All the nonsense that’s fit to print, brother

madness
Photo by Thiébaud Faix on Unsplash

Greetings Starfighters,

It’s Friday in America, and Hulk Hogan showed up last night at the Republican National Convention.

If you haven’t seen his appearance, it’s everything you think it could be and so much more. I didn’t watch it live (trust me, there are far better things to do) but I’ve seen plenty of clips this morning.

What in the actual nonsense is going on?

Anyways, on to other topics. As I said, it’s Friday, and my dog is sleeping next to my desk in his favorite sunspot, warming up after a moderately chilly morning jaunt. I say moderately chilly since it’s below 70 in Kentucky for the first morning in a couple of weeks (thank the gods).

Right now, I long for the day when I can walk outside, feel that first bite in the morning air, and say, “It smells like marching band…”

I’m still waiting for those 76 trombones to catch the morning sun and have no desire to hear just how loud 110 cornets would be (although this is probably pretty close to the awesome it might be)

Fall will be here soon enough and, along with it, far more bearable temperatures and breathable air. At least, if we don’t all melt from the effects of another record-breaking hot year.

Quote of the Day

Because there’s a large portion of the population who needs to use their brain…

“You have a mind? —Yes. Well, why not use it? Isn’t that all you want—for it to do its job?” (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)

"You have a mind? —Yes. Well, why not use it? Isn’t that all you want—for it to do its job?" (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)

Musical Interlude

I’m a shameless Oasis fan, and I’m also a shameless Noel Gallagher fan. (Liam is, by far, the more evil brother. I mean, they’re both evil. I’ve just accepted Noel’s evil to enjoy his music.)

Here’s a live performance from 2023 of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Long Read of the Day

Madeline Dore has some great thoughts on finding things that make time pass unnoticed. This essentially comes down to doing things you love and getting into a flow.

madeline dore quote

Of course, my thoughts turn to, “How do we make schools a place where kids can find the things they love and help them experience enough of them to decide what they want to keep pursuing?”

Read more

Video of the Day

Folks, Papa Elf left us yesterday. Bob Newhart was one of the funniest “straight men” in comic history. Growing up in the 80s, I watched his magic on “Newhart” and reruns of “The Bob Newhart Show.” He was hilarious.

Here’s a short documentary from Judd Apatow on the lifelong friendship of Newhart and Don Rickles (another one of the funniest comedians ever).

Final Thoughts

If you didn’t know, last week, the NY Times published their list of the 100 best books of the 21st century so far (yes, even though we’re not technically 25 years in yet), and there have been any number of hot takes on the validity of the list. Here’s Ted Gioia’s take on the top 10.

But, never fear, true believers. The Times published the reader’s list of the top 100 books yesterday.

Maybe that list is more your speed. If not, try this one from Lit Hub.

Or, just make your own. You do you, booboo.



The Eclectic Educator is a free resource for all who are passionate about education and creativity. If you enjoy the content and want to support the newsletter, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Your support helps keep the insights and inspiration coming!

Are you cheating if you use AI? Workforce leaders may not think so

pexels-photo-2566581.jpeg
Photo by Visual Tag Mx on Pexels.com

The debate about AI usage in schools rages as some educators want to block all AI access, and some want to embrace the new technology and leverage it for learning.

A core tension has emerged: Many teachers want to keep AI out of our classrooms, but also know that future workplaces may demand AI literacy.

What we call cheating, business could see as efficiency and progress.

A new book, Teaching with AI: A Practical Guide to a New Era of Human Learning, aims to help teachers discover how to harness and manage AI as a powerful teaching tool.

AI is a fabulous tool for getting started or unstuck. AI puts together old ideas in new ways and can do this at scale: It will make creativity easier for everyone.

Teaching with AI: A Practical Guide to a New Era of Human Learning
  • Bowen, José Antonio (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 280 Pages – 04/30/2024 (Publication Date) – Johns Hopkins University Press (Publisher)

Where are you on the AI in schools debate? Fan or foe?



