Liked On Running an Office Like a Factory – Study Hacks – Cal Newport (

This shift from push to pull is just one idea among many that could help make better sense of the chaos that defines modern knowledge work. As I argued recently, the time has come to start seeking these ideas. We can no longer allow the efforts in this sector to unfold as a haphazard cascade of email messages and hastily organized Zoom calls. We need to take seriously not just how much we work, but how this work is organized.

Replied to Weeknote 23/2020 (Open Educational Thinkering)

What I’ve been up to this week.

I really like how you framed your beginning Doug:

Note: these weekly reflections of mine are by their nature introspective. Any small hardships I experience as a privileged middle-aged white man are nothing to those experienced every day by those whose skin just happens to be a different colour to mine.

I wondered if I should even write (or publish) my recent newsletter, wondering if it were a case of privilage.

Congratulations on your choice to explore new beginnings. I was interested in your point about being good at something.

The past year has had me more in ‘manager’ role than ‘innovator’ role, which is another reason that I decided to wind down my role at Moodle. After all, just because other people tell you are good at something doesn’t meant you enjoy doing it.

It has me thinking about my own work. I have found myself good at far too much.

In an interview discussing life under lockdown, Charli XCX shared:

I’m in my house and I’ve walked around every room and noticed things about my house which I’ve lived in for four years, but I really do feel like this is the first time I’ve lived in my home and made my house a home.

This time has given cause to notice some spaces that have long been overlooked, as well as see others in a new light. After reading Erin Bromage’s breakdown of the different risks associated with the coronavirus, I wonder what work will look like moving forward? Will there be a move against open planned spaces? Will work spaces become smaller to diversify the risk? One thing I am confused about is how a back-up ‘secret’ space protects a business when the risk relates to who is actually in the room?

Virginia Trioli asked the question, what have you learned from living in lockdown? I have learnt that it is very difficult to do ‘deep work’ without a wife, especially when you are trying to work in a shared space. It can be easy to say you do not have the time, but I have found finding physical and mental space a bigger challenge.
One of the challenges to social distancing and working from home has been redistribution of space. Habits include particular expectations about the use of space. This all changes when you can no longer leave and go to the park or work. Open planned works until all of the sudden you want to commandeer the kitchen table to become your office. I was however left grateful after reading this account of a couple cooped up in a tiny house.
Listened The Jubilee: Fill Your Boots | Cory Doctorow’s by Cory Doctorow | Cory Doctorow’s from

My latest podcast (MP3) is a reading of my 2017 Locus column “The Jubilee: Fill Your Boots ,” about the nature of material scarcity, which is a subject of enormous significance at this moment as production has ground to a halt, and in which the use of the internet to coordinate our activity is at an all-time high. The essay’s thesis is that the answer to the climate change crisis might coordination, not privation — holidays when our renewable energy sources weren’t producing, work when they were. Making hay while the sun shines. Given the enforced time off so many of us are living through, the ideas are more salient than they were when I started thinking about them in 2017.

Cory, this was definitely interesting to reconsider with the recent move to working from home.

I also liked your closing message.

Maybe our challenge is to learn to live with pandemics and develop coping mechanisms that help us.

The coronavirus has brought about a change where I have worked at home this week. What has been interesting is that although the physical space is different, what has stood out has been the implied responsibility and autonomy. I have missed speaking w/ colleagues whenever required, however it has made me more mindful of how I communicate.
After a frenetic few weeks, I was discussing the challenge of change management with a colleague and how my current role differs from being in the classroom. He said that I was more than a teacher delivers prescribed material, that my efforts to not only solve problems, but also build confidence and understanding make me an educator. I think that is where the challenge is. Think kind of has me thinking about Solo Taxonomy.
Replied to Given things as they are, how shall one individual live? (Doug Belshaw’s Thought Shrapnel)

All we can do, at any given point, is to weigh up where we are, using principles such as Fred Wilson’s:

  1. Am I working on something that inspires me (and others)?
  2. Am I working on something with a significant impact?
  3. Am I working in a way that makes getting where I want to go as easy as possible (and keeps me there as long as possible)?

