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Thursday, 26 April


Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


A clear account of a school where young people between the ages of four and eighteen really decide what they are going to do each day, and there are no lessons.

Daniel Greenberg

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Portrait of Margaret Thatcher

How a grammar school education in the 1970s failed to develop an artistic talent.

Roger Birchall

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Conferences in the UK and elsewhere

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A girl looking thoughtful

Falko Peschel introduces a number of short films about his work

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

IWW Logo

Chris W of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) sets out the background to their latest education workers campaign

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Students having a discussion

The Phoenix Education Trust explain some of their activities

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Stature of a man

The curriculum cop puts down a revolt at the Spartacus Academy in Luton

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Why and how they avoided conventional assemblies at William Booth primary school

Andy Mattison

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

a semi-colon

The boss goes down with semi-colonitis

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

playing in the river

A description of the village for abused, orphaned or abandoned children in Thailand, adapted from their website

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Self Managed Leaning College Logo
The Centre for Self-Managed Learning meets OFSTED

Ian Cunningham

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The damage done by lining-up, and how to avoid it

Andy Mattison

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Helping school students to discover their own interests

Jenifer Smith

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Drawing of a boy

Ken Hosey
An assessment of the problems faced by boys when the school leaving age was raised to sixteen in 1973, still all too familiar.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Plowden report cover

Andy Mattison
A reflection on the Plowden Report's recommendation that teachers should care tenderly for individuals.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

dartington in conisbrough 98

Reviewed by C V Pawsey

A new review of a book that has perhaps been neglected because of its misleadingly obscure title

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Finland flag

An introduction to an article by William Doyle.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

ecole dynamique logo

Ramin Farhanghi

A new school in Paris

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Patrick Neustatter

A doctor's view of the effects of modern education

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Self Managed Learning College Logo

Ian Cunningham

Preparing children for jobs that don't exist any more

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

random words

Curriculum Cop 10

Curriculum Cop tears into academies, among many other things

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Edge Foundation logo

The Edge Foundation opposes the policy to require 90% of 16-year-olds to enter GCSEs in the full English Baccalaureate.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Willow Tree

The inspiration of local history

Jo Carrington

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Self Managed learning College logo

An introduction to the Self-Managed Learning College

Ian Cunningham

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Why most adults cant manage democratic discussions

Jason Preater

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


A transcript of a Radio Four Thought broadcast

Rachel Roberts

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A pollarded tree

How children who have had their talents chopped off, have been helped to recover

Ian Cunningham

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Zoe Readhead

How the Department for Education is wriggling out of the commitments agreed in 2000

Zoe Redhead

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


An experiment in free, co-operative higher education

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


A successful alternative school in Japan

Shinichiro Hori

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

CWC logo

Concerned for Working Children (CWC)

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Rivington St sign

An account of an attempted innovation in 1968

Jakob Jakobsen

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

USA Flag

Reactions against imposed curricula in the USA and the UK

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

French Flag
A French educators reaction to the recent terrorist attacks

Jean-Pierre Quayret

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


A brief introduction to the transformation of education in Colombia

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A boy

A hitherto unrecorded incident in the life of Antoine de Saint-Exuprys young hero

Helmut Zpfl

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


How Summerhill principles have been adopted at a home-schooling annexe in Gloucestershire

Hussein Lucas

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Book Cover

Progressively Worse, by Robert Peal: David Hansen

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

An all-embracing new approach in an Indian primary school

Jinan. K.B, and Ranjana Baji

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

What the results of the American election mean for education

Jerry  Mintz

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Falko Peschels Bildungsschule Harzberg, where young children decide how to use their time.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Student Voice Logo
How school pupils are indoctrinated in thinking about education.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A distinction between statistics and reality.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Book cover
William Brown, as reported by Richmal Crompton.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Curriculum Cop assures us that it is not.

Lib Ed articles "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A small infringement of school uniform rules.

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Thursday, 19 April


Want to learn JavaScript? Heres a free 24-part course to get you started. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A breakdown of the course. You can click the image to jump directly to the course.

JavaScript is the most popular programming language on the web. You can use it to create websites, servers, games and even native apps. So no wonder its such a valuable skill in todays job market.

So I reached out to Dylan C. Israela programming YouTuber and freeCodeCamp gradand asked him to created a free JavaScript course on Scrimba.

The course contains 15 lectures and 7 interactive challenges, and is suitable for beginners. It will give you a quick intro to the most important JavaScript concepts.

Heres how the course is laid out.

Part #1: Int...


Indiana Schools Host Peoples History Workshops "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Indiana | Zinn Education ProjectFive years after former governor Mitch Daniels tried to ban Howard Zinns A Peoples History of the United States from Indiana schools, the Zinn Education project was able to offer three workshops to dozens of educators throughout the state.

Adam Sanchez, our first full-time ZEP organizer, traveled to Indiana at the end of March to offer three workshops at Ball State University in Muncie, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, and Indiana University in Bloomington. Topics of the workshops included teaching the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and labor history.

Heres what some of the teachers who participated in the three workshops had to say:

Ive been going to workshops and PD for decades. Rarely have I walked away so enthusiastic to try new ideas with my students.

This workshop was incredibly organized and geared toward practical application in the classroom. The modeling of strategies helped to anticipate student needs and reactions and left me confident I would be able to recreate them in my classroom.

I was aware of most of the strategies, but I didnt have the confidence to implement them. This has given me that confidence. The active participation of the members actually modeling how the activities are done was the primary strength. It was a fantastic experience and I look forward to attending other ZEP workshops.

As an English teacher with a textbook that does not represent diverse views, much of the Civil War and Reconstruction info was new to me. Actively trying out some of the approaches makes it much easier for me to envision using them in my classroom. Thes...


What exactly is Node.js? "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Node.js is a JavaScript run-time environment. Sounds great, but what does that mean? How does that work?

The Node run-time environment includes everything you need to execute a program written in JavaScript.

If you know Java, heres a little analogy.

Node.js came into existence when the original developers of JavaScript extended it from something you could only run in the browser to something you could run on your machine as a standalone application.

Now you can do much more with JavaScript than just making websites interactive.

JavaScript now has the capability to do things that other scripting languages like Python can do.

Both your browser JavaScript and Node.js run on the V8 JavaScript runtime engine. This engine takes your JavaScript code and converts it into a faster machine code. Machine code is low level code which the computer can run without interpreting it.

Why Node.js?

Heres a formal definition as given on the official Node.js website.

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime built on Chromes V8 JavaScript engine.
Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient.
Node.js package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world.

We already discussed the first line, lets understand the other two lines to find out why Node.js is so popular.

I/O refers to input/output. It can be anything ranging from reading/writing local files to making a http request to an API.

I/O takes time and hence blocks other functions.

Consider a senario where we request a backend database for the details of user1 and user2 and then print them on the screen/console. The response to this request takes time, but both of the user data request can be carried out independently and at the same time.

Blocking(left) vs Non-Blocking(right)


In the blocking method the user2 data request is not initiated until user1 data is printed to the screen.

If this was a web server we would have to start a new thread for every new user. But JavaScript is single threaded (not really, but has a single threaded event loop which is discussed later), so this would make JavaScript not suitable for the task.


On the o...


Exploring a powerful SQL pattern: ARRAY_AGG, STRUCT and UNNEST "IndyWatch Feed Education"

It can be extremely cost-effective (both in terms of storage and in terms of query time) to use nested fields rather than flatten out all your data. Nested, repeated fields are very powerful, but the SQL required to query them looks a bit unfamiliar. So, its worth spending a little time with STRUCT, UNNEST and ARRAY_AGG. Using these three in combination also makes some kinds of queries much, much easier to write.

One powerful SQL pattern is to make an array of structs and then unnest


Lets take a BigQuery table of tropical cyclones. Heres a preview of the table:

Input table

The task is to find the maximum usa_sshs (better known as category) reached by each North American hurricane (basin=NA) of the 2010 season and the time at which the category was first reached. I want to be able to say something like Hurricane Danielle reached Category 4 at 18:00 UTC on 20100827 when it was at (27.1, -60.1).

Hurricane Danielle reached Category 4 at 18:00 UTC on 20100827 when it was at (27.1, -60.1)

Heres the solution query. In this article, I will build it piece-by-piece.

Wheres the hurricane?

My first step was to create a history of hurricane locations. Essentially, I want to get to:

History of each hurricane

We can filter by basin and season:

WITH hurricanes AS (
NAME, iso_time, latitude, longitude, usa_sshs
season = '2010' AND basin = 'NA'
SELECT * from hurricanes LIMIT 5

But this gives us a jumble of rows that meet the necessary criteria. What we need is to get an ordered list of locations for each hurricane. Just adding a GROUP BY to the above query wont work. (Why not? Try it out!)

This query, however, works:

WITH hurricanes AS (
MIN(NAME) AS name,
ARRAY_AGG(STRUCT(iso_time, latitude, longitude, usa_sshs) ORDER BY iso_time ASC) AS track
season = '2010' AND basin = 'NA'
SELECT * from hurricanes LIMIT 5

Lets tease the query apart:...

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Wednesday, 18 April


How we serve 25M API calls from 10 scalable global endpoints for $150 a month "IndyWatch Feed Education"

I woke up on Black Friday last year to a barrage of emails from users reporting 503 errors from the ipdata API.

Our users typically call our API on each page request on their websites to geolocate their users and localize their content. So this particular failure was directly impacting our users websites on the biggest sales day of the year.

I only lost one user that day but I came close to losing many more.

This sequence of events and their inexplicable nature - CPU, memory and I/O were nowhere near capacity. As well as concerns on how well (if at all) we would scale, given our outage, were a big wake up call to rethink our existing infrastructure.

Our Tech Stack At The Time

  • Japronto Python Framework
  • Redis
  • AWS EC2 nodes
  • AWS Elastic Loadbalancers
  • Route53 Latency Based Routing

I had run tests on several new, promising Python micro-frameworks.

Choosing between aiohttp, sanic and japronto I settled on Japronto after benchmarking the 3 using and finding it to have the highest throughput.

The API ran on 3 EC2 nodes in 3 regions behind ELB loadbalancers with Route53 latency based routing to route requests to the region closest to the user to ensure low latency.

Choosing A New Tech Stack

An Example Weather API using our current stack

Around this time I started to seriously look into using API Gateway with AWS Lambda given their:

  1. Favorable pricing - about $3.50 per million on API Gateway and $0.20 per million for AWS Lambda.
  2. Infinite scale and high throughput - the account limit on API Gateway is 10,000 requests per second or about 864M calls daily. A limit that is possible to lift by opening a support request.

This also made it economically viable to have endpoints in numerous AWS regions to provide low latencies to all our users all over the globe.

Designing A Multi-Regional API Gateway Based API

There were a number of architectural challenges that had be solved to make this viable.

  1. Each Lambda function in each regio...


Solve the unsolvable with Monte Carlo methods "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by Micha Parzuchowski on Unsplash

How do you solve an unsolvable problem?

The worlds of data science, mathematical finance, physics, engineering and bioinformatics (amongst many others) readily produce intractable problems. These are problems for which no computationally easy solutions are available.

Luckily, there are methods that can approximate the solutions to these problems with a remarkably simple trick.

Monte Carlo methods are a class of methods that can be applied to computationally difficult problems to arrive at near-enough accurate answers. The general premise is remarkably simple:

  1. Randomly sample input(s) to the problem
  2. For each sample, compute an output
  3. Aggregate the outputs to approximate the solution

As an analogy, imagine youre an ant crawling over a large, tiled mosaic. From your vantage point, you have no easy way of working out what the mosaic depicts.

If you started walking around the mosaic and sampling the tiles you visit at random intervals, youd build up an approximate idea of what the mosaic shows. The more samples you take, the better your approximation will be.

If you could cover every single tile, youd eventually have a perfect representation of the mosaic. However, this wouldnt be necessaryafter a certain amount of sampling, youd have a pretty good estimate.

This is exactly how Monte Carlo methods approximate solutions to otherwise unsolvable problems.

The name refers to a famous casino in Monaco. It was coined in 1949 by one of the methods pioneers, Stanislaw Ulam. Ulams uncle was reportedly a gambling man, and the connection between the element of chance in gambling and in Monte Carlo methods must have been particularly apparent to Stanislaw.

The best way to understand a technical concept is to dive right in and see how it works. The rest of this article will show how Monte Carlo methods can solve three interesting problems. The examples will be presented in the Julia programming language.

Introducing Julia

There are a number of languages you might consider learning if you are interested in specialising in data science. One which has emerged as an increasingly serious option in recent years is a language called Julia.



Welcoming Shravan Goli as Courseras Chief Product Officer "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Coursera is a world-changing mission, fueled by an exceptionally talented team. It is the dedication of this team that has brought more than 31 million learners, 150+ university partners, and over 1,000 companies to our platform. And yet, were still in the early stages of enabling people around the world to transform their lives by giving them the most flexible, affordable way to learn from top-ranked universities and leading industry educators.

The social promise of Coursera depends largely on how we continue to inspire our learners, university partners, and enterprise customers with rapid product innovation and a superior platform experience. So today, Im excited to announce Shravan Goli as our new Chief Product Officer and Head of Consumer Revenue.

Shravan joins us with over 20 years of experience and an amazing background of building products and leading companies. He has built products at Microsoft and Yahoo, been the CEO of, and was most recently President of tech job marketplace, Dice (part of public company DHI Group Inc). Shravan is a product visionary, but what I love about Shravan is his obsession with understanding and delighting users and his passion for what were doing at Coursera.

Im truly humbled by the talent and energy of my fellow Courserians, and couldnt be more excited about Shravan joining the team. I look forward to Shravans leadership in heading a product group that is rooted in the Silicon Valley spirit of innovation and a universal mission that is changing the way the world learns.

The post Welcoming Shravan Goli as Courseras Chief Product Officer appeared first on Coursera Blog.

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Tuesday, 17 April


God, Grant Me the Serenity With Thaddeus Russell [PODCAST #558] "IndyWatch Feed Education"

In our most challenging and uncomfortable conversation to date, Thaddeus Russell and I explore some things about my past that I've had trouble accepting and often wonder if I can still change. A lengthy list of topics follows: shame, moralizing, self-sacrifice, relationships as transactions, dishonesty, the war in our heads between the puritan and the ...


What it Takes For a Business to Win in the Digital Age "IndyWatch Feed Education"

What is digital transformation? How does a business survive the digital age? BCG and University of Virginia experts tackle questions like these in their course: Digital Transformation. Get the inside scoop from course instructors Michael Lenox, Senior Associate Dean of University of Virginias Darden School of Business, and Amane Dannouni, Principal at The Boston Consulting Group.

What is digital transformation?

Michael: Its become a buzz word thats been created to capture technology and business shifts that are occurring because of digitization. Everything from changes in back-office processes as big data occurs, to The Internet of Things, and the implications of that for a wide variety of industries.

The critical thing to know is that this is not your typical IT discussion of what information technologies a business needs. The course is more about how digital disruption is transforming products and services, business models, and the supply chain.

What first sparked your interest in teaching a course like this?

Amane: I keep hearing a similar question from companies, How will digital transformation affect my business? To answer that question we must first define what digital transformation is and thats what we look at in this course. We want to get as many people as possible to understand the basics before moving to the question of  what does this mean for me?

What excites me about digital transformation is the unpredictability. We know the past what happened and at what speed, but we always fall short in predicting the future. The lack of predictably makes it a very exciting sector to be a part of.

Who should be taking this course?



Every developer should have a blog. Heres why, and how to stick with it. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A blog is useful for many reasons. It can become a source of leads, it can be the place where, in the future, you might sell your products if you want to become an indie developer, or it can simply be the place where you have your audience and express your ideas.

Ive been blogging for more than 11 years now, more or less consistentlyalthough sometimes I stopped for too long. I recently revamped the blog and started to write consistentlyvery consistentlyto the point I now write every single day of the week. Ive already seen a lot of good results.

I found my mission in helping developers learn Frontend Development: I release a new tutorial every day on my blog, explaining all I know about a specific topic. If you are into JavaScript or into developing on the Web, dont miss it!

Here are my thoughts on blogging, why I think every developer should blog, and blog consistently.

A few things I want you to forget

I am not an expert

Anyone has a unique angle, a perspective on something thats worth sharing. You might think you dont know as much as person X, but person Y might have much less experience than you and would benefit from reading your thoughts and learnings.

Also, the best moment to teach something is right after youve learned it, because you remember how not knowing about it feels.

In this case, you can blog with the tone of a student thats just learned something. I learn new things every day. Around 50% of what I end up writing I just learned while researching a topic.

Im not a good writer

Im not either, but I dont care.

Just remember: you will never become a good writer unless you practice writing every day for years. You will become a good writer, eventually.

I fear criticism

Its true that some places on the internet are not afraid to give harsh opinions on things, notoriously Reddit and Hacker Newsbut this is a good thing.

Remember, youre not growing if youre not challenged. Also, youre not required to post there if you dont want to. Do you worry about someone making a mean comment on a post thats controversial? Remove comments altogether.

Why writing is great for a developer

You learn much faster

One of ways I learn best is by doing. I literally decide on a topic I think I know something about, and I...


Immutable.js is intimidating. Heres how to get started. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Image source

You hear that you should be using Immutable. You know you should, but you arent quite sure why. And when you go to the docs, the first snippet of code looks like this:

identity(value: T): T

You think: Nah maybe another time.

So, heres a simple and fast introduction to get you started with Immutable. You wont regret it:

At Pilcro, we introduced Immutable into our applications about 12 months ago. It has been one of the best decisions we have made. Our apps are now much more readable, robust, bug-free and predictable.

The basics

Converting into Immutable

In normal JavaScript, we know two common data types: Object {} and Array [].

To translate these into Immutable:

  • Object {} becomes Map Map({})
  • Array [] becomes List List([])

To convert normal JavaScript into Immutable, we can use the Map, List, or fromJS functions that Immutable provides:

import { Map, List, fromJS } from 'immutable';
// Normal Javascript
const person = {
name: 'Will',
pets: ['cat', 'dog']
// To create the equivalent in Immutable:
const immutablePerson = Map({
name: 'Will',
pets: List(['cat', 'dog'])
// Or ...
const immutablePerson = fromJS(person);

fromJS is a useful function that converts nested data into Immutable. It creates Maps and Lists in the conversion.

Converting back from Immutable to normal JavaScript

It is very simple to get your data back from Immutable to plain old JavaScript. You just call the .toJS() method on your Immutable object.

import { Map } from 'immutable';
const immutablePerson = Map({ name: 'Will' });
const person = immutablePerson.toJS();
console.log(person); // prints { name: 'Will' };
Keynote: Data structures should be thought of as EITHER plain JavaScript OR Immutable....


Single-table inheritance vs. polymorphic associations in Rails: find what works for you "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by Sanwal Deen on Unsplash

If youve ever created an application with more than one model, youve had to think about what type of relationships to use between those models.

As an applications complexity grows, it can be difficult to decide which relationships should exist between your models.

A situation that frequently comes up is when several of your models need to have access to the functionality of a third model. Two methods that Rails gives us to deal with this event are single-table inheritance and polymorphic association.

In Single-Table Inheritance (STI), many subclasses inherit from one superclass with all the data in the same table in the database. The superclass has a type column to determine which subclass an object belongs to.

In a polymorphic association, one model belongs to several other models using a single association. Each model, including the polymorphic model, has its own table in the database.

Lets take a look at each method to see when we would use them.

Single-Table Inheritance

A great way to know when STI is appropriate is when your models have shared data/state. Shared behavior is optional.

