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I've been enjoying my friend Doug Belshaw's 'Things we learned this week' for ages. In fact, when he paused them I joined the lobbying group to bring them back! I thought it was time to follow his excellent example and start my own newsletter.

Each week I'll share some of the thing's I've learned from the worlds of learning, digital and education, and some regular things that have got me thinking.

As the great John Hattie says, feedback is the most important part of learning, so get in touch and let me know how I'm doing and if there's something I could take out, add or do better. Hopefully we can iterate our way together (see the end for my first question...).

Tweet of the week

From this week's 'Festival of Education', Geoff Barton provides a wonderful example of 'show, don't tell' in reporting his point of view... as does the Education Secretary herself, it seems. Meta.

From me...

What place for research in primary schools? #ResearchEd Primary London
Some write ups of talks from an excellent event I attended last week.

Psychologist Carol Dweck says mindset is not ‘a tool to make children feel good’

Dweck's work on the impact of having a 'growth mindset' is a recent 'must read' for educators. Much discussion at the Festival of Education this week was focused on this kind of 'character' or disposition education, but this interview underlines the issues with taking research at face value, simplifying it and just using it to prop up our existing ideas and practices.
Hackaball
Everyone seems to be talking about this programmable toy that let's children device their own digitally augmented outdoor games using code.

I've not tried it yet but I love the combination of tapping into children's love of outdoor activity. So often 'programming for a purpose' means at best 'adult's purposes', at worst 'skills for jobs'. Exciting and cool outdoor games is an actually authentic purpose for children. I love anything that respects children's cultures. Tried one? Let me know what it's like.

What doesn't work in education: The politics of distraction

Prof. John Hattie is best known for 'Visible Learning', his massive statistical analysis of education research. He's a wise person, and a great guy. I learning a lot from working with him last year on an Ed Tech pilot project. I'd say VL is a book you study rather than read, but here he pulls together some broader arguments in a really accessible way.

This first of two papers deals with why we often talk about the wrong things in education. Want to explain why we shouldn't be obsessing over uniform and school structures? Point people here.

Exams around the world

Some fascinating pictures. Such diversity, yet conformity. One to reflect on.

via Lucy Crehan author of this fascinating blog (and forthcoming book) on education around the world.
Antarctica from space. Nothing else needs saying.

There’s nothing sadder than EBacc without teachers

The English Education Secretary seems to think Arts subjects 'hold back' young people, yet (never mind the more humanistic arguments) the creative industries are worth £8.8 million an hour to the UK economy.

Here Laura McInerney delves into the practicalities of the current 'Ebacc' drive to compel youngsters to study certain subjects our political classes think are most important. Bottom line? It's all very well mandating subjects such as  modern foreign languages, but we don't currently have the specialist teachers in the system. Therefore, they will likely be taught to students who don't see the importance of them, by teachers who don't have what they need to make them happen in the ways that most matter.

Disclaimer: There are lots of amazing MFL teachers out there... this is a system level analysis not a school or class level one... more on that from me soon!

I have 227 browser tabs open, and my computer runs fine. Here’s my secret.

This has been shared quite a bit, including on Doug and Dai's excellent 'TIDE' podcast. I have to share it again as it has changed my web based life. Some amazing tips for managing if you are a heavy user of web based tools or internet research. These days, who isn't?

How we discovered the dark side of wearable fitness trackers

Some interesting research into how people change not just exercise behavior, but also their attitudes - not always for the better. More work needed to explore the depth here, but being The Conversation they stick to the research and it's a fascinating start.
via Theo Kuechel

Graduation time...

Some of the cohorts of students I worked with since the start at Plymouth University are now graduating, and sharing some great reflections.
Tyla Elworthy brings together her Ten Top Teacher Tips from her studies, and Megan Douglas reflects that The End is Just a New Beginning. Very proud to have been part of the learning of such wonderful educators.
 

Nest launches 2nd-gen smoke detector for $99, kills off Dropcam brand

The real headline in this article on 'smart house' products for me was buried at the end:

"homeowners who have Liberty Mutual or American Family homeowners' insurance can get a free Nest Protect and up to five percent off if they agree to regularly transmit the fact that their Nest is on and operational to their insurance company."

Paving the way for financially incentivised corporate surveillance. I don't have such a problem with rich people saving money, it's if normalising this stuff leads to the only way to afford something at the bottom end of the market being to submit to surveillance. Must blog more on this soon...

Reboot

Rediscovered from my childhood this week... the first entirely computer animated children's TV show, from way back in the 90's. Apparently it was devised in the 80s but they had to wait for the technology to be developed to make it happen. My favourite part... the insanely over-egged tech references that give away it's pre dot-com bubble crash roots...
"Bob! We tried to quit file them dude, but it was seriously default, a major surge of goons showed up at the diner and tried to completely offline the place, I mean jack-out, crash, crunch, backslash, delete, trash, log off!"

Book of the week

Happiness By Design by Paul Dolan

Finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life

I have to admit, for a while 'self development' type books were a guilty pleasure of mine. There are some very variable titles out there, but this one from LSE behavioural economist Paul Dolan hits the nail on the head for me.

He takes a thought provoking look at research on what happiness is and presents a perspective on how we might achieve it that is robust and evidence based, but straightforward enough to actually put into action in your life.

The argument in a nutshell; we desire pleasure and purpose in our daily lives, balancing both in different ways at different times. How we balance these, and how we think about experience of them in the present contrasted with aiming for them in the future is key.

This book has significantly changed my perspective on the idea of happiness and I know it has for a few people I've shared it with.
 

Events on my radar

Each week I'll share interesting events I've spotted, either face to face or online/ live streamed. Send me any you've spotted and if they fit the themes of the newsletter I'll share them here.
 
London Ed Tweetup [FREE] - June 25th, London, 6.00 pm onwards
The inimitable Tony Parkin has pulled together a welcoming, friendly and smart set of educational twitterati for this regular meetup. Just turn up to the Chandos pub, St Martin's Lane (near Leicester Square) to meet some like minded educators.
I'm speaking at this free meetup for Nestsquared London, a group for those interested in technology & social good.
I'm keynoting this long running annual get together of ICT & Computing educators in the South West of the UK.
Google Apps Training in Plymouth [PAID] - 3rd July, Plymouth
I'm joining colleagues from C Learning for a dive into Google Apps for schools, in my old home of Plymouth. It's linked to this event on 'future ready schools'.
#InnEd Drinks [FREE] - 16th July, London, 6.00 - 10.00 pm
Louis Coiffait organises these regular get togethers for education minded people in London. You'll need password #inned to sign up.

I have to be honest, not so learning focused, but currently most on my radar is Glastonbury festival, which I'll be headed to next weekend for the first time....
 

Quote of the week


"The future gets shorter the longer you wait."

- Mystery Jets
Thanks again for joining me for some learning. Now, for my first bit of feedback...

Click here to let me know when you would most like to recieve the newsletter and to read it.

See you next week!

Oliver
 

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