Steve Brophy has been digging into the art of deliberate habits lately, whether it be having a clear morning routine, 750 word and setting up his workspace to nullify distraction. During the recent episode of Design and Play he posed the question:

What are the daily habits that you do as a learner?

This got me thinking. I have spoken about the process involved in learning and the tools I depend upon, but never thought about the daily activities which help me as a learner.

Combing the Curation

A few years ago, Doug Belshaw wrote a post, ‘Curate or be Curated‘. In it he reflected on the rise of algorithms in curtailing and constraining the content that we consume. Although I do not subscribe to several newspaper subscriptions, I use Feedly which captures posts from over two hundred blogs (see my list here). I will be honest, I used to read everything, now I skim first then check out those pieces that catch my interest – I am human. If the posts are too long I send them to Pocket. I then either save them to Diigo or capture specific aspects in a Wikity card. In addition to this, I have a number of newsletters and summaries that are sent to me via email (this is something I have reflected on elsewhere).

Lurking and Listening

Another habit that I do every day is be actively open to interesting ideas. Curiosity breeds curiosity. In part I pick up some of this perspective from the blogs I read, but I think that it also comes from engaging in the world around. David Culberhouse describes this as spending time at the idea well. This might involve chatting with people at lunch or asking clarifying questions of others. I think that this is why I love professional development sessions and conferences so much. It isn’t always the intended learning opportunities, but the often ‘hidden’ incidental learning at the periphery.

Thoughtfully Thinking

Michael Harris talks about the theory of loose parts, which focuses on the importance of changing environment to foster independent thinking.

Nature is an infinite source of loose parts, whereas the office or the living room, being made by people, is limited.

Where possible I try and to make sure that I get some sort of thinking time each day. A few moments where I stop doing what I am doing and do something different. This might involve going for a walk or listening to music. Warren Berger describes this as ‘Time Out’ in his book A More Beautiful Question. This is something that Pearman and Brophy also touch upon in the podcast. What is important is disrupting the flow of things.

So they are some of habits that I keep. I am not sure that I am as deliberate as Brophy, however they work for me. What it does leave me thinking is how this compares with the learning environment in school? So what about you? What are your habits? As always, comments welcome.

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Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, recently closed the National Coaching Conference for Educators with a suggestion to move away from false appeal associated with social media. Instead, he encouraged educators to spend their time focusing on ‘deep work’. To support this, Scott spoke about the work of Cal Newport. Ignoring the segmented nature of schools (see Richard Wells) or what we focus on (see Audrey Watters), the debate around reclaiming our attention is not new. However, Newport’s call to close accounts has been doing the rounds. After watching his TED Talk though, three questions puzzled me: what is social media, what is work and how do I differentiate the changes in my mind?

What is ‘social media’ anyway?

The message is clear, get off social media, your career depends upon it. Newport explains that interesting opportunities are not dependent on being online and in fact social media is harmful (see for example Doug Belshaw’s post on Facebook). Although I did not go and close all my accounts, Newport’s video did lead me to reflect on the place of social media within my life. However, as I watched the TEDTalk I thought that maybe I was misunderstanding his message. With his reference to RSS, it seemed that he was suggesting getting rid of all dynamic content? In many respects, social media is just as ambiguous as digital literacies. Is it how we use it? Is there something baked into applications or inherent in various web formats? Does it depend on if the application calls itself a media company? Are applications like ClassDojo or Seesaw examples of social media too? This was all confounded by the fact that Newport, someone who proudly flaunts the fact that he has never had a social media account, himself has a blog.

Finish at Five

Late in the presentation, Newport shares how he rarely works beyond five. This is such an interesting point, which leaves me wondering when ‘work’ starts and stops? People like David Culberhouse and Steve Brophy get up early in the morning to read, to write, to reflect. If they do not check email, does that mean that it is not ‘work’? What is work? My other concern is with the work that we ask people to do. As an educator, I feel uncomfortable telling an specialist teacher with 400+ that the reason they are working long hours to get reports written is because they are not committing themselves to ‘deep work’. Deep work is often associated with flow, I have never entered such a state while compiling reports. Maybe some work is always shallow?

