The Jaffa Cake Fitness Plan – Efficiency vs Effectiveness

I wonder if sometimes looking for the most efficient solution might actively damage our chances of finding the most effective solution.

Let’s take an example “fitness drive”.

Being lazy, I’ll usually want to do this in the most efficient way, so I’ll lie on the sofa, ploughing through the internet, clicking, skimming and reading, and perhaps downloading an app, or buying something off Amazon as I slowly comes up with the combination of routines, diets and gizmos that will almost certainly guarantee me a six-pack in 21 days.…

Walking The Canterbury Tales: The Pilgrims Way

For my “lockdown holiday” I thought I’d walk the route of the Canterbury Tales. I assumed, wrongly, that there would be loads about it online. There isn’t. There are some great resources, but it took me longer than I’d thought to find a GPX map for my phone so this is a quick tying together of what I managed to find and a mini-diary of the hike.…

Cellular Automata in Google Sheets

I’ve been exploring binary with Year 8s and thought they might like to have a look at the weird world of Cellular Automata.

There are lots of resources out there but I couldn’t find one that helped them create their own easily.…

Remote Learning, The Cathedral and The Bazaar

COVID-19 has forced schools to offer some sort of elearning service. It has forced schools, essentially, to swivel and offer something they’re not used to, at a time of high stress and uncertainty. As teachers, we tend, naturally enough, to look for “solutions” in the direction of education for what works: academic research on elearning, guides on “live teaching” and, less loftily and perhaps more pragmatically, stories from any schools that have managed an even half-way successful prototype.…

What cathedral are you building?

I’ve been on a school trip to York these last few days. As you’ll know if you’ve been there, the Minster dominates the city. On a walk round the city walls, I was chatting with a 10-year old about the 250 years it took to build, from 1220 and 1472.…

Some edtech maths

Have been doodling on the back of a napkin this evening about edtech and its cost-benefit.

Let’s say a new technology is being introduced into your school, with the promise of “50% better learning for all”.

Let’s assume the following:

  • your class has 25 students
  • you teach them your lesson 4 hours a week for 30 weeks
  • each hour each student progresses on average “1 unit of progress” which we’ll call 1P.

Snippets from A Gentleman in Moscow

From A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Tiptoeing down the stairs of reason

“Whatever the endeavour, if the setting is glorious and the tenor grandiose, it will have its adherents. In fact, as the locations for duels became more picturesque and the pistols more finely manufactured, the best-bred men proved willing to defend their honour over lesser offenses.

Snippets from The Science of Story

The cure for the horror is story

We know how this ends. You’re going to die and so will everyone you love. And then there will be heat. All the change in the universe will cease, the stars will die. And there will be nothing left of anything but infinite dead freezing void.

Being “nobody-but-yourself”

This bit of advice from e.e.cummings made me think. (h/t Maria Popova).

A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words.

This may sound easy. It isn’t.

A lot of people think or believe or know they feel — but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling.

Jaron Lanier, BUMMERs and Being Human

I’ve just finished reading Jaron Lanier’s 10 arguments for deleting your social media accounts. Some are more persuasive than others, but they’ve made me decide to delete my Facebook account for 2020.

The arguments are all linked and as follows:

  1. You are losing your free will thanks to the addictive nature of much of it and the behaviourist focus of the coding (Facebook gurus Sean Parker and Chamath Paliyapatiya would seem to agree)
  2. Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times.