Lets pretend we are creating an app that lists different vehicles that are for sale at a local dealership. This dealership sells cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

(I know dealerships dont sell bicycles, but bear with me for a minuteyoull see where Im going with this.)

For each vehicle, the dealership wants to track the price, color, and whether the vehicle was purchased. This situation is a perfect candidate for STI, because we are using the same data for each class.

We can create a superclass Vehicle with the attributes for color, price, and purchased. Each of our subclasses can inherit from Vehicle and can all get those same attributes in one fell swoop.

Our migration to create the vehicles table might look like this:

class CreateVehicles < ActiveRecord::Migration[5.1]
def change
create_table :vehicles do |t|
t.string :type, null: false
t.string :color

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Monday, 16 April


Why you should apply the single responsibility principle to serverless "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A funny moment (at 38:50) happened during Tim Brays session (SRV306) at re:invent 2017. Tim asked the audience if we should have many single-purposed functions, or fewer monolithic functions, and there was an equal split in opinions.

This was a moment that challenged my belief, as Ive been brought up on the SOLID principles.

  • Single Responsibility Principle
  • Open/Closed Principle
  • Liskov Substitution Principle
  • Interface Segregation Principle

I have, for a long time, believed that following the Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) is a no-brainer.

That prompted this closer examination of the arguments from both sides.

Full disclosure: I am biased in this debate. If you find flaws in my thinking, or disagree with my views, please point them out in the comments.

By monolithic functions, I mean functions that have internal branching logic. These functions can do one of several things based on the invocation event.

For example, you can have one function handle all the endpoints for an API. The function would perform a different action based on the path and method parameters.

module.exports.handler = (event, context, cb) => { 
const path = event.path;
const method = event.httpMethod;
  if (path === '/user' && method === 'GET') { 
.. // get user
} else if (path === '/user' && method === 'DELETE') {
.. // delete user
} else if (path === '/user' && method === 'POST') {
.. // create user
} else if {
.. // other endpoints & methods

You cant rationally reason about and compare solutions without first understanding the problem and what qualities are most desirable in a solution.

And when I hear complaints such as that having so many functions is hard to manage, I wonder what does manage entail?

  • Is it to find specific functions youre looking for?
  • Is it to discover what functions you have?
  • Does this become a problem when...


How to pick the best learning rate for your machine learning project "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A common problem we all face when working on deep learning projects is choosing a learning rate and optimizer (the hyper-parameters). If youre like me, you find yourself guessing an optimizer and learning rate, then checking if they work (and were not alone).

To better understand the affect of optimizer and learning rate choice, I trained the same model 500 times. The results show that the right hyper-parameters are crucial to training success, yet can be hard to find.

In this article, Ill discuss solutions to this problem using automated methods to choose optimal hyper-parameters.

Experimental setup

I trained the basic convolutional neural network from TensorFlows tutorial series, which learns to recognize MNIST digits. This is a reasonably small network, with two convolutional layers and two dense layers, a total of roughly 3,400 weights to train. The same random seed is used for each training.

It should be noted that the results below are for one specific model and dataset. The ideal hyper-parameters for other models and datasets will differ.

Which learning rate works best?

The first thing well explore is how learning rate affects model training. In each run, the same model is trained from scratch, varying only the optimizer and learning rate.

The model was trained with 6 different optimizers: Gradient Descent, Adam, Adagrad, Adadelta, RMS Prop, and Momentum. For each optimizer, it was trained with 48 different learning rates, from 0.000001 to 100 at logarithmic intervals.

In each run, the network is trained until it achieves at least 97% train accuracy. The maximum time allowed was 120 seconds. The experiments were run on an Nvidia Tesla K80, hosted by FloydHub. The source code is available for download.

Here is the training time for each choice of learning rate and optimizer:

Failed trainings are shown as missing points and disconnected lines

The above graph is interesting. We can see that:

  • For every optimizer, the majo...


Better web scraping in Python with Selenium, Beautiful Soup, and pandas "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by Hunter Haley on Unsplash

Web Scraping

Using the Python programming language, it is possible to scrape data from the web in a quick and efficient manner.

Web scraping is defined as:

a tool for turning the unstructured data on the web into machine readable, structured data which is ready for analysis. (source)

Web scraping is a valuable tool in the data scientists skill set.

Now, what to scrape?

Search drill down options == Keep clicking until you find what you want.

Publicly Available Data

The KanView website supports Transparency in Government. That is also the slogan of the site. The site provides payroll data for the State of Kansas. And thats great!

Yet, like many government websites, it buries the data in drill-down links and tables. This often requires best guess navigation to find the specific data you are looking for. I wanted to use the public data provided for the universities within Kansas in a research project. Scraping the data with Python and saving it as JSON was what I needed to do to get started.

JavaScript links increase the complexity

Web scraping with Python often requires no more than the use of the Beautiful Soup module to reach the goal. Beautiful Soup is a popular Python library that makes web scraping by traversing the DOM (document object model) easier to implement.

However, the KanView website uses JavaScript links. Therefore, examples using Python and Beautiful Soup will not work without some extra additions.

Selenium to the rescue

The Selenium package is used to automate web browser inte...


Node.js APIs on AWS the pros and cons of Express versus Serverless "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Recently I have been playing around with Serverless + AWS lambda and I have to say, I have been awestruck.

Over the past few years I have almost exclusively used Express and AWS EC2 (and more recently Docker) to build JavaScript REST APIs.

This piece outlines the pros and cons of Express and Serverless and explains why it made sense for our team at Pilcro to switchover. This piece is aimed at tech teams looking to deploy and manage Node.js APIs on AWS (or similar).

Slightly aggressive collage of their logos. Apologies.


Switching from Express to Serverless has completely transformed our delivery over the past 6 months.

Pros: reduced cost | out-of-the-box deployment scalability and monitoring | lightning-fast development.

Cons: loss of control | the enigmatic Lambda runtime | young ecosystem | no out-of-the-box zero-downtime deployment

What is Express | What is Serverless?

Express is a Node.js package which, at its core, is a well-designed abstraction over the native Node.js http(s) module.

Serverless, on the other hand, is a toolkit that interacts with cloud platforms, such as AWS or GCP, to deploy and manage APIs.

From these descriptions, we can see that Express and Serverless are really very differentmaybe too different to be compared. However the reason I am comparing them is that both Express and Serverless can be used for writing Node.js APIs. So lets jump into some comparisons:

The index file

In general, I prefer writing code to writing config. It means you can run, test, and debug your work.

With Express, your index file is JavaScript code. It is a really expressive declarative file. With Serverless, its yml config, Im afraid.

Heres the Express Hello World index.js file:

const express = require('express');
const handler = require('./handler');
const app = express();
app.get('/hello-world', handler.helloWorld);
app.listen(3000, () => console.log('Listening on port 3000'));

Heres the S...


#LearnByDIY - How to create a JavaScript unit testing framework from scratch "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This is how the output of our testing framework will look like

I promise, this is gonna be fun. =)

Probably, automated tests are part of your daily routine (if not, please stop reading this article and start from the beginning, by learning from the father of TDD himself). Youve been using testing frameworks such as Node-tap (or Tape), Jasmine, Mocha or QUnit for quite a while, just accepting that they do some magic stuff and not asking too many questions about them. Or, if youre like me, maybe youre always curious about how things work, including testing frameworks, of course.

This article will guide you through the process of creating a JavaScript testing framework from scratch, with a pretty decent DSL and a nicely detailed output. This is the first article in my #LearnByDIY series. The idea is to demystify certain kinds of software that were used to, by creating simpler versions of them.


Before starting, some important notes:

  • The goal of this article is not to create a production-ready tool. Please, dont use the framework that well be creating to test production code. Its purpose is purely educational. =)
  • Naturally, our little framework wont be full-featured. Things such as async tests, parallel executions, a richer set of matchers, a CLI (with options like --watch), pluggable reporters and DSLs, etc., wont be present in our final version. However, I strongly recommend that you keep toying with this project and maybe try to implement some of these missing parts. Perhaps you can transform it into a serious open source project. Id love to know that this toy project became an actual testing framework.

Tyrion - A tiny testing framework

Our framework will be tiny, but brave for its size. So, theres no better name than Tyrion (yeap, hes my favorite GoT character, too).

Tyrion is small, but brave.

Oh, I almost forgot Im using Yarn throughout this article, for things like yarn init, y...


The University of Leeds is Bringing Engineering Expertise to Coursera "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, and were thrilled to announce our new partnership that will bring their teaching expertise to learners all over the world.

Leeds is ranked in the top 100 in the world for engineering and technology, and their programs are led by academics at the forefront of their subjects. Research is at the heart of Leeds learning and teaching, and their academics draw on the latest discoveries to inform online courses provided by Leeds Digital Education Service.

Professor Neil Morris, Director of Digital Learning at the University of Leeds, said, This new partnership is in line with our strategy to be a world leader in digital education. We are also pleased to be offering postgraduate credit-bearing courses on Coursera, which learners will be able to use towards fully online distance learning programs. This will provide flexibility and access to learners from all over the world, and will provide much-needed education and skills training.

Their new Managing Major Engineering Projects Specialization launches today and is made up of three courses and a credit-bearing Capstone Project. Completion of the Specialization can lead to the award of 15 postgraduate credits from the University of Leeds, which can then count towards the universitys MSc Engineering Management online degree.

Major engineering projects all over the world play a crucial role in shaping the lives of millions of people. They are often controversial, with spectacular failures as well as breathtaking success stories. We designed these courses to help learners make sense of current and past projects, and learn the skills and know-how to become protagonists in the fascinating realm of major engineering projects. Specialization instructor and Lecturer in Inf...


Education Bloggers: Share Your Post! "IndyWatch Feed Education"

If you are a homeschooler or classroom teacher, student or independent learner, or anyone else who writes about math, now is the time to send in your favorite blog post for next weeks Playful Math Blog Carnival (formerly Math Teachers at Play).

Click here to submit your blog post

Dont procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Friday, April 20. The carnival will be posted next week at Following Learning blog.

Have you noticed a new math blogger on your block that youd like to introduce to the rest of us? Feel free to submit another bloggers post in addition to your own. Beginning bloggers are often shy about sharing, but like all of us, they love finding new readers.

Would You Like to Host the Carnival?

Help! I cant keep the carnival going on my own.

Hosting the blog carnival can be a lot of work, but its fun to meet new bloggers through their submissions. And theres a side-benefit: The carnival usually brings a nice little spike in traffic to your blog.

If you think youd like to join in the fun, read the instructions on our Playful Math Blog Carnival homepage. Then leave a comment or email me to let me know which month youd like to take.

Explore the Other Math Carnivals

While youre waiting for next weeks carnival, you may enjoy:

[L.A. County Fair photo (top) by Omar Brcena (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.]

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your...


How to Wrap a Streaming I/O Interface in GraphQL "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This post will be about using GraphQL to handle a service that uses an I/O stream for interaction between client and server. In a previous post, I mocked up a GraphQL API to the Universal Chess Interface (UCI). The UCI uses stdio to communicate, accepting commands from an input stream and sending responses via an output stream. Ill be using UCI as an illustration, but I wont be describing UCI in great detail.


Stockfish is as well-known chess engine that supports UCI. Using NodeJS and the module stockfish.js (a JavaScript transpilation of the original), it is easy to setup a running engine that implements UCI via stdio:

  • create and cd into a folder
  • npm init
  • npm install stockfish
  • node node_modules/stockfish/src/stockfish.js

And from there you can type in UCI commands in terminal window and see the results.

A review of Query vs Mutation

Queries are executed in parallel. That is not a problem for a stateless API where each query will return the same result regardless of the order in which results are returned. UCI is not stateless, so commands and results have to operate in sequence. Heres an example of interaction between the command line client and chess engine:

Engine responses to client commands are indented. The first state transition is to initiate the UCI protocol, where the engine responds with default option settings and a uciok signal indicating it is finished. At this point, the client can configure options. These will only take effect when the command isready is issued. The engine responds with readyok when all options are set. Later state transitions will occur during game set up and analysis (not shown).

Running several queries in parallel may issue commands prematurely, since no query waits for the response of another query. The problem can be illustrated with a simple GraphQL API to an mock asynchronous service:

The results are:

Order of resolution differs from response....


How to design terrible graphs "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Warning: contains graph violence

Graphs are used to present information in a visual, summary format. They can be used instead of tables. Used successfully, graphs reduce the amount and complexity of data used in sentences. Hopefully this article gives you extra tools for deciding what graphs (not) to use.

The person who has worked hardest and longest in the area of graph design is Edward Tufte. I have included a link to his website under Resources.

Anyone who knows me well also knows two key pieces of information. I hate pie charts and I hate poorly made bar charts. I have taken charts from publicly available reports to illustrate my points. Ive also pulled the examples from different disciplines, to show that poor chart design is everywhere.

Finally, I have purposely chosen reports where the chart designer is not identified, or there are multiple authors. The purpose of this article is not to name and shame individuals, and the designer does not normally have much of a say in the publication approval process. Managers and/or peer reviewers have decided that these graphics were fine to use.

Pie charts

This is a highly informative pie chart.

Simple pie charts

The purpose of pie charts is to show how mutually exclusive, related categories each contribute to the information about that category.

Lets start with a simple example. Below is a pie chart containing just two categories: male and female. Pie charts are often used to show the ratio of sex, for example when reporting the results from surveys.

Proportion of authors reviewed in that newspaper, 2013.

But why use a pie chart for a binary classification? To reiterate, the categories are mutually exclusive. We could just say 49% of the books reviewed had female authors. That 51% were by male authors is easy to assume, and calculate.

The point of the website is to highlight the lack of reviews for books with female authors. If you go to the link, youll see a series of 14 pie charts, one for each newspaper assessed by the Stella Count, for 2013. Even with a large screen, youll be scrolling to see all of them. And the pie chart for The Monthly has the colour of the categories reversedits hard to keep track of consistent formatting for so many charts!

I think the information would be better presented in a bar chart. Ive used R for this. The pa...


React + RESS = More "IndyWatch Feed Education"

React Evaluated StyleSheet, better known as RESS, is a tiny pre-processor that aims to be for React what LESS is to CSS.

RESS uses a LESS-like styling approach to avoid repetitive style definitions. I styled the following buttons totally in RESS. The code to accomplish this could be found in this Gist.

A bit of history

I first got hit with the idea to write a better styling solution for React while working on a new UI package for React Native. During development, one of the first issues that bothered me about the traditional StyleSheet component is its enormous lack of significant features that CSS presented. In addition, inline-styling is pretty taboo for someone who spent the last half-decade preaching against it. I get religious about this.

I started building a Bootstrap-like button component for my UI framework. I first made use of the StyleSheet component to achieve this, I ended-up using a series of if statements in order to check whether certain props existed before styling the button accordingly. Example: shouldve rendered out a blue button, and so forth.



Learn Kubernetes in Under 3 Hours: A Detailed Guide to Orchestrating Containers "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

Why are banks paying me big bucks for something as simple as Kubernetes? When anybodyanybody can learn in under three hours?

If you doubt me, I challenge you to give it a try! By the end of this article, you will be able to run a Microservice based application on a Kubernetes Cluster. And I guarantee this because its how I introduce our clients to Kubernetes.

What does this guide do differently from the other resources, Rinor?

Quite a lot! Most guides start with the simple stuff: Kubernetes concepts and and kubectl commands. These guides assume the reader knows about application development, Microservices, and Docker containers.

In this Article we will go from :

  1. Running a Microservice based application on your computer.
  2. Building container images for each service of the Microservice application.
  3. Introduction to Kubernetes. Deploying a Microservice based application into a Kubernetes Managed Cluster.

The gradual build up provides the depth required for a mortal human being to be able to grasp the simplicity of Kubernetes. Yes Kubernetes is simple when you know the context it is used in. Without further due lets see what we will build.

Application Demo

The application has one functionality. It takes one sentence as input. Using Text Analysis, calculates the emotion of the sentence.

Fig. 1. Sentiment Analysis Web App

From the technical perspective, the application consists of three microservices. Each has one specific functionality:

  • SA-Frontend: a Nginx web server that serves our ReactJS static files.
  • SA-WebApp: a Java Web Application that handles requests from the frontend.
  • SA-Logic: a python application that performs Sentiment Analysis.

Its important to know that Microservices dont live in isolation, they enable separation of concerns but they still have to interact with each other.

Fig. 2. Data flow in the Sentiment Analysis WebApp

This interaction is best illustrated by showing how the data flows between them:

  1. A client application requests the index.html (whic...

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Sunday, 15 April


A Short Overview of Object Oriented Software Design "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Demonstrated by implementing a Role-Playing Games classes

Zeppelin by Richard Wright


Most modern programming languages support and encourage object-oriented programming (OOP). Even though lately we seem to be seeing a slight shift away from this, as people start using languages which are not heavily influenced by OOP (such as Go, Rust, Elixir, Elm, Scala), most still have objects. The design principles we are going to outline here apply to non-OOP languages as well.

To succeed in writing clear, high-quality, maintainable and extendable code you will need to know about design principles that have proven themselves effective over decades of experience.

Disclosure: The example we are going to be going through will be in Python. Examples are there to prove a point and may be sloppy in other, obvious ways.

Object Types

Since we are going to be modelling our code around objects, it would be useful to differentiate between their different responsibilities and variations.

There are three type of objects:

1. Entity Object

This object generally corresponds to some real-world entity in the problem space. Say were building a role-playing game (RPG), an entity object would be our simple Hero class:

These objects generally contain properties about themselves (such as health or mana) and are modifiable through certain rules.

2. Control Object

Control objects (sometimes also called Manager objects) are responsible for the coordination of other objects. These are objects that control and make use of other objects. A great example in our RPG analogy would be the Fight class, which controls two heroes and makes them fight.

Encapsulating the logic for a fight in such a class provides you with multiple benefits: one of which is the easy extensibility of the action. You can very easily pass in a non-player character (NPC) type for the hero to fight, provided it exposes the same API. You can also very easily inherit the class and override some of the functionality to meet your needs.

3. Boundary Object

These are objects which sit at the boundary of your system. Any object which takes input from or...


Structuring a Flask-RESTPlus Web Service for Production Builds "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Image credit -

In this guide Ill show you a step by step approach for structuring a Flask RESTPlus web application for testing, development and production environments. I will be using a Linux based OS (Ubuntu), but most of the steps can be replicated on Windows and Mac.

Before continuing with this guide, you should have a basic understanding of the Python programming language and the Flask micro framework. If you are not familiar with those, I recommend taking a look at an introductory article - How to use Python and Flask to build a web app.

How this guide is structured

This guide is divided into the following parts:


Well be using the following features and extensions within our project.

  • Flask-Bcrypt: A Flask extension that provides bcrypt hashing utilities for your application.
  • Flask-Migrate: An extension that handles SQLAlchemy database migrations for Flask applications using Alembic. The database operations are ma...


Deploy a NUXT app to S3 in 5 minutes "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Step by step guide to deploy a NUXT app with Vue.js to an AWS S3 bucket with a custom domain and everything!

To start with, Im assuming that you are somewhat familiar with Vue.js, NUXT and Amazon AWS S3 buckets.

Weve only got 5 minutes so lets get started.

1. Install the Vue CLI

On the command line:

npm install -g @vue/cli


npm install -g @vue/cli-init

2. Create your NUXT app

On the command line:

vue init nuxt-community/starter-template exampleapp-frontend


cd exampleapp-frontend

3. Test the development environment

On the command line:

npm install


npm run dev

If you navigate to localhost:3000 in your browser you should see the default NUXT home page.