Minds Changed

One of the concerns that Newport raises is that the instant gratification provided by social media rewires the brain.

The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used — persistently throughout your waking hours — the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.

Our inability to commit ourselves to concentrating for lengthy periods of time means that we are unable to complete deep work. Maybe it is just me, but being a parent has taught me to seize the minute. If my daughter is asleep on my knee or I am waiting for pick up I often use my phone to dip into some reading. I get moments. I make the most of them to dig down into awesome ideas that I may not get the chance to do at ‘work’. In regards to putting on headphones or going into an office speaks of privilege? Then again, maybe it is just my broken brain.

In the end, I may have been hooked in by the click-bait nature of the New York Times and the TED Talk? Not sure. Maybe at some point I need to stop doing such shallow readings and dive into a deep reading of Newport’s book?

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Digciz is a conversation centered around ideas of Digital Citizenship. The focus this week is on hospitality, in particular, the openness, risk and vulnerability relating to existing in online spaces. My response involves a series of short reflections:

Context First

Peter Skillen recently reflected on a situation where he corrected someone. He was sorry for the way it went about. This had me thinking about my own conversations with Skillen, especially around computational thinking and Twitter. One of the things that I have taken away is the place of technology to change the way we think and act. The problem is there are contexts where the conversations move away from the ideals. Although I agree with Skillen (and Papert) about the power of Logo and Turtle to explore mental models, especially after reading Mindstorm, sometimes when you are asked for simple material you put aside your bias to share a range of visual resources. In this situation, technology is only one part of the equation. First and foremost is pedagogy and the place of coding as a lunchtime club. The focus then becomes about entertainment, engagement and ease of instruction. The ripe conditions for initiatives such as CS First and

Crossing Imaginary Lines

There are some learning experiences which seem to stay with us long after the lights have been turned off. In regards to online learning, my participation with Rhizo14 was one such experience. I neither knew exactly why I was there or what the protocols were. Stepping out into the unknown, my focus was to hold my judgements for as long as possible. Sadly, I think that I went a little too hard. Caught up in the flow, I critiqued everything a bit too much. (If you read any of Jenny Mackness’ research, apparently there were some heated conversations on Facebook which I was not a part of.) This questioning even included Dave Cormier and his assessment methods. Although this was a risk he fostered, it felt as if you knew you had crossed the line even if there were none. Maybe this is the reality online, the challenge I guess is knowing when to take your shoes off at the door and apologising if you happen to forget.

Tribes and Tribulations

In the book Teaching Crowds, Jon Dron and Terry Anderson unpack the different ways that people gather within online spaces. One way that really stands out to me in regards to open online spaces is the idea of tribes. At the intersection between groups and sets, tribes involve bringing people together around complex ideas and interests, tied together by certain rules and expectations. When I think about my participation online, I would say that I am a part of many tribes, some of which I collected here. The challenge with tribes is that they do not always talk to each other, sometimes even working against each other. Indirectly though they influence each other in a number of ways. For example, when communication is shared openly, it carries the risk of being appropriated by other communities. This bleeding and breaking can be construed as negative, but it also has a positive outcome of extending our thinking.

Mapping Our Digital Bits

David White and Alison Le Cornu offer a more fluid typology with their notion of digital visitor and resident. White and Le Cornu suggest that our use of different spaces on the web fluctuates between two states: that of the visitor whose use is often short term and task orientated compared with the resident who sees their participation as being an important part of their lived experience. Amy Collier goes beyond the notion of residency to describe the web and instead suggests the ideas of kindred spirits and belonging. I wonder if a different way of seeing the divide is from the perspective of APIs and the little bits of ourselves that exist around the web. In discussing the notion of personal APIs, Kin Lane provides the following breakdown:

  • Profiles – The account and profile data for users.

  • People – The individual friends and acquaintances.

  • Companies – Organizational contacts, and relationships.

  • Photos – Images, photos, and other media objects.

  • Videos – Local, and online video objects.

  • Music – Purchased, and subscription music.

  • Documents – PDFs, Word, and other documents.

  • Status – Quick, short, updates on current situation or thoughts.

  • Posts – Wall, blog, forum, and other types of posts.

  • Messages – Email, SMS, chat, and other messages.

