Learning Walks [...]

AITSL defines a learning walks as:

A group of teachers visiting multiple classrooms at their own school with the aim of fostering conversation about teaching and learning in order to develop a shared vision of high quality teaching that impacts on student learning>(Source)

For Lyn Sharrett, learning walks offer a means of leaders collecting data that can then be used in conversation with teachers:

School leaders who do daily Learning Walks and Talks (Sharratt & Fullan, 2009, 2012; Sharratt & Harild, 2015, Sharratt & Planche, 2016 (In Press)) gather evidence of teachers’ intentional teaching and of students’ improvement when they ask students the five questions above. Students who can accurately describe their learning, and how to improve, close the achievement gap. After many walks, conversations with teachers ensue. Leaders ask authentic questions about why teachers make the decisions they make. Leaders also take action if teaching is not occurring at a competent or preferably high-impact level. Action must be taken if students are not progressing at an expected rate (Sharratt & Harild, 2015, Chapter 4). (Source)

There are many models associated with the idea of learning walks. Jon Andrews talks about the learning walk being a way to connect with what is going on through the school:

for the first time in a while, I had the chance to walk a route through school with prospective parents, verbalise the life and culture of the school, celebrate the many valuable contributions people make, appreciate what we have, all because I was talking about places, spaces, resources etc. that we passed. I understand that the values and life of the school are encoded in the behaviour of people, built form, activities that occur and routines that play out. I genuinely had to enjoy the moment, but also pause to appreciate what was around me and acknowledge that I do not get out and about enough.(Source)

Jason Borton shares how he implemented walkthroughts as a means of gathering collective data to then reflect upon as a staff:

Once the scoreboard was agreed upon we set about implementing a system of peer observation known as Educational Walkthroughs. The Walkthroughs are designed to gather information about the practices that are visible in classrooms and are described as our scoreboard statements. The analysis of the information collected is not intended to give individual feedback to teachers but to provide whole school information about strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of formative assessment strategies... A high level of trust among staff is important to ensure the authenticity and success of the Walkthrough process. It is seen as a supportive way to ensure that we hold each other accountable for achieving our scoreboard. Having executive staff take classes and be observed means we are ‘walking the talk’ along with classroom teachers. This point is not to be underestimated as a critical aspect of our success.(Source)

Amy Burvall uses learning walks to provide a remix to the traditional professional development session to start the year where teachers go walkabout and learn from each other:

What if we were able to visit other divisions and departments and do a little ethnography? What if teachers could give tours of their classrooms, sharing examples of student work, discussing the learning spaces and their pedagogy? What if we participated in some cool activity, just like we were students in their classes? What if the “host” teacher had some specific issues, problems, or questions they could crowdsource answers to? What if we were able to give formal feedback such as a Wow! How? Now… strategy? (Source)

DET provides some aspects to consider when implementing learning walks:

Before undertaking a learning walk program, you should establish an agreed set of learning walk protocols and processes. You should consider three fundamental questions: Why are we doing this? Who will participate? What protocols will guide the program? A hastily introduced learning walk program has the potential to arouse frustration amongst staff. However, with careful planning and the input of all concerned, your learning walk can make a significant contribution to the professional knowledge and practices of your organisation and others.(Source)

These considerations can be applied to any model.

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Markets only care about the bits, not where they are from [...]

The markets that are working the Internet out do not care if the bits on the network are from a school, a hospital, or you playing an online game and watching videos–it just wants to meter and throttle them. It may care just enough to understand where it can possible charge more because it is a matter of life or death, or it is your child’s education, so you are willing to pay more, but as far as actually equipping our world with quality Internet–it could care less. Cable providers and telco operators are in the profit making business, using the network that drives the Internet, even at the cost of the future–this is how short sighted markets are. Source

Technological Freedoms [...]

Freedom to run software that I’ve paid for on any device I want without hardware dongles or persistent online verification schemes. Freedom from the prying eyes of government and corporations. Freedom to move my data from one application to another. Freedom to move an application from one hosting provider to another. Freedom from contracts that lock me in to expensive monthly or annual plans. Freedom from terms and conditions that offer a binary “my way or the highway” decision.

Questions for Data [...]

Audrey Watters writes down a series of questions to consider when thinking about data:

Is this meaningful data? Are “test scores” or “grades” meaningful units of measurement, for example? What can we truly know based on this data? Are our measurements accurate? Is our analysis, based on the data that we’ve collected, accurate? What sorts of assumptions are we making when we collect and analyze this data? Assumptions about bodies, for example. Assumptions about what to count. Assumptions and value judgments about “learning”. How much is science, and how much is marketing? Whose data is this? Who owns it? Who controls it? Who gets to see it? Is this data shared or sold? Is there informed consent? Are people being compelled to surrender their data? Are people being profiled based on this data? Are decisions being made about them based on this data? Are those decisions transparent? Are they done via algorithms – predictive modeling, for example, that tries to determine some future behavior based on past signals? Who designs the algorithms? What sorts of biases do these algorithms encode? How does the collection and analysis of data shape behavior? Does it incentivize certain activities and discourage others? Who decides what behaviors constitute “a good student” or “a good teacher” or “a good education”? (Source)

Continuing this conversation, Jim Groom suggests that the key question is:

