and recent large-scale studies of learning loss by organisations such as OECD and World Bank. What this all highlights is the complexities associated with the idea, as well as the various commercial and political influences.
Bookmarked Thread by @DrNomyn on Thread Reader App (

Thread by @DrNomyn: I’m thrilled that @bedforda1 and my edited collection is finally finding its way around the world. This has been a long road, a labour of love of pop culture, and nerding out about theory….…

Naomi Barnes unpacks each of the chapters of a new book Unlocking Social Theory with Popular Culture:Remixing Theoretical Influencers:

This book demonstrates how pop culture examples can be used to demystify complex social theory. It provides tangible, metaphorical examples that shows how it is possible to “do philosophy” rather than subscribe to a theorist by showing that each theorist intersects and overlaps with others.

Bookmarked Teachers use many teaching approaches to impart knowledge. Pitting one against another harms education (

There’s a variety of useful teaching models — and this includes explicit instruction — which have been designed for different purposes. It is the educator’s task to select the most appropriate given the context.

Creating simplistic binaries in a field as complex and nuanced as education impoverishes the debate.

Alan Reid raises three flaws with the argument that inquiry-based approaches harm student learning. He argues that teachers regularly move up and down the teacher-centred and student-centred continuum, that not all inquiry is the same and that the data used to form the position is problematic.

David Price touched upon the issues raised through the PISA report a few years ago:

The extreme polarisation we’re currently witnessing between ‘Traditionalists’ and Progressives’, is incredibly damaging and not representative of the teaching profession as a whole. Because the PISA hysteria that has politicians all around the world spouting nonsense, arguing for the end of inquiry-based approaches, and a return to direct-explicit instruction, sees the world in black-and-white. This polarisation ignores the reality of what goes on in the leading nations, and assumes that getting to the top of PISA is the end goal, in itself, of a successful education system.

While Peter Skillen and Brenda Sherry capture the flux in this visual:


I am also reminded of a piece I wrote a few years ago about ‘pedagogical cocktails‘:

I think that the problem is that sometimes we think that we feel that we can only partake of a particular cocktail, that someone else always knows better, therefore we should listen to them. However, this denial of choice often results in teachers who have little engagement and ownership over their curriculum and classrooms, while it also restricts many potentials and possibilities. Instead, teachers maintain a status-quo that often no longer accounts for the world that will come tomorrow, let alone we live in today.

My fear is that in restricting the debate has the risk of stunting the growth and development of teachers. Instead of taking the time to appreciate the nuance, there is a danger of teaching based on the default.

Bookmarked The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the classroom | The Psychologist (

There is evidence that instruction, practice and repetition works, if the aim is to retain large amounts of information, although it’s less clear whether you can successfully impose this on other people without a very strict regime of control. The quibble is more about philosophy of education and whether retaining large amounts of particular types of information is the goal we should have for our children’s education. And there are some difficult questions about exactly what the purpose is of requiring children to learn a lot of information before they are allowed to engage in critical thinking or question what they are learning.

Naomi Fisher pushes back on the ‘what works’ mantra and instead argues that how and why matter just as much. For example, she explains that if our focus is on developing critical thinkers, then drilling children with facts and figures will not necessarily get us there.

The cognitive model is only one of many. There is an extensive body of research which shows how, from a very early age, children are engaged as active agents in their learning and learn through play. They test hypotheses, problem solve and come up with creative solutions. Alison Gopnik, professor of developmental psychology at University of California, Berkeley, calls this the ‘child as scientist’ theory of learning, and anyone who has spent time with a young child will have seen it in action. They mix things together, they experiment with floating and sinking, they ask purposeful questions. My own daughter did a series of complex experiments aged about six when she would put various concoctions in the freezer, oven and in the bath under water, to see what would happen. The first I knew of it was when black smoke started emanating from the kitchen. Scientific enquiry was so alive in our home that every time I opened the fridge a new experiment fell out.

This reminds me of Gert Biesta’s three key arguments for a ‘good education‘: qualification, socialization and subjectification

Liked Hit songs rely on increasing “harmonic surprise” to hook listeners, study finds (Ars Technica)

But surely composers of hit songs can’t keep upping the levels of harmonic surprise indefinitely without hitting some kind of aesthetic threshold. That’s part of the next stage of Miles and Rosen’s research. This latest study focused on chords, but fortunately, there is more than one way to inject elements of surprise into a song, including dynamics, rhythm, tempo, timbre, and so forth. Based on a few pilot tests last summer that took all those various elements into account, when listeners do peak on a certain level of surprise, Rosen said that “the fastest way to reset or recalibrate how surprise is functioning in music is to dive into a new genre.”