  • Payments – Credit card, banking, and other payments.

  • Events – Calendar, and other types of events.

  • Location – Places we are, have been, and want to go.

  • Links – Bookmarks and links of where we’ve been and going.

As with White and Le Cornu’s mapping, Lane’s emphasis is on the journey, rather than a destination. Mapping our APIs provides the potential to dig down into our particular uses. The problem is, I am still trying to work out exactly how to go about this.

So they are some of my thoughts on the risks and vulnerabilities associated with belonging in open online spaces. What about you? What do you have to add to the conversation? As always, comments welcome.

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I was recently involved in conversation online in regards to re-imagining the conference experience. There were so many points made, such as:

  • Provide multiple opportunities to practice and experience new skills.
  • Focus on practical techniques and take-aways.
  • Create conditions for collaboration and relationship building.
  • Accelerate ongoing learning and professional dialogue
  • Allow teachers to engage in different elements of choice, action and design.
  • Centre around a transformative statement.

All in all, the focus was on the conference and the time afterwards, yet it left me wondering about the time before and what can be done to start the conversation beforehand?

When I think about sessions I have run, I usually start by doing a temperature check of those in the room. This provides attendees with an opportunity to think about their own context and provides me with an insight.

Sheets Screenshot
“Sheets Screenshot” by mrkrndvs is licensed under CC BY-SA

Even though I consider myself flexible, personalising my presentation dependent on the needs in the room, too often the overall structure is set.

I wonder then if there is a possibility to engage people before the day? Peter DeWitt talks about flipping staff meetings, is there a potential to flip the conference experience? Some conferences encourage presenters to create short videos to fit the constraints of various social media platforms. For example, I made this short video for Digicon last year:

Another alternative to providing people with a taste of what to expect is via a podcast. This is something that both Domains17 and Digicon have done lately. Recording interviews with various keynotes and guest presenters. However, these creations usually focus on promotion. (Although I must say, the interviews for Domains17 were quite informative.)

Based on the fact that conferences usually have a cut-off date to accepting people, what if attendees were sent some sort of correspondence containing some sort of provocation, such as a video or a short podcast, as well as a questionnaire to start the dialogue?

Fine we plan with a problem in mind, but to truly develop any understanding of the ‘archetypal customer’ there needs to be some sort of data and feedback. I recognise that this would be a change from the way things are done now, that not everyone will respond, but wouldn’t a few responses be better than we have now, which is no response at all?

Building on Ewan McIntosh’s idea of a pre-mortem,

A period of safe reflection to consider all the potential causes for the future death of our idea and give us a chance to take some preventative measures to alter our ideas, and make them more likely to thrive in the real world.

Asking questions before the conference allows a kind of pretotyping, where the focus can be on the right ‘it’.

In regards to those conferences where attendees vote with their feet, then this dialogue could simply be around a transformational statement that drives the conference. A summary of this information could then be provided to the presenters.

In Thomas Guskey’s evaluation of professional development, he provides five critical levels:

  1. Participants’ Reaction
  2. Participants’ Learning
  3. Organisation Support and Change
  4. Participants Use of New Knowledge and Skills
  5. Student Learning Outcomes

Starting the conversation earlier provides an opportunity for participants to identify their own desired outcomes beforehand. In many respects, this process can go beyond conferences and has the potential to develop professional development at all levels. See for example the way in which the #educoachOC chat team provide a post before each chat as a means of starting the conversation before the chat.

So what about you? What strategies have you used to engage learners early to help guide the process? Where do you see this process being a problem? As always, comments welcome.

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I was lucky enough to recently attend a session run by Claire Sutherland for the Alannah and Madeline Foundation around the topic of ‘safe schools‘. I have worked with AMF before in regards to eSmart. Today’s focus was on the trends, policies and resources to support schools around cybersafety. Personally, I have mixed feelings about cybersafety as a topic, as there are some who approach it from the perspective of fear. So here are some of my notes and observations on the presentation …


When it comes to children and technology, there are a number of issues to consider:

In regards to schools and liability, It is important to understand that if you are aware of an issue, you are responsible. In Victoria, this is covered in the PROTECT Guidelines.