The real kicker is, how do we get anyone to not only acknowledge this process of extraction and monetization (because I think folks have), but to actually feel empowered enough to even care (Source)

Speaking about assemblages, Ian Guest posits that:

When data is viewed in different ways, with different machines, different knowledge may be produced. (Source)

Benjamin Doxtdater makes the link between power and data:

The operation of power continues to evolve when Fitbits and Facebook track our data points, much like a schoolmaster tracks our attendance and grades.(Source)

Kin Lane provides the cautionary tale of privacy and security violations via APIs, in which he suggests:

Make sure we are asking the hard questions about the security and privacy of data and content we are running through machine learning APIs. Make sure we are thinking deeply about what data and content sets we are running through the machine learning APIs, and reducing any unnecessary exposure of personal data, content, and media.(Source)

Emily Talmage questions the intent behind platform economy and the desire for correlations that detach values from the human face:

For whatever reason – maybe because they are too far away from actual children – investors and their policy-makers don’t seem to see the wickedness of reducing a human child in all his wonder and complexity to a matrix of skills, each rated 1, 2, 3 or 4. [source}(https://emilytalmage.com/2017/07/31/how-data-is-destroying-our-schools/)

Yael Grauer documents how researches at Yale Privacy Lab and French nonprofit Exodus Privacy have uncovered the proliferation of tracking software on smartphones, finding that weather, flashlight, ride-sharing, and dating apps, among others, are infested with dozens of different types of trackers collecting vast amounts of information to better target advertising.

“The real question for the companies is, what is their motivation for having multiple trackers?” asked O’Brien.(Source)

Ben Williamson collects together a number of critical questions when addressing big data in education:

How is ‘big data’ being conceptualized in relation to education? What theories of learning underpin big data-driven educational technologies? How are machine learning systems used in education being ‘trained’ and ‘taught’? Who ‘owns’ educational big data? Who can ‘afford’ educational big data? Can educational big data provide a real-time alternative to temporally discrete assessment techniques and bureaucratic policymaking? Is there algorithmic accountability to educational analytics? Is student data replacing student voice? Do teachers need ‘data literacy’? What ethical frameworks are required for educational big data analysis and data science studies?(Source)

PYP [...]

“Being a PYP teacher… a good PYP teacher, demands that you put in the thought, that you deliberate over purpose and meaning – either alone or with your colleagues – and that you continuously reflect on what you and your students are doing" https://timespaceeducation.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/semantics-is-not-a-bad-word/

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Organic Intellectual [...]

A description of Gramsci's notion of the organic intellectual from David Sessions:

Gramsci’s conception of the organic intellectual was not merely meant to describe the prophets of the European bourgeoisie and its industrial capitalism. The organic intellectual was above all a concept for the left: a name for those who, emerging from working-class conditions, had the inclination and ability to express their vision of society and organize it into action. He envisioned not a savior swooping down from the elite, but thinkers sharing an experience of economic privation, translated into both an intellectual and social struggle. (Source)

Thought Leader vs. Public Intellectual [...]

Unlike the public intellectual, whose position is built over time, the thought leader breaks through and disrupts with a single minded focus. As David Sessions explains:

The true role of the thought leader is to serve as the organic intellectual of the one percent—the figure who, as Gramsci put it, gives the emerging class “an awareness of its own function” in society. The purpose of the thought leader is to mirror, systematize, and popularize the delusions of the superrich: that they have earned their fortunes on merit, that social protections need to be further eviscerated to make everyone more flexible for “the future,” and that local attachments and alternative ways of living should be replaced by an aspirational consumerism. The thought leader aggregates these fundamental convictions into a great humanitarian mission. Every problem, he prophesies, can be solved with technology and rich people’s money, if we will only get our traditions, communities, and democratic norms out of the way. (Source)


CivicTech [...]

We talk about digital citizenship, but taking this a step further, is the idea of CivicTech.

Grodeska uses the term “CivicTech” and I think there is a fair amount of overlap between “Civic Imagination” (the idea of imagining a better future and then taking steps to make it happen) and “CivicTech” (which is the idea of making sure we use digital tools wisely and with agency to affect change in the world.) Source


Digital literacy can be an insurgency

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Code as a Speciman [...]

It is often stated that code is the new literacy of the 21st century. One of the problems with this is that code and is not the same as literature. As Peter Seibel describes:

Code is not literature. We don’t read code, we decode it. We examine it. A piece of code is not literature; it is a specimenSource

It is interesting to considering this in lieu of Doug Belshaw's eight elements of digital literacies.

The Changing Vocabulary of Education and its Spaces [...]

There is often power and purpose in the words that we use to describe the world we inhabit. One as area of importance is the description of classrooms and learning spaces:

To call a space a ‘learning space’ is not just aspirational, it is a descriptive and ontological claim – hard to evidence, hard to know who is learning what, in what ways. A ‘teaching space’ is also descriptive (and more dull, less engaging, old-fashioned perhaps) but it is more modest, more honest, more accurate and more verifiable. It is also narrower: if everywhere is in some way a learning space, then calling a particualar space a ‘learning space’ adds nothing.https://architectureandeducation.org/2016/09/12/the-changing-vocabulary-of-education-and-its-spaces/