I updated “Neurodiversity in the SpEd Classroom” with selections from “This Video Demonstrates What It’s Like to Be an Autistic Adult Who Isn’t Being Heard | The Autism Site Blog” and a video embed of “Rethinking Autism: Autism Support Group – YouTube”.

More children than ever before are being diagnosed with autism. But what about the adults? Some of these individuals have never been diagnosed but have always known they were a bit “different.” Others were diagnosed but did not have the same degree of societal acceptance or the same number of resources available to help them cope with a neurotypical world.

Now this group of adults is the demographic that best understands what people with autism need, whether or not they know how to articulate it in a way the rest of society is able to grasp. But what these men and women have to say about autism is important. These people need to be heard!

The video below encourages adults with autism to get involved in the discussion and asks others to be cognizant of the needs of people with autism and invite them into the conversation. The neurotypical community needs adults with autism to lend their voices and experiences to help make the future brighter for the next generation!

Check out this powerful video!

Source: This Video Demonstrates What It’s Like to Be an Autistic Adult Who Isn’t Being Heard | The Autism Site Blog

I also embedded a couple tweets. See this thread for reactions to the video from #ActuallyAutistic folks:

This captures my sentiment:

I updated the “Blogging, Domain of One’s Own, and WordPress“ section of ”Communication is oxygen. Build a districtwide collaboration infrastructure and an open by default culture.” with selections from “The Web We Need to Give Students – BRIGHT Magazine”.

Giving students their own digital domain is a radical act. It gives them the ability to work on the Web and with the Web, to have their scholarship be meaningful and accessible by others. It allows them to demonstrate their learning to others beyond the classroom walls. To own one’s domain gives students an understanding of how Web technologies work. It puts them in a much better position to control their work, their data, their identity online.

As originally conceived at the Virginia liberal arts university, the Domains initiative provides students and faculty with their own Web domain. It isn’t simply a blog or a bit of Web space and storage at the school’s dot-edu, but their own domain – the dot com (or dot net, etc) of the student’s choosing. The school facilitates the purchase of the domain; it helps with installation of WordPress and other open source software; it offers both technical and instructional support; and it hosts the site until graduation when domain ownership is transferred to the student.

And then – contrary to what happens at most schools, where a student’s work exists only inside a learning management system and cannot be accessed once the semester is over – the domain and all its content are the student’s to take with them. It is, after all, their education, their intellectual development, their work.

But there remains this notion, deeply embedded in Domain of One’s Own, that it is important to have one’s own space in order to develop one’s ideas and one’s craft. It’s important that learners have control over their work – their content and their data. In a 2009 article that served as a philosophical grounding of sorts for the initiative, Gardner Campbell, then a professor at Baylor University, called for a “personal cyberinfrastructure” where students:

not only would acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives but also would engage in work that provides richly teachable moments…. Fascinating and important innovations would emerge as students are able to shape their own cognition, learning, expression, and reflection in a digital age, in a digital medium. Students would frame, curate, share, and direct their own ‘engagement streams’ throughout the learning environment.

The importance of giving students responsibility for their own domain cannot be overstated. This can be a way to track growth and demonstrate new learning over the course of a student’s school career – something that they themselves can reflect upon, not simply grades and assignments that are locked away in a proprietary system controlled by the school.

Source: The Web We Need to Give Students – BRIGHT Magazine

For the past couple months, I’ve been using this site to keep a log of changes I make to my long-form site. I tag these posts “changelog” and include a link to them in the header menu.

WordPress, which this site runs on, supports querying a tag intersection. I’ve found this helpful when searching through my changelog. For example, to query this site for all changelog posts pertaining to education, use this link formulation.

https://rnbn.blog/tag/changelog+education/

If you follow education, there’s some interesting stuff in there.

Since these changelog posts link back to the posts they’re describing, pingbacks show up in the comments of the referenced posts. This results in reciprocal links between the posts on my long-form blog and the changelog posts on this site, handled automatically. That’s nice. Unfortunately, since the changelog posts do not have titles, all that shows up in the text of the pingback link is the name of this site. For now, I’m being lazy and living with it.

I updated “Communication is oxygen. Build a districtwide collaboration infrastructure and an open by default culture.” with a selection from “Claim Your Domain”.

Too often, education technologies are developed that position students as objects of education, a reflection no doubt of how traditional educational practices also view students. Education technologies do things to students, rather than foster student agency. If we are to challenge what “school” should look like, we must also challenge what “ed-tech” does as well. What sorts of technologies can and should we build to give students more control? What sorts of technologies can offer students the power to “own” their learning — their data, their content, their digital profiles, and their domain?

Source: Claim Your Domain

I updated “Books that influenced my views on education and learning ” with some new books.

I updated the “Team Communication” section of “Communication is oxygen. Build a district-wide collaboration infrastructure and an open by default culture.” with selections from “Slack for Teacher Collaboration – PolyMaths”.

In my school I’ve piloted the use of Slack within the Mathematics Department. Primarily we use it for sharing teaching resources. We have a channel for each of the year groups, so that teachers can join the channels for the classes they teach. Another really helpful use we’ve found is for discussion around marking tests. We are often doing these separately at home, and it’s good to be able to chat about the mark scheme and post photos of student answers that we are unsure how to mark.

One of the concerns other teachers have about using a tool like Slack for collaboration is that it’s just another place to check. That concern is legitimate: unless using two different tools offers significant advantages, it’s inconvenient to have to use them in parallel. However, in my experience, collaboration within a subject department is distinct enough from whole-school email that a division between the two isn’t disruptive, and as I’ve argued above, Slack is a significantly more powerful tool for effective collaboration.