For the Alannah and Madeline Foundation cybersafety can be broken down into three aspects:

  • Contact: Do you appreciate who you are sharing with? There is a difference between a ‘friend’ and a ‘follower’, while many of our connections come via acquaintances. We may think that we are not providing much information online, however once we work across multiple platforms, people (and computers) can easily join the dots and develop quite an extensive profile.
  • Conduct: How do you act when you are online? Do you THINK before you post, that is do you consider if what you are sharing is ‘True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind’. Research says that 1:5 students have been involved in cyberbullying online. The challenge is to look out for one another, respecting the rights of others. One suggestion is to ask before tagging, especially in regards to changes in regards to auto-tagging within Google Photos.
  • Content: What information do you share online? Is it personal or private? How authentic is it? How positive is your digital footprint? What is your response to fake news and surreptitious advertising? To plagarism, is it constructive? This can all be challenging as we move into a world that no longer forgets. Something captured by Black Mirror where everyone’s experiences are captured all of the time or we are continually judged by everything that happens in our life.

Associated with the 3C’s, there are four different types of spaces: messaging app, social media, games and dating apps. What entices students is whether they are free, accessible, social and allow experimentation. Constantly changing, these spaces are a part of the yo-yo craze where students move when adults move in.


Some of the challenges associated with cybersafety include: raising awareness with parents, teachers and students, monitor the use of technology, building online resilience and empathy, celebrating the positive, as well as empowering bystanders to stand up by providing anonymous reporting systems. To be proactive, schools need to be as explicit as possible when it comes to policy. This means it does not matter which teacher is consulted. Associated with all this, it is important to document issues when they arise.


Here are a collection of resources – both from the session and some links of my own – to go further in regards to cyber safety and digital citizenship:

So what about you? What are you doing to make school safer? Are there any tips, tricks or resources that you would share? As always, comments welcome.

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YouTube is a video sharing platform. Started by a few employees of PayPal in 2005, Google purchased the site in 2006 for US$1.65 billion. For a complete history, watch this video documenting the impact that platform has had:

The sort of content that can be found on YouTube includes TV shows clips, music videos, documentaries, audio recordings, trailers and vlogging. With a blur between amateur and professional content, the quality can differ drastically from one video to the next.

Searching YouTube

The most common use of YouTube is watching content. This is recognised by the site, for when users first enter, they are greeted with an array of recommendations. If there is no history to base suggestions upon or account signed in, then the summary provided is of generic trending content and live recommendations.

To find specific content, there is a search bar at the top of the screen. The usual search terms associated with Chrome apply. After an initial search, there is a filter button which allows users to drill down further. This includes such parameters as date, type, duration, features and means of sorting. Filtering provides a way of search content via types, such as channels and playlists.

Beyond this, users can search via Google and click on the video tab. This will provide content across the web. To restrict this to YouTube, preface the search with “”. For further insight into discovering content, YouTube has a channel collecting together various search stories.

Playing Video

Once users have found content, there are a number of ways to playback video. The obvious answer is within the browser. One catch with the browser is the distraction littered around the video, whether it be comments, information and related content. An answer to this is to play in fullscreen. This can be done by clicking the button at the bottom right of the viewing screen. Another way of doing this is to replace the ‘watch?v=’ in the URL with ‘embed’. Just as replacing ‘/edit’ with ‘/present’ in Slides will open the presentation in full screen mode, so to will adding embed to the URL in YouTube. This approach can be useful when sharing links with students.

There are a number of other third party applications which do similar things too. They often remove distractions on the screen while viewing, including Watchkins, View Pure and Quitetube. Richard Byrne has unpacked these in more detail. If viewing through the Chrome Browser, there are also a number of extensions to support viewing. These include Distraction Free YouTube and Turn Off the Lights.

In addition to avoiding the distractions, there are a number of other options to support viewing, including subtitles, video quality and playback speed. These options can be useful for supporting students who may struggle to understand the speaker or when reviewing a lengthy instructional video.

Sharing Video

After watching, there are a number of ways to share videos with others. Underneath the title and publisher is a share button which, when clicked, reveals a series of options. The first thing to note is that there is the means to share from a particular point. Clicking the checkbox next to the specific time will add a small bit of code to the end of the URL.