4. Generate your NUXT app

On the command line:

npm run generate

This generates a /dist folder with your production NUXT app build. This is the folder well be deploying to S3.

5. Install the AWS CLI

We need the AWS CLI so that we can create and manipulate our S3 bucket quickly from the command line.

pip install awscli --upgrade --user

6. Configure your AWS CLI

This step is so you have the authorization to create an S3 bucket in your AWS account from the command line.

aws configure

It will then ask for some credentials:

Default output format: json

For your Default region name choose which ever is most appropriate for you. Here is a list of available regions for the S3 service.

7. Create your S3 bucket

On the command line:

aws s3api create-bucket --bucket --region eu-west-1 --create-bucket-configuration LocationConstraint=eu-west-1

Note that weve named the bucket after the domain name we want to use. Replace with whatever domain you want to have your app at. Also, replace eu-west-1 with your own preferred region.

8. Enable S3 bucket static website hosting...


Sh! Silence your bash scripts by coding your own --silent flag "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Image source:

This tutorial will show you how to code a --silent flag for running bash scripts with the option of hiding output and errors from the terminal.

It will also cover the commands and bash syntax for sending output to the null device, using boolean variables, writing functions and conditional statements, returning exit status codes as alternatives to printing confirmation output, and command line arguments that can be shared across multiple scripts.

Suppressing output

Sometimes its important to print output and errors in your terminal, for example when debugging. But logging can also be unwantedyou end up with a terminal full of errors and confirmations when you may just want to know if something worked or not.

Silence output by running a command followed by redirection of standard out and standard error to the null device, which swallows all output given to it and discards it.

[command] &>/dev/null
> file redirects stdout to file
1> file redirects stdout to file
2> file redirects stderr to file
&> file redirects stdout and stderr to file
/dev/null is the null device it takes any input you want and throws it away. It can be used to suppress any output.
command lineWhat does 2>/dev/null mean?Ask Ubuntu

It will still return the exit status code, so you can use it in if blocks to run certain commands if the command runs with an exit status of 0 (success).

if docker ps | grep rabbitmq-docker &>/dev/null; then
log "Stopping docker container rabbitmq-docker"
run_command "docker stop $(docker ps | grep rabbitmq-docker | awk '{print $1}')"
exit 0
log "Could not find running docker container rabbitmq-docker"
if docker ps -a | grep rabbitmq-docker &>/dev/null; then
log "Container rabbitmq-docker exists but not running"
exit 1
For more on docker commands, checkout my other post:
Top 10 Docker commands you cant live without

Adding a --silent flag

Include a --silent flag following the script or command in the terminal. This will pass it into your script.



Create a Twitter Bot in Python Using Tweepy "IndyWatch Feed Education"

With about 15% of Twitter being composed of bots, I wanted to try my hand at it. I googled how to create a Twitter bot and was brought to a cleanly laid out web app. It allowed you to create a bot that would like, follow, or retweet a tweet based on a keyword. The problem was that you could only create one bot for one function.

So I decided to code a bot myself with Python and the Tweepy library.


First, I downloaded Tweepy. You can do this using the pip package manager.

pip install tweepy

You can also clone the GitHub repository if you do not have pip installed.

git clone
cd tweepy
python install

Youll need to import Tweepy and Tkinter (for the GUI interface).

import tweepy
import Tkinter


Next, we need to link our Twitter account to our Python script. Go to and sign in with your account. Create a Twitter application and generate a Consumer Key, Consumer Secret, Access Token, and Access Token Secret. Now you are ready to begin!

Under your import statements store your credentials within variables and then use the second block of code to authenticate your account with tweepy.

consumer_key = 'consumer key'
consumer_secret = 'consumer secrets'
access_token = 'access token'
access_token_secret = 'access token secret'
auth = tweepy.OAuthHandler(consumer_key, consumer_secret)
auth.set_access_token(access_token, access_token_secret)
api = tweepy.API(auth)

In order to check if your program is working you could add:

user =
print (

This should return the name of your Twitter account in the console.

Building the Bot

This bot is meant to:

  1. Follow everyone following you.
  2. Favorite and Retweet a Tweet based on keywords.
  3. Reply to a user based on a keyword.

Step one is the easiest, you simply loop through your followers and then follow each one.

for follower in tweepy.Cursor(api.followers).items():
print ("Followed everyone that is following " +

At this point in order to make sure your code is working you should log onto Twitter and watch as the people youre following increase.

From this point onwards, besides setting up and packing the labels in the GUI, I am coding everything under the function mainFunction().

def mainFunction():
#The code



Improve the Performance of your Site with Lazy-Loading and Code-Splitting "IndyWatch Feed Education"

How to use a High-Order Component to load what is needed, when needed.

Componentization has marked a before and after in web development. The main advantages that are usually mentioned are reusability and modularization. Components are well defined pieces that we can use to build our sites, like bricks of Legos. It turns out this component structure provides a great foundation to improve the performance of our sites.

Picture by Marvin Ronsdorf

We are explicit about our dependencies, so we know what code we need to run a specific component. Lazy-loading and bundle splitting can have a huge impact on page performance: less code requested, parsed, and executed. And this not only applies to JavaScript, but every type of asset.

I see many sites that could take advantage of this. I wanted to show some basic techniques to load content as needed.

The article will be using Preact/React, yet the ideas can be applied to any other component library.

We are going to cover several topics.

Lets start!

Compositional Patterns

In a component, world components arent only used for rendering actual pixels on the screen. They can also wrap functionality that is passed to children components.

This is usually achieved using High Order Components (HOC). These components receive another component and add some functionality, like a behavior.

If you have used redux, the connect function is a HOC that receives your not-connected component. You can find more examples in React Higher Order Components in depth by Fran Guijarro.

const MyComponent = props => (

{} - {}

// ...
const ConnectedComponent = connect(mapStateToProps, mapDispatchToProps)( MyComponent );

Function as Child Component (also known as Render Callback) is another pattern used in similar scenarios. It is getting quite popular these days. You might have come across them in react-media or unstated.

Look at this example taken from react-media:

const MyComponent = () => (

{matches =>
matches ? (

The document is less...


Create an Ethereum token using open source contracts (open-zeppelin) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

I want to show you that creating a best practice token is a simple process. To be honest, we are going to be doing some coding, but it wont be much.

Well be using Solidity to create our Ethereum token. But dont worry, there are a lot of open source libraries and contracts to help us in the process.

What we want is an ERC-20 compliant token. What that means is that the Ethereum developers have decided a set of functionalities that is necessary for your most common token usages today. There are other types of ERC standards, but we wont dive into it.


  • Github
  • Terminal
  • NodeJS
  • NPM
  • Metamask (For initial Account Creation)

Alright lets start coding! The first thing we want to do is download truffleglobally. You can visit their repo at truffle and heres the following snippet to install:

npm install -g truffle

Truffle will handle the smart contract compilation, linking, and deployment for us. Its a library that will make our lives easier for this demonstration.

Now we need to create a directory where our project will live. In my case I called it ethereum_token_tutorial.

So we have two options here. Either you can clone the repo I have created by following this:

git clone -b initial_step

Or you can do this in your terminal inside of your new directory:

truffle init

If you followed the second option of doing truffle init. The directory should look like this:

| |_____ConvertLib.sol
| |_____MetaCoin.sol
| |_____Migrations.sol
| |_____1_initial_migrations.js
| |_____2_deploy_contracts.js
| |_____TestMetacoin.sol
| |_____metacoin.js

Go ahead and delete ConvertLib.sol , MetaCoin.sol , TestMetacoin.sol , metacoin.js.

So your directory should look like this now:

| |_____Migrations.sol
| |_____1_initial_migrations.js
| |_____2_deploy_contracts.js

Great. Now were...

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Saturday, 14 April


How to manage file uploads in GraphQL mutations using Apollo/Graphene "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Illustration made with Paper by FiftyThree

GraphQL is an amazing way to query and manipulate data. You describe your data, ask for what you want, and get predictable results. The problem is, GraphQL only handles serializable data out of the boxtheres no way to upload files directly as part of your mutations.

But what if there were a way to combine the power of GraphQL with the ease of uploading files in a multi-part request? @jaydenseric has come up with a solution: graphql-multipart-request-spec

If you just want the code to make this work, jump to the end of this article to find JavaScript and Python implementations of the spec for Apollo and Graphene.

Handling File Uploads With GraphQL without Multipart Uploads (The Old Way)

Vanilla GraphQL doesnt support throwing raw files into your mutations. The data you can request and manipulate is limited to what you can serialize over the network. In practice, this looks like basic types: numbers, booleans, and strings. These work greatyou can build almost everything you need with basic data types.

But what if you need to run a mutation that takes a file as an argument? For example: uploading a new profile picture. Heres how you could deal with the problem with ordinary GraphQL:

Option 1: Base64 Encoding

Base64 encode the image and send it over the wire as a string in your mutation. This has several disadvatanges:

  1. A base64 encoded file will be approximately 33% larger than the original binary.
  2. Its more expensive operationally to encode and decode the file.
  3. Complex to remember to encode and decode properly.

Option 2: Seperate Upload Requests

Run a seperate server (or API) for uploading files. Upload the file in the first request, and then pass the resulting storage URL as part of your mutation (the second request).

However if you have to upload several files, you would have to wait until all the uploads are done before you could pass the URLs (to identify them) in your mutation, forcing a synchronous and slow process. It also adds another layer of complexity to make it handle all these requests separately in your client.

  1. Its not asynchronous.
  2. Its complex to manage the other upload server.
Wouldnt it be cool to just pass a file in as part of the mutation parameters?



Yep, JavaScript Moves Fast. Build Your Component Library Anyway. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Heres a question Ive heard a few times recently:

What if we create a component library in React/Vue/Angular/whatever and a new component technology replaces it?

Thats not a question of if. Its a question of when. These technologies have become wildly popular, but theyre not the end game. Like all technologies, something better will eventually come along and replace them.

But that fact is largely irrelevant. Establishing a library of reusable components for your company today remains absolutely critical.

Heres why.

Move Faster Today

Reusable components help your team move faster by creating higher level abstractions. Components eliminate decision fatigue by programmatically enforcing a standardized approach. Just consider an opinionated form TextInput component.

It can eliminate all the following decisions:

  1. Should I put the label above the input or beside it?
  2. Should I display validation errors to the right or below the input?
  3. What color should the error be?
  4. How should I mark required fields?
  5. Should I validate required fields on blur or upon submit?
  6. How much padding should I place between the label and the input?

The list goes on. These arent questions your designers and developers should be asking every time they create a new form.

Enforce Consistency

Reusable components enforce user interface consistency. Your company likely has many developers. Yet your job is to build an app that looks like it was built by one developer.

To do that, its critical to use reusable components. Copy/paste isnt a design pattern. If designers and developers have the freedom to start from scratch again and again, your application will quickly become a patchwork of different looks, feels, and technologies.

Improve Performance

In a client side rendered app, every time you use a component you improve performance. Why? Because it minimizes the applications bundle size and memory footprint. Using a component a second time requires no additional download, and hardly any extra memory.

Without a component library, your team is highly likely to include duplicate JavaScript that solves the same problems in slightly different ways which will bloat the bundle and slow performance. Even worse, theyre likely to grab another competing library and thus require users to download multiple full libraries that do the same thing....


Creating a Static Blog with Search and Comments using the Pelican Static Site Generator "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by Taryn Manning on Unsplash

Did you know Pelicans can eat freaking turtles?

No wonder they walk around like badass OGs.

Yeah, pelican, the bird is indeed awesome.

But so is Pelican the static site generator. Especially for whipping up a lean dev blog.

In this tutorial, Ill show you how to use the Python-powered Pelican static site generator (SSG) to quickly create a sleek blog.

Ill also spruce things up by adding static comments and a search function to the site.

Note: This isnt my first rodeo with static sites. Ive shown our readers how to add e-commerce to Jekyll, Hugo, Gatsby, and many other SSGs. But today, no e-commerce, no Snipcart. Ill just be covering a plain, simple tutorial for a dev blog! :)

This post will cover:

  • How to create a Pelican blog and change its theme
  • How to add the Tipue Search plugin
  • How to enable static comments with Staticman
  • How to host a Pelican site on GitHub Pages

Ready for take-off?

Can I Pelican? (teammates blackmailed me)

Pelican, a Python-powered static generator

Simply put, Pelican is a neat static site generator written in Python.

Like all SSGs, it enables super fast website generation. No heavy docs, straightforward installation, and powerful features (plugins & extendability). Plus, you get all the benefits of a static site: cheap, portable, secure, lightweight, easy to host. As a blogging platform, Pelican also allows you to own all of your content, even comments (thanks to Staticman). No need to rely on trust...


How 65 new developers with no previous coding experience got their first jobs "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Profiling the successful new coder

During my time in freeCodeCamp, I have read many posts and articles from students without no previous coding experience who eventually found jobs as developers.

As a strong supporter of free online self-education platforms, those stories have more than grounded my belief in the effectiveness of this kind of education alternative.

However, only attributing that success to the platforms would give an incomplete picture: part of that success lies on what those students did along with their studies and eventual job hunting.

A quick overview of the stories of new coders finding jobs suggests that they made a diverse range of decisions and took various actions to increase their chances. What were those decisions and actions? In other words, I wondered:

What did they do since starting to learn coding that allowed them to get a job at the end?

For this project, I analyzed the writings of 65 authors found at freeCodeCamp's Forum and on freeCodeCamp's Medium to answer that question, mainly focusing on the freeCodeCamp program.

Here is what I found.

1. Not starting totally from zero

General demographics coincided with what was found in the 2016 and 2017 New Coder Surveys.

  • Authors were mostly males.
    Only six of them mentioned their age, which ranged between 20 and 35 years.
  • Those who mentioned a background said they had a degree in something and or had been working at some point, either part-time or full-time.
    That suggests that they usually went after a career change due to a newly discovered vocation, because of lifestyle aspirations or because of better salary expectations and job opportunities.
  • The change was a risky step for some.
    Some of them already had debts and family.

2. Learning web dev means dealing with complexity

The amount of information around web development is vast, complex and fast-changing. For some of the authors, web development was synonymous with confusion.

Some authors argued that the best way to face that complexity was to become strong in the fundamentals: HTML, CSS, vanilla JavaScr...

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Friday, 13 April


The Relationship Benefits of Unschooling With Pam Laricchia [PODCAST #557] "IndyWatch Feed Education"

I'm pleased to present one of our finest productions on the topic of unschooling. An important thread running through this conversation: the benefits of unschooling in terms of relationship with self, with family and with people in the community. Pam Laricchia is the creator of the blog - an amazing, well-organized resource for people ...


Google Interview Question Guide: Delete Reoccurring Characters with Python "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

Nowadays, Google interviews are all the rage. But sometimes, interviews can get the best of us. Especially if its for a position we really want.

Ive had the pleasure of interviewing at multiple top companies as a student, and landing a job in Silicon Valley as a Software Engineer.

My goal is to help you get that dream job youve always wanted!

Were going to go over a classic question that could show up on your next Google Interview.

Warning: if youre a coding veteran, you probably already know how to solve this question!

If youre trying to get an Internship or a Full-Time job next year, then youll definitely benefit from this article. 

QUESTION: Given a string as your input, delete any reoccurring character, and return the new string.

If you would prefer a video to explain the question, I made one here.

As we can see from the example above, the output is abc because we delete the second a, b, and c.

First things first, lets set up our function in Python 2.7.

def deleteReoccurringCharacters(string):

To tackle this question, were going to use a specific data structure called a HashSet.

A Set

You can think of a set as being similar to an array, with two main exceptions.

  1. Its completely unordered
  2. It cant contain duplicates

Because its unordered, well also need an empty string to store the characters weve added to the set in order. This will be the string we return.

Lets set both of those things up.

def deleteReoccurringCharacters(string):
seenCharacters = set()
outputString = ''

Now that weve set up the data structures we need, lets talk about our algorithm.

Because of the way a set works in memory, it has a lookup time complexity of 0(1).

This means we can use it to check whether or not weve already visited a character!

Our algorithm

Loop through all the characters in the initial string and do the following:



How to upgrade to Webpack from Grunt without suffering "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Ive written this article to narrate the adventure that happened to me when upgrading an AngularJS project from Grunt to Webpack.

The main problem that existed was about 500 items thrown on the window object. This allows you to access them any place you need. It also makes the window the navigation tool for modules and components. The project becomes more coupled, and you dont know who is using them.

Files are structured using the module architecture but without using angular.module. Files are divided into folder by name like HomePage. The HomePage folder contains its controller, style, and view.

The first thing that came to mind was refactoring the whole app to use webpack, modules, babel, and es6. After researching, it is possible to do this without any refactoring of the codebase. But, there are many problems to solve before I start adding webpack to the project.

Problems to consider before starting to work

  • How to solve the window object problem, because webpack shows files as a tree of files talking to each other.
  • How to make fewer changes to the project without merging issues.
  • How to split between development and production for the webpack.
  • How to remove bower dependencies, because webpack mainly resolves modules from npm.
  • How upgrades to webpack solve the big size of JavaScript files.

Start to break things into steps

Secondly, trying to upgrade grunt from 0.4.5 to 1.0.0 didnt work, because the grunt plugins need grunt@0.4.5 as peer dependency. So I stuck with 0.4.5 version.

Fixing errors shown on express node server

I had to fix errors with express Node server, because the bodyParser constructor is deprecated and needs to changed. I changed from...


How to choose a text editor for JavaScript "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by Clment H on Unsplash

If youre just learning to code, one of the first things you need to do, after deciding what to learn, is choose a text editor for writing code.

A text editor is a program that helps you write plain text (without any formatting) and save it to a file. A good example is the Notepad editor on Windows.

Notepad in Windows 8

As you start your coding journey, you will quickly discover that the text editor is where youll spend most of your timesince the fundamental job of any programmer is to write and edit source code. This is why it is necessary to pick one that works for you and supports your learning effort.

Not all text editors are great for programming, like the aforementioned Notepad, since it does nothing to ease or automate the editing of source code.

There are some text editors that are designed specifically for writing and editing source code. These are called code editors. A code editor maybe a standalone program or built into an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

We also have code editors that live in the browser. CodePen, Web Maker, and Plunker are prominent examples. You may already be familiar with some of these web-based editors, since many online coding programs like freeCodeCamp recommend their use.

However, if you want to take your coding to the next level, you need to consider looking at a desktop editor which goes above and beyond the level of most web-based tools.

Its easy to get overwhelmed when looking at the options out there as there are so many. Ask five people, and youre likely to get five different answers.

If youre just starting out, you need to choose an editor that supports you as a beginner. Learning to code is already hard enough, so you can use all the help you can get.

The goal of this article is to help you decide what text editor to use when learning to code with a specific emphasis on programming in JavaScript.

What to look for in a Code Editor

All code editors can write text and save it to a file. Beyond that, the type of editor you choose is purely down to your personal preference. That said, there are a few things that your editor must have for it to be considered good enough for developing in JavaScript.


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Thursday, 12 April


A quick intro to function composition in Swift "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Programmers come across functions every day. A function represents a special type of relationship: every input value that the function takes is associated with some output value. So in a more generic way, a function is a rule which maps some input values to one output value.

The basic idea behind function composition is applying one function to the result of another function. So it is a mathematical concept of combining functions into one function.

Function Composition

Getting started

Lets discuss it along with the mathematical concept. In the above diagram, f and g are two functions. We can represent the functions as below:

f: A -> B
g: B -> C

If we do composition of these two functions, then we can represent it as g o f (you can say g of f).

