Reading Something Wonderful – I Think

a man reading book while sitting on a bed
Photo by Dayan Rodio on

The Internet is home to so much of the world’s written text that it’s difficult to figure out some of the “best” articles.

Of course, “best” is 100% subjective, and your favorite text is likely not mine. However, some works are interesting enough that many have shared them repeatedly.

I’m not speaking of the time-tested classics of literature that you can find for free in ebook or PDF form but of articles that have been produced primarily during the Information Age.

Now, Ben Springwater has built a site that hopes to feature many of these articles in one place.

Or, maybe it’s just a cool way to promote the Matter app, designed for reading web-based content at your leisure. (Personally, I use Readwise for this same function.)

Either way, the site is worth checking out.

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!

Information Wants to Be Free

A cybernetic male elf standing atop a floating platform overlooking a sprawling metropolis, city alive with shimmering lights, interconnected sky-bridges, and stream of floating cars, elf's body adorned with lit glyphs harmonizing with the pulsating lights of the city, Photography, shot with a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 35mm

This summer, as part of my doctoral work, one of my courses focuses on leading organizational change. The text, Leadership and the New Science, offers a challenging perspective on leadership.

While we normally think of organizations as well-structured, curated entities, the author here delves into fields of quantum physics and chaos theory, positing that the structure of an organization only becomes apparent after being constructed naturally, after the chaos.

Yes, it’s different. But I’m enjoying the perspective, particularly when thinking about public schools and how we just keep trying to organize teachers and students into neat little groups that fit into certain categories.

Hint: that don’t work. Period.

Forgive my foray into Kentucky speak.

Information was the topic of a recent chapter and how it influences organizations. Or, perhaps, how it builds organizations, giving life to them.

Below are some thoughts I shared with the group:

“In a constantly evolving, dynamic universe, information is a fundamental yet invisible player, one we can’t see until it takes physical form. Something we cannot see, touch, or get our hands on is out there, influencing life. Information seems to be managing us”

Wheatley, 2006, p. 96

For most of my life, I’ve been a dealer in information. Whether it was teaching amateur performers how to harmonize in a small church choir, training employees and salespeople, teaching middle school math students, or writing articles, videos, tweets, podcasts, etc., for people worldwide on technology and education topics, I’m an information dealer.

Information, above all else, wants to be and should be free. At least, that’s what people who are smarter than me have said. Stewart Brand brought this concept into being in the early years—the very early years—of the digital age. At the first Hacker’s Conference, then again in his 1987 book The Media Lab, Brand declared, “Information wants to be free” (Brand, 1987; O’Leary, 2009). This thought became a slogan for the early hacker community (no, not those hackers, the good kind), placed forever in Hacker Ethics (The Hacker’s Ethic, 2001).

The Internet, at first a connection between 12 universities to share resources and information (High, 2018), became the democratizing force of the modern world. Over several decades, the internet has made it easier and faster to access vast information and knowledge from anywhere in the world (Castells, n.d.).

But what does this have to do with organizational leadership? Every organization communicates, and what they communicate, in its simplest form, is information.

As Wheatley (2006) discusses, information is a fundamental player in every organization, including schools (p. 96). In my experience, communicating information to every stakeholder is essential for a well-functioning school. Communicating with all stakeholders builds trust, transparency, and a positive school culture. When school leaders effectively communicate with students, parents, staff, and community members, they can keep everyone informed about what is happening inside the school and create a sense of belonging and ownership (Gurganus, 2019).

When I think about the flow of information in schools, I think back to Wheatley’s (2006) words on the Colorado River finding more than one way to reach the ocean (p.18) and how schools are finding new ways to share information within the organization as well as with the broader school community. I can only think that, as we get better at sharing information, our schools will continue to improve, and our discussions about what is equitable for all students will help guide education into a bright future.


Brand, S. (1987). The media lab: Inventing the future at MIT. Viking.

Castells, M. (n.d.). The impact of the internet on society: A global perspective. OpenMind. Retrieved June 11, 2023, from

Gurganus, R. (2019, May 7). Reaching the masses: Communicating with all stakeholders. NASSP.