Once the choice about the URL is decided, there are three options provided around sharing, the first is via social media. There are a number of platforms provided to share with. Once clicked, they will open a separate pop-up box. An account with each is needed to post.

The second option is to embed content into a blog post or a website. To do this, click the embed button and choose from the settings provided as to the size of the video, whether suggested videos are shown and the title and actions are included. There is also a privacy-enhanced option which prevents information being captured associated with viewers unless the video is played. Once these decisions have been made, copy the code for the iframe and insert the HTML where applicable. There are a few other changes that can be made directly to the code, such as automatically playing or turning on captions. Playing an iframe will work on most sites, however applications like GSuite and Facebook often skip this process by providing their own process of searching for content and then embedding it.


YouTube provides a number of ways to personalise your experience. The first step involves signing into YouTube with a Google account. This allows some basic ways to engage with content, including the ability to like and dislike each video, as well as subscribe to channels.

“YouTube Viewing and Sharing Permissions” by sylviaduckworth is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

These options help YouTube build a basic profile to cater content for different tastes and interests. For users to take this a step further, there is a need to not only sign in, but create a channel in the Creator Studio.

Creating a Channel

Channels are at the core of the way YouTube works. Some assume that ‘Channel’ insinuates publishing content, but it means much more than that. Importantly, it provides a means of curating content and adjusting the way YouTube works for you. There are a number of ways to start this process, but the most obvious way is to click on user button in the top right and choose Creator Studio.

Choosing to create an account asks users to agree to separate terms and conditions. There is also the option to create a branded channel, such as a school or a project. Whatever the choice, you will be required to enter in a mobile phone number to verify the account.

Once the channel has been created, users are able to personalise their experience associated with with the Creator Studio. The first changes relate to the dashboard. This is the noticeboard of the channel and can be changed to show what is relevant and interesting. This is done by adding, deleting and modifying the various widgets.

The next point of personalisation is the channel itself. To find this, users click on the View Channel button below the channel name. Here a description and channel art can be added. Descriptions can be one thousand characters in length, while the recommended size for the channel art is 2560 x 1440.

A quick and easy application for creating this art is Google Drawings. One of the things to be mindful of is the dimensions of the different screens. Text, therefore, needs to be added to the centre. A template can be found here.

Another point of personalisation are the Channel Settings. This is where the choice whether the likes, subscriptions and playlists are either kept private or made visible on the channel page. Clicking on the cog next to the subscribe button will open up this menu.

The option is also given to customise the layout of the channel. Clicking yes will provide the ability to add different sections, provide a list of featured channels and add a discussion tab for general comments. The sections include a range of options associated with videos, channels and playlists.

When users visit a channel, there are two views: returning subscribers and new visitors. The difference between the two views is that the first thing that new visitors are shown is a trailer. This is designed to provide a visual introduction to the channel. The trailer can either be specific video or the latest upload.


Beyond the channel page, playlists provide users a number of ways to personalise their experience. There are a number of ways they are created. The most obvious is pressing the ‘Add To’ button next to Share beneath a video. This opens a box allowing users to either add the video to a preexisting playlist or to start a new one.

Another option is to automate the creation of playlists. To do this, users click on a playlist they own and open the Playlist Settings. Beyond the basic settings, which allows users to adjust privacy and ordering, there is a tab labeled Auto Add. Here there are options for setting multiple rules focusing on description, title and tags, so that new videos fitting any of these rules will automatically be added. An example of such automation is YouTube’s EDU channel. This is generated from various channels that are generated around different year levels and subject areas.

In addition to automated playlists, there is the option to build on and adjust public playlists. This can be useful when wanting to add to somebody else’s playlist or refine a list to keep it more focused. To copy, click on the title of the playlist so that it opens as the whole page. Then click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner. There, you are given the option to ‘Add All To’. Once clicked, you are able to add the videos to a new playlist. This could be used to create a refined list for students.

Playlists are offer a useful to collect together a number of videos. So it needs to be noted that just as a single video can be embedded in a website, so to can a playlist. To do this, click on the playlist title so that it opens in a list view. Then click on the share button and copy the embed code.