(g o f): A -> C such that (g o f)(a) = g(f(a)) for all a in A

Lets try to explore it more with a simple example:

Let f(a) = 2a + 3 & g(a) = 3a + 5, then function composition
(g o f)(a) = g(f(a)) = 3(f(a)) + 5 = 3(2a + 3) + 5 = 6a + 14

This concept is not only applicable in mathematicswe can also apply it in programming languages. Those languages are called functional programming languages. Understanding this concept improves your code readability and makes it easier to understand for other programmers.

An introduction to Swift as a functional programming language

Now, the good news is that swift is also a functional programming language. In Swift programming, a function has the most important role, so youll interact with them daily. A Swift function can return a value, and then we can use the returned value as an input into another function. This is a common programming practice.

Implementing function composition in swift

Suppose we have an array of integers, and we want the output to be a squared array of unique even integers. So for that normally, we would implement functions like below:

This code gives us the correct output, but as you can see, the codes readability is not great. Also, the function calling order looks like the opposite from what wed want, and it might create confusion for some new programmers. This block of code is hard to analyze.

So here comes function composition to rescue us from all of the above problems. We can achieve function composition by taking advantage of generics, closure...


How to write a command-line database client in just 10 minutes using OCLIF with TypeScript "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This week I came across the OCLIF, Open Source Command Line Framework by SalesForce/Heroku in a medium post by Jeff Dickey.

I was intrigued, it looked really easy and clean (thanks to TypeScript), and I knew from past experience that there is a lot of chores and boilerplate involved in CLIs. The documentation and examples also looked really good.

I spent a good amount of time in both neo4j-shell and cypher-shell, both in Java, so I wanted to give JavaScript (JS) a try.

Having used the neo4j-javascript-driver before for graph visualization, I knew it was quite straightforward and fast.

The driver sends Cypher queries via the binary Bolt protocol to the database and also handles smart routing, transactions, and retries.

For a pretty output, I chose ascii-table , a neat JS library to produce pretty tables for the terminal.

Basically, you have to provide a bolt-url, username, and password and a query to run, so I imagine our client to look like this.

boltsh -a bolt://host:port -u neo4j -p pa55w0rd \
"MATCH (n:Person) RETURN, n.age LIMIT 10"


I recorded a session of doing this coding. It comes down to 15-minute runtime, mostly due to the typing. Feel free to watch it at 2x :)

Running a Neo4j Instance

To get Neo4j running with some data, you have two options. You can install Neo4j Desktop, which is an electron app for managing databases, and create a project with a local, empty database. Or you can launch a Neo4j Sandbox, and chose a Blank Sandbox.

Please note the server-IP address and the bolt port as well as username and password from the Details tab.

In both cases, after launching the Neo4j Browser, which is just a nice React-based frontend (and also uses the neo4j-javascript-driver), please enter and run in the top command-line.

:play movie graph


Learn to visualize data with this free D3.js course "IndyWatch Feed Education"

10 interactive tutoriuals to take you from beginner to proficient.

Click the image to get to the course.

D3.js is a JavaScript library which allows you to bring data to life using HTML, SVG, and CSS. Learning it will give you super powers when it comes to extracting value from data, as youll basically be able to create any visualization you can think of.

However, its not the easiest library to learn, so getting started can be a bit tricky. Thats why weve teamed up with web developer and instructor Sohaib Nehal and created a free full-length course on it. Throughout the course, Sohaib will give you a soft introduction to the powerful library.

Lets have a look at how its laid out!

The content



How I completed the #100DaysOfCode challenge by coding 30 minutes a day "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Photo by on Unsplash

Back in October I was really frustrated. I had just completed my Masters degree in Computer Science and started a new job which, as opposed to my Masters, involved little to no programming at all. It was technical and I was learning loads of stuff, but I slowly felt my ability to program fading away.

Having been more active on Twitter last summer, I came across the #100DaysOfCode challenge, created by Alexander Kallaway. It was a simple challenge, and this made it so successful: code at least for an hour every day and keep a log / tweet about it to hold yourself accountable.

Fast forward to today, and I have completed the #100DaysOfCode challenge, the freeCodeCamp Front End Certification, and Im already half-way into my second #100DaysOfCode. How did I do it? The key to all that was small and chunked measurable goals, and consistency.

Deciding on a reasonable daily goal

Having a full-time job and volunteering for many other activities like teaching at CodeFirst: Girls meant that I couldnt commit to 1 - 2 hours each night. At the end of a long work day (and often after spending another two hours doing something else like volunteering or exercising), I was exhausted and wanted to rest and recharge for the next work day. After all, sleep is important and we all need to sleep in order to perform at our best.

Taking all this into account, I set aside just 30 min as my daily goal for the first round of the challenge. Why this magic number, you may ask? Half an hour can easily be freed up during your lunch break. It can be the amount of time you spend listening to a technical podcast when youre on the move. Or if you are unable to code from home, you can spend 30 min learning on an app.

Even on my busiest days, 30 minutes was achievable. Setting yourself goals that are ambitious yet actually achievable is key to maintaining the 100 day streak and not giving up on the goals youve set for yourself.

Photo by Este Janssens on Unsplash

#100DaysOfCode is YOUR personal challenge

Ive seen so many people setting themselves overly ambitious goals only to realize that life might get in the way. Some people are also incredibly strict on themselves and declare...


How to choose the best event source for pub/sub messaging with AWS Lambda "IndyWatch Feed Education"

AWS offers a wealth of options for implementing messaging patterns such as Publish/Subscribe (often shortened to pub/sub) with AWS Lambda. In this article, well compare and contrast some of these options.

The pub/sub pattern

Pub/Sub is a messaging pattern where publishers and subscribers are decoupled through an intermediary message broker (ZeroMQ, RabbitMQ, SNS, and so on).

Source: Publish Subscribe Pattern (Wikipedia)

In the AWS ecosystem, the obvious candidate for the broker role is Simple Notification Service (SNS).

SNS will make three attempts for your Lambda function to process a message before sending it to a Dead Letter Queue (DLQ) if a DLQ is specified for the function. However, according to an analysis by the folks at OpsGenie, the number of retries can be as many as six.

Another thing to consider is the degree of parallelism this setup offers. For each message, SNS will create a new invocation of your function. So if you publish 100 messages to SNS, then you can have 100 concurrent executions of the subscribed Lambda function.

This is great if youre optimising for throughput.

However, were often constrained by the max throughput our downstream dependencies can handledatabases, S3, internal/external services, and so on.

If the burst in throughput is short, then theres a good chance the retries would be sufficient (theres a randomized, exponential back off between retries too) and you wont miss any messages.

Erred messages are retried 2 times with exponential back off. If the burst is short-lived then the retry is likely to succeed, resulting in no message loss.

If the burst in throughput is sustained over a long period of time, then you can exhaust the max number of retries. At this point youll have to rely on the DLQ and possibly human intervention in order to recover the messages that couldnt be processed the first time around.

Erred messages are retried 2 times with exponential back off. But the burst in message rate overlaps with the retries, further...


Building a simple news aggregator app with Flutter "IndyWatch Feed Education"

What the final app will look like.

Powered by Dart, Flutter is:

Googles mobile UI framework for crafting high-quality native interfaces on iOS and Android in record time.

I am going to walk us through the steps to building a news aggregator app with Flutter framework.


I am assuming you have already installed Flutter on your development machine and built a test Flutter project. However, if you havent done so, please follow any of these guilds for Linux, Mac, or Windows machines.

Now create a fresh Flutter Project and name it news_aggreator.

For the purpose of this tutorial, well be using the New York Times Top Stories API. Please get your API key here (select Top Stories from the API drop-down).

Lets start.

Setting up Dart

Delete all the code from lib/main.dart and replace it with the following:

The lines import package:news_aggreator/home_page.dart and new MyHomePage(title: News Aggregator) will show errors. Thats because we haven't created ahome_page.dart file and MyHomePage class. Well do that next.

Create a new dart file by navigating to File > New > Dart File. Name it home_page.

In this new file, well create a MyHomePage class that extends StatefulWidget.

A Stateful widget supports state changes and user interactions,they maintain state that might change during the lifetime of the widget. Stateless widgets are immutable, meaning that their properties cant changeall values are final.
Official Docs

Import package:flutter/material.dart and override createState() and return a State Widget. The final code should look like this:

Now well create a _MyHomePageState class...


Sustenance for the Senses 3 hope not anxiety, roadshows, education acts, grooming and serious violence "IndyWatch Feed Education"

In the last fortnight, Youth Work or Youth Services have been in the limelight, as evidenced by Tuesdays two posts featuring Seema Chandwanis passionate twitter threads, one specifically aimed at Sadiq Khans Crime Summit. Once more the classic tension as to the relationship between the educative and preventative in youth work is revisited or as James Ballantyne puts it in the most recent of his always thoughtful blogs between a provision that is driven by hope rather than anxiety.

Following on from the announced commitment to a statutory Youth Service, the Labour Party seeks help to shape its education policy, declaring:

labour logoTogether, we can create an education system that works for the many, not the few, and your voice matters to us. Thats why we have launched the National Education Service Roadshow (NES) as part of our...

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Wednesday, 11 April


[BONUS] Fitness As A Foundation For A Productive and Prosperous Life "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(AUDIO, 103 MINUTES) This extremely detailed presentation is a continuation of the personal development conversations (The Long Bumpy Road...). In this episode Brett teams up with a competition power lifter named Larry to offer diet and exercise knowledge and advice to Andrew and James. Andrew is new to weightlifting; James is knowledgeable but currently in ...

The post [BONUS] Fitness As A Foundation For A Productive and Prosperous Life appeared first on School Sucks Project.


Foundations of Positive Psychology: Q&A with Dr. Martin Seligman "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Dr. Martin Seligman otherwise known as the Father of Positive Psychology is one of the most cited psychologists in the 20th century. His work has not only increased the well-being of people around the world but has transformed the scientific community. He is the Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and is an instructor in the Foundations of Positive Psychology Specialization on Coursera. We had the chance to hear from Dr. Seligman about his new book The Hope Circuit, how psychology has changed in the past 50 years, and tips on how to be a happier person.

What advice do you have for people who struggle with being happy?

I always say that only pessimists and depressives can do reasonable work in psychology on optimism and fighting depression and I happen to be both a pessimist and a depressive. In my life, Ive had to use, and sometimes invent the techniques that help people like me.

The first most basic technique that I still use to this day is:

  1. Recognize the worst things youre saying to yourself
  2. Treat them as if they were being said by someone else
  3. Argue logically against that external person and the negative thoughts

What is The Hope Circuit about?

There are three remarkable things that have happened in my life and in the field of psychology in the last 50 years, and The Hope Circuit is about that. The first is that I went from being a depressed and anxious person to being a happy person. The second thing is that the field of psychology went from being about conflict, depression, aggression, and competition to focusing on finding meaning, love, positive emotion, happiness, and fulfillment. The third thing is that the world became a better place.

In the last 20 years, you have focused on making psychology more positive. What is your next focus?

The form of psychology Im most interested in now is prospective psychology...


Everyone Deserves to Enjoy Math "IndyWatch Feed Education"

In 2018, I want to change the world.

I want to make it possible for more children to claim math as their favorite subject.

Math is how we describe our world when words are not enough. Everyone deserves to speak math and to play math, to enjoy its beauty and its power.

Geoff White
The Grade 10 Math Crunch, or Hitting the Wall at Grade 10

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Background photo by Bobby Johnson on Unsplash.

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

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Tuesday, 10 April


Seema Chandwani: Youth work isnt sexy nor prescribed it follows and grows with the young person. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

I make no apology for copying again some of Seema Chandwanis twittering thoughts posted ahead of todays London City Hall Summit called by Sadiq Khan. Not at all abstract but responses grounded in the reality of day-to-day circumstances they express bluntly and eloquently the argument for a process-led, young people centred youth work, which has time on its side.



Ta to


This event cannot be an opportunity to blame each other for the shambles we find ourselves in, its the fault and responsibility of all regardless of party. This event needs to be honest & not pass the buck to absolve responsibility. Weve no time to watch headline table tennis.

In London (and throughout the UK) young people, campaigners and Trade Unions warned Local Authorities/Council Leaders of the dangers in cutting Youth Services. In Feb 2011 Haringey was informed of consequences and pursued a 75% cut months prior to the riots.

Tomorrow must ask serious questions about why local authorities and council leaders ignored warnings, intel,and young people when they decided to slash Youth Services. Blaming govt cuts can only go so far when money is found for l...


The Making of A Mindless Movement A Teachers Perspective On Student Walkouts [PODCAST #556] "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This April we'll be showered with more misguided student walkouts and other "teen-led" gun control activism displays. Shortly after releasing Podcast #552: #ENOUGH With Thaddeus Russell I received an email from a public school teacher who wished to remain anonymous. I thought this was an important perspective to share with you, and I was ...


Seema Chandwani Marginalised people exist because the system of marginalisation exists. Twitter thread goes viral. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Ahead of trying to pull together a host of stories and articles arising from and coinciding with the tragic events of these last weeks, Seema Chandwani has agreed to me pasting into a whole her passionate and powerful Twitter thread of April 6, which has gone viral.

THREAD: Ive been relatively silent about the murder of 17 year old Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, sometimes you just have to shut up and listen.

I first met Tanesha 3 years ago during the fight to Save Haringey Youth Services. A fight her and many of her peers fought with passion.

Ive rewatched some of those campaign videos. The words are haunting. Those young people knew what could/would happen should cuts to services continue.

Watching Taneshas face in those videos, little did she realise the lives she was campaigning to save, would include her own.

Im not in anyway saying if the youth services cuts didnt happen shed be alive.

But the issues raised by young people in such campaigns need to be heard cutting of services creates an environment where young people feel compelled to speak out about their lives.

Young people in areas like Tottenham are very capable of articulating their own wants and needs, but they asked me to campaign *with* them because they needed a political advocate as this fight was in their words unequal they felt unable to compete alone.

I didnt understand it at first, but soon did.

I wont go into details, the campaign (both 2011 & 3 years ago) are well documented.

But Ill make my first point; we fail as adults when we see young people fighting for help services as the problem.

Ive watched the response over the past few days and there are times Ive been frustrated.

If youre a Politician or politico, curren...

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Friday, 06 April


How A Teen Took Control of His Own Life Matt Maruca, Part Two [PODCAST #555] "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This is the continuation of Matt's awesome story about what is possible when a young person embraces personal responsibility and self-directed, real-world education. In today's conversation, Matt continues to discuss his health research and how the Bosnia trip was a catalyst for more learning. I learn about Mitochondrial health, sunlight and Vitamin D, dangers of ...

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Wednesday, 04 April


Q&A: Market Research Specialization "IndyWatch Feed Education"



What is market research? Why is it important for your business? We sat down with UC Davis Graduate School of Management professors Olivier Rubel and Ashwin Aravindakshan to get the inside scoop on the Market Research Specialization. Find out why delivering customer insights is valuable to any industry and how to find the story in data.

What first sparked your interest in market research?

Ashwin: I studied engineering for my undergraduate degree and in my last year of school, I became interested in economics and understanding behavior. I decided to follow that interest and take a risk by changing career paths and going to business school. I wanted to try and use the math I learned to model how people behave and understand how market research works. I received my Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Maryland and was lucky enough to get a job at UC Davis doing what I enjoy, which is research on consumer behavior and how we can use that information to help companies form better customer experiences.

What is Market Research?

Ashwin: Market research has many elements. We often think of it has collecting data but its more than that you want to get insights that are useful. Today, for example, companies collect large amounts of data. Not all their data will be useful, so market research is about identifying key data you need to make decisions that feed towards a goal that you want to implement.

Whether thats computing probabilities of customer purchases or indicators of customer satisfaction, the idea is that data collection is goal driven. So insights are a function of data you collect as well as the statistical techniques that you use. Once you get the data and the insights, both of which emerge from your goals, you then have to learn to tell the story with that data.

What will students learn from the Market Research Specialization?

Ashwin: Marketing today is a combination of art, science, and storytelling. In the Specialization, I want to help learners deliver insights from data and te...


West Virginia, Tell Us Your Story "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Last month, West Virginia teachers inspired us with your victorious nine-day statewide strike. From the national media coverage, one of the things that struck us at the Zinn Education Project was the power of teacher stories.

From Oklahoma to Kentucky and across the country teachers everywhere are eager to learn from the recent struggle in West Virginia, and we want to help amplify those stories.

To help share those stories, please respond to one of the questions in the survey below. We will send you a copy of a book by Howard Zinn in appreciation for your time.

We also want to be sure you know about the classroom resources at the Labor section of our Zinn Education Project website. This includes The Power in Our Hands, a valuable out-of-print labor curriculum that we have made available in its entirety at our website for free download.

To receive a free Howard Zinn book and to help inspire people around the country please take the time to answer one or more of the three questions below in at least two paragraphs.


Fill out my online form.


Quotable: Keith Devlin on Mathematical Thinking "IndyWatch Feed Education"

At heart, mathematical thinking is little more than formalized common sense. It always has been. Which means it is something we can all do.

Keith Devlin
How Todays Pros Solve Math Problems

If you have some time to spend pondering big ideas, dig into Devlins entire series of posts about what real-world mathematics looks like and the implications for math education:

And a related series on K12 school math:

Make no mistake about it, acquiring that modern-day mathematical skillset definitely requires spending time carrying out the various procedures. Your child or children will still spend time doing math in the way you remember.

But whereas the focus used to be on mastering the skills with the goal of carrying out the procedures accurately something that, thanks to the learning capacity of the human brain, could be achieved without deep, conceptual understanding the focus today is on that conceptual understanding.

That is a very different goal, and quite frankly a much more difficult one to reach.

Keith Devlin
All The Mathematical Methods I Lea...


[PODCAST] #554: Face It Q&A (Matt Maruca, Interlude) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Matt Maruca began his self-education journey at age 13. In middle school Matt began seeking answers to a variety of chronic ailments, discovered the joys of self-directed learning and never looked back. After realizing and harnessing his efficacy and abilities, he found school to be an almost intolerable obstacle to his education. In this interlude ...

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Monday, 02 April


[PODCAST] #553: How A Teen Took Control of His Own Life (Matt Maruca, Part One) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Many of you are going to learn a lot this week. And your teacher is eighteen years old. This is an amazing story (told in three parts) of what is possible when a young person embraces personal responsibility and self-directed, real-world education. In the midst of my growing frustration about things like #MarchForOurLives and the ...

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Sunday, 01 April


Make Reconstruction History Visible "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The first National Park Service monument to Reconstruction is in Beaufort, South Carolina.

The Make Reconstruction History Visible mapping project is an opportunity for students and teachers to identify and advocate for public recognition of Reconstruction history in their community and the significant accomplishments made by newly freed people and their white allies.

This project, a part of the Teach Reconstruction campaign, helps students learn about this vital era in U.S. history while also playing an active role in giving visibility to an era that has been hidden or misrepresented for too long.

For example, in Charleston County, South Carolina, of the nearly 200 historical markers, the first to commemorate Reconstruction history was not erected until March of 2018. The first National Park Service National Monument was dedicated in January of 2017 in Beaufort, South Carolina, after a 25-year campaign for recognition.

For this project, students (individually or as a class) are invited to identify and document accomplishments in Reconstruction hist...

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Saturday, 31 March


[BONUS] The Long Bumpy Road (Part 2) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A continuation of The Long, Bumpy, Endless and Essential Road of Personal Development SEGMENT ONE (3-11-18) Optimizing personal finances Managing credit cards Accountability Professional Advancement - navigating around employer "stated preferences" and understanding what is needed The unexpected personal costs of financial mismanagement Weekly Goals A Freer Mind: The 5 step process of GTD and ...

