There is no audience

empty seat
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Stop worrying about what you think other people think of you and what you do. They don’t care. They’re too busy worrying about themselves.

Teachers and students, this is your call to get busy doing your own thing, and don’t worry about what anyone thinks.


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Exploring the future of learning and the relationship between human intelligence and AI – An interview with Professor Rose Luckin

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In this interview, Professor Rose Luckin, a pioneer in integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with education, shares insights on the ethical dimensions of AI deployment in education, emphasizing the importance of ethical AI and its potential to support learner-centered methodologies. She discusses the challenges and opportunities generative AI presents in assessment, learning, and teaching, highlighting the need for robust partnerships between educators and technology developers.

Professor Luckin stresses the importance of integrating AI into education with carefully crafted ethics and governance frameworks to maximize its potential benefits while mitigating risks. The paper discusses AI’s evolving role in education and the critical need for lifelong learning. It underscores the imperative of ongoing research and collaborative efforts to navigate AI’s significant dangers and opportunities in education.

Here’s another interview with Professor Luckin on AI and Education in the 21st Century:


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Random Links 4-3-2024


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Counting what counts

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“It would be nice if all of the data which sociologists require could be enumerated because then we could run them through IBM machines and draw charts as the economists do. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

William Bruce Cameron

If there was a better quote for how many schools assign grades to student work, I don’t know what it might be.

Yes, the US’s most popular form of grading still uses letter grades. I know I know, those letters have numbers assigned to them to make it easy for teachers to score.

But who decided what the numbers meant, and why is the range for failure so huge compared to everything else?

Normally, on a 100-point grading scale, more than half of the “numbers” give you a failing grade.

Really? Can we finally admit that, much like Whose Line is it Anyway, the points don’t matter?

Authentic work, the goal so many of us in education are working toward, isn’t easy to “count,” no matter how you frame it.

But the skills students learn when they are presented with real problems and shared with a real audience absolutely count.

Count what counts, leave the rest to the number-crunchers.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

On finding time to be creative

junk journal

This semester, I’m in a class called “Leadership for Creative Problem Solving,” with the ever-impressive Mary John O’Hair leading our group. We’ve talked a lot about what it means to be creative, specifically in the land of educational leadership, but my conversations always come back around to finding ways to be creative and flexing those muscles.

In my attempts to follow Austin Kleon’s advice and show my work, in our final discussion board post–something else I’ve tried to spice up this semester because oh my god can discussion boards be an absolute pain in the you know what and I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy but understand why we have to do them–we were asked to share an article or video we found in our studies on creativity and leadership.

Like the good oversharer and curator that I am, I linked to this blog, specifically to my tags on creativity, leadership, and creative leadership.

It’s not a great usage case for setting up your own public commonplace book, but it works.

One of my peers, an excellent educator and union leader, made a comment about not knowing how I do it all.

I don’t know either, I just do it. And I think that’s the key.

Creativity is an act of repetition and drudgery. Rarely, if ever, do the clouds of your mind part, allowing rays of glorious creative inspiration to bombard your brain with ideas. Nor is there an “idea factory” in Schenectady, NY, offering a subscription idea service–but that never stopped Harlan Ellison from telling people there was.

No, creativity is backbreaking, mind-numbing, and difficult. It should be difficult. It should be work. It should take something out of you and make you pause multiple times throughout the act of creating. It should make you think and it should make you question your life choices.

But, creating is what we were born to do. And everyone has something different to create, something different to express their unique gifts.

And being creative is something we must do often. Daily, as a matter of fact. Stephen King talks about writing 2,000 words a day, no matter what. Ryan Holiday says to “two crappy pages a day” to progress toward your goal.

It isn’t all going to be pretty–trust me, it’s not–and you’re going to get frustrated. Teachers, you’ll always be improving lessons. Students, you’ll always be thinking about how you can improve that last bit of work.

Each of us has a gift and someone is waiting for us to share that gift with the world.

Let’s do this.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

That $20 fiddle has taken me everywhere…

bodie mountain express

Much of my teen years and into my twenties revolved around music. I played trumpet from 6th grade onward–and wasn’t too shabby–I eventually learned a bit of piano–I can chord and keep a rhythm like nobody’s business–and a bit of signing.

My wife has a music degree and is an excellent flautist. And my kiddo is already falling into the world of musical theatre with all her heart.

While I’m no longer actively involved in the music scene, I’ll always be a musician and hooked on the power of music. I love it and always will, and love sharing great music I stumble upon through my yearly playlists.

Music can bring us all together and inspire us to be more than we believe. For some, it can take you outside of your circumstances into a new world filled with sights and sounds beyond imagination. A new world of hope and promise.

I’m a huge believer in keeping arts programs in our schools. My time in the band kept me sane in my middle and high school experiences. Without the connections I made and the love of music that gave me a place to go and hide when things got rough, which happened regularly as a chubby, geeky kid in the late 80s and early 90s, I’m not sure what I would have done, but it probably wouldn’t have been great.

Los Angeles Unified School District is one of the last school districts in the country to provide freely repaired instruments to its students. The Oscar-winning documentary The Last Repair Shop takes us behind the scenes of that work.