High, P. (2018, March 26). The father of the internet, Vint Cerf, continues to influence its growth. Forbes.

O’Leary, B. (2009, October 20). 75 words. Magellan Media Partners.

The hacker’s ethic. (2001, November 30).

Wheatley, M. J. (2006). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world (3rd ed). Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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!

Book Review: Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark

Book Review: Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark

I recently stumbled upon “Ring Shout” by P. Djèlí Clark during a visit to the library, and let me tell you, I’m thrilled that I did. Clark, a decorated author who has claimed prestigious awards such as the Nebula, Locus, and Alex Awards, delves into the realm of horror with this dark fantasy historical novella that ingeniously infuses a supernatural twist into the notorious reign of the Ku Klux Klan.

Transporting us back to the 1920s, Clark introduces us to a courageous group of Black resistance fighters determined to take down a sect of demonic Ku Klux Klan members. Seriously, they’re some kind of spirit monsters.

The “Ku Kluxes” are hell-bent on summoning a malevolent being to further their despicable agenda, and Maryse Boudreaux, blade-wielding monster hunter, stands in their way.

Ring Shout
  • Hardcover Book
  • Clark, P. Djèlí (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages – 10/13/2020 (Publication Date) – Tordotcom (Publisher)

“Ring Shout” captivates from the very beginning, offering an intense and gripping narrative that vividly depicts the horrors of racism and violence in the early 20th century. Clark’s mastery lies in his seamless blending of horror, fantasy, and history, resulting in a truly unique reading experience that leaves a lasting impression.

One of the novel’s standout aspects is the character of Maryse Boudreaux, a formidable monster hunter armed with a lethal blade. Through Maryse, Clark delves into profound themes of resistance, resilience, and the unwavering power of community in the face of oppression. As readers, we witness the strength and determination required to combat injustice, reminding us of the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America. “Ring Shout” serves as both a timely and indispensable work of fiction, shedding light on these crucial issues.

In conclusion, P. Djèlí Clark’s “Ring Shout” is a mesmerizing gem that combines historical events with supernatural elements, crafting an unforgettable tale of bravery and resilience. This novella is a must-read for anyone seeking an enthralling exploration of racial justice, expertly woven into a tapestry of horror and fantasy.

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!

Snowden: Ten Years After

Edward Snowden circa 2013
Edward Snowden via Wikimedia

It’s been a whole decade since Edward Snowden made waves by revealing the extent of surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) on American citizens. Snowden’s act of whistleblowing sparked a global conversation about privacy, government surveillance, and the role of technology in our lives.

As a former employee of the NSA, Snowden leaked classified documents to journalists and exposed the agency’s mass surveillance programs, including the collection of phone records and internet communications. His revelations ignited a fierce debate about the balance between national security and individual privacy.

Many people hailed Snowden as a hero for exposing the government’s intrusion into people’s private lives, while others criticized him for jeopardizing national security. Snowden was charged with espionage and fled the country, seeking asylum in Russia, where he still resides today.

The impact of Snowden’s revelations has been profound. His disclosures led to changes in the law, including the USA Freedom Act, which ended the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records. Tech companies, such as Apple and Google, also implemented stronger encryption to protect their users’ data from government surveillance.

However, the debate about surveillance and privacy continues. In recent years, there have been concerns about the use of facial recognition technology, the collection of data by social media companies, and the government’s ability to access encrypted communications.

And privacy conversations have now entered our schools. With the mass emergency learning that took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools en masse expanded their usage of software that effectively spies on students while they use school-issued devices. Now that schools have returned to in-person learning, much of that software remains in place.

I understand why schools use this software (full disclosure: my own school district uses a system to block access to certain sites and actively monitors student usage) and have seen that it can be helpful when students need help outside of the school setting. However, using these tools must be constrained to protecting students and not for teachers and administrators to play “gotcha.”

Privacy is the ultimate issue of our time for every person who accesses the Internet. There is no substitute for protecting privacy at all costs.

Ten years after Snowden’s revelations, it’s clear that his actions sparked a valuable conversation about government surveillance and privacy. While opinions about Snowden himself may be divided, there’s no denying the impact he’s had on the world.

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!