The post [BONUS] The Long Bumpy Road (Part 2) appeared first on School Sucks Project.

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Friday, 30 March


Sustainable Tourism: How to Be an Advocate for Environmental Public Health When You Travel "IndyWatch Feed Education"


In 2017 international tourism grew by 7% with 1,322 million world travelers, and that number is expected to grow in 2018. Now more than ever, sustainable tourism has taken a front seat in the global crusade against environmental degradation and climate change. We had the chance to hear from Flemming Konradsen, a professor of environmental health at the University of Copenhagen, who has more than twenty years of research and programming experience in the field of environmental and global health. He is also the director of the School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen, and teaches Sustainable Tourism on Coursera.

What led you to create this course?

Ive been working in the field of global health for many years in Asia and Africa and I currently teach Introduction to Global Health on Coursera which has been running since 2013. The same places where Ive been working in global health like Asia and Africa are also areas where tourism is growing rapidly so it was a relevant next step for me to teach in the area of tourism. We see pronounced impacts on human health and the natural environment resulting from the unregulated growth in the tourism sector, especially in small island states.  

Many of the most desirable destinations harbor some of the worlds most vulnerable ecosystems. A poorly regulated tourist sector that is designed with limited economic benefits to the local communities can place an unprecedented pressure on the resources and future sustainability of such destinations. If we build a sustainable tourism sector we can combine economic development and minimize the negative environmental and social impacts of tourism.

What is this course about?


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Wednesday, 28 March


20+ New Courses in Portuguese for Your Career "IndyWatch Feed Education"

We are proud to announce the launch of 24 new courses designed to help Brazilians advance their careers. These courses will help Brazilians obtain 21st-century job skills in areas like business, technology and data science by giving them access to low-cost, high-quality credentials from top universities in Brazil, such as USP, FIA, UNICAMP, and Insper.

The future of work and learning are converging, said Jeff Maggioncalda, the CEO of Coursera. We see a high demand, especially in Brazil, for online courses that help people gain an edge in the job market throughout their careers. Many of Brazils top higher education institutions recognize this demand and are working with Coursera to make their courses available on our advanced technology platform that enables high quality learning in a flexible format that fits into peoples busy lives.

Currently, over 90% of Brazilians take Coursera courses in English. The fact that only 5% of Brazilians speak English at the proficiency level required to understand university-level courses (B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) means that 95% of the population isnt able to access the benefits of one of the worlds largest online learning platforms.

To bridge this significant gap, Coursera is launching 24 courses and 1 Specialization in Portuguese in topics such as operations management, software design, finance, startups, big data, and digital marketing, among many others, said Angela Romero, Regional Manager for Brazil.

Many Brazilians are already using Coursera to sharpen their career skills in cutting-edge competencies, such as machine learning, Python, and business. I was receiving an average of 2 data science related job offers per week, from small startups to large investment banks. Almost all positions offered had an undergrad or masters degree as a requirement, but employers were more than willing to dismiss those requirements because of my Coursera certificates, said Tulio Baars, a Coursera learner.

Below is a list of the courses that are launching this month:

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Tuesday, 27 March


Putting Learners First: Insights from Everyday Parenting "IndyWatch Feed Education"

By: Talia Kolodny, Partner Community Manager

In a heartfelt speech at Courseras annual partners conference hosted by Arizona State University, Andrew Ng, Coursera Co-founder and Co-chair, announced the 2018 Outstanding Educator Award recipients. Addressing the educators in the room, he said:

I dont know any other group of people in the world that is doing more important work than the people in this community. There are a lot of people in the world who are struggling to make rent, a lot of people whose jobs are going away. More than anyone else, you give them hope. For that, I thank you.

With this message of optimism, we wanted to provide the Coursera community with a window into the success of our outstanding educators and share their insights on effective online teaching.

Dr. Alan Kazdin from Yale University was awarded with Courseras Learners First Outstanding Educator Award for his course Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing.

The Yale Parenting Center has been training parents for more than 20 years. While they have made a significant impact within the local community, they realized that the online format will allow them to reach a much broader audience.

The inspiration behind the course was to help as many families as possible with the everyday challenges of parenting. This can be accomplished by applying some very helpful scientific findings about what we know about child rearing and parenting,says Dr. Kazdin.

Below are 3 things that stand out in Everyday Parenting as putting learners first.

#1 Learning by doing

Practice is pivotal to developing habits with parents, children and online learners. This course highlights practice and implementation in every step. Dr. Kazdin quickly moves from abstract concepts learned from science, to concrete and useful techniques. He focuses on the applicable aspects of the material, encouraging learners to try the techniques at home. Common child rearin...


[PODCAST] #552: #ENOUGH With Thaddeus Russell "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This past weekend hundreds of thousands of ill-informed teenagers participated in a nationwide accidental fundraiser for the NRA called #MarchForOurLives. Thaddeus Russell returns to examine the bigger picture. We'll discuss the fetish-ization of children by both the left and the right. Other themes include politics as a performance on a stage, dangers of absolutist thinking, ...


Sustenance for the Senses 1 Loss, Loneliness, Narrative and Youth Policy "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This is the first of the single regular weekly posting Sustenance for the Senses promised in yesterdays news that Ill only be working one day a week for IDYW Tony Taylor denies doing an MA in Entrepreneurial Philanthropy and being headhunted for a CEO Third Sector job. 

As of now, the posting will appear on Tuesday as the site statistics indicate that the highest number of visits occur on this day. Why? I havent a clue.


Lost Ys London

An impressive, thoughtful and thorough briefing Londons Lost Youth Services 2018 [pdf] produced by Sian Berry, Green Party member of the London Assembly.

Since 2011, the cumulative amount not spent on services for young people in
London is now more than 145 million.




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Monday, 26 March


Playful Math Education Carnival 115Women of Mathematics "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Welcome to the 115th edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival a smorgasbord of links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college.

In honor of Womens History Month, this carnival features quotes from fifteen women mathematicians.

If you would like to jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

Let the mathematical fun begin!

The Women of Mathematics

They came from many countries and followed a variety of interests.

They conquered new topics in mathematics and expanded the worlds understanding of old ones.

They wrestled with theorems, raised children, published articles, won awards, faced discrimination, led professional organizations, and kept going through both success and failure.

Some gained international renown, but most enjoyed quiet lives.

They studied, learned, and lived (and some still live) as most of us do loving their families and friends, joking with colleagues, hoping to influence students.

I think youll find their words inspiring.



When I Get Where Im Going "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Our world lost an amazing woman yesterday. And today a blizzard came to Alaska. The blizzard would be pretty unremarkable -this is Alaska- unless it wasnt March and we werent all feeling the pull of spring. And the world losing an amazing woman could be pretty unremarkable too except that its not, and cancer comes []

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Sunday, 25 March


[PODCAST] #551: What It Means To Be Educated Blake Boles (Part 2) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Part Two of Two Today's show is intended as a resource for listeners looking to share the ideas of alternative education and self directed learning with their friends and family, or with anyone wants to learn more about these subjects. Blake Boles builds exciting alternatives to traditional school for self-directed young people. He runs the ...

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Saturday, 24 March


Tony Taylor denies doing an MA in Entrepreneurial Philanthropy and being headhunted for a CEO Third Sector job "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Be not disturbed! There is no basis for the rum rumour that I have embraced neoliberalism and applied to do an MA in Entrepreneurial Philanthropy after being head-hunted for the post of CEO of an unnamed leading Youth Surveillance charity. Although Im a trifle disappointed not to be asked. This wicked whopper is the work evidently of a mole, who overheard me start a sentence, neoliberalism brought remarkable technological development and hallucinated on the spot, thus missing the caveat, yet has widened and deepened inequality. In addition, it seems the reporting rodent got wind of a discussion at the last IDYW Steering Group meeting, within which I talked of withdrawing from my role as Coordinator. Putting 2 and 2 together the creature came up with a formula, if not for a nerve agent one that indicated I was on the verge of betraying the cause and marketing my inner soul.

Seriously though you would hope theres no need for such an opening cliched clause, but nowadays, who can be sure?   there is a hint of truth in the tall tale. At our last Steering Group, we did discuss our collective capacity to keep the IDYW train on track, within which my ability to contribute was of concern. I indicated that because of, amongst other things, continuing personal pressures I was struggling to fulfil the coordinating role.

It is important to situate this ongoing dilemma in the context outlined in an IDYW statement posted in July 2016, IN...

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Thursday, 22 March


Reconstruction Teach-In at Howard University "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Reconstruction, the era immediately following the Civil War and emancipation, is full of stories that help us see the possibility of a future defined by racial equity. Yet the possibilities and achievements of this era are too often overshadowed by the violent white supremacist backlash. Today in a moment where activists are struggling to make Black lives matter every student should probe the relevance of Reconstruction.

Join the Zinn Education Project, Teaching for Changes D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, and the Howard University School of Education for a teach-in on Reconstruction for K-12 pre-service and in-service teachers. This is part of the Zinn Education Project campaign to teach Reconstruction.

Tuesday, April 24, from 5:30 8 p.m.
Howard Universitys Blackburn Center

Presenters include:

Dr. Greg Carr, associate professor of Africana Studies and chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies, Howard University. Carrs bio.

Dawn Chitty, education director, African American Civil War Museum (AACWM).

Paul Gardullo, museum curator and director of the Center for the Study of Glob...

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Wednesday, 21 March


7 High Paying Jobs That Could Be Yours With a Masters In Accounting "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Are you interested in pursuing a career in accounting? Accounting jobs are projected to grow 10 percent by 2026. University of Illinois online Master of Science in Accounting (iMSA) is your entry into a world of high paying accounting jobs. The iMSA is ranked in the top three accounting programs in the US and is taught by some of the best faculty in the world.

Through the iMSA, youll get hands-on practical experience, learn cutting-edge analytics, and be qualified to pursue a number of jobs in the field.  Heres a list of seven high paying accounting jobs that could be yours after earning your Masters in Accounting:

1. Auditor

An auditor is someone who inspects a companys financial records and checks for accuracy and reliability. The role of an auditor can vary depending on the company or the type of auditor internal, external, government, and forensic. Responsibilities of an auditor can include: ensuring taxes are properly filed, organizing and examining financial statements to comply with laws, and making best-practice recommendations to management.

Average Salary: $58,083*    

2. Information and Technology Accountant

Careers in technology and accounting are increasing! As an information and technology accountant, you are responsible for which system your company uses to organize and report financial data. This role requires knowledge in both accounting and information technology and is perfect for someone who is a natural problem solver and interested in identifying technology solutions.

Average Salary: $76,146*



It takes a village: Key insights from the Course Teams Track at the 2018 Coursera Partners Conference "IndyWatch Feed Education"

By: Linlin Xia, Coursera Senior Teaching and Learning Specialist

Key stakeholders from across our partner community who have collectively brought more than 2,500 courses to life on Coursera came together at our sixth annual Partners Conference to discuss strategies for creating high-quality online courses. Below are 3 key takeaways from this years Course Teams Track sessions.

#1 It takes a village to create an online course.

The importance of collaboration emerged as a key theme across this years conference and the collaborative team effort that goes into creating an online course was also a consistent theme in Course Teams Track breakout sessions. Instructors, instructional designers, project managers, administrators, video producers, media specialists, marketing specialists, community mentors, and many others all play a key role in making an online course successful. As Anne Trumbore from Wharton Online said, One of the great privileges of working in a university setting is the value attached to the free and fair exchange of information. The more you share, the more you move ahead.  Elisabeth Villette from HEC Paris discussed how their marketing team increases learner awareness of the Online Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship program by interviewing lead instructors and sharing these interviews across key marketing channels. As a program lead of PwCs first data analytics courses on Coursera, My Tran shared her experience as the bridge between subject matter experts and video production vendors. Christopher Haynes from University of Colorado Boulder highlighted the course producers important role in coordination:  [course producers] have to be down in the weeds of teaching, learning, and design; but at the same time, up in the clouds, reimagining higher learning in the digital age.

#2 Scaling up with quality is critical.


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Tuesday, 20 March


[PODCAST] #550: Unschool Adventures Blake Boles (Part 1) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Blake Boles works to create alternatives to traditional school for self-directed young people. He directs the company Unschool Adventures and is the author of The Art of Self-Directed Learning, Better Than College, and College Without High School. Part One of Two This show is an introduction to the life and work of Blake Boles, and ...


Youth work beyond the measurement imperative? Tania de St Croix reflects on Youth Investment funding and the associated Learning Project "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Youth work beyond the measurement imperative? Reflections on the Youth Investment Fund Learning Project from a critical friend





In this blog, which appears on the Centre for Youth Impact website, Tania de St Croix, Lecturer in the Sociology of Youth and Childhood at Kings College London and member of the IDYW Steering Group, offers her critical thoughts on the Youth Investment Fund Learning Project, which the Centre is leading with New Philanthropy Capital and others. You can find out more information on the YIF Learning Project at

Tania begins:

Many involved in the youth work field are critical of the youth impact agenda, particularly its emphasis on the quantitative measurement of outcomes for individuals, and its neglect of process, group work, and structural inequalities. Those of us involved in In Defence of Youth Work have argued that the contemporary emphasis on impact and outcomes cannot be separated from its context, the neoliberal desire to financialise human existence, and its consequences for which practices are valued and who gets to decide. We have claimed that open access youth work is particularly unsuited to outcomes-based management and that open youth works future existence is undermined by an emphasis on impact measurement....


5 Courses That Will Make You Happier "IndyWatch Feed Education"


For the International Day of Happiness, weve rounded up five courses and Specializations that can boost your mood and give you the tools to live a more balanced and joy-filled life. Its true learning really can help you achieve happiness!

Happiness is associated with many positive benefits that can help you improve your health, career, and your personal life.

Happiness can make you more resilient to stress. Studies show that your state of mind is linked to your physical health, which means that happiness may help lengthen your life. Read on to see our International Day of Happiness picks.

1. The Science of Well-Being Yale University

Yales most popular course is now on Coursera. The Science of Well-Being, taught by Laurie Santos, shows you the factors that determine happiness according to psychological research. Youll also learn misconceptions about happiness and the logic behind the mind thinks. The courses hands-on projects give you the strategic tools you need to build habits that promote happiness.

2. Foundations of Positive Psychology University of Pennsylvania

The first course in this Specialization is taught by Dr. Martin Seligman, a famous psychologist who is often credited as the father of positive psychology. Through 5 courses, youll learn about key theories and research achievements in the field of psychology. After that, youll dive into a series of projects that help you apply happier ways of thinking to your day-to-day life.

3.  Achieving Personal and Professional Success University of Pennsylvania

Do you want...

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Monday, 19 March




This is the first notice of the forthcoming ChooseYouth event announced at the IDYW conference on March 9.



Its Never Too Late to Become an Entrepreneur "IndyWatch Feed Education"

In his research, Etienne Krieger, HEC Paris Affiliate Professor and Scientific Director of the HEC Entrepreneurship Center, has found that the average age for founding an innovative company is 38. This is a striking contrast to the stereotypical image of the millennial startup founder so what makes 38 a good age to reinvent your career, and is it worth the risk? Find out below and learn more about how you can jumpstart your entrepreneurial career with HECs Online Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship degree.

Why is 38 a compelling age for innovation?

When you work in an organization, says Professor Krieger, it can sometimes be difficult to introduce fresh, unique ideas and see them fully realized. As a result, the drive and desire to pursue your own initiatives can intensify over time, particularly after more than a decade in a particular career.

Money is rarely the motivating factor for someone in their late thirties deciding to start their own company. Their key motivations more often revolve around gaining freedom or prioritizing personal growth and development. Etienne Krieger, Scientific Director of the HEC Entrepreneurship Center

This can be the time in your life when you become more interested in finding your ikigai, or sense of purpose. In other words, finding happiness by aligning what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs and what you can be paid for.

Is it worth the risk?

While theres always risk involved in a new business venture, at 38 an entrepreneur has to take into consideration a different set of factors and commitments than someone straight out of school. They might have a family, a well-established home, and a reputation at stake, says Professor Krieger. But great entrepreneurs are often visionaries and risk-takers. Theres only one way to find out where a risk will lead, and thats by taking it. Anyone intimidated by the prospect should consider that those who never take risks end up working for those who do, says Professor Krieger.

You can begin developing the key skills for founding a company within your current organization. Professor Krieger notes that its particularly important to hone your managerial skills, as well as diplomacy and determination.


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Sunday, 18 March


Putting Relationships at the heart of public policy a conversation "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The R Word is a conversation bringing together policy wonks, scientists, practitioners, philosophers, philanthropists, innovators, people facing down disadvantage, and others who will engage in a series of discussions that put relationships at the heart of public policy.


Over the last few weeks David Thompson, a community worker, has posted a series of blogs exploring the task of renewing our commitment to the building of what he terms deep value relationships.

The first Connecting Well argues:

Connecting well is not the same as being well connected. It is not about the size of our address book. It is about the quality of our relationships and, whilst we may now network and transact more than ever, meaningful time together has been, and is being, systematically displaced by fast and shallow connections. We are becoming more atomised and automated, more comfortable with technology but less close to one another.

Aggressive self-interest has triumphed over mutual support as the neoliberal economy has invaded every corner of our lives.

In the tenth of the series, W...

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Saturday, 17 March


Highlights from the 2018 Coursera Partners Conference "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Hundreds of educators, employers, and members from the Coursera team as well as a few students gathered together at Arizona State University for the sixth annual Coursera Partners Conference. Our conference theme Learners First: Beyond the Campus Walls brought us together to work toward a future where anyone, anywhere can transform their life through access to the worlds best education.

For two days we discussed best practices for creating top quality, in-demand, and affordable online learning experiences while we looked ahead to online educations role in helping learners adapt to a rapidly changing world. We are grateful for all of the partners who have joined us on this journey. We left Arizona full of inspiration, and we hope you did too.

Highlights from day one:

We welcomed Sean Gallagher, founder and Executive Director of Northeastern Universitys Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy, and Executive Professor of Educational Policy, to share insights from his recent book, The Future of University Credentials: New Developments at the Intersection of Higher Education and Hiring.

Courseras CEO Jeff Maggioncalda followed with a keynote about how Coursera and its partners are reaching beyond the campus walls to reach learners wherever they are to provide learning experiences that lead to transformational outcomes. In his keynote, Jeff also announced six new degree programs as well as a new MasterTrack Certificate pilot to continue building degrees and credentials for todays learners.



Using data to power learning: Key insights from the Data Track at the 2018 Coursera Partners Conference "IndyWatch Feed Education"

By: Alexandra Urban, Teaching & Learning Specialist

Last week at Arizona State University, we gathered together with our partners from around the world at the 2018 Coursera Partners Conference. The conference is a rare opportunity to gather together in person and discuss how we can continue to transform lives through learning. As the leader of our Data Track breakout sessions, I was especially excited to connect with our partners on their research, and to discuss how we can collaborate using Courseras newest data tools. Here are the main themes that emerged during our Data Track discussions:

#1 Leveraging Research from Our Community:

One of the best parts of Data Track is hearing about what our inventive partners are doing. Its also exciting to see other partners brainstorm about how they can implement similar strategies back at their home institution. Research insights from one schools MOOCs can be applied more broadly, such as analysis from Joy Lu at the University of Pennsylvania on how encouraging binge learning can lead to learners moving further through courses. In another example, Dmitry Abbakumov from the Higher School of Economics showed us how assessment best practices can ensure effective proficiency measurements.