Replied to You Don’t Have Writer’s Block. You Have “Reporter’s Block” by Clive Thompson (Medium)

You’re having trouble writing not because you can’t find the right words, but because you don’t know what you’re trying to say. You don’t have the right facts at hand.

So the solution is to gather more facts. You need to step away from the keyboard, stop trying to write, and do some more reporting: Make phone calls to some new sources, consult new experts, read a relevant book or article. Once you have the facts at hand, the words will come.

Or to put it another way, when you’re writing nonfiction, the words flow from the research. If the words aren’t flowing, usually the problem is the research isn’t there. To say something, you have to have something to say.

Clive Thompson reflects upon the feeling of writer’s block and suggests that the answer is more research. This reminds me of something Amy Burvall once wrote:

In order to connect dots, one must first have the dots

It also feels like it could be a lost chapter to Austin Kleon’s book Keep Going.

Bookmarked Bullshit Ability as an Honest Signal of Intelligence: (SAGE Journals)

Navigating social systems efficiently is critical to our species. Humans appear endowed with a cognitive system that has formed to meet the unique challenges that emerge for highly social species. Bullshitting, communication characterised by an intent to be convincing or impressive without concern for truth, is ubiquitous within human societies. Across two studies (N = 1,017), we assess participants’ ability to produce satisfying and seemingly accurate bullshit as an honest signal of their intelligence. We find that bullshit ability is associated with an individual’s intelligence and individuals capable of producing more satisfying bullshit are judged by second-hand observers to be more intelligent. We interpret these results as adding evidence for intelligence being geared towards the navigation of social systems. The ability to produce satisfying bullshit may serve to assist individuals in negotiating their social world, both as an energetically efficient strategy for impressing others and as an honest signal of intelligence.

A team of Canadian researchers have presented some preliminary findings associated with ability to bullshit and its association with intelligence. Through their study, they found that the ability to bullshit was an honest signal of a persons ability to ‘successfully navigate social systems’:

Overall, we interpret these results as initial evidence that the ability to bullshit well provides an honest signal of a person’s ability to successfully navigate social systems, fitting the current work into existing frameworks whereby human intelligence is geared towards efficiently navigating such systems

The researchers were mindful to point out that the inability to bullshit was not a sign of a person being unintelligent.

By analogy to humor, a person who is funny is likely to be rather intelligent, however one can identify many brilliant people who are profoundly unfunny.

Interestingly, they found that you can indeed “bullshit a bullshitter.”

we find that those more willing to bullshit were also more likely to be receptive to pseudo-profound bullshit (i.e., rate pseudo-profound bullshit items higher on profoundness) … Thus, contrary to the common expression, it may indeed be possible to “bullshit a bullshitter.”

It is an intriguing idea, especially when you consider the fine balance of buying into the lie.

” wiobyrne” in Honest Signals of Intelligence – Digitally Literate ()

Liked Reversals in psychology (

A medical reversal is when an existing treatment is found to actually be useless or harmful. Psychology has in recent years been racking up reversals: in fact only 40-65% of its classic social results were replicated, in the weakest sense of finding ‘significant’ results in the same direction. (Even in those that replicated, the average effect found was half the originally reported effect.) Such errors are far less costly to society than medical errors, but it’s still pollution, so here’s the cleanup.

“”Lots of screen-time is not strongly associated with low wellbeing; it explains about as much of teen sadness as eating potatoes, 0.35%.” “ in Richard Olsen on Twitter: “”Lots of screen-time is not strongly associated with low wellbeing; it explains about as much of teen sadness as eating potatoes, 0.35%.”” / Twitter ()
Liked Education Research and ‘Negative Capability.’ by an author (chronotope)

Instead of passively accepting the ‘stone tablets’ of research we should be engaged in a constant dialogue with research, questioning it, challenging dogmatism, teasing out relevance to our own context and our own individual problems in a sort of ‘detached attachment.’ We should be constantly reviewing our own preconceptions and refining our practice through this process of oscillation and reflection. We should reconcile ourselves with the irreconcilable nature of the classroom. What may work on Tuesday period 3, might be a disaster on Thursday period 2 with the same class and the same teacher for a variety of reasons, some that we may ‘know’ but many that are simply unknown.