Things Are Not Always As They Seem

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by Orin Zebest: http://flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn/116972344

This year, I have taken to audiobooks. Unsatisfied by my consumption of podcasts and frustrated with all the books that I just don’t have time to read, I have taken to listening while I’m walking, driving, working, gardening – basically, whenever allows. During this time I have gone through quite a few books:

At the heart of Gladwell’s book is the myth of power and strength. What he sets out to uncover is that so often strengths are at same time weakness and with that supposed weaknesses can often be our greatest strengths. His archetypal example is David and Goliath. So often it is a story told of an underdog getting lucky, but really when you break the story down David was meant to win. For so often success comes through subverting the expectations of others, going against all expectations. In the case of David, his refusal to fight hand to hand, as well as his speed and agility, were really why he won. Gladwell provides example after example of successful people who have failed because they have not perceived their own inherent weakness, as well as those who have looked at situations and seen a different possibility than that often expected by others.

Too Big To Know by +David Weinberger

Weinberger sets out to unpack the crisis of knowledge that has been brought about with the move from scarcity to abundance. Whereas in the past we managed the hose by setting our standards high, associating truth and knowledge with experts and supposed universals. With the increase in technology and the rise of algorithmic and social networks, such fallacies are put to rest. For as has oft been quoted, “the smartest person in the room is the room.” The challenge then today isn’t necessarily about becoming an expert in a particular area or being the font of all knowledge, instead it is how to create smart rooms which value diversity and allow for the emergence of ideas. The inherent irony of Weinberger’s book is that there was always too much to know, it is just now there is no hiding from the fact.

Mindsets by Carol Dweck

Mindsets is not necessarily a book about success and failure, but rather a book about how we perceive success and failure. For Dweck there are two mindsets which govern pretty much everything that we do. They are the fixed and growth mindsets. Those with a fixed mindset see things as black or white, either good or bad. They feel the need to always prove themselves and consider setbacks as failure. In opposition to this, from the perspective of the growth mindset, failure is embraced as an area for improvement, effort is rewarded and setbacks are seen as an opportunity for future learning. What was interesting was that we are not necessarily always one or the other. We can actually have different mindsets for different problems, as well as fluctuate between the two.

Continuing on from where Weinberger finished, Thompson sets out to dispel many myths associated with technology, about it being a panacea to all our ills, to it being the start of the apocalypse. The book is as much about how technology can extend us as it is about how it already is. Unpacking our lived digital lives, not everything that we have today is new. Some fears, some forms of innovation, have been around for hundreds of years. On the flip side of this, history shows that we often refine and improve the tools we have, Thompson therefore offers a glimpse into a possible future. One debunked myth that really stood out to me was the notion that because of technology we read and write less, subsequently leading to a decline in literacy standards. Instead, Thompson points out that with the aid of technology we actually read and write far more than we ever did before. Challenge is being critical.
It is interesting reflecting on all of the books. Although they are all somewhat different, the one thing that ties them all together is that things are not always as they seem and even more importantly, we have the power to make a difference.

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Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting schools with the integration of technology and pedagogical innovation. I have an interest in how together we can work to make a better world.

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1 thought on “Things Are Not Always As They Seem

