Open Thinkering


Things I’ve been reading online recently

Blog LinksI don’t like it when people automatically post their daily links on their blog. It just clutters up my feed reader. What I do like, however, is when bloggers share what they’ve really enjoyed reading.

So here’s what I’ve enjoyed reading recently with a brief synopsis! πŸ˜€

  • Lifehack.orgHow to Be an Expert (and Find One if You’re Not)Some great advice; I like this bit especially: “In addition to knowledge, an expert needs to have significant experience working with that knowledge. S/he needs to be able to apply it in creative ways, to be able to solve problems that have no pre-existing solutions they can look up β€” and to identify problems that nobody else has noticed yet.”
  • indexed No matter what the DNA test saysJessica’s diagrams on index cards can be somewhat hit-and-miss, but I love this one reminding me what being a Dad’s all about!
  • Lifehack.orgQuantity Breeds CreativityThis post about creativity references problems with the school system, not least, “[W]hen our students leave school they are steeped in a system that says find the β€˜right answer’ and you have solved the problem. Unfortunately the real world is not like that. For almost every problem there are multiple solutions. We have to unlearn the school approach and instead adopt an attitude of always looking for more and better answers.”
  • aphopheniadoes work/life balance exist?An honest post with some swearing, so be warned! I like this bit: “Underneath the sensationalism, there’s a core point here: those who are passionate about what they do do it to extremes.” In other words, you don’t get anywhere by half-doing something… πŸ˜‰
  • BectaEmerging technologies for learning: volume 3 (2008)Several bloggers gave the heads-up on this. No great surprises, but interesting reading!
  • Drape’s TakesPrensky: Valiant Efforts on the War on BoredomDarren Draper summaries Mark Prensky’s article Turn On The Lights. I like the idea of working towards 100% engagement and being intolerant of anything less! πŸ˜€
  • ICT in my ClassroomTwitter – A Teaching Learning Tool Tom Barrett’s excellent post on how Twitter can be used in a pedagogically-sound way. Ironically, he composed the post when completely off-grid (“No mains gas, no telephones, no mobile signal, no internet connection, no possible way to interact with my personal learning network”). I love it when bloggers incorporate useful graphics in their posts. Very helpful – thanks Tom!
  • Drape’s File Sharing With RSS = Endless looks like a great tool. A one-stop solution for sharing resources automatically with students!
  • Teaching SagittarianInspired by 3 Steps – Reflections on this video that looks at 3 steps to a more creative classroom. Great links and great ideas. I just wish I had most of my students for more than one 50 minute lesson per week!
  • Middle School Ed Tech BlogWeb 2.0 Overview for AdministratorsLinks to blogs you might not have read yet. Also good for ‘that’ conversation you’ll inevitably have with a member of your Senior Leadership Team!
  • Steve HargadonWeb 2.0 Is the Future of Education – ‘Web 2.0′ isn’t a great term, but some of what it represents are extremely powerful. The technologies really level the playing field and allow users to be very creative. Perhaps best summed up by this quotation, “I believe that the read/write Web, or what we are calling Web 2.0, will culturally, socially, intellectually, and politically have a greater impact than the advent of the printing press.”
  • RuminateSocial Fluency and Improvisation – Mainly useful for the excellent diagram at the beginning of the post. It’s a Venn diagram showing ‘Social Fluency’ as being a combination of ‘Knowledge’, ‘Communication Skills’ and ‘Thinking Competency’. It’s certainly interesting stuff… πŸ™‚
  • ConnectivismPedagogy First? Whatever. – Although I usually agree with him, I don’t agree with George Siemens here. The most important sentence in this post which sums up his position is, “Pedagogy is not hte starting point of planning to teach with technology. Context is.” George quite rightly points out that ‘pedagogy’ can mean many and diverse things and that anyone can find research that backs up their own position. But that’s not to say that learning shouldn’t be put first. Of course context is important, but it’s a consideration on the way to creating learning activities. Otherwise, the learning is unlikely to be rigorous, or indeed, useful and long-term.

More and more I find myself using the mobile version of Google Reader on my Asus eee, starring and saving what I like in order to come back to it on a bigger screen.