The Eclectic Educator is a free resource for all who are passionate about education and creativity. If you enjoy the content and want to support the newsletter, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Your support helps keep the insights and inspiration coming!

Power comes from authenticity

power

Greetings Starfighters,

I’m certain that the only way we can change our schools is to focus on creating authentic student learning experiences. The more I read and watch in the education world only solidifies that belief.

If we’re not focused on authentic learning, we betray the sacred trust given to us by families when they give us their very best every day. They want more for their kids.

They want more than scripted learning stuck in an industrial design that stifles creativity and individuality.

They want their kids to be their authentic selves. And that must be our commitment, our moral and ethical duty as educators.

If it’s not, we’re wasting our time.

Quote of the Day

“Habit is a mighty ally, my young friend. The habit of fear and anger, or the habit of self-composure and courage.” (Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire)

“Habit is a mighty ally, my young friend. The habit of fear and anger, or the habit of self-composure and courage.” (Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire)

Musical Interlude

Foxes and Fossils, one of my favorite YouTube cover bands, published a cover of Paul Simon’s “America,” and it is everything.

Have I mentioned that Paul Simon is one of my favorite musicians? No?

Long Read of the Day

I’m going to guess that most of us aren’t too worried about having clean clothes to wear when we leave the house (we’re not going to talk about summertime teacher lounging around the house wear…). However, clean clothes are a luxury for some students, and not having them can keep them away from school.

For most students, having clean clothes to wear to school is not a problem.

But for many families at 112th St. S.T.E.A.M. Academy in Watts, a pair of clean pants and a shirt is such a struggle that it has become one of the main contributors to chronic absenteeism, which is when students miss 15 or more days or classes…

In May, the school received a new washing machine and [dryer from the Rams NFL football team](https://abc7.com/post/la-rams-donate-washers-dryers-schools-resourced-communities/14867499/#:~:text=The Rams and Pacsun will,to 20 under-resourced schools.) and the Think Watts Foundation; along with $2 million in clothing to schools serving low income students. Earlier this year, LAUSD also announced a mobile laundry service for homeless students as part of the district’s attempt to combat chronic absenteeism.

Hernandez hopes the machines will ease the pressure on parents and make it easier for students to return to school.

Read more

Video of the Day

In this webinar, experts discussed what whole child design looks like and what it means for broader systems change. Local education leaders provided lessons learned from their whole child design efforts and discussed how state policy can accelerate or impede these efforts.

Final Thoughts

I talk about authentic learning experiences all the time—maybe too much, but it’s kind of my thing. We don’t have enough authentic learning experiences in our schools, but what is more concerning is that we don’t let our students be their authentic selves very much.

We put them in boxes of grade levels, achievement, lunch groups, pathways, etc., and fully expect them to thrive. There’s nothing authentic or personal about much of what we deem important in education.

Before we can see better outcomes for our students, we have to let them be authentic to what is inside them. I’m stuck on Steven Pressfield’s idea that the artistic journey is the “passage by which we re-invent ourselves as ourselves.

We need to give our students a passage to reinvent themselves by discovering who they really are. It wouldn’t hurt to give our teachers the same experience, either.



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Moving from “doing school” to “learning”

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I love learning—I really do. But my dreadful experience with “school” still influences much of my work in education.

I hated “school.” It was pointless for me, as it is for so many other students.

From John Warner:

One of the distinctions I often draw in thinking about engagement and education is that there is a difference between “learning” and “doing school.”

Learning is, you know, learning. Doing school is engaging in the behaviors that result in satisfying the demands of a system built around proficiencies as determined by assessing the end products of a process. You can successfully do school without learning much of anything. At least that was my experience through many periods of my own schooling.

My belief is that organizing schooling around doing school is part, a big part, of the current problem of student disengagement. When classwork is purely an instrument for getting a grade and moving on to the next check box, learning becomes incidental. It may happen, but it doesn’t have to happen.