For partners interested in exploring our Data Exports, Paige Cunningham from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Illinois introduced her guides and code to help organize the data. Overwhelmed by all those rows of data in your spreadsheet? Use Tableau dashboards of Coursera data to benefit from insights developed by Duke Universitys Quentin Ruiz-Esparza. Curious how lots of data points and research can be turned into a quality rubric? Look to Jessica Morris and her team from the University of Pennsylvania for their evaluation of MOOCs for informed iteration.

#2: Accessing New Data in More Places:

At this years conference, we announced Courseras latest efforts to expose data to partners. Our brand new data dashboards include the long-anticipated course progress funnel, which visualizes learner progression and highlights points of ease and challenge in your content.



The magic of teaching online: Key insights from the Instructor Track at the 2018 Coursera Partner Conference "IndyWatch Feed Education"

By: Talia Kolodny, Partner Community Manager at Coursera

Instructors from across Courseras partner community recently gathered at Courseras sixth annual Partners Conference to discuss the tools, knowledge, and inspiration needed to create high-quality experiences for learners around the world. Below are 5 key takeaways from the Instructor Track sessions.

Lauren Atkins Budde (University of Michigan), Denise Hood (University of Illinois), and Richard Griffiths (Universiteit Leiden) in the first breakout session of Instructor Track

#1: Its all about the learners.

The importance of putting learners at the center was reflected in many of the conference talks and events. Courseras CEO Jeff Maggioncalda addressed his vision of Learners First, focusing on meaningful credentials alongside high-quality content to put learners at the center of the learning experience. William Kuskin from University of Boulder, Colorado said, From MOOCs I learned that it is not about me! Its about the learner! You need to get out of the way and let the learning happen. Truly, there is no better way to understand the learners mindset than to hear it from them directly. Instructors were privileged to experience a lively panel of degree students from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) iMBA and MCS-DS programs who shared their experiences on what they gained and what theyd improve for future cohorts.

#2: Learning online can be better than face-to-face

Online classrooms of the future will not only rival but surpass the physical classroom experience. We got a glimpse of that when Larry DeBrock from UIUC shared that when he taught an in-person class of 1,600 students, it was rare for students to speak up or ask questions. In contrast, in his online classes, students regularly share feedback through interactive chats and video conferencing. Teaching online offers a deeper sense of connectivity and community, said Fataneh Taghaboni-Dutta...


Credentials and the future of education: Key insights from the Administrator Track at the 2018 Coursera Partners Conference "IndyWatch Feed Education"

By: Cathryn Richter, Senior Partnership Manager

The 2018 Coursera Partners Conference convened at Arizona State University last week, and credentialing was top of mind as Coursera announced six new degree programs and the pilot of a new product: the MasterTrack Certificate. Leaders from Courseras partner institutions gathered in the Administrator Track (AT) sessions to discuss the benefits and challenges of taking MOOCs to the next level.

#1 Putting Masters degree learning within reach

After announcing our new pilot of MasterTrack Certificates with the University of Michigan and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, partners packed the Administrator Track room for Co-Creating the Future: Building New Credentials on Coursera. James DeVaney from the University of Michigan shared his motivation to co-build the certificate, and Adam Fein from the University of Illinois shared his teams desire to build on the success of the modular programs they already offer on Coursera. Both discussed the value of a modular sub-degree credential that allows learners to access valuable career skills as they test out the option to enroll in a degree program. We know that learners value opportunities to apply their knowledge with real-world projects, and these programs will allow students to do so before they commit to a degree program. In table discussions, we heard a lot of exciting ideas about ways to develop more modular programs. Multiple attendees highlighted that MasterTrack Certificates open up new opportunities for their institutions.  


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Friday, 16 March


[PODCAST] #549: Days of Wonder An Inspiring Model For Alternative Education "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Cynthia Day is the founder of and a teacher at the Days of Wonder School in Batavia, OH. I invited her on the show as part of a continuing effort to showcase successful and inspiring alternative education models, along with desirable attributes of voluntary learning communities. Cynthia began her teaching career in public school, but ...

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Wednesday, 14 March


Learning from Practice the new International Journal of Open Youth Work "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A cordial greeting to the second edition of the International Journal of Open Youth Work, Learning from Practice available by this link as a pdf. Its contents have already got me reaching for my critical pen, which can only mean one thing. Like all properly challenging texts, a raw nerve has been touched. Thanks for the stimulus.



Womens History: Continue the Fight for Justice "IndyWatch Feed Education"


From #MeToo to the Movement for Black Lives to the victorious West Virginia teachers strike, women continue to be on the front lines fighting for justice.

Below we provide some classroom resources to teach womens history not just for the month of March, but for the entire year. Today, as women are rising up around the world, we need a curriculum that helps us elevate the specific contributions women have made to peoples history. In the New York Times, labor journalist Sarah Jaffe wrote about the impact this kind of teaching had on one West Virginia striker:

Source: WikiCommons.

Leah Clay Stone grew up in the shadow of Blair Mountain, the site of the largest of the 1920s West Virginia coalfield labor uprisings. In school, she recalls doing a project on Mary Harris Jones, known as Mother [Jones], the labor agitator. She walked picket lines with her parents, a schoolteacher and a miner, as a child. Along with nearly every other teacher in West Virginia, since Feb. 22, shes been on strike.

Amanda Howard Garvin, an elementary school art teacher in Morgantown, said in the New York Times, There are a bunch of men sitting in an office right now telling us that we dont deserve anything...


Funville Adventures: Blakes Story "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Today we have a guest post an exclusive tale by Sasha Fradkin and Allison Bishop, authors of the new math storybook Funville Adventures. Enjoy!

Funville Adventures is a math-inspired fantasy that introduces children to the concept of functions, which are personified as magical beings with powers.

Each power corresponds to a transformation such as doubling in size, rotating, copying, or changing color. Some Funvillians have siblings with opposite powers that can reverse the effects and return an object to its original state, but other powers cannot be reversed.

In this way, kids are introduced to the mathematical concepts of invertible and non-invertible functions, domains, ranges, and even functionals, all without mathematical terminology.

We know about Funville because two siblings, Emmy and Leo, were magically transported there after they went down an abandoned slide.

When they came back, Emmy and Leo shared their adventures with their friends and also brought back the following manuscript written by their new friend Blake.

Blakes Story


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Tuesday, 13 March


IDYW 9th Conference buzzy, critical and collaborative "IndyWatch Feed Education"



Bernard Davies had sent this report on Fridays conference in Birmingham, bashed out in his own words to give a flavour of what one Facebook message called a buzzy experience.




[PODCAST] #548: Is College Worth It? Economist Bryan Caplan Says No "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Today, everyone is asking "is college worth it?" Oh, wait a they're not. In fact, considering the looming student loan debt crisis and troubling graduation numbers, almost nobody is thinking deeply and carefully enough about this question. Furthermore, most students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors still view college as the only path a "college ...


Compassionate Leadership Through Service Learning with Jane Goodall and Roots & Shoots "IndyWatch Feed Education"

You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

Dr. Jane Goodall

You can now learn Dr. Jane Goodalls Roots and Shoots program model through the University of Colorado Boulder on Coursera. Its is an action-oriented online development course that will teach you how to identify and implement local service-learning campaigns using the Roots and Shoots program model. While designed for K-12 formal and informal educators in the US, the course materials can be easily used by anyone who wants to spark change in their community. We had the opportunity to hear from course instructor Dr. Brad McLain, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Jane Goodall Institute and is the current chair of Dr. Goodalls Roots & Shoots education program.

What is Roots and Shoots?

Roots & Shoots is a youth service program of the Jane Goodall Institute founded in 1991. The mission is to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs, and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, other animals, and the environment.

What led you to teach this course?

All through my career, Ive been working in educational psychology and research. Eventually, the winding road led me to encounter Jane through her Roots and Shoots program which is an experiential service learning program.

What is this course about?

Roots and Shoots redesigned their program model into an online course, hoping to reach the largest possible audience. The course will give educators the tools they need to run their own Roots and Shoots clubs all over the world. I research identity based experiential learning theory, which is a philosophy of education. And so my portions of the Roots & Shoots course deal directly with that.

What is identity-based experiential learning theory (ID-BELT)?

Its an educational philosophy where learning is equated with identity construction. ID-BELT is concerned with learning from direct first-person experience and a holistic perspective that goes beyond content to include the construction of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs...


The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools "IndyWatch Feed Education"


The Irish Famine, 1850 by George Frederic Watts. Source: Views of the Famine.

By Bill Bigelow

Wear green on St. Patricks Day or get pinched. That pretty much sums up the Irish-American curriculum that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.

Sadly, todays high school textbooks continue to largely ignore the famine, despite the fact that it was responsible for unimaginable suffering and the deaths of more than a million Irish peasants, and that it triggered the greatest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. Nor do textbooks make any attempt to help students link famines past and present.

Yet there is no shortage of material that can bring these dramatic events to life in the classroom. In my own high school social studies classes, I begin with Sinead OConnors haunting rendition of Skibbereen, which includes the verse:

Oh its well I do remember, that bleak

            December day,

The landlord and the sheriff came, to drive

            Us all away

They set my roof on fire, with their cursed

            English spleen

And thats anoth...

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Thursday, 08 March


In Praise of International Womens Day "IndyWatch Feed Education"


International Womens Day 2018 campaign theme:

With the World Economic Forums 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for womens equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo#TimesUp and more there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

And while we know that gender parity wont happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, theres indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.

So we cant be complacent. Now, more than ever, theres a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to #P...

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Wednesday, 07 March


What the Koch Brothers Want Students to Learn About Slavery "IndyWatch Feed Education"

By Adam Sanchez

What the Koch Brothers Want Students to Learn about Slavery | Zinn Education ProjectGiven that the billionaire Charles Koch has poured millions of dollars into eliminating the minimum wage and paid sick leave for workers, and that in 2015 he had the gall to compare his ultra-conservative mission to the anti-slavery movement, hes probably the last person youd want educating young people about slavery.

Yet the history-teaching wing of the Koch brothers empire is seeking to promote an alternate narrative to slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. The political goal of these materials is to ensure students see racism and slavery as flaws in an otherwise spotless U.S. record, rather than woven into the fabric of our country from its inception.

The Bill of Rights Institute (BRI) is the education arm of the network of front groups the Koch brothers use to promote their far-right ideology. Maureen Costello, the education director from Teaching Tolerance, has pointed out the many factual inaccuracies in the Homework Help video the BRI has recently promoted to teach students about slavery. She concludes that the history presented is superficial, drained of humanity, and neglects to reckon with the economic and social reality of what opponents called the slave power.

A dive into their Documents of Freedom readings reveals an even more disturbing agenda. The BRI bills the Documents of Freedom as a modern tak...


Solidarity with the launch of the Irish Youth Workers Association, March 14 "IndyWatch Feed Education"

We are pleased to publicise in solidarity the launch meeting of the Irish Youth Workers Association.

The Irish Youth Workers Association is proud to announce on Wednesday the 14th of March, IYWA will launch for membership.

 Get an overview and insight into IYWA
 Meet the committee
 Get involved with the discussion
 Network with other Youth Workers
 Sign up for more information on the day

Please spread the word to your youth work colleagues   contact at



Lining up one generation against another "IndyWatch Feed Education"

David Willetts, once Universities minister under David Cameron, now Chair at the Resolution Foundation has  made his name arguing that the current difficulties faced by young people are the result of the excesses enjoyed by their parents the baby boomer generation of the post-war years.  Willetts  as architect of the  current tuition fees scandal, []

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Tuesday, 06 March


Is the tide turning? UK Youth certainly doesnt think so. Bernard Davies responds. "IndyWatch Feed Education"



Ta to


The CYPN headline says it all, UK Youth sets out plans to attract investment in sector. Neoliberal to the core UK Youth, positioning itself to be the voice of the youth sector, argues in its State of the membership 2018 that the sector needs to diversify how it is funded and work more closely with the private sector to ensure it can provide a long-term sustainable service amid cuts in local authority spending. The report goes on to express its desire to see social entrepreneurial approaches, including social investment, embedded in the sector and is particularly keen to see the formation of long-term partnerships between youth groups and businesses.



Degrees and Credentials Built for Todays Learners "IndyWatch Feed Education"


Over the last six years, Coursera has become a destination for 31 million registered learners all over the world to learn from the worlds top universities and industry leaders. In addition to 2,600 courses and 236 Specializations, Coursera and our partners are working together to build more valuable credentials, including becoming a premier destination for world-class degrees.

We currently offer four programs with the University of Illinois and HEC Paris, and in the video above, you can hear directly from university faculty and the students in these programs. I am heartened when I hear students like Dan Gartley in the University of Illinois MBA on Coursera say things like this: I was shocked at how much it felt as good or better than when I was sitting in class in my undergraduate days.

Together with our partners, we have built a new way to deliver an online learning experience that is rigorous and engaging as well as affordable and flexible.

Today, we are making that learning experience available to more people around the world with the announcement of six new degrees that will be added to our platform from some of the worlds best universities. Arizona State University, Imperial College London, the University of Illinois, the University of London, and the University of Michigan will partner with Coursera to build online degrees in fields where jobs are booming like computer science, business, and healthcare.

What were seeing is that MOOCs are a gateway to online degrees more than 50% of degree students took one of our partners open online courses before applying to a degree program.

Weve also learned that people want to be able to earn valuable credentials along the way to earning a degree. To fulfill this need, we are piloting MasterTrack Certificates with the University of Michigan in Construction Management and with the University of Illinois in ...


6 New Degrees Coming to Coursera in Computer Science, Data Science, and Public Health "IndyWatch Feed Education"

People need access to high quality learning more than ever. Degrees are no exception. Thats why were working with our university partners to build a new kind of degree experience. Today, we are excited to announce the development of six new degrees: a Master of Computer Science from Arizona State University, a Global Master of Public Health from Imperial College London, a Master of Computer Science from the University of Illinois, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of London, a Master of Applied Data Science from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan. With the addition of these degrees, Coursera will become a premier destination for world-class degrees with a total of 10 programs offered on our platform.

The cost of degrees has skyrocketed at the same time that technology is making postsecondary education more important than ever for career success over a lifetime. We put our heads together with our university partners to figure out a way to deliver degrees more affordably and flexibly with the same quality standards these universities are known for around the world.

Read below to learn more about the six new degree programs, all expected to launch later this year or in 2019.

Arizona State Universitys Master of Computer Science
First class starting in Fall 2018
Cost: $15,000
We are excited to be able to offer a Master of Computer Science from the university that has been ranked the #1 school for innovation over the last three years. This MCS program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in computing or related areas who seek a deeper understanding of computing fundamentals in machine learning, cybersecurity, and big data as well as experience through real-world industry projects. Ranked in the top 5 for graduate employment by the Wall Street Journal, a Master of Computer Science from ASU will give students the edge they need to accelerate their careers.

Imperial College Londons Global Master of Public Health*
First class starting in 2019
Imperial College London is one of the top ten universities in the world according to QS World University Rankings 2018, a...


Digital Transformation for the Future of Work in India "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The future of work and the future of learning are converging. The rapid pace at which the world is changing due to globalization and technological advancements is changing the way customers behave, the way competitors compete for those customers and the way businesses operate. The nature of jobs is changing and the skills needed to do those jobs are changing: people need to learn not only once but for the rest of their lives in order to stay relevant in the job market.

India will be the youngest country in the world by 2020 and will have the largest working age population by 2030. Most companies in India are challenged with not only finding new talent but also with closing the widening skills gap within their organizations. These challenges give L&D leaders an opportunity to drive digital transformation as a strategic mission in their organizations.

At a recent conference in Bengaluru, Coursera invited senior HR, L&D and Business leaders from various industries to engage in a discussion on how important it is for Indian companies to digitally transform themselves today. The conference had various sessions including a keynote by Andrew Ng, Co-founder of Coursera; a fireside chat with Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera; and Srikantan (Tan) Moorthy, Executive VP of Infosys. Courseras Director of India & APAC, Raghav Gupta, presented trends and insights from 30 Million Coursera Learners and Kabir Chadha, Global Head of Customer Success at Coursera, moderated a session with eminent panelists who shared their thoughts on what digital transformation means to them and their organizations.

Digital transformation means:

reimagining every business model Shraddhanjali Rao, VP HR, SAP

making every employee across the organization digitally aware Anurag Seth, VP, Wipro

a mindset change Anupama Nithyanand, MD, Accenture

a change in which we deliver everything Gopal Devanahalli, CEO, MeritTrac

survival Selvan Dorairaj, VP, Capgemini


Key takeaways from the conference:

The Internet era is making way for the rise of the AI era.

A classic example of how the Internet era has changed our lives is how we shop. Internet companies moved a traditional shopping mall to a website, used A/B testing to impr...

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Monday, 05 March


[PODCAST] #547: Building Your Own Credential and Career (Derek Magill, Part Two) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Part Two of Two - Please Make Sure You Heard Part One! As as follow up to our conversation on dropping out of college, Derek Magill and I explore how to "build your own credential" in lieu of a degree. Derek explains why he believes such a self-directed credential is superior to the four-year degree, ...

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Sunday, 04 March


Summerhill: Freedom to Learn, Celebrating Humanity in Education April 6-8 "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Summerhill: Freedom to Learn


Fri, 6 Apr 2018, 14:00 Sun, 8 Apr 2018, 17:00 BST

Summerhill, Westword Ho, Leiston, IP16 4HY

The Freedom to Learn Forum is an annual festival, celebrating humanity in education, bringing together progressive educators, families and other pioneers to showcase and inspire unique learning communities governed by equality, freedom, and collaboration.

Unlikely to resemble any other conferences youve been to before, the Freedom to Learn Forum is an open-space arena in which adults and children co-create the schedule. Anyone can host a talk or workshop on any topic they are passionate about, allowing us to share our knowledge, experience, and ideas.

This Spring, the Freedom to Learn Forum will be set in the stunning surroundings of the historic Summerhill school, founded in 1921 and still ahead of its time. Delicious food will be provided by their on-site catering team, and students will be adding a Summerhill Sprinkle to the affair, hosting mock-meetings and a famous gram (disco). There are a limited number of beds for those who wish to have the authentic Summerhill residential experience.

Price varies from 10 to 60

More information and bookings at https://www.eventbrit...

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Thursday, 01 March


Sustainable Development in the 21st Century with Ban Ki-moon "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Mr. Ban Ki-moon served two consecutive terms as Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007-2016). Throughout his tenure at the UN, Mr. Ban sought to be a bridge builder, to give voice to the worlds poorest and most vulnerable, and to make the organization itself more transparent and effective. Mr. Ban worked closely with member states of the UN to shape the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In his new course, Mr. Ban will take you through the 5 goals of the UNs 2030 sustainable development agenda & inspire you to take action.

What first sparked your interest in working on this course?

This kind of learning allows you to participate from whichever part of the world you are in. This could be a good opportunity to raise awareness not only to the learners in the developed world but for all in the developing world as well. Education is not something you take, it is something you use to give back to the world. It should be used for the common good of humanity. I would like to encourage you to see our world as your community.

What does Sustainable Development mean to you?

It is the agenda for the 21st century. That is going to be a top priority of the United Nations. Above all, that means connecting dots between challenges which we have been addressing separately, including climate change, food crisis, water scarcity, energy shortages, gender equality, gender empowerment and global health (non-communicable diseases). The Bruntland Commission of 1987 defined Sustainable Development as the development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This means strong economic and social development in particular for people with a low standard of living. On the surface, these issues might seem like distinct issues, but they are linked very closely.

What do you think people will be most surprised to learn from your section of the course?

This planet is at risk, and the challenges we are facing today cannot be tackled anymore within the borders of one country, no matter what that country is.

Why is it important for learners to know and understand the 2030 Agenda?

