Liked: Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Liked Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex by Walter Vannini (Aeon)
Coding is seen as fun and glamorous, but that’s a sales pitch. In reality, it’s complicated, both technically and ethically
 Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex by Walter Vannini (Aeon)

Coding is seen as fun and glamorous, but that’s a sales pitch. In reality, it’s complicated, both technically and ethically

It’s better to admit that coding is complicated, technically and ethically. Computers, at the moment, can only execute orders, to varying degrees of sophistication. So it’s up to the developer to be clear: the machine does what you say, not what you mean. More and more ‘decisions’ are being entrusted to software, including life-or-death ones: think self-driving cars; think semi-autonomous weapons; think Facebook and Google making inferences about your marital, psychological or physical status, before selling it to the highest bidder. Yet it’s rarely in the interests of companies and governments to encourage us to probe what’s going on beneath these processes.

Clear well explained short and powerful article. via both Scripting News and Memex 1.1.

Perhaps we need another term for the coding like activity than can be a lot of fun for folk that have the skills that Walter Vannini explains coders need. I have a lot of fun dabbling in AppleScript, bash and JavaScript without the discipline and study necessary to be a coder.

Kids in school can have this sort of fun too, perhaps helping in maths and in skills like problem solving, working together and practical skills. Scratch and micro:bits can be a a lot of fun in a primary classroom.

Four Photos, Four Edits⤴

from

Capture One is my preferred choice of image editor, for its support programme as much as its functionality. This morning, I attended one of their many excellent editing seminars, to catch up with the current software and make sure I’m not missing any tricks, along with delegates from around the world.

The seminar was presented by David Grover, Phase One’s Global Manager of Training. He took four images, one at a time, and talked through his workflow.

David starts with composition and framing, cropping and adjusting keystone if required to fine tune the lines within the image. He moves on to adjust exposure or brightness, depending on existing brighter areas within the image. Brightness works only on mid-tones, whereas exposure is a global adjustment. Moving on to the levels histogram reveals any flatness in the image which can be adjusted by pulling in the range of tones. Again, shadows and blacks work on different ranges within the image, with blacks more narrow than the shadows adjustment. These can be selectively lifted to improve contrast.

With one image, which had a brighter side than the other, David applied a graduated mask, adjusting the fall-off to limit the extent, and reducing exposure within the masked area. Further masks were used to create vignetting. Each mask is applied in its own separate, named layer. Named, so you can remember what each layer does!

David Grover demonstrates the use of layers

Style brushes, a new feature in Capture One Pro 21, were demonstrated also: I have found these to be a very quick and powerful way to make improvements in an image, especially in lifting localised highlights for impact. This is one of the tricks used by landscape photographers to make those stunning shots you wish you could take. A landscape image was edited following a similar process to the first, urban, image, with the addition of some colour toning. David brushed in a clarity (mid-range contrast) adjustment in the sea using a filled layer to first adjust the effect, then clearing the mask before brushing it back in to the area of interest. Colour balance was achieved using a new layer, which technique allows for comparison, which stops you going too far with the adjustment. The settings for this adjustment were saved as a custom style brush, making it available for use on any other image.

The use of heal brushes to remove unwanted clutter on a beach was demonstrated and in response to Q&A, David led a nice discussion on the difference between luma (stable colour) and RGB (impacts colour) curves and their combination in the contrast slider in Capture One.

Noise reduction was demonstrated in an image of a flower, along with sharpening of the flower independently of the background using the colour editor (and preview) to make a new mask – “a bit of a hidden feature”, according to David. This is an extremely powerful tool and something I did not know about before. The refinement of the mask is also very smart.

The final image in the seminar was another landscape. A similar workflow was followed as for the other images, with more focus on the colours in the image, using style brushes to warm up the foreground and lift shadows in a more distant rock formation. Contrast was improved using the custom style brush created in the previous image edit. A final saturation lift completed the final edit.

Further tutorial resources are available (and worth following up) in the Capture One YouTube channel.

Notes

“Red Campion” image © Nick Hood 2021.
Original “India” image in the screenshot © Emily Teague.

The Electric Car Revolution?⤴

from @ Mr McGowan's Learning Blog

In this thought provoking article, BBC’s Justin Rowlatt paints a picture of a near future where the petrol engines are moribund and the electric car is king. But just how realistic is this vision? One key feature that is addressed only briefly is charging stations for people who don’t have a driveway. And there is no mention of security issues. What is to stop thieves and vandals causing widespread disruption overnight to commuters who are only wishing to charge up their battery?

