Open Thinkering


Month: February 2010

Why did I make #getthajob free?

Two reasons:

1. Guilt. (I feel education should have a different model to business)

Q. Does this mean that you're making #uppingyourgame: an educator's guide to productivity free as well?

A. No. I'm iterating a new publishing model with #uppingyourgame. It's different and more widely-applicable. 🙂 

Things I learned this week – #9

CC BY-NC-SA danmachold

I realised this week that, whilst I can always re-find what I share in my Things I Learned This Week posts, I wasn’t adding them to my Delicious bookmarks.

That’s why things are going to change (slightly).

From now on, you can find everything I’ve bookmarked of note each week with the abbreviation TILTW followed by the relevant number at my Delicious account. This week’s bookmarks, therefore, can be found at:

The top 5 in each section will go below, doing away with the generic ‘Top 3’ section. I think it’s an improvement. 🙂

I’ve also, after some great advice via Lifehacker, created an FAQ using Posterous ( A fair few people email me directly, or contact me via my Google Profile for advice. Whilst I’m in my email I can fire off a sanitised version to [email protected], thereby creating an FAQ. Genius! 😀


  • Crocodoc is a way to collaborate upon and annotate Word, PDF and PowerPoint files (instead of having to upload and convert to Google Docs format, etc.)
  • Mashable has a great list of Google Chrome extensions for web developers. The Eye Dropper tool looks especially handy!
  • I was tempted to dismiss Google’s claim that the prosecution of some of its employees in Italy is a ‘serious threat to the web‘ – but actually, it may be. After all, if companies can be prosecuted for what users upload even if they remove it ASAP, then we’ve got a problem.
  • Microsoft’s Project Natal has been in the news again, this time with a working demo. I’m just not so sure how willing fat kids will be to exercise whilst playing video games.
  • Need a proper alphanumeric password on your iPhone lock screen? Here’s how to do it. 🙂

Productivity & Inspiration

Education & Academic

  • OK, so his approach starts to grate after a few minutes, but this guy (who recently dropped out of university) has some important points to make about education in the 21st century:
  • I’d love to meet Andrew Churches. Not only has he got a kick-ass wiki, but he writes posts such as this one about the importance of ‘celebrating failure’ in schools. Do yourself a favour and subscribe to his blog! 😀
  • We need new ways of assessment. This RKM process looks promising.
  • Schools are ‘churning out the unemployable’, apparently. I was shocked to read that 20% of people of working age in the UK do not have a job – and not because there aren’t any, but because they’re ‘demotivated’. 😮

Data, Design & Infographics

  • You’d probably be hung, drawn and quartered for this in England, but these are some fun examplesof American defacing banknotes in the name of art/graffiti/self-expression.
  • I have never played World of Warcraft. I’m always shocked at how massive it is when I read statistics about it. For example, it pulls in more cash than some countries, celebrities like Elijah Wood and Jessica Simpson play it, and it requires 20,000 servers to keep it running! :-p
  • Some great advice on the Rapid eLearning blog about the importance of contrast in design. Apparently, CRAP (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity) are the four main elements of design.
  • You’ve got to watch this. It seems that some universities are allowing video submissions in support of applications for undergraduate study (great idea!) Here’s one girl who likes Maths and dancing. Well, you can guess the result…



  • I’m in my twenties. That’s why when I read posts like Ten Trends of 20-Somethings I tend to be a bit sceptical. This one, however, has it spot on – especially with things like ‘radical transparency’ and ‘seeing luxuries as standard’! 😉
  • I go to church. Sometimes I have my suspicions (unproven) about people’s motivations – especially if they’ve got kids. Here’s one family in the US who admit that they ‘fake’ Christianity for socio-economic reasons (and ‘play dates’ for their kids…)
  • Scorpion venom could be a morphine substitute.
  • Jon Becker tweeted that his son’s preschool document his learning through the use of (presumably privately-shared) Picasa Web Albums. What a great idea!
  • You  know that an idea’s a good one when it generates its own parody. Check out #keepmehere – the anti-#movemeon!


If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence. (Lao Tzu)

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. (Albert Einstein)

Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself. (Plutarch)

The sole advantage of power is that it can do more good. (Baltasar Gracián)

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. (Oscar Wilde)

Want more great quotations? Find them via a Twitter search for #quote

Exam performance of looked-after children in England [infographic]

This story pretty much tells itself. We. Need. To. Do. Better.*

Performance of children in England in KS1 SATs

Performance of children in England in KS2 SATs

Performance of children in England in KS3 SATs

Performance of children in England at GCSE level

* For the benefit of those not in England:

To get any kind of decent job, young people would normally require 5 ‘good’ GCSEs (i.e. A*-C)

Definition of ‘looked-after’ (City of Westminster):

The term ‘looked after’ was introduced by the Children Act 1989 and refers to children who are subject to care orders and those who are voluntarily accommodated. Wherever possible, the local authority will work in partnership with parents. Many children and young people who become looked after retain strong links with their families and many eventually return home.