As Altman writes, that’s likely to be in a place that doesn’t play politics and, to Bartlett’s point, it’s important to pay very close attention to power dynamics. In short, it’s important to ask ourselves regularly, “Am I best positioned to make the particular dent I’ve decided to make in the universe?”

Plenty to think about in this piece Doug, thank you. My only question is where family fits within all this? Always something to consider.
Liked A Four Letter Word Ending In K (

‘The Future of Work’ is … nothing. There is no ‘Future of Work’. And before you get all uppity – I am not suggesting that work is just going to disappear, of course not. But I am saying that the Future of Work has nothing to do with work as we know it today. So let us plan for massive disruption – not business as usual linear thinking and look at what Income 2.0 might look like.

Liked Let’s talk about job satisfaction for teachers, not just about who leaves and when (EduResearch Matters)

Ideas from positive psychology suggest that intrinsic motivation in a job requires having opportunities for autonomy, competence, and relationships with other humans. The paper that my team published makes a few key points that, along with our findings outlined above, can be understood in this context.

  1. It seems that reshaping preservice teacher education (yet again) would not be the most effective place to put our future efforts.
  2. For all the studies that have been carried out about mentorship programs and their effectiveness, three out of ten early career teachers in Australia in our analysis either had an unhelpful mentor or had no mentor. Yes some states have since established a policy about mandatory mentorship programs, but for some beginning teachers (anecdotally) these can be just box-ticking exercises.
  3. The fact that clerical/administrative burdens was one of the strongest factors considered in linking on-the-job conditions to intention to leave the profession suggests that this may be a place to look for improving teacher satisfaction. The literature suggests that administrative burdens have increased for teachers in the last decade. It is difficult for any study to conclusively show that reducing this administrative burden would improve teacher satisfaction; but it is a proposal that certainly passes the common sense test. Again, this is a point made by many scholars before me; but having solid data to back it up adds to the case.
Replied to The Challenge Of Work (

ATS systems filter applications based on keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience, schools …. you name it. If you really need ‘3 years of full stack development’ for that job you are looking to fill – then the system weeds out any resume that doesn’t reveal that the candidate has a minimum of three years doing just that.

So, the winning candidate needs to be just as skilled at tuning their resume, cover letters and conversations to maximize the chance that the AI picks them … as they are at actually doing the job they are applying to fill!

John, this was an interesting read, especially in light of Malcolm Gladwell’s call to remove the name of the university from applications in a recent podcast.

From experience, when people bypass the AI or properly filtering the various applications, they fall back on who they know, which sometimes promotes certain types over others.

There has to be a better way, just not sure what it is.

Liked The Struggle to Do Work That Matters Is Real (And Worth It) (A.J. JULIANI)

When you can match your passion with a contribution to the world in some way or form, it becomes purposeful, meaningful, and worth the struggle.

Keep scratching your itch and doing work that matters, even when you find your self in a place of doubt and frustration. It is worth it, not only for you, but for the countless others that will benefit.

Listened How can you prepare for the future of work? The answer is not from Recode

Boston University professor Ellen Shell talks about her new book The Job on the latest episode of Recode Decode with Kara Swisher.

Ellen Shell discusses the state of work in America today. Something Martin Ford also discuses in Rise of the Robots. She argues that educating our way out of the current situation only creates a hopeless situation. Interestingly, Shell pushes back on the ‘end of average’ argument and instead suggests that we need to encourage a broad educational starting point with a focus on analysis.

There are plenty of people with STEM skills. What social scientists have found just in recent years is what kids lack are what they call analytic skills. That is not problem-solving per se, but knowing what problems to solve.

Our focus should not be on job training, but instead training students to be able to learn on the job. This all feels a part of the move ‘back to basics‘.