 

Electric cars are clearly the way forward. The author points to rapid technological change in this previous article https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57253947 which actually shows the Product Life Cycle for all of our Business students out there, though he labels it unhelpfully the “S-curve”. Trust me, it’s the Product Life Cycle. But what Mr Rowlatt fails to mention is that the rapid pace of technological change isn’t a given. If you had said in 1972 to the last astronauts of the Apollo Space Programme who landed on the moon that not only have we not sent humans back to Luna but that we haven’t put a human on Mars would seem inconceivable. But there we have it. So yes he does talk of how the horse and cart were replaced rapidly by the car – but it is a disingenuous analogy. The petrol car was a vast improvement over the horse and cart and that is why it took hold rapidly. Concorde was a supersonic aeroplane that was technologically more advanced than 747s or other commercial aircraft of the day but it was expensive and the benefits saved in time crossing the Atlantic probably weren’t enough long term to save it. Oh and the fact that the USA wouldn’t let supersonic aircraft fly across the continental USA. A political decision to keep out British Airways and Air France? Perhaps.

 

I may be wrong, but I think EVs will only become the dominant vehicle when it can do everything a petrol or diesel car can do but better. Longer distance. Cheaper fuel. Quick charge. Available charging points.

 

So EVs are the future and are coming, but just not as soon of a tomorrow as Justin Rowlatt wishes. The article in full is here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57416829

 

Proactive Pastoral Care – Book launch and my contribution around trauma responsive education⤴

from @ lenabellina

On Thursday April 15th, I was honoured to be part of the panel for the launch of Maria O’Neill’s fantastic new book, Proactive Pastoral Care, published by Bloomsbury and available on Amazon.

In my contribution, I built upon Maria’s excellent ideas and suggested how a school community can ensure that it is responsive to the needs of pupils and staff who have experienced trauma.

In what I say, I am indebted to those from whom I have learned above all the many children and families whom I have worked with over many years.

I think it is the best summary I have ever achieved in such a short amount of time of what I fundamentally know about how to make schools the places we need them to be.

I am very grateful to Maria for allowing me to re-share this extract of the recording of the event: https://youtu.be/khiVnzQGp5A

I strongly recommend that you read her book: Proactive Pastoral Care: Nurturing happy, healthy and successful learners https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1472980433/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_1KBSSQ6AA6T0YHXG8196

This is my Amazon Review of Maria’s Book:

This is quite simply a book that every teacher and educational leader needs to read. I have a shelf full of fantastic books on how to support the emotional well-being of children and yet not one combines research, evidence and practical reflective tasks in the way that
Maria has managed. The particular strength of Pro-active Pastoral Care is that it has a focus firstly on defining wellbeing and its place in the educational landscape and secondly on evaluating the impact of the work that schools do around the theme. For many years, we have struggled as a profession to know how to measure the wellbeing of the pupils we support; Maria offers tools that allow to do precisely that.

A real act of love that has the power to transform attitudes, schools and the lives of children.

Moving Glow User – Steps for Staff Glow Users Moving Establishment or Local Authority⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

At the end of each school year you may be moving from one establishment to another, or from one local authority in Scotland to another. You’ll want to be aware of how your move may change your access to your Glow account and actions you’ll need to take before the move.

The following guides may be helpful in taking the steps needed to ensure you keep access to what you need or everything moves as you wish!

Glow Connect is the national support site for all things Glow for all users. This support page details what is affected when you move school or move local authority and gives guidance as to what to do

Glow account guidance – Glow Connect

 

Staff may find useful the interactive Thinglink from South Ayrshire Council

This helpful infographic guide from North Ayrshire Council may also be useful:

If you wish to move your OneNote Class Notebook then here’s a quick video guide by Mike Tholfsen:

 

And for a detailed text version of the step-by-step guide to exporting a OneNote Class Notebook here’s the guide on the Microsoft Support site: Guide to exporting a copy of your work from OneNote, Class Notebook, Teams, and OneDrive (microsoft.com)

 

Which way now? Can we be guided by critical uncertainty? #UWLT2021⤴

from

This week I was delighted to join colleagues at the University of Worcester and give the opening keynote for the learning and teaching conference. My talk built on the themes I have been thinking about and talking about this year – mainly reflecting on what being and belonging at university (for students and staff) actually is and will be, the role of critical and public pedagogy within our curriculum. COVID 19 has impacted everyone and every discipline, we should harness that as well as our students lived experiences. We need to embrace uncertainty as we move forward. Whilst it is very tempting to wish for everything to go back to ye olde golde pre pandemic on campus day, our immediate future is still quite uncertain so flexibility is going to be key. After the year we have had, If now isn’t the time to radical change then I really don’t know when is. Remembering too that radical change can be comprised of relatively small pieces too.