Warner interviews Susan Blum, author of I Love Learning; I Hate School and Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead), on her new book Schoolishness: Alienated Education and the Quest for Authentic, Joyful Learning

JW: One of my personal obsessions is thinking about the difference between “learning” and “doing school” where doing school is essentially just a series of behaviors designed to achieve the desired grade with the minimal necessary effort. This seems counterproductive on its face, but you say it’s even deeper than that.

SB: Given how much time, energy, and money nearly everyone in our world spends in school, this “doing school,” as Denise Pope called it, is tragic. Students have learned to imitate learning; to provide a performance, a facsimile of whatever each teacher demands as evidence of learning. So much of what we do in schools doesn’t work, whether by “work” we mean learn or thrive or prepare for a competent, meaningful life beyond school. The central organizing concept for me was a contrast between alienation, brought about by numerous sorts of disconnections, such as doing things only because of coercion, and authenticity, which is connection, meaning, genuineness, and even use.

Read the full interview here



The Eclectic Educator is a free resource for all who are passionate about education and creativity. If you enjoy the content and want to support the newsletter, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Your support helps keep the insights and inspiration coming!

How to Obtain a YouTube Video Transcript: A Step-by-Step Guide

youtube

Getting the transcript for a YouTube video can be highly beneficial for various purposes, such as creating captions, summarizing content, or conducting detailed analysis. Here’s a detailed guide on how to obtain the transcript for any YouTube video.

Step 1: Open the YouTube Video

1. Navigate to YouTube: Open your preferred web browser and go to YouTube.

2. Search for the Video: Use the search bar at the top to find the video for which you want the transcript.

3. Open the Video: Click on the video thumbnail or title to open it.

Step 2: Access the Transcript Feature

1. Pause the Video: Working with the transcript feature is easier if the video is paused. Click the pause button or press the spacebar to pause the video.

2. Click on the Three Dots: Below the video, next to the like, dislike, and share buttons, you will see three vertical dots (also known as the ‘More options’ button). Click on these three dots.

Step 3: View Transcript

1. Select ‘Show Transcript’: In the dropdown menu that appears after clicking the three dots, select the option that says ‘Show transcript’. This will open a transcript panel on the right side of the video.

2. View the Transcript: The transcript will be displayed in a panel next to the video. Each line of the transcript is time-stamped, showing when it appears in the video.

Step 4: Copy the Transcript

1. Expand the Transcript (if needed): Sometimes, the transcript panel might show only a portion of the text. If there is a scrollbar, scroll through to view the entire transcript.

2. Highlight the Text: Click and drag your mouse to highlight the text of the transcript. Start from the beginning and drag down to the end.

3. Copy the Text: Once the text is highlighted, right-click and select ‘Copy’ from the context menu, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C (Windows) or Cmd+C (Mac) to copy the text.

Step 5: Paste the Transcript

1. Open a Text Editor: Open any text editor or word processing software where you want to save the transcript. Examples include Notepad, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc.

2. Paste the Text: Right-click in the text editor and select ‘Paste’ from the context menu, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V (Windows) or Cmd+V (Mac) to paste the text.

3. Save the Document: Save the document with an appropriate name and location on your computer.

Additional Tips

Language Options: If the video has subtitles in multiple languages, you can select the desired language from the transcript panel. There is a dropdown menu at the top of the transcript panel where you can choose the language.

Turn Off Timestamps: If you do not need the timestamps, you can turn them off by clicking the three vertical dots in the transcript panel and selecting ‘Toggle timestamps’.

Using Third-Party Tools: For videos without transcripts or for more advanced features, consider using third-party tools and software like transcription services that can automatically generate transcripts from video URLs.



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Meta will work with researchers to study Instagram’s impact on teens

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Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

The Atlantic reports that a group of researchers will get access to Instagram’s data to study how the platform affects the mental health of teens and young adults.