  1. Blogging Resources

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    A collection of resources assocatied with blogging:Why Blog?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=134">I Blog Therefore I Am</a>A collectuon of thoughts regards the benefits of blogging.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=537">Blogging Starts with Why</a>There is so much written about why to blog, this post starts with finding your reason.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2433">Developing a Blog</a>Often blogs are spoken about as some sort of fixed entity. Sadly, this focuses on the what overlooks how and why we blog in the first place.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1710">Why Blogging Still Matters</a>With the rise of various social media spaces in education, such as Facebook and Google+, blogs matter more than ever for they offer control and privacy that other spaces do not provide.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2364">The Many Faces of Blogging</a>Some break blogging down into tasks or unpacking the response. However, we often overlook the purpose and intent behind them.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=568">5 Ways to Change the World Yesterday</a>Why associated with blogging starts with me, but it is through sharing that ideas and thinking are given the possibility to grown and develop,<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1102">Blogging in the Classroom</a>A reflection on my experiences of blogging in the classroom.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=686">There is More Than One Way to Write a Blog</a> Often it is presumed that there is only one way to write a blog, this post unpacks some other possibilities, including as a means of collecting links and resources. <a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=78">Sharing the Load of Blogging In and Out of the Classroom</a>Exploring the different possibilities and potentials of collaborative blogging beyond the classroom. <a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=133">Sharing the Load of Blogging</a> A reflection on the idea of a collaborative school blog to share practice. Which Platform?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2325">A Guide to Blogging Platforms and their Niches</a>A summary of some of the different blogging services available, what they enable and where their biases lie. Included are an array of resources to support.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1286">Creating a Deliberate Social Media Space for Students in School</a>To support students in regards to digital citizenship, use WordPress to create a social space, therefore gaining more control over online presence<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1134">Starting with Edublogs from Scratch</a>I have discussed the benefits of blogging with Global2, as well as some of the intricacies, however, I have not unpacked how to get started.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=794">Introduction to Blogging with Global2</a>Some of the possibilities for blogging with Global2/Edublogs, as well as a list of resources to with getting going.How To Engage?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=598">To Comment or Not To Comment? Is that the Question</a>There are many out there who say blogging is dead and that this is best epitomised in lack of dialogue and conversation. This post provides a different perspective by reframing the question.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1959">What Makes a Comment?</a>A question that does not get asked often enough is what it actually means to comment and what might it mean to bring the comment back?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1763">Reading Texts is Easy, especially When You Listen to Them</a>Although not directly on blogging, it captures some different ways to listen to blogs, rather than read them.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1052">Ten Step Guide to Being Connected</a>An attempt at a guide to getting connected. Having a blog as a place for people to hear your story is an essential part of it.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=834">A Guide to Following Blogs</a>A post that explains some different ways to follow a blog, including subscribing, via an RSS Reader or an automated recipe using a platform like IFTTT.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=76">Are You Really Connected If You Are Not Giving Back</a>One of the challenges with a participatory environment is that without contributions there is no network. So it begs the question, are you really connected if you are not giving back?Reflection<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=68">Read, Write, Respond</a>A reflection on the decisions associated with beginning a blog.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2337">A Blog for All Seasons</a>Different blogging platforms enable different possibilities. Here is an account of some examples that I have created over time.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=444">Uncanny Reflections on a Year Blogging</a>Memories forgotten can often haunt us when later uncovered. This post is about three posts that had this effect.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1322">Reflecting on the Voices in the Village</a>Rather than look back at the number of hits to measure the impact, here is a collection of comments from readers collected across the year. Creating Content<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1122">Creating Images for Blogs</a>A list of programs with their positives and negatives for making visual quotes to add to blogs and other social media platforms.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1069">Who’s Telling Your Story</a> An introduction to Storify, a platform that allows you to curate tge content a number of social media platforms and then embed it within a blog.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1255">Powering Up Your Blog by Adding Content</a>Incorporate different content, such as video, GIFs and audio, in order to improve engagement and communicate using a different voice.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1203">A Guide to Visualisations</a>There are so many different forms of visuals that you can add to a blog, from a mind map to a sketchnote, each adding to the mental image of the reader.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1266">Making My Own Maps with Google Apps</a>Another point of contact to embed in a blog.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=971">An Introduction to GIFs</a>A guide to creating and sharing GIFs. Reviews<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2348">Claim Your Domain</a>A review of Audrey Watters book on why it is important to claim our presence online and some steps to going about it.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1885">School of Thought</a>A review of Dan Haesler 's book. Although not solely about blogging, he touches on it throughout.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=850">Master Teacher to Master Learner</a>A review of Will Richardson's book unpacking connected learning. Blogging is an important part of this. <a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=12">Things Are Not Always As They Seem</a>A collection of short reviews, including a comment on Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think and David Weinberger’s To Big to Know<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1153">(Re)Claiming My Space on the Web</a>A reflection on my experience of blogging with Reclaim Hosting so far.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=416">Looking for a Local Perspective on Blogging</a>In response to AITSL’s dismal attempt to provide a list of bloggers for educators to read, this is my attempt to capture a local perspective. Other Resources<a href="https://www.diigo.com/user/aarondavis/blogging">Diigo Library</a> Blogs to <a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1u8rMEt-jocpL3qZTqFa25AF9Ak67XfOApNFOS7KBC18/edit?usp=sharing">Follow</a> &amp; <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7zjf-LFJlqWS3pqanhlOVk2NEE/view?usp=sharing">OPML for Feedly</a>

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