While I think Slack works best in teams that work together day to day, it’s interesting to think about how it might work on a whole-school level, and whether it could completely replace email.1 There are big companies which use Slack, so it does scale to that level. At the high school level, it would need to be organised around subject departments, and since each subject would probably require multiple channels, there would probably have to be some oversight to ensure there was a consistent naming scheme for channels, among other things.

Alternatives to email are becoming widespread in the corporate and charity sector, and it’s about time that schools started experimenting with some of these tools as well. Teaching is a profession where effective collaboration is not always a given, but in my experience sharing ideas and resources with other teachers is one of the most fulfilling parts of the job.

Source: Slack for Teacher Collaboration – PolyMaths

I updated “Sex Ed: Toxic Masculinity, Emotional Expression, Online Privacy, Identity Management, Dress Codes, Bodily Autonomy, and Purity Culture” with selections from “Sexualization, Sex Discrimination, and Public School Dress Codes”.

Students, parents, and others have a number of concerns about public school dress codes and their impact on female students. One concern is that many dress codes are explicitly gender-specific, targeting girls but not boys, or are at least selectively enforced such that they impact female students disproportionately. Student discipline includes removal from class, receiving detention, being sent home, or forced to wear a “shame suit” indicating she has violated the school dress code. Female students are powerfully affected by these policies and many express a profound sense of injustice.” The consequences of being “dress coded” have a negative impact on student learning and participation. Beyond the immediate disruption resulting from removal, detention, and the like, studies suggest that a preoccupation with physical appearance based on sexualized norms disrupts mental capacity and cognitive function.

Consistent with the research on sexualization of girls, many are concerned about the larger symbolic messages that dress codes and their enforcement send to students and society. A common thread among school justifications for sex-specific dress codes is that provocative clothing will distract their male classmates or make male teachers feel uncomfortable. A number of commentators thus maintain dress codes communicate that girls’ bodies are inherently sexual, provocative, dangerous, and that harassment is inevitable. Dress codes and their enforcement can impose sexuality on girls even when they do not perceive themselves in sexual terms. Gender study scholars report that dress codes generally have negative ramifications for women, sending a message that exposing the female body is bad. Laura Bates of The Everyday Sexism Project characterizes the dress code phenomenon as “teach[ing] our children that girls’ bodies are dangerous, powerful and sexualized, and that boys are biologically programmed to objectify and harass them.” Thus, dress codes can constitute a type of “everyday pedagogy,” reproducing normative gender and sexuality preferences.

Source: Sexualization, Sex Discrimination, and Public School Dress Codes

I did another pass on this piece about neurodiversity in SpEd classrooms, tempering the tone, and making collaborative gestures. There are many folks wanting to do better with not enough of anything, particularly here in Texas.

Neurodiversity in the SpEd Classroom

Packing conflicting sensory needs into a room is a guarantee of feedback cycles and meltdowns. Zone thinkers need peaceful places where they can get in their heads and maintain high memory states. They also, sometimes, need more social campfires and watering holes where they connect ideas and find collaborators with complementary strengths.

Caves, campfires, and watering holes. I wouldn’t and couldn’t work at a place that didn’t provide these zones-both online and in meatspace. I couldn’t work at a place that didn’t have chill rooms for sensory and social management. I don’t even bother with conferences that don’t provide these.

Classroom UX: Bring Your Own Comfort, Bring Your Own Device, Design Your Own Context

How are kids—less practiced at coping, passing, and masking, during the most stressful and shame-sensitive periods of life—supposed to put in a full working week without even the basics expected by many office workers? Kids, like adult creatives, are human with human needs.

We leave so many minds out. We have forgotten much about children, learning, and being human.

People all over the world know these things about children and learning, and interestingly, they are as workable for learning how to design software or conduct a scientific experiment or write an elegant essay as they are for learning to hunt caribou or identify medicinal plants in a rainforest.

But we don’t know them any more.

Source: A Thousand Rivers — Carol Black

I updated “Compassion is not coddling. Design for real life.”, “Design is Tested at the Edges: Intersectionality, The Social Model of Disability, and Design for Real Life”, “Neurodiversity in the SpEd Classroom”, and “Classroom UX: Bring Your Own Comfort, Bring Your Own Device, Design Your Own Context” with a selection from “From Hostility to Community – Teachers Going Gradeless”.

An education that is designed to the edges and takes into account the jagged learning profile of all students can help unlock the potential in every child.

Source: From Hostility to Community – Teachers Going Gradeless

I updated “Communication is oxygen. Build a district wide collaboration infrastructure and an open by default culture.” with a selection from “25 Years of EdTech – 2003: Blogs – The Ed Techie ”.

If I had a desert island EdTech, it would be blogging, and that is not just in a nostalgic sense. No other educational technology has continued to develop, as the proliferation of WordPress sites attests, and also remain so full of potential. I’ve waxed lyrical about academic blogging many times before, but for almost every ed tech that comes along, I find myself thinking that a blog version would be better: e-portfolios, VLEs, MOOCs, OERs, social networks. Sometimes it’s like Jim Groom and Alan Levine have taken over my brain, and I don’t even mind. I still harbour dreams of making students effective bloggers will be a prime aspect of graduateness. Nothing develops and anchors your online identity quite like a blog.

Source: 25 Years of EdTech – 2003: Blogs – The Ed Techie