Now, after years of contentious relationships with academic researchers, Meta is opening a small pilot program that would allow a handful of them to access Instagram data for up to about six months in order to study the app’s effect on the well-being of teens and young adults. The company will announce today that it is seeking proposals that focus on certain research areas—investigating whether social-media use is associated with different effects in different regions of the world, for example—and that it plans to accept up to seven submissions. Once approved, researchers will be able to access relevant data from study participants—how many accounts they follow, for example, or how much they use Instagram and when. Meta has said that certain types of data will be off-limits, such as user-demographic information and the content of media published by users; a full list of eligible data is forthcoming, and it is as yet unclear whether internal information related to ads that are served to users or Instagram’s content-sorting algorithm, for example, might be provided. The program is being run in partnership with the Center for Open Science, or COS, a nonprofit. Researchers, not Meta, will be responsible for recruiting the teens, and will be required to get parental consent and take privacy precautions.

It’s a much-needed step forward from Meta to participate in research like this. While I’m no fan of blocking access to social media or smartphones for teens, there is no question about the effects social media can have on teens.



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Google Docs is adding Markdown support (finally)

person wearing white dress shirt and black necktie using macbook air on beige wooden table
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Markdown, the lightweight markup language that you can use to add formatting elements to plaintext text documents, is finally getting support in Google Docs.

Thank the Maker.

Google Docs was born from the conjoined features of a series of software company acquisitions (Writely, DocVerse, and QuickOffice), plus the remains of Google Wave, smooshed together into Drive by 2012. By that point, Markdown, a project of web writer John Gruber with input from data activist Aaron Swartz, had been solidified and gathering steam for about eight years. Then, for another decade or so, writing in Markdown and writing in Google Docs were two different things, joined together only through browser extensions or onerous import/export tools. An uncountable number of cloud-syncing, collaboration-friendly but Markdown-focused writing tools flourished in that chasm.

In early 2022, the first connecting plank was placed: Docs could “Automatically detect Markdown,” if you enabled it. This expanded the cursory support for numbered and unordered lists and checkboxes to the big items, like headlines, italics, bold, strikethrough, and links. You could write in Markdown in Docs, but you could not paste, nor could you import or export between Docs and Markdown styling.

Now, or at some point in the next 14 days, real, actual Markdown work can be done in Google Docs. Docs can convert Markdown text to its equivalent Docs formatting on paste or when imported as a file, and it can export to Markdown from the copy menu or as a file. Google’s blog post notes that this is “particularly useful for technical content writers as they can now convert Docs content to/from Markdown,” so as to use Google’s always-on syncing and collaboration in the interim stages.

Are you as excited about this as I am?



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The ACT is changing, making science optional

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For a moment, I won’t talk about the relevance of removing the science portion of the ACT (or making it optional) when science is under attack alongside our American democracy.

I also won’t talk about the movement to reestablish the ACT and SAT (standardized tests) as measures for college acceptance after moving away from using standardized tests in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But now, the ACT will change, much like the SAT did, and make the science section optional. The remaining core tests are English, reading, and math.

The exam will be evolving to “meet the challenges students and educators face” – and that will include shortening the core test and making the science section optional, chief executive Janet Godwin said in a post on the non-profit’s website.

The changes will begin with national online tests in spring 2025 and be rolled out for school-day testing in spring 2026, Godwin said in the post.

The decision to alter the ACT follows changes made to the SAT earlier this year by the College Board, the non-profit organization that develops and administers that test. The SAT was shortened by a third and went fully digital.

Science is being removed from the ACT’s core sections, leaving English, reading and math as the portions that will result in a college-reportable composite score ranging from 1 to 36, Godwin wrote. The science section, like the ACT’s writing section already was, will be optional.

Maybe we should have stuck with leaving the standardized tests out of the college equation…



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My Top 10 Prime Day Book Deals

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Yes, it’s Prime Day once again. I do my best to avoid giving them too much money on these two days each year, but some things are too hard to pass up.

I’ve done a little digging and spied some great deals on a few great books that I think you’ll enjoy.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Master the art of negotiation with former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss. Discover unconventional strategies to get what you want in any situation. Perfect for anyone looking to improve their bargaining skills and achieve better outcomes.