I shared and starred the above items and you can see all the posts I do this to (and subscribe to the RSS feed it creates) here.

13 thoughts on “Things I’ve been reading online recently

  1. Thanks for the linkages. There are a few here I want to spend more time with. I did get to read Tom Barrett’s post on Twitter (which is quite fantastic).

    Lately, I’ve made an attempt to start reading new writings, new blogs, to free mind a little.

    While Diigo seems to be making a move in EdTech circles, I find myself exploring more writings through Twitter and subscribing to websites via my google homepage.

    There is just so much information, news, and interesting ideas being circulated online, it’s hard to know where to begin. I find myself looking to others within my network and exploring the edgier properties of their communities and connections.

    Keep on rockin’


  2. Thanks for the linkages.

    I told one of my pupils off the other day for saying ‘linkages’ – is that what people say over the pond? πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the comment, Chris. I certainly echo what you say about ‘freeing the mind’ – it gets a bit claustrophobic in the edublogosphere sometimes. Hence, I suppose, the move from to… πŸ™‚

  3. Doug– the diagram you point to on my site is actually Dave Pollard’s, building on my original which was specifically about information fluency. He is seeking to broaden the concept (or, as I see it, pointing to where info fluency might lead)…

    re: links– I do post links to my blog, but not all of them, only the ones that I felt worthy enough to make it to my “linklog” and there is generally a description with them. Not sure if that rises above your threshold of dislike or not πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for clearing things up about the diagram, Chris. You’re use of’ Linkrolls may be slightly better, but the fact that almost the entire front page of your blog is ‘Twitter asides’ really grates… :-s

  5. Hi Doug,
    Some similar discussion here: Opinions about auto-blogged social bookmark lists? Β» Moving at the Speed of Creativity
    I like links in feeds. I use netNewsWire or vienna and it is easy enough to skip them if I am in a hurry. I find it interesting to watch someone’s thought-trails and links can do this. I splice my with feedburner so they don’t go on my blog. I guess one could offer with and without links feeds.

  6. Interesting list, Doug.

    On George Siemens’ point around pedagogy .v. context, my question would be, how do we separate the two? Is our choice of pedagogy in any particular situation not determined to a large extent by context, or at least our interpretation, as teachers, of the context in which the teaching and learning happen?

    On the other hand, maybe it depends on our definition of context. I’ll have to think about that one πŸ™‚

    By the way, as someone who was thinking of starting to list delicious links, maybe once or twice a week, I’m not sure I understand your issues re your RSS reader. I use Netvibes and can’t really say that such link-lists give me a problem.

  7. Thanks for this compilation Doug… it is good to see what you are reading. is phenomenal… I just uploaded a video and embedded it into my Moodle for free without having to publish it on Youtube… fantastic:) Thanks for solving yet another of my problems!


  8. To each their own! I consider the links I select and annotate and the twittering– which has links more often than not– to all be a kind of blogging. Not sure why people would want to separate them… or why they are fit for only one place or the other.

    Pragmatically, I also want my selected links and general twitters (notice that I don't feed @directed twitters or all links) to be unified when searching on my site (for my purposes as much as yours).

    Links and general Twitters get posted once per day– if the front page is mostly those entries, then that's because I have nothing longer form to say. I used to try to post nearly every day no matter what, but the availability of micro-form tools made me realize that most of it was just puffed up. If what needs to be said can be said with a Twitter or an annotated link, why puff the article up with more? I don't see how my linklog links, for example, are any different than this post.


  9. I should add that I do, eventually, plan to move those posts in the site design so that only the most recent one is shown, probably in a sidebar section for the most recent day of non-directed Twitter posts and the most recent day of selected links… but since they will still be posts they will still show up in the feed reader as normal… not sure what to do about that short of providing feeds of everything but those things, or one or the other… at which point it becomes more complicated than it’s probably worth to me!

  10. Doug–thanks so much for the post! We’re extremely happy to hear that you are a fan of We just made a release with some interesting new features that are particularly useful for people working in groups (i.e. send assets between drops, which is great for people managing a few drops, send files out via email and MMS, and more…) Additionally, we have some really exciting updates that we plan to release soon, so stay posted with us at! Let us know if we can ever do anything for you and thanks again for the post, Alexa

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