Open Thinkering


Month: June 2012

The 10 most popular posts of the first half of 2012 are…

36,000 unique visitors* have stopped by this blog since the beginning of 2012. Nice.

What are you all looking at? Not what I would have thought.

Shipping containers

1. This is why teachers leave teaching.

Effectively just a commentary on Mark Clarkson’s stellar post. Almost 4,000 unique visitors to that one.

2. Announcing my new e-book: ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ (#digilit)

Pleasing, but subscribers have tailed off since the initial flurry. Around 150 now signed up.

3. My TEDx talk on ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’

To be fair, Iwas expecting this to be popular, as TED-related stuff gets huge amounts of traction. Almost 2,500 people have now watched me pontificate about pictures of cats.

4. Journals, academia and the ivory tower.

I didn’t expect many people to want to engage with the open access journal debate but it seems that the post was timely.

5. Why I’m becoming a MoFo(er).

People seemed genuinely delighted when I announced I was joining the Mozilla Foundation. Which was nice.

6. How to create searchable notes from books using Evernote and your smartphone.

I thought this was obvious, but was asked to write it up. Perhaps it is obvious and people just came to check…

7. Web literacy? (v0.1)

It’s good to see that my work around web literac(ies) is popular – given that I’ll be splitting my time between working on it and evangelising Open Badges from now on!

8. Why the knowledge vs. skills debate in education is wrong-headed.

Wow! I only wrote this last week. I must have touched a nerve.

9. Digital literacy, digital natives, and the continuum of ambiguity (#openpeerreview)

I got many more comments than I expected with my Open Peer Review experiment. Amended article forthcoming.

10. You need us more than we need you.

This was the precursor to Journals, academia and the ivory tower (number 4 on the list)

Of course, posts I’ve written in previous years also remain popular. It would seem, for instance, that I should write more on procedural stuff around Google Apps (yawn!), explore further the links between leadership and emotional intelligence (possible!) and suggest yet more ways to make ‘textbook lessons’ more interesting (unlikely!)

Image CC BY-NC-SA Lightmash

*For some reason (probably user error) Google Analytics wasn’t tracking visits between April 10th and May 6th. So you can probably add another 6,000 to that number.

#OpenBadges through the rear-view mirror?

Elephant in the rearview mirror

Marshall McLuhan:

The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.

People need metaphors to understand unfamiliar concepts. We tend to talk about new things using metaphors, similies and analogies. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that – in fact, it can be helpful!

David Wiley:

Say your friend buys you an Amazon or iTunes gift card for your birthday. When your friend buys the gift card, they are required to provide your email address, both so that (1) the store knows where to send the gift card and (2) the store can verify you’re you when you come to claim the gift card. After your friend completes the purchase, you receive an email containing a special code. To redeem the gift card, you go to a website, verify your identity, and enter the code. After you enter the code, a certain amount of credit appears in your account, which you can spend however you like.

I think that’s rather a useful simile for Open Badges.

What do you think?

Image CC BY exfordy

Some thoughts on the Department for Education’s consultation on ‘Parental Internet Controls’.

The Department for Education's consultation on 'Parental Internet Controls'

If you’re in England and a parent, guardian and/or educator you should be responding to the Department for Education’s consultation on Parental Internet Controls.

The assumptions behind it are quite staggering.

It would appear that the government believes that the best way of ‘protecting’ young people is to shield them from ever accessing ‘inappropriate’ material online.

This is wrong for several reasons:

  1. Despite your best efforts, all young people will at some point come across inappropriate things online
  2. Any tool you use to block inappropriate sites will be a fairly blunt instrument leading to false positives
  3. Blocking tools tend to lead to a false sense of security by parents, guardians and educators
  4. Who decides what’s ‘inappropriate’?

The best filter resides in the head, not in a router or office of an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

I don’t want my internet connection to be filtered in ‘the best interests of my children’. I don’t want to be subject to censorship.

I’ve responded to the consultation. I’ve pointed out that their questions are sometimes unfairly worded. For example, I want to respond for one particular question that I don’t think ‘automatic’ parental controls should be in place in any households.

It’s about education, not censorship. Make sure you respond to the consultation, please!