Think Again by Adam Grant

Challenge your assumptions and embrace the power of rethinking. Adam Grant’s insightful book encourages readers to open their minds, question their beliefs, and foster a culture of learning and growth. A must-read for lifelong learners and innovators.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Unveil the timeless strategies of history’s greatest power players. Robert Greene’s compelling guide provides readers with essential laws for gaining and maintaining power in any arena. Ideal for those seeking to navigate complex social dynamics and achieve success.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Dive into the fascinating world of human decision-making with Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. This groundbreaking book explores the dual systems of thought that shape our choices, offering profound insights into how we think and why we make mistakes.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Join Matthew McConaughey on a wild and reflective journey through his life. This candid memoir is filled with humorous anecdotes, life lessons, and inspirational moments that reveal the actor’s philosophy on how to catch and ride life’s “greenlights.”

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

Unlock the mysteries of human behavior with Robert Greene’s comprehensive exploration of what drives us. This enlightening book provides readers with a deeper understanding of themselves and others, helping to navigate social complexities with greater wisdom.

Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday

Discover the power of self-control and how it shapes our lives. Ryan Holiday’s latest book emphasizes the importance of discipline in achieving greatness, providing practical advice and historical examples to inspire readers to cultivate this vital virtue.

The Daily Stoic Box Set by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Embrace the wisdom of the Stoics with this beautifully packaged box set. Featuring daily meditations and reflections, it offers timeless insights and practical guidance for living a more mindful, resilient, and fulfilling life.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Explore the secrets of great leadership with Simon Sinek. This compelling book reveals how leaders can create environments of trust and cooperation, leading to more successful and fulfilling organizations. It is essential reading for anyone aspiring to inspire and lead others.

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Learn from one of the most iconic figures in modern history as Arnold Schwarzenegger shares his seven indispensable tools for a successful and meaningful life. Filled with personal stories, practical advice, and motivational insights, this book is a powerful guide to unlocking your full potential and achieving greatness in any endeavor. Perfect for anyone seeking inspiration and actionable steps to transform their life.

Each of these books will impact your life if you take the lessons and apply them. All are fantastic reads.



The Eclectic Educator is a free resource for all who are passionate about education and creativity. If you enjoy the content and want to support the newsletter, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Your support helps keep the insights and inspiration coming!

15 Books About Appalachia to Read Instead of HILLBILLY ELEGY

Kendra Winchester shares on Book Riot:

Since Hillbilly Elegy came out in 2016, I’ve experienced countless people claiming to now “understand” where I come from and what Appalachian people are like. But they don’t think of my childhood watching my dad lose himself while arranging music on his piano or my grandfather tenderly nurturing plants in his ridiculously large garden. Instead, they imagine the stereotypes of J.D. Vance’s version of Appalachia, where the entire region is made up of poor rural white people consumed with violence who have no one to blame but themselves for their life circumstances.

Vance is, of course, the 2024 Republican VP candidate who once called Trump “America’s Hitler”supports total abortion bans, and says he would not have certified the results of the 2020 election.

Winchester goes on to recommend fifteen books about Appalachia that will provide a clearer view of the region and the people who live there. They include:

What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte. “If you’re still wondering why Hillbilly Elegy is so problematic, I’d suggest starting with What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia.”

Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place by bell hooks. “In this poetry collection, she laments how Black Appalachians are all too often left out of narratives about Appalachia.”

Any Other Place by Michael Croley. “Croley’s perspective as a Korean American informs his writing as his stories deal with many topics around race, identity, and belonging.”

When These Mountains Burn by David Joy. “When These Mountains Burn features two men deeply impacted by the opioid crisis in Appalachia.”

See also Hillbillies Need No Elegy, an excerpt from Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy.



The Eclectic Educator is a free resource for all who are passionate about education and creativity. If you enjoy the content and want to support the newsletter, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Your support helps keep the insights and inspiration coming!