Weekly Recap – 5/20/16

Here’s my recap of things I’ve read and thought about over the previous week.

Articles I’ve Read

Please Don’t Learn to Code – This TechCrunch article by Basel Farag takes an interesting perspective on whether people should learn to code. His primary thesis is that we shouldn’t all be blindly learning to code. It’s not specifically aimed at teaching young people to code but it’s certainly addressed.

Don’t get me wrong; I do believe that engineering and programming are important skills. But only in the right context, and only for the type of person willing to put in the necessary blood, sweat and tears to succeed. The same could be said of many other skills. I would no more urge everyone to learn to program than I would urge everyone to learn to plumb.

So there’s something to think about in rebuke of the learn to code movement.

The 10 hottest topics in ed techISTE wrote up the ten hottest topics in edtech this week based on proposals to 2016 ISTE conference . For the most part I think they got it right, although I think some of the trends are more promising than others. It’s an interesting and short read.

Dear STAR Test, We Need to Talk – Intriguing insights into the STAR reading test from [Pernille Ripp]. She explains how going from the MAP test to the STAR test was supposed to better and in short, it’s not. I found the high rate of error, as admitted by the STAR people, to be the most surprising. It’s worth reading if your an elementary teacher, have young children, or need one more insight into the problems with the testing era.

If you’re bored then you might consider checking out What are People Working on in Coffee Shops or the tragic revelations in regards to sexual assault by Baylor athletes as reported by Outside the Lines.

Tweets I’m Thinking About

Pretty self explanatory there. How much time do we spend on helping students get better at school? How much time should we spend on this?

I love the maker movement and wish I could do more of it in my classroom. I played with Little Bits at a conference a couple weeks ago and found them interesting. Well, not I’m more interested. I think every school/community should have some sort of Maker Space.

Towards the end of the years this kind of stuff gets on my nerves more and more. So many problems wrapped up in this. I’d also add, “Well we aren’t really doing anything in my other classes.”

Words to live by.

Podcasts I Listened to

I didn’t read a bunch of articles this week but my goodness did I listen to some good podcasts. Here’s my three favorites. Side note: Overcast is my favorite podcasting app so try it out if you’re an iOS user.

The Tim Ferriss Show: How to Optimize Creative Output — Jarvis versus Ferriss – This is a long one and took me a couple days to finish it but these guys spit hot fire in terms of advice for life, creativity, productivity, etc. I find listening to fascinating people have conversations to be well, fascinating. I recommend this as highly as I possibly can.

Freakonomics Radio: How to Become Great at Just About Anything – Every teacher, student, and person should listen to this. If you care at all about growth mindset, grit, or how people improve at anything then this episode is for you. In fact, if education is purely your interest then I recommend this over the Jarvis versus Ferriss episode. There’s a large focus on deliberate practice and how talent is not nearly the most important factor in being successful. In fact, the last month has been self improvement month on Freakonomics so if you’re into that, check it out.

The Highly Sensitive Person Podcast: 64: Oliver Burkeman on Happiness & Negative Thinking – I find Oliver Burkeman to be particularly interesting, especially his rebuke of the positive thinking movement, and this is an insightful conversation with him. Once again, when fascinating people talk I want to listen.

Quote I’m Pondering

This is a Tim Ferris quote from the first podcast listed above. The question was, if you could put one statement on a billboard and put that billboard anywhere, what you write on it and where would you put it? He said he would put this near a popular walking path at a large university.

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“You are the average of the five people you associate with most.”

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