Customising YouTube

YouTube Editor

The most obvious space to customise YouTube is in the creation of content. This is done within the Creator Studio. The easiest way to add content is via the upload button at the top of the screen. Otherwise, videos can be created from photos with the creation of slideshows or as a project which involves combining different content together.

Next, add information about the content, including title, description, tags, privacy settings and sharing. The advanced settings tab allows users to adjust a number of settings, such as showing comments, ability to embed and the category associated with the video. The defaults for these settings can also be adjusted in the channel settings.

Once uploaded, there is the option to edit content within YouTube. This includes the ability to adjust colour, stabilise jerky camera motion, change speed, trim length, apply filters and blur out particular content.

In addition to video, users can add a soundtrack with content provided from an extensive audio library. There is a slider to balance between original audio and the added music. The video editor allows for more nuances in regards to audio and sound effects.

Another option possible with YouTube is the ability to add clickable content to videos. This includes providing links to other content and users, as well as engaging the viewer with polls. This can occur during videos and at the end.

The last option in regards to editing video is the ability to add subtitles and closed captions. This then then leads into the various options associated with the videos

There is a Creator Studio app for mobile devices, which allows users to check out statistics, respond to comments and get customised notifications, while the core mobile YouTube app allows you to upload video, apply simply filters and add a soundtrack. Neither provides the options made available through the web.

YouTube Live Stream

Live streaming was added to YouTube in 2011 as a way of recording events in real time. This was designed in part for such things as gaming and concerts. Although the video can be trimmed later on, there is no post-production added, the video goes out as is. Recently, Hangouts on Air was also added as another means of sharing. Although Hangouts can still be used for conducting video conferences and chat, the recording aspect is now done through YouTube. At the recent I/O announcements, 360 streaming was also announced.

To create a stream, users go to the Creator Studio > Live Streaming > Event. If this is the first time then YouTube requires the completion of a verification process. A once off, this is done by telephone, either by sending a text or via an automated voice call. When complete, an event can then be scheduled.

Once a new event is created, there is a range of basic information and settings that can be adjusted, including the title, title, tags, privacy and description. In regards to types of video, users can choose between Hangouts on Air, which utilises the webcam, or custom encoding options, which allows for high quality experience by bringing together a number of audio visual sources.

There are a range of advanced settings that can also be adjusted, many which flow through from the channel upload defaults. These options include category, comments and licensing.

Stream Now provides more options around production, third-party encoders, analytics and engagement. This includes the ability to add cards to the video with further content, live chat to interact with viewers, as well as adjusting the workspace associated with streaming by moving around the various elements on the streaming page.

Although it is possible to stream via mobile devices, the options differ depending on what platform users are working from.

Collaborating in YouTube

In addition to being able to create content, YouTube offers a range of ways to collaborate, whether it be in the creation of playlists, sharing private videos and adding videos to a communal channel.


In the settings there is the option to add collaborators to a playlist. This either involves directly adding the accounts for the various users or sharing a link which people can access. Larry Goble has shared how collaborative playlists can be used to provide feedback to student videos shared via YouTube.

Sharing Videos

Another means of collaborating is by uploading a private video and sharing it with various users. There are two options provided, one to share directly with users or to share with anyone within an organisation if the account is in a domain. This can be a useful function when sharing videos just within a school.

Collaborative Channels

Although individuals can have a channel content is posted, another way of collaborating is through a shared channel. This is Brand Account. It is attached to a user’s primary channel. With multiple owners, there is no need for a separate username or password. The most obvious use of this is a school account.

The first step is creating this is going to YouTube Settings > Overview > Create a New ChannelAs with any channel, there is a requirement to verify the account. This channel can then be set up like any other channel, with the difference being multiple users can be added. To add users, go to YouTube Settings > Overview > Add and Remove Managers.

Here users are taken to the page where they are able to adjust the information attached to the account. This includes the adding roles and managing permissions.

There are three roles associated with users attached. Owners control all aspects of the channel, while managers can add videos. Communication managers have no privileges associated with YouTube and is a role associated with other platforms, such as Google Photos and Google+.