Before I gave my talk yesterday, I spotted an article from the Irish Times reporting on a recent speech by the Irish President (Michael Higgins). He said:

“We have an opportunity in the wake of the Covid pandemic, with all its personal, social and economic consequences, to reclaim and re-energise academia for the pursuit of real knowledge; unbiased study that can yield insights that may be applied for the enrichment of society in its widest, in its most all-encompassing definition, and enabled to address our great challenges. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that should not be squandered.”

I wish politicians the UK were as eloquent about the role and purpose of academia in its broadest sense!

You can access my slides with feedback here, and the basic deck here ; and for the all important image to this post, I did want to reflect on how quickly language has evolved over the past 15 months. So, here is word cloud of words and phrases that are now part of the delegates everyday vocabulary. I’m sure more than a few will be familiar to you too!

Every cloud⤴

from

I, like many other teachers across the country, am absolutely shattered. In a year like no other, teachers everywhere have risen to the challenges which we have faced. School closures, online learning, blended learning for those isolating at home. And all this before we even consider the qualifications ACM. We are understandably ready for a holiday after completing our own jobs, on top of setting and assessing, moderating and marking, teaching and learning. But as always, we have adapted, done our best for the young people, and got on with it. And I for one am incredibly proud of our profession, and in particular my department team.

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Always one to try and find the positives, I believe that our team are 100% stronger, wiser and most importantly, better teachers for this experience. Never before have we spent so much time as a department, talking about learning and assessment. And this comes from a department who commits most meeting time each week to learning and teaching. We’ve bonded as a team over developing our understanding of national standards, we’ve shared a cuppa and blethered whilst discussing benchmarks, we’ve blind cross-marked in silence and then celebrated when we’ve been concordant. There has been a real focus on understanding the what and why of our teaching. This can only be a good thing.

I am so grateful for the way in which our team have embraced this experience because its been outwith our comfort zone. Never before have the same teachers who have taught the course and built up a relationship with the young person, had to assess their work. There is an enormous pressure when you have supported the young person and know their struggles snd achievements throughout a practical folio. Every teacher in the country wants the best for our young people. So that pressure to get it right, is very real.

I am 100% confident that our assessment decisions are robust, fair and in the best interests of the young people. Yes it has been a different experience this year, but we should take pride in the fact that we know our stuff. We teach these courses day in day out, and we analyse our results and the national standards every year. We couldn’t do our job successfully if we didn’t.

In art and design in particular, there are some changes we have welcomed. The focus on quality not quantity. This has allowed slow careful workers the same opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, process and skills rather than rush to complete a set number of pieces for their folio. This focus on the demonstration of actual learning complexity rather than the quantity of drawings is a positive departure from the checklist mentality.

Similarly removing the pressure to have every piece of art work double mounted has been another way in which precious time has been siphoned. Importantly the opportunity cost of this, is that we can really focus on the learning and teaching allowing pupils to work right up until the deadline rather than leaving a week or so for ‘mounting.’ This is not to say that we don’t take pride in our pupils work and we absolutely want to mount up important pieces and show it off in the best possible way. But this shouldn’t detract from precious learning time for pupils. And doesn’t need to be done for every single piece of work. Any good art teacher can see quality beyond a double mount. And to add to this, it’s more environmentally friendly!

The ACM has absolutely had its flaws. But this blog isn’t about that. It’s about recognising the resilience, strength and determination of teachers across the country to do our best for our young people and get it right to recognise their hard work in a year filled with challenges. When I look at our team, I see teachers who are tired but more importantly, teachers who are more confident in their assessment decisions and who will go into the year ahead, teaching with an increased understanding of the national standards and the curriculum they are teaching. Yes there are flaws in the system, but with a profession so committed to doing the best for young people, I am confident that together we can get it right moving forward.

Thanks for reading! Would love you to unpick any positives from your own subject experience. Have a positive week – we are nearly there!!