It is important for learners to know and understand the 2030 Agenda because it is the...

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Wednesday, 28 February


Stories of Asylum: being patient, taking time and building trust "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Sharing and interpreting stories are dear to the heart of IDYWs desire to explain what youth work is. Hence we are especially pleased to draw your attention to the appearance of a booklet, Stories of Asylum, the outcome of a year-long relationship between youth workers and young asylum seekers, in itself a testament to being patient, taking time and building trust.


Stories of Asylum

A youth work project in Warwickshire.


As youth workers, we met a group of young asylum seekers through a detached youth work project. We met some of them hanging out in the local park and gradually got to know them and their friends. They were aged between 15 and 19 and came from a variety of countries Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Syria to name just a few.

We have been talking to them about their experiences in their home country (one young man left because the Taliban wanted him to wear a suicide vest), their journey here (often ending in a lorry) and their experiences of being in the UK. They were surprised we were interested. No one had asked them to tell their story before.

One of the young people expressed a wish to share his story with young people at his school so that they might understand him better. He felt sad that he was called ISIS and that people didnt know the reasons he is here. From that,...


How 3 Courses Paved the Way to a Job "IndyWatch Feed Education"

With no work experience, Andres was looking for ways to get his resume noticed by employers. After listing the finance courses he took on his resume, he got a job at the CAF Development Bank of Latin America. Heres his story:

I live in Caracas, Venezuela and am going through my fifth year studying Public Accounting at the Central University of Venezuela. In February of 2017, I participated in the Harvard National Model of United Nations 2017 in Boston, representing my university and my country. I also completed a full-time internship at CAF Development Bank of Latin America in the Direction of Operations and Technology Department.

I wanted to deepen my knowledge of financial instruments and markets as well as improve my resume. Considering that I did not have any previous work experience, Coursera was a strong ally in helping me get the job at CAF. I took Financial Markets, Business English: Finance and Economics, Financing for Development, and listed all the courses on my resume when applying. 

Financing for Development by the World Bank Group was the course that got the hiring managers attention. It was well aligned with CAFs company mission since both are development banks. They asked me about it and as I really enjoyed that course, answering successfully wasnt a problem. Luckily, both interviewers were satisfied with my response and that helped me stand out from the other applicants. Three days later I was the new intern! In those nine months of the internship, I learned more than I expected and It had a huge impact on my life. I met great people, made friends, and in a small way, I contributed to the sustainable development of Latin America. 

Coursera helped open the door to a job. I listed the Financing for Development course I took on my resume which was a huge plus during the interview process. The course also opened my mind to new possible destinies regarding my career and life development. I learned about investment banks, which ended up being my favorite place to grow as a professional. Im looking forward to working in the financial industry, either in advisory or treasury and will continue working towards that goal.

Explore our...


[PODCAST] #546: Dropping Out of College, Why and How (Derek Magill, Part One) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Part one of Two - Derek Magill joins me to discuss his personal journey through and beyond dropping out of college. Derek is just twenty-four years old, but he is already enjoying great success as an entrepreneur, freelancer and writer. He also currently serves as the Director of Marketing for Praxis. Derek dropped out of ...

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Tuesday, 27 February


RIP, John Parr, former Head of Youth and Community Work, Westhill College "IndyWatch Feed Education"

In Defence of Youth Work is committed to remembering and respecting those, who have contributed to the creative and pluralist tradition of work with young people we wish to defend and extend. 


John Parr, former Head of Youth and Community Work at the Westhill College in Birmingham died recently. John Holmes has penned this informative and touching tribute.


It was in 1978 that I first met John. I was a researcher looking at career paths of ex-students of the JNC qualifying courses in England. I met John, as Head of Community and Youth Work at Westhill College in Birmingham, the longest established Youth Work course. I was looking for support in pursuing research that I was quickly finding out was a highly political and contentious area. John, along with a number of other heads of courses (such as Peter Duke from Leicester, .) were well aware that the research could threaten the funding of their courses (direct from the DES at this time) but were helpful to me. Little did I know at the time that I would be taking over Johns role at Westhill, on Johns retirement in 1991.

By 1978 John had already had a long career in youth work. Born in Liverpool, and with lifelong family links to the city, Birmingham became his home for his adult life. John attended Westhill College as a student in the 1950s and became a lecturer in the 1960s. When I met him I remember he reminded me of my Dad, and seemed from a different generation. His commitment...


[BONUS] The Long, Bumpy, Endless and Essential Road of Personal Development "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Brett, Andrew and James Mastermind on a variety of personal development topics: Emotional Health, Fitness, Financial, Productivity, Organization, Focus Andrew identifies his reasons for wanting to improve: * Want to be confident in my decisions * Want to be more understanding * Want to master tasks and actions * Want to be successful * Want ...

The post [BONUS] The Long, Bumpy, Endless and Essential Road of Personal Development appeared first on School Sucks Project.


SEO Specialization: Q&A with Eric Enge "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Eric Enge is a search engine optimization expert, the founder and CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, a published author, and a public speaker at search industry conferences. He co-teaches the SEO Specialization on Coursera.

How did you get started in SEO?

My background is in engineering but I eventually started a business development consulting company. My good friend was the CEO of an e-commerce site that sold DVDs and asked me to come work with him. Not long after, I noticed the opportunity for growth online and said, Steve, you should consider how to get traffic from search engines. Like any good CEO, he turned to the person that brought him the problem and said, Good idea Eric, you go do that for us. A year later we were doing a couple million dollars in sales from search engines (organic search). Then it dawned on me: Hey Eric, maybe you should do some more of this, and its been my career ever since.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of tuning your website and your online presence to increase the likelihood that Google and other search engines will rank you more highly in search results. Most people tend to think that the higher rankings happen because a staff of editors somewhere chooses which sites are bad or good and rank them manually, but its actually a software algorithm. Its useful to understand a little bit about how that algorithm works so that you can make sure it understands what your site is about and why it should rank for something.

What made you want to teach on Coursera?

Ive actually taken courses on Coursera! Ive taken the Machine Learning courses and think its a really good platform for reaching a lot of people. For me, I really enjoy the process of teaching. Im the only person in my family thats not a university professor, so teaching is in my blood and the opportunity to reach people through a platform like Coursera was attractive to me because I could help a lot of people learn SEO.

What can learners expect to learn from this Specialization?

SEO is very complex and this course gives people a strong introduction to what SEO is. From this course, you should get to the point of being knowledgeable and start trying to do some basic things. SEO is a very intense topic, so its useful for people to understand theyre going to need to keep learning. Theres always going to be a lot more to learn so its important to keep go...

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Monday, 26 February


Is the tide turning? Agreeing an IDYW position paper for the political arena? "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Further to our series of is the tide turning? events and, by twist of fate, fast on the heels of John McDonnells pledge to support a statutory Youth Service, you will find below a draft of a possible IDYW position paper to be used in discussions with political parties ahead of a General Election, which may not be long in coming.

Obviously the proposals in the paper are little more than bullet points, which will be backed by supplementary explanation and material if dialogue is forthcoming.

At the beginning of next weeks conference this set of proposals will be presented for debate, agreement/disagreement, amendment or indeed rejection.



  1. The neoliberal competitive desire to marketise and individualise is utterly at odds with youth work dedicated to cooperation and the common good.
  2. The rejuvenation of a distinctive, state-supported youth work focused on inclusive, open access provision ought to be based on a radical and complementary relationship between the Local Authority [LA] and a pluralist, independent voluntary sector.
  3. The renewed practice should be sustained by statutory funding, the purpose and allocation of which ought to be determined locally via a democratic youth work council made up of young people, workers, voluntary sector representatives, officers and politicians.
  4. Inter-agency work is vital, but youth worker...


A National Education Service, but also new policies for young people "IndyWatch Feed Education"

A discussion paper by Martin Allen & Patrick Ainley  While welcoming the Labour Partys policies for state education, this contribution locates them in a wider historical perspective and argues that proposals for a National Education Service now need to be part of a much wider range of policies for young people. Young people have been []


Is the tide turning? John McDonnell commits Labour to a statutory Youth Service. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

In recent months we have been asking if the tide is turning for youth work? Our question is given fresh impetus by the welcome news that John McDonnell has registered his desire to see the inclusion of a commitment to a statutory Youth Service in the Labour Partys Manifesto. Particularly encouraging is his insistence that this should happen as an integral element of a New Education Service creating lifelong learning from cradle to grave.  See below the full text of his contribution to the GFTU Union Building Conference 2018 plus video.

McDonnells intervention is all the more timely as next weeks IDYW national conference on March 9 in Birmingham will be exploring a set of proposals that might inform the re-emergence of open youth work and a democratised Youth Service. Watch this space.

John McDonnell:  Contribution to GFTU Union Building Conference 2018.

The General Federation of Trade Unions has an important and distinct role to play in the British trade union movement.

As it approaches its 120th year it is fitting to see that it is still dynamic and leading the way in terms of the transformative power of trade union and community education.

The GFTUs education programme is the biggest and most imaginative in the Movement and supports trade unionists in developing the practical skills, political and economic understanding and sense of history that are so vital today.

But it is also good to see that the GFTU is consciously reaching out to the wider public to keep the flag of trade unionism flying and reaching out through exciting events such as its youth festival to the next generation of younger trade unionists.

I recognise that trade union work to re-engage the younger generation will also be assisted by the rebuilding of the Youth Service so callously pulled apart by the Conservatives. This is why I am supporting the inclusion in the next Labour Party Manifesto the commitment to create a statutory Youth Service as part of the New Education Service creating lifelong learning from cradle to grave.

I am very impressed that the GFTU is offering new training courses for trade union trainers with Leeds Beckett University and Newman University. This is pioneering work indeed and will create a new generation of fully train...

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Friday, 23 February


[SUPPLEMENTAL] #545: Just Let Me Draw Please. This Is Important. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Here are some highlights of my recent interview on the new and rapidly growing Free Man Beyond the Wall Podcast. Mance and I discuss our experiences as students, and I share a story about the intense desire I felt as a teenager to create and produce things that were meaningful for me, even if they ...

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Wednesday, 21 February


Introduction to Street Based Youth Work; Detached Youth Work for the young people of today "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Its great to see the D2N2 Youth Work Alliance providing challenging training at no cost. Id quite like to do the course myself if only to discuss how the notion of radicalisation has been distorted. If youre in the area, dont miss out.


The D2N2 Youth Work Alliance, Series of Free Seminars presents;

Introduction to Street Based Youth Work; Detached Youth Work for the young people of today

Tuesday 20th March 2018, 7pm for a prompt 7.30pm start and a 9pm finish.

Held at Monty Hind Training Centre, Leen Gate, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 2LX (This venue has been provided free of charge by Nottinghamshire Clubs for Young People)

Target Audience; Those who believe in the value of Youth Work to young people including; Voluntary and Statutory Youth Work managers, practitioners, volunteers, students and those in positions of influence to shape todays practice with young people.

Learning outcomes; those participating will gain an understanding of the unique value of Detached/Mobile/Outreach youth work approaches, which establish appropriate trusting relationships with young people who choose to spend their free time on the streets and public spaces rather than in organised activity. This approach engages young people in open access social education to enable them to be both safer and happier through an increase in both their resilience and objectivity. In addition to working on young peoples own agendas, it can be utilised to address wider concerns including:...


Fees: Tories on the retreat? "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Theresa Mays proposed independent review of HE & FE funding received huge media attention wrongly being sold as a commitment to lower tuition fees a more sensible response than Jeremy Corbyns promise to abolish them. In fact, therell be no definite proposals for a year and rather than having any independent status, the review []

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Monday, 19 February


NPR Segment on Teaching About Slavery Features Zinn Education Project "IndyWatch Feed Education"

On February 19, the NPR 1A radio show addressed the question of How Do You Teach Slavery? with Adam Sanchez, Zinn Education Project curriculum writer/teacher organizer. Sanchez, who has written extensively about teaching peoples history, is a high school U.S. history teacher and Rethinking Schools editor. Also on the show were Hasan Kwame Jeffries, chair of the Teaching Tolerance Teaching Hard History Advisory Board and associate professor of history at Ohio State University, and Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance, Southern Poverty Law Center.

The 1A show focused on a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center called Teaching Hard History: American Slavery...


Calling All Math Teacher Bloggers and Homeschoolers: Carnival Time! "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The monthly Playful Math Blog Carnival (formerly Math Teachers at Play) is almost here.

If youve written a blog post about math, wed love to have you join us!

Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of school-level mathematics (that is, anything from preschool up to first-year calculus). Old posts are welcome, as long as they havent been published in recent editions of this carnival.

Click here to submit your blog post

Dont procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Friday, February 23. The carnival will be posted next week at Give Me a Sine blog.

Have you noticed a new math blogger on your block that youd like to introduce to the rest of us? Feel free to submit another bloggers post in addition to your own. Beginning bloggers are often shy about sharing, but like all of us, they love finding new readers.

Would You Like to Host the Carnival?

Help! I cant keep the carnival going on my own.

Hosting the blog carnival can be a lot of work, but its fun to meet new bloggers through their submissions. And theres a side-benefit: The carnival usually brings a nice little spike in traffic to your blog.

If you think youd like to join in the fun, read the instructions on our Playful Math Blog Carnival homepage. Then leave a comment or email me to let me know which month youd like to take.

Explore the Other Math Carnivals

While youre waiting for next weeks carnival, you may enjoy:

[Night At The County Fair photo (top) by Bob Jagendorf (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr.]


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Friday, 16 February


[PODCAST] #544: Peter Gray (Part Three) A Future of Self-Directed Education "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Part Three of Three My marathon conversation with Peter Gray concludes with an exploration of Peter's vision for the future. It's a bold vision, but he describes the observations that led him to believe it will become a reality for more and more children and families in the coming years. The future is self-directed education. ...

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Wednesday, 14 February


Giveaway: For the Love of Math "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Wow, what a deal!

To celebrate Valentines Day, Sonya at Arithmophobia No More and Lacy from Play, Discover, Learn (two of my favorite homeschooling bloggers) teamed up to offer a HUGE set of hands-on mathy goodness.

As a bonus, Im throwing in a signed copy of one of my books winners choice.

But you have to act fast. The giveaway ends Saturday, February 17, 2018, at midnight (CT).

Click the links.

Drool over the prizes.

Submit your entry today.

Enter to Win!

[Shipping to U.S. addresses only.]


[PODCAST] #543: Peter Gray (Part Two) Schools Impact On Creativity and Critical Thinking "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Part Two of Three Continuing our conversation on self-directed education, Peter and I discuss creativity and critical thinking - two skills we agree are left underdeveloped (or even damaged) by public school and college. This track leads us into a more general conversation about current college problems, including the anti-intellectual and anti-critical thinking trends of ...

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Monday, 12 February


[PODCAST] #542: Peter Gray (Part One) Foundations of Self-Directed Education "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Part One of Three Dr. Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College, and author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. Peter serves on the Organizing team for the Alliance For Self-Directed-Education. He also runs a ...

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Saturday, 10 February


Disguising Imperialism: How Textbooks Get the Cold War Wrong and Dupe Students "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Disguising Imperialism (Article) | Zinn Education ProjectBy Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

Recently, with the possibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III subpoenaing President Trump in the headlines, I found myself discussing the Russian hacking allegations with my U.S. History class. Having just finished our Cold War unit, my students were much less concerned about Russia tampering with U.S. elections than they were about the historical amnesia regarding the past meddling of the U.S. government. Max said: Why is the media making such a big deal about this? What the Russians are accused of is nothing compared to what the U.S. did in Cuba. Sarah added, I mean I know its bad to have the Russians hacking us, but its not like anyone died. In Congo, the leader was killed.

In the days following the original revelations of Russian hacking, some journalists sought to remind readers of the United States own sordid past of foreign meddling. CNN, for example, ran a piece by Chilean author Ariel Dorfman about the U.S. role in overthrowing the democratically elected Chilean leader Salvador Allende in 1973. Dorfmans readers could be forgiven if they did not recognize Allendes name. They might never have heard of these either: Patrice Lumumba, Mohammad Mossadegh,...

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Friday, 09 February


Free Book Offer: The Color of Law "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryHow do you teach about housing discrimination in the North using The Color of Law or a lesson by Linda Christensen?

In the The Color of Law:  A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, author Richard Rothstein explodes the myth that U.S. cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregationthat is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregationthe laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governmentsthat actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

We want to hear stories from teachers who have taught about this topic.

Tell us how you teach about dejure housing discrimination and racial segregation, using excerpts from Richard Rothsteins book or articles. Or let us know how students have responded to the related lesson by Linda Christensen, Stealing Home: Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal, and the Loss of Community.

In appreciation for stories and (when possible) photos, we will send a hardcover copy of The Color of Law. This offer will continue until the copies are distributed. A limited supply is available, so please respond soon.

Fill out my online form...

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Sunday, 04 February


[BONUS] The Trials of A Young Autodidact "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(AUDIO, 1 HOUR, 45 MINUTES) Twenty-two-year-old Danny McCarthy showed up at A Weekend With Thaddeus Russell in August and impressed a lot of people. He had traveled to Salem, MA from Cleveland. Then he and his girlfriend Alice camped three miles away from the event. His story brought Thad to tears. The experience left me ...

The post [BONUS] The Trials of A Young Autodidact appeared first on School Sucks Project.

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Friday, 02 February


[PODCAST] #541: Whats Between You and Your Goals? "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Do you even have goals? We'll talk about that first. Antony Sammeroff joins me to discuss his new free book Procrastination Annihilation. In it he lays out his method for overcoming procrastination and changing his life, one step at a time. Today we focus our discussion around what he refers to as "The Five-Headed Dragon ...


Colin Kaepernick Brings Peoples History to Youth "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Colin Kaepernick and a team of organizers are offering a series of Know Your Rights Camps for youth across the country, where young people learn about health, history, criminal justice, higher education, and more. The Nation sportswriter Dave Zirin describes the power of this day-long event in Colin Kaepernicks Message to Chicago Youth: Know Your Rights. To take the learning home, participants receive a back-pack full of educational resources.


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Thursday, 01 February


Teaching the History of Slavery and Resistance "IndyWatch Feed Education"

At the Zinn Education Project, we applaud the new Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Report Teaching the Hard History of American Slavery, which highlights how schools inadequately teach the crucial history of enslavement in the United States. Too often this history is sanitized, sidestepped, or glossed over. The history of slavery and the resistance to it should be central to every U.S. history classroom.

The Zinn Education Project is preparing new lessons for release later this year on abolition, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Below are some of the many free resources we have available for teachers to help their students better confront the hard history of slavery and the resistance that challenged, and ultimately overthrew, the slave system. The lessons also introduce students to the institutionalization of racism in the U.S., helping them to see the ways in which white supremacy continues to dominate our economic and political systems.



Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Black Lives Matter at School Week | Zinn Education Project

Building on the 2016 Black Lives Matter day of action in Seattle, next week, February 5-10, educators across the country will take part in Black Lives Matter at School Week. From Seattle to Washington D.C., from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, thousands of educators across the country will host events, wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts, and teach curriculum about racism and Black history.

For New York City art teacher Caryn Davidson, This week of action is a model for the anti-racist work that should be happening throughout the year within schools, whereby historically marginalized histories and voices are presented in ways that restructure our thinking and our engagement with each other.

While Trump spews vile, racist comments about Africa, Haiti and El Salvador, educators are organizing to support Black students and build an anti-racist movement. The demands of the Black Lives Matter Week of Action are to end zero tolerance discipline policies and implement restorative justice, to hire more Black teachers, and to mandate Black history and ethnic studies throughout K-12 curriculum.