Transferring Ownership

The other way of setting up a Brand Account is by transferring the content an existing Google Account. To do this, go to YouTube Settings > Advanced > Move channel to Brand Account. Users are then required to select the Brand Account they would like the content transferred to. This can be useful if starting from scratch or wanting to transfer ownership.

Admin Settings

Another way in which YouTube can be customised is through the Admin Console. This allows schools and businesses to adjust content based on those users who are signed in.

There are three forms of restrictions that can be applied in regards to what content can be searched, as well as what might show up in the recommendations.  This includes restricted where content is blocked, moderate where users can only watch approved videos and unrestricted where users can browse all of YouTube when signed-in. Beyond this, there is a setting to moderate and approve content for users.

These restrictions can be applied to the whole organisation or just for particular groups. In addition to this, there is the option to turn Hangouts on Air / YouTube Live on or off.

There are also settings in User Contents where search settings can be adjusted, whether it be restricting searches to Safe Search or applying certificates to particular sites.

Although all these various settings are within GSuite, YouTube is not a part of the core services and has its own terms of service. Therefore, further permissions from parents about posting content is needed.

Other Links

A more automated way of sharing content is using a service such as IFTTT and Buffer, which allows users to create recipes which are run via all sorts of triggers, such as videos liked or new content posted.

Creator Academy – Learn tips from savvy creators as they showcase their secrets and level up your YouTube skills with Creator Academy lessons

Creating Video Content – A post unpacking some alternatives to creating video outside of YouTube.

Nat and Friends explains what happens to a video after you upload it and when you watch something.

197 Educational YouTube Channels You Should Know About – A collection of channels organised into subject areas. – A site that provides AI-powered video summaries.

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I recently attended the 5th National Coaching Conference for Educators held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. I was not exactly sure what I would get from the conference. Having completed a course with Growth Coach International around leadership coaching a few months ago, I was interested in following up with my development as a coach. I was also interested in exploring strategies to support my work with schools and teachers with implementing technology. What I got was so much more.

There were so many thought provoking presenters, including Simon Breakspear, Rachel Lofthouse, Christian van Nieuwerburgh and Deb Netolicky. However, to riff on Marshall McLuhan, the medium was the message, with coaching being that medium. In regards to coaching and the conference, there were many ideas bandied. For me though three themes stood out: purpose, context and curiosity.


So many conversations started with why, such as:

  • Investing in the capacity of people.
  • Improving instructional leadership to lift up schools.
  • Doing less, but doing it better.
  • Creating the conditions for effective learning
  • Focusing on impact, not just activity.
  • Unleashing the human potential.
  • Supporting the implied ‘other’ client, the learner in the classroom.
  • Developing teachers in their own context.

The consensus though was that coming up with a single purpose is as much about the answer, as it is about working through a process co-construction to understand what coaching means within a particular context.


Schools are not simple places, nor are they all the same, each incorporates a range of complexities and influences. This includes the influence of space, such as the doings, sayings and relatings. The nuances associated with context was demonstrated through the case studies presented by Deb Netolicky and Alex Guedes. The challenge outlined when it comes to coaching is clarifying what is wanted and what is currently working.

A part of working out what works is identifying various strategies to support implementation and facilitation. How we talk to each other was pointed out as being central to any organisation, with conversation central to any coaching approach. Other possibilities shared included reflecting on video of teaching, recording audio and creating transcripts of coaching sessions. The reality though is that coaching is just one way of working together.

The message made time and again was that the context that must not be forgotten is that of the coachee. It is important to respect every conversation as it comes from a different perspective. Whatever kind of coaching is occurring, it is important that it is built on a respectful relationship.


No matter the intent or the context, schools need to provide coachee’s with a permission to be curious. Coaching, mentoring and guidance often occurs in the midst of play, sometimes literally in the playground. Some suggestions included supporting vulnerability, inquiry-based conversations, providing a safe place, encouraging dialogue, being non-judgemental and fostering the conditions of permanent beta. One of the challenges that impede much of this are the procedures which schools cannot get out of. Breaking with the culture of judgementoring and cruel optimism, Rachel Lofthouse talked about making practice privileged.

