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Making Sense Podcast

I really look forward to listening to the Making Sense podcast from the fantastic Sam Harris. If you haven't heard it could I suggest you look it up and download. Brilliant guests and always calm, thoughtful and considered in his questioning or commentary. Wish I could be more, Sam Harris. Just started listening to podcast #207 'Can we pull back from the brink?' and had to stop and post this wonderful statement in the opening 2 minutes about social media:We've all been enrolled in a psychological experiment for which no one gave consent, and it's not clear how it will turn out This is a must listen to podcast. A podcast that Sam has found extremely difficult to post during these deeply troubling times.
Recent posts

Smartphone Experiment and Digital Minimalism

Update on my dumbphone v smartphone 'experiment'. Looks like the smartphone won. A couple of weeks ago I had to revert back to my Samsung 8+ and put the Nokia 105 back in its box. It just became too difficult to manage both phones and realised that in order to do my job and day to day activities, I needed the smartphone. Sending messages on Nokia was painfully slow and frustrating and I really needed quick access to my calendar and often to my emails.
So what did I learn from those two months? I learned that it's very difficult to completely break away from a device that has become integral to my working life. As I said in an earlier post, it was quite easy to use the Nokia over Christmas when I wasn't working. However, as soon as I was back working with schools it became more and more difficult to work effectively. I also appreciated how difficult it most be for our young people if we are asking them as educators to limit the amount of time spent on their smartphones …

Curriculum for Wales - Update to the Digital Competence Framework

Not only was the new Curriculum for Wales released this week, today I noticed that Digital Competence Framework (DCF) had been updated too. The older version had a very nice online interactive tool to filter through the framework and view classroom ideas, not so with this one yet. From what I read this may appear later in 2020. Can only be accessed via a spreadsheet which can be downloaded here. Spent a couple of hours copying and pasting the new Curriculum for Wales version of the DCF against the previous. What are the headlines?

statements placed into 'Progression Steps (PS)' as per the new curriculum. PS1 (nursery / reception), PS2 (Yr1, 2 & 3) and PS3 (Yr4, 5 & 6).statements written in the format of "I can....". The previous said, "With increasing independence learners are able to...." or "Learners are able to.....".There are some changes to the new. From my initial view the statements appear clearer and easier to understand. Some of th…

Dumbphone - A Month In & Wider Issues

So, what's happened a month into my experiment of dumping my Samsung smartphone and using a really cheap, very un-smartphone, Nokia 105? Well, it has been a little tricky. I've stuck with the Nokia as my phone but I've also had to carry the Samsung with me, the reasons why I'll explain shortly. Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of using the Nokia.


Only had to charge the Nokia three times in the last monthBarely notice it in my pocket (unlike the Samsung 8+ which is almost like carrying a tablet around!)It has stopped me idly browsing through Twitter, Facebook, emails or searching the web whenever I reached the limits of my attention span. Over previous months this had been about 2 minutes max. This was initially the main reason why I wanted to get the 'dumbphone' as I was finding it difficult to concentrate on anything for a long time with feeling for the smartphone. I've pretty well broken my addiction to Twitter and generally fee…

Release of the New Curriculum for Wales

Finally, the Curriculum for Wales has been released today. It's only been available for a couple of hours but I've had a quick look and for what it's worth, here are my initial observations on the What Matters 6 section of the Science and Technology Area of Learning and Experience.

- quite a lot of change between the draft and final version in WM6
- removal of Experiences, Knowledge and Skills section
- The What Matters Statement or as they are now called, "Statements of What Matters" have changed. Both the basic statement and the more detailed version. Less wordy.
- Removal of the headings, Algorithm, Data, Computational Systems, Cyber-security. No headings at all.
- Introduction of the words "beginning to" in nearly all the statements at PS1 and one at PS2.
- Removal of many of the DCF cross over statements that annoyed me so much in the draft (see my post from May 2019). The Data section in particular in PS1 and PS2.
- More statements at PS3 compare…

Dumbphone - 1st Week Reflections

One week into my experiment to see if I can live without my smartphone and things are going pretty well. So let's reflect on the pros and cons, starting with the cons first.

There's still the odd app or two that I have to use which meant that my smartphone was switched on once or twice this week. I find my banking app much easier to use than the web version and had to use it four days ago to pay my wage. The only other app that I may have to use is What's App as there is no comparable web version  (I believe there is and I'll check this out). However, in the last week I think I've only looked at it once and that was in the first couple of days and haven't looked at it since. There were a also a couple of moments where I would liked to have used my smartphone camera. Texting is still fiddly. No predictive text but at least I've now worked out how to do a capital letter. Finally, I found that for about three days my sleep was slightly affected. I found that I…

From Smartphone to Dumbphone

In my last post I wrote about how I was spent quite a lot of time over the last couple of months reading up and listening to podcasts on AI, digital surveillance and disruption caused to society by new digital products. Initially this interest was triggered by my own concerns over how attached to my smartphone I had become, or perhaps I should say, to certain apps on my smartphone. Twitter being a particular addiction of mine, or a quick browse through Facebook or Instagram. Perhaps it was just me, but increasingly I was finding that after a session of browsing on these platforms I was feeling annoyed or frustrated and that this really wasn't good for my own well being. My 'filter bubble' was reinforcing the things that could make me cross (politics, education) or increasingly I was seeing things being posted on platforms by friends and relatives and found myself starting to dislike them, which was a reaction I was then disliking in myself and a person I didn't want to…