More importantly, we learn the stories of a few individuals and what music and this instrument repair program mean to them.

From a mother who works to support her family to a man who caught the fiddle itch so bad he just had to have a $20 violin from a yard sale, these stories will inspire and make you weep.

By the way, that $20 violin took Duane Michaels and his band, Bodie Mountain Express, all the way to opening for Elvis on his biggest night ever and around the world, and then took him to repair woodwinds for LAUSD students.

From the film-

In a nondescript warehouse in the heart of Los Angeles, a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople maintain over 80,000 student musical instruments, the largest remaining workshop in America of its kind. Meet four unforgettable characters whose broken-and-repaired lives have been dedicated to bringing so much more than music to the schoolchildren of the recording capital of the world. Watch “The Last Repair Shop,” directed by Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers.

In less than 45 minutes, you’ll see these stories and some of the students touched by this program. Music has a unique power among the arts to unite so many, sometimes without words.

We must keep music in our schools, forever.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Ideas rot

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Ideas rot if you don’t do something with them. I used to try to hoard them, but they rotted. Now I just blog them or tell people about them. Sometimes they still rot, but sometimes someone finds them useful in one way or another.

Edd Dumbill

Herein lies the essence of this site. It’s a public brain dump of my thoughts and cool things I find.

More of us should do this kind of “public scholarship” to enrich all lives, especially our own.

But the truth is that the new media ecosystem, combined with a rapidly evolving publishing industry and renegotiations of public spaces, has opened up myriad opportunities and ways to make scholarship more visible and useful for wide audiences outside of academe.

Christopher Schaberg

Find ways to share your thoughts and discoveries with the world, regardless of how minor you think they may be.

Someone is waiting.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Everything I’m writing is s#*%

writing

Greetings Starfighters,

Happy first (partial) week of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere—our southern neighbors rejoice as they head into my favorite time of year…

I’ve walked around most of this week not knowing what day it was or just being off a day. I’m quite certain this is all due to still recovering from the nonsense of daylight savings time (because we’re not saving anything). Yet, we move along into the vast unknown of tomorrow.

Also, has anyone else adjusted their reading goal for the year? I’m really behind and am not sure I can catch up with all that life brings my way. But, recognizing your limits is key and knowing that the only person I’m competing against is myself is also helpful when I feel defeated.

Anyway, here are 10 cool things I wanted to share this week:

10 Things Worth Sharing

  1. Creativity is Humanity
  2. As usual, I’ve gone down another musical rabbit hole that began with finding the amazing Hermanos Gutiérrez and has taken me into some very chill musical vibes. If you need a nice smooth start to your day, I have some great finds for you.
  3. English learners stopped coming to class during the pandemic. One group is tackling the problem by helping their parents.
  4. I’m always on the hunt for new creatives and curious to see their creative processes. This week, I found Jacob Collier by way of Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame. Collier joins Paul Davids in this video to discuss learning to play the guitar, tweaking the rules, and changing everything to suit your style.
  5. In Star Wars news this week (you knew there was going to be a geeky moment soon), the trailer for the new “The Acolyte” series dropped this week, giving us a first glimpse at the time 100 years prior to anything Star Wars-related we’ve seen on any screen. There’s even a Wookiee Jedi.
  6. How do US teachers teach? We don’t know, and it’s difficult to figure out.
  7. While I’m a huge fan of exploration and creative work that sometimes takes us on grand adventures that aren’t so productive, sometimes there is no other option than to do the work of learning.
  8. Ten books from MIT faculty to expand your knowledge of teaching, learning, and technology
  9. Speaking of doing the work of learning and creativity, what if you made your classroom or workspace a living display of your creativity like Lynda Barry?
  10. Lastly, when you feel like the work you do is complete and utter garbage—don’t we all get that way at times?—remember that you’re not alone. The novelist Percival Everett says, “I’m pretty sure everything I’m writing is shit…I’m just trying to make the best shit I can.

That’s it for this week. The Spring Break edition will arrive in your inbox next week.

P.S. – I’m going through all my old comics lately and am amazed at some of the ads. Here’s this one with a cameo from Vincent Price to make your own shrunken head…

shrunken head ad from a comic

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Doing the Work of Learning

There is no substitute for doing the work, whatever your work may be. Put in the time, mastery will come.

stephen king on writing

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

How Do Most U.S. Teachers Teach?

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Finding a definitive answer to how most U.S. teachers teach is difficult for various reasons. There are over 13,000 school districts in the U.S., with almost 100,000 schools and 3.2 million teachers, making it hard to track how each teacher teaches.

University researchers play a significant role in discovering this information, but very few such professors do this, and it takes time to observe classrooms and gather data.

Well, whose job is it to find out how most U.S. teachers teach? University researchers. Sadly, there are too few such professors who do exactly that and those that do seldom write articles or books that become “must reads” for teachers and the general public.

Larry Cuban

However, some studies and surveys have relied on direct observations, teacher self-reports of classroom instruction, teacher autobiographies, and historical records of classroom lessons to find out how U.S. teachers teach.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!