Having long attended various edtech conferences, one of the things that stood out was that I was in unfamiliar surrounds. Although I often participate in the monthly EduCoachOC chat and have acted as a mentor before, I have limited formal experience in regards to coaching.  Yet by its nature as being about coaching, the conference itself created an open environment in which to learn.


Some other links worth checking out:

  • A reflection from Scott Millman
  • A Storify of the conference
  • A collection of presentations from the conference
  • A post on cruel optimism from Jon Andrews
  • A monthly chat associated with coaching
  • A look into identity and coaching by Deb Netolicky

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I remember when I was studying my Bachelor of Arts I would often start a deep dive into new and unfamiliar subjects with one of Oxford’s A Very Short Introduction books. Short texts, they are often designed to provide a start to much more complicated topics. They offer a foundation for further investigation. This is what is provided by Sam Sellar, Greg Thompson and David Rutkowski in their book, The Global Education Race, Taking the Measure of PISA and International Testing.
Designed to generate a wider conversation around OECD’s , The Global Education Race is about a better tomorrow. Neither an anti-testing manifesto, nor a champion of standardised testing as a solution to all of education’s perceived failure, the authors argue for a critical engagement with testing that aims to:

 (1) help improve the quality of data generated about education systems and
(2) support the use of data in valid ways that may improve educational outcomes for all students.

The book covers the media myth making machine, how rankings work, the way the test is administered, the problems with causation and correlation, the idea of validating claims and the politics of science and data.

The Global Education Race is a book every educator should read. In a time when education funding and support is so hotly debated, the book helps build the capacity for the wider public to engage in one of the most popular data sets used when developing policy. For unless we appreciate the context and intent associated with PISA, we risk being sucked in by the hype and headlines … Or better yet, an invalidated edu-holiday.

David Rutkowski has also been interviewed on the TER Podcast, providing a useful starting point.

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With the recent death of Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, I was left remembering of my youth. Whether it be buying the cassingle of My Wave or purchasing the music book for Down on the Upside at a Brashs closing down sale. However, the memory that stands out the most was playing Spoonman as a part of my Year 12 music examination.

One of the suggestions in developing the short set was to include a breadth of genres, as well as incorporate different time signatures. Once you dig down, there is little that is uniform about Soundgarden’s music. Whether it be open tunings or odd time signatures, there is always something going on. So I chose Spoonman after initially toying with Go by Pearl Jam.

It was a real chore, although we had a front man who successfully mixed his time screaming metal tracks and singing musical theatre, there was a complexity that I just struggled to get my head (and fingers) around. The problem in hindsight was that I was trying to replicate the lead guitarist Kim Thayil. In particular, I had tried to play note-for-note his wild solos. My guitar teacher tried all he could to get me to simply play around with the scale, but it never felt right. I felt I had to play it how it was on the CD. This no doubt says as much about me as anything. Times have changed.

Nowadays, I rarely play other people’s songs and If I do it is to add my own bent. Over time I have become fascinated in the idea of the cover. I think that in part this is a consequence of my interest in the deconstructionists and reader response theory. Some examples include Johnny Cash’s American series and Triple J’s Like a Version series.

Another example that I came upon recently was Ryan Adams cover of Taylor Swift’s whole album. I had never actually heard the original, other than the singles. What was interesting was that when I finally heard the original in full recently, I was actually disappointed. Not because I thought that Adams was a better artist, but I because I felt that I would have made different choices with the songs. Plucked out different sounds. Emphasised different elements. Here I was reminded of Brian Eno who when interviewed about U2’s the Joshua Tree explained how with a few tweeks that it could have been a Depeche Mode album. Just as Adams was inspired by a mixture of Bruce Springsteen and The Smiths, I was fed by my own experiences and imagined my own song.

It can be easy to get caught up in the creation of the perfect representation. Copying originals. Taking away all context and purpose. It feels like this is what happens in education. Teachers come in with the hope of making everything sound like the latest hit, with their long list of effect sizes. The problem is that this denies the context, the choices and the nuance. It feels like trying to copy Kim Thyall when he himself plays it differently each and every time anyway. We are then faced with the question, how might we let go and become attuned to the moment at hand? Maybe I am wrong, but feelings and emotion come through interpretation, not mindless reproduction?

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