The Zinn Education Project supports these demands and encourages teachers across the country to join the Black L...

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Monday, 29 January


Apprenticeships: the demise continues "IndyWatch Feed Education"

The latest official figures on quarterly apprenticeship starts (August to October 2017) may be disappointing reading for government, in view of David Camerons 2016 General Election promise to create an additional three million by  2020, but as posts on this site have emphasized, apprenticeships have never benefited many young people, never provided an alternative pathway to []

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Saturday, 27 January


[BONUS] High School Janitor Confidential "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(AUDIO, 62 MINUTES) Michael works as a custodian in a public STEM high school in the western United States. Recently he started listening to the School Sucks Podcast and he wanted to share some of his observations from the inside. He offers some fascinating and uncomfortable insights (both big picture and small) on public schooling, ...

The post [BONUS] High School Janitor Confidential appeared first on School Sucks Project.

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Wednesday, 24 January


[PODCAST] #540: School Sucks Across America Conclusion "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY FORTY - NOV 23 - EAST HARTFORD, CT) Richard Grove and Mark Iwanicki (a Montessori School Teacher) interview Brett and Nick about the School Sucks Across America return trip, the lessons learned along the way, and how the documentary will be organized. Plus a long monologue on some of my personal take-aways. ...


The unemployed, the economically inactive and the NEETs "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Figures released today by the ONS show youth unemployment (16-24-year olds) down to 12.2%, still nearly three times the rate for the population generally, but close to the 2001 low of 11.6%. (Youth joblessness reached 22.5% in 2011.) But in many respects, these figures are of limited use. For example, over a third of those recorded []


[BONUS] Episode 540 Extras: Pre-Show, Outtakes, and Bretts San Francisco Driving Meltdown "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(AUDIO, 45 MINUTES) This audio picks up at the end of the regular show. It includes a pre-show in which we discuss Conspira-Tour! Specifically Dealey Plaza and the JFK assassination. This is followed by a couple of outtakes that didn't fit in with the conversation I wanted to present. There is some commentary from me, ...

The post [BONUS] Episode 540 Extras: Pre-Show, Outtakes, and Bretts San Francisco Driving Meltdown appeared first on School Sucks Project.

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Monday, 22 January


Education and the digital age "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Discussion continues about the employment implications of Artificial Intelligence and robotics. If there is an emerging consensus, then its that there will be continued automation of routine work   particularly clerical, administrative and secretarial jobs in offices/banks for example, but that  non-routine and  personalised jobs, that are more difficult and more expensive to automate will likely []

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Saturday, 20 January


[PODCAST] #539: School Is A Choice A Conversation With A Real Public School Teacher "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Special occasion! Brian Huskie is a public school teacher in New York. He joins me to discuss his discoveries about public school over ten years of teaching, his process of coming to terms with those discoveries, and the solutions he is working to develop. Brian founded a self-directed learning program called Huskie's Heros that we'll ...

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Thursday, 18 January


What Spielbergs The Post and Our Textbooks Leave Out "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Pentagon Papers Collage


By Bill Bigelow

As I came out of the theater this afternoon after watching Steven Spielbergs The Post, I overheard a 60-something man like me say to his companions: Young people today know nothing of this history. My first reaction was that this was another kid-bashing comment that we hear so often. But then I realized: Hes right.

And why should they? Their textbooks hide pretty much everything that is important in the world from the roots of American racism, to the war against Mexico; and from the causes and consequences of climate change, to, yes, the nature of the Vietnam War.

Of course, in this respect, the film is not a whole lot better than high school textbooks, ignoring the Vietnamese, glossing over the war itself, and reducing the antiwar movement to a couple of cameo appearances of sign-waving protesters. But thats not the story Spielberg sets out to tell. Instead, The Post centers on the drama of whether or not the Washington Post will publish the Pentagon Papers, focusing on Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and executive editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks). And, no doubt, its a compelling story, one that offers a damning critique of the cozy relationship between the government and the press, and that explores how the commercial imperatives of the for-profit news industry can hold back the pursuit of truth.

Its impossible to walk away from the film without understanding that at the heart of the struggle over the Pentagon Papers was the exposure of government lying about the war in Vietnam officials said we were winning when we were not; soldiers were sent to die to prevent U.S. humil...

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Wednesday, 17 January


Cultivate Mathematical Curiosity "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Cultivating thinking skills is the main reason for teaching math. It is the minds perfect playground for shaping up.

To begin developing thinking, you must first have a child who is curious. For without curiosity, there is only forced thinking.

The problem with traditional math is it jumps to the punchline.

Absolutely no mystery or suspense is developed in traditional math books. Why? Apparently, someone thought math was without mystery. That math is a definitive subject of rules and algorithms that all have been discovered.

We must persuade children that math is a worthy pursuit through interesting stories, examining quirky math properties, and asking good questions.

Lacy Coker
5 Tips to Cultivate Math Curiosity

The Minds Perfect Playground

My K-2nd-grade homeschool co-op math class will be following many of the tips in Lacys article.

Our topic is Math Storytime, so well be starting with picture books, exploring the ideas they bring up, and finding things to notice and wonder about.

Im looking forward to it.

But picture books arent just for little kids. They can be great discussion-starters at any age. Have you enjoyed math books with your students?

Id love to hear your suggestions!

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Background photo courtesy of Bekah Russom on Unsplash.

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

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Monday, 15 January


Forgotten in the classroom: The Reconstruction era "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Forgotten in the classroom: The Reconstruction era (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryBy Avis Thomas-Lester

In August, Michigan history teacher James Gorman watched televised images of torch-bearing white supremacists marching on the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and decided to use the incident to teach his students about similar events that happened in a divided United States 150 years earlier.

He would compare race-based protests by white nationalists, like those in Charlottesville, to segregationists efforts during the Reconstruction era to roll back civil rights advances made after the Civil War. During Reconstruction which historians date from roughly 1865 to 1877 enslaved people were freed, former slaves and free Blacks gained citizenship rights, and Black men were granted the right to vote. As a result, African Americans made huge strides in education, entrepreneurship and political power. Historians estimate that as many as 2,000 Backs were elected to local, state and federal offices during Reconstruction.

Most of those gains were lost after 1877, when the federal government pulled troops out of the South. A backlash began. Racist legislators effectively stripped Blacks of their constitutional rights by passing laws mandating segregation and restricting voting.

The post-Reconstruction attacks on Black advancement were motivated by the same mentality as Charlottesville limiting progress, said Gorman, who teaches in Tawas City, a hamlet of...


Apprenticeship troubles continue "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Its nine months since the introduction of an employers levy designed to raise an additional 3 million for the apprenticeships programme and help government reach its total of 3 million more apprenticeship starts by 2020. But the apprenticeship levy only applies to large employers with a wage bill of more than 3 million (approximately []


[BONUS] The Deep End 024 With Richard Grove and Kevin Cole "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY TWO - OCTOBER 16 - Hartford, CT) This is one of my favorite Deep End episodes. Even though it was filmed three months ago, it features several topics that are always worth revisiting and many that are becoming increasingly relevant. Title: The Deep End episode 024 Date Filmed: October 16, 2017 | ...

The post [BONUS] The Deep End 024 With Richard Grove and Kevin Cole appeared first on School Sucks Project.

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Wednesday, 10 January


[PODCAST] #538: The Block Is Hot With Roger Ver "IndyWatch Feed Education"

At School Sucks, we strive to provide young people with the building blocks of intellectual, financial and lifestyle independence. Over the last year, we have overlooked a phenomenon that certainly relates to the last two: Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency explosion. My guest today is a man who has been one of the most prominent figures ...


Learning Mathematics Is a Deep Mystery "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Of all the myths about mathematics, the one I find most blatantly wrong is the idea that some people are just born knowing the answers. In my experience, when you confront a genuine puzzle, you start out not knowing, no matter who you are.

Moreover, knowing the answers can be a trap; learning mathematics is about looking at what you thought you understood and seeing that theres deeper mystery there than you realised.

Dan Finkel
A Mathematician at Play Puzzle #1

Puzzles for Learning Mathematics

If youd like to practice learning mathematics by confronting genuine puzzles, Dans A Mathematician at Play series looks like a wonderful place to start.

Some of these puzzles are classics, others are original. All of them involve some kind of thinking or insight that strikes me as pretty, or surprising, or delightful.

Dan Finkel
A Mathematician at Play Puzzle #1

Dan plans to post new puzzles on the Math 4 Love blog every Monday for the next few months. And sharing spoilers on each following Friday, if you want to verify your answers.

Check it out!

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Background photo courtesy of Amy on Unsplash.

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

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Sunday, 07 January


[PODCAST] #537: The Richmond Autodidacts Roundtable "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY THIRTY-EIGHT - NOV 21 - RICHMOND, VA) The final meetup: Nick and I were very happy to encounter a diverse, open and thoughtful group in Richmond, VA. Huge thanks to Larry, Travis, Isaac, Herzan, Allen and Kal for sharing their stories and their wisdom. View all shows from School Sucks Across America ...

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Saturday, 06 January


Twelfth night "IndyWatch Feed Education"

I say there is no darkness but ignorance. (Shakespeare, Twelfth Night).

As Twelfth Night is upon us, as we prepare for the Epiphany and the coming of the Wise Men, it is good to consider wisdom as an antidote to ignorance.

Traditionally, on Twelfth Night one put away their Christmas tree or risk bad luck for the rest of the year.

Twelfth Night and remembering the Magi seem to me to be good moments to pause. Gone is the flurry of Christmas, the festivity of New Years, the lazy hedonism of early January in summer (or winter, if you do not live in the Southern hemisphere!). Often we are back at work, dusting off our goals and plans for 2018.

Twelfth Night affords us time to reflect on these goals and dreams. What is it, really, that we want 2018 to bring? And how will that look, in our every day lives?

I like to think in terms of more of and less of.

Things I want to do more of, and things I want to do less of.

No pressure but wisdom drawn from reflecting on the year that was, and life thus far. As Pope John Paul II noted: Who does not feel the need for a star to guide him on his earthly journey? Individuals and nations both feel the need. 

We look for the star, the wisdom to make right choices in our life in this new year.

The wisdom highlights virtue and reflection. Taking time each week to reflect in faith, and hope, and love. What is it that I want to do more of? What is it that I want to do less of?

And writing these down or noting them in an app or on your phone. Though writing down such goals has been shown to be most effective.


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Wednesday, 03 January


[PODCAST] #536: Raising Adults Why Two Knoxville Radio Hosts Chose Home-Education "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY THIRTY-SEVEN - NOV 20 - Knoxville, TN) Huge thanks to Keri for organizing (on very short notice) and participating in this event. Sherry and Daniel run the popular Speaking Freely talk show on WETR in Knoxville. They join me to discuss some of the lessons they learned in school and how they ...


Fun-filled Peoples History Trivia Nights in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. "IndyWatch Feed Education"

People's History Trivia Winners 2017 | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

In November and December 2017, the Zinn Education Project hosted Peoples History Trivia Nights in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., raising more than $4,300 for our work in 2018. At both events, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves while learning non-trivial peoples history.

The San Francisco event took place during the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference, on Friday, November 17, at the beautiful Womens Building. The event brought together Bay Area peoples history teachers, NCSS conference attendees, and other friends of the Zinn Education Project. We were honored to be joined by members of Howard Zinns family who played as the team Bread and Roses. The San Francisco Trivia Champion team was #IKneelWithKap. Virginia middle school teacher Levita Mondie, who uses many of the Zinn Education Project lessons in her classroom, served as the MC. The Rainbow Co-op, Buy-Rite Groceries, and 21st Amendment Brewery generously donated food and beverages.

Two weeks later, on Monday, December 4, Peoples History Trivia Night returned for another sold out night at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. Teams included Casualties of Progress, Reclaiming My Time, We The People, Sisterfire!, Untold Stories, and FakeNews. The DanViews team won the D.C. Trivia Championship. The evening was MCd by high school teacher Julian Hipkins III.

Prizes for both events included custom medals; books donated by Beacon Press, City Lights, Seven Stories, Haymarket Books, HarperCollins, National Portrait Gallery, Harvey Richards Media Archive, and Project Censored; greeting cards with portraits by Americans W...


Learning Math Requires Imagination "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Teach mathematics the way we learn any other subject: Make it visual, make it concrete, not dependent on meaningless, abstract symbols, employ all the senses!

If math is such an important subject (and it is) why teach it in a way that is dependent on a childs weakest mental ability: memory, rather than her strongest mental ability: imagination?

Geoff White
The Grade 10 Math Crunch, or Hitting the Wall at Grade 10

Mathematics and Imagination

How can we stir up our students imagination?

Teachers have struggled with this question for years perhaps since the beginning of the profession.

Consider these comments by W. W. Sawyer in Mathematicians Delight:

Earlier we considered the argument, Twice two must be four, because we cannot imagine it otherwise. This argument brings out clearly the connexion between reason and imagination: reason is in fact neither more nor less than an experiment carried out in the imagination.

People often make mistakes when they reason about things they have never seen. Imagination does not always give us the correct answer. We can only argue correctly about things of which we have experience or which are reasonably like the things we know well. If our reasoning leads us to an untrue conclusion, we must revise the picture in our minds, and learn to imagine things as they are.

When we find ourselves unable to reason (as one often does when presented with, say, a problem in algebra) it is because our imagination is not touched. One can begin to reason only when a clear picture has been formed in the imagination.

Bad teaching is teaching which presents an endless procession of meaningless signs, words and rules, and fails to arouse the imagination.

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Background photo by Mehmet Krat Deer on Unsplash.


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Monday, 01 January


2018 Mathematics Game Join the Fun! "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Lets resolve to have fun with math this year. Ben has posted a preview of 2018s mathematical holidays. Iva offers plenty of cool ways to think about the number 2018. And Patrick proposes a new mathematical conjecture.

But my favorite way to celebrate any new year is by playing the Year Game. Its a prime opportunity for players of all ages to fulfill the two most popular New Years Resolutions: spending more time with family and friends, and getting more exercise.

So grab a partner, slip into your workout clothes, and pump up those mental muscles!

For many years mathematicians, scientists, engineers and others interested in mathematics have played year games via e-mail and in newsgroups. We dont always know whether it is possible to write expressions for all the numbers from 1 to 100 using only the digits in the current year, but it is fun to try to see how many you can find. This year may prove to be a challenge.

Math Forum Year Game Site

Rules of the Game

Use the digits in the year 2018 to write mathematical expressions for the counting numbers 1 through 100. The goal is adjustable: Young children can start with looking for 1-10, middle grades with 1-25.

  • You must use all four digits. You may not use any other numbers.
  • Solutions that keep the year digits in 2-0-1-8 order are preferred, but not required.
  • You may use +, -, x, , sqrt (square root), ^ (raise to a power), ! (factorial), and parentheses, brackets, or other grouping symbols.
  • You may use a decimal point to create numbers such as .2, .02, etc., but you cannot write 0.02 because we only have one zero in this years number.
  • You may create multi-digit numbers such as 10 or 201 or .01, but we prefer solutions that avoid them.

My Special Variations on the Rules

  • You MAY use the overhead-bar (vinculum),...

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Sunday, 31 December


A Beautiful Puzzle "IndyWatch Feed Education"

This lovely puzzle (for upper-elementary and beyond) is from Nikolay Bogdanov-Belskys 1895 painting Mental Calculation. In Public School of S. A. Rachinsky. Pat Ballew posted it on his blog On This Day in Math, in honor of the 365th day of the year.

I love the expressions on the boys faces. So many different ways to manifest hard thinking!

Heres the question:

No calculator allowed. But you can talk it over with a friend, as the boys on the right are doing.

You can even use scratch paper, if you like.

Thinking About Square Numbers

And if youd like a hint, you can figure out square numbers using this trick. Think of a square number made from rows of pennies.

Can you see how to make the next-bigger square?


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Friday, 29 December


[PODCAST] #535: The Wheels Off Liberty Reunion "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY THIRTY-FOUR - NOV 17 - Ardmore, OK) Mike and Brett fill Jamie in on what he missed after he slipped into an alternate universe 6 years ago. The guys then go on to address and solve all of society's current ills, including the Trump Presidency, political correctness, gender dysphoria, Bitcoin usability difficulties, ...


[BONUS] Wheels Off Liberty Reunion UNEDITED "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY THIRTY-FOUR - NOV 17 - Ardmore, OK) WARNING: This sucks worse than the actual show does. With 35 additional minutes of behind the scenes, out-takes and other material deemed not good enough for the final cut (believe it or not). Or click HERE to download. View all shows from School Sucks Across ...

The post [BONUS] Wheels Off Liberty Reunion UNEDITED appeared first on School Sucks Project.

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Thursday, 28 December


[AUDIO EXTRA] Brett On Declare Your Independence With Ernest Hancock and Davi Barker "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY THIRTY-ONE - NOV 14 - Glendale, AZ) Brett and Nick visit the Freedom's Phoenix headquarters on the 1st and 2nd days of the return trip. Brett, Ernie and Davi discuss the tour, Nick's documentary, schooling, college, self-directed education, the future, Bitcoin, and much more. View all shows from School Sucks Across America ...

The post [AUDIO EXTRA] Brett On Declare Your Independence With Ernest Hancock and Davi Barker appeared first on School Sucks Project.

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Wednesday, 27 December


Peoples History Workshops "IndyWatch Feed Education"

In 2017, we hired our first full-time organizer to offer peoples history workshops for teachers (with a focus on the Reconstruction era) and to write lessons and articles.

This fall we offered workshops in five cities to help teachers better use our peoples history resources and to knit together face-to-face network of social justice teachers. Now we need your support to continue this work.

We need to raise $10,000 to offer workshops in 10 more cities in 2018. Please give today.

By supporting one another and sharing lessons and strategies with the larger ZEP community, we can begin to challenge the misleading corporate curriculum and the ubiquitous conservative textbooks.

We now have more than 75,000 teachers who have registered to download peoples history lessons from the Zinn Education Project. Imagine how we could transform the teaching of history if we could bring together our ZEP networkand grow to more than 100,000 strong!

Our ZEP organizer, Adam Sanchez, is an editor of Rethinking Schools who has taught high school social studies in Portland, Oregon, and New York City. He recently wrote that we need to help teachers provide students with,

a curriculum that surfaces the moments of solidarity, resistance, and courage that made this a more just, more inclusive society. There are countless stories that are antidotes to cynicism. Lets tell them.

Please donate generously so we can help organize teachers to transform the cur...

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Tuesday, 26 December


[PODCAST] #534: Cut Your Own Path (With Michael, Kristin and Elle) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY THIRTY-TWO - NOV 15 - Outside Albuquerque, NM) Kristin and Michael are a young couple raising their eight-year-old daughter Elle in the enchanted land of New Mexico. The first three days of travel from Los Angeles were somewhat tiring and stressful, but when Nick and I arrived at their home my mood ...

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Saturday, 23 December


Bring Peoples History to Schools in 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Education"

For almost 10 years, the Zinn Education Project (ZEP), coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change, has offered teachers the resources and encouragement to teach outside the textbook. In these times, our work to equip young people with critical thinking skills has never been more important.

We know that if students learn a truthful history about the reality of war, racism, and exploitation; but one that also highlights the social movements that created positive change our country would be more equal and just.

In 2017, more teachers than ever before downloaded free peoples history lessons. To date, more than 75,000 educators have signed up to access resources from the Zinn Education Project website.

Help us reach 100,000 teachers in 2018. Give today.

In the coming year with your support we plan to expand and intensify our work by:

  • Adding 25,000 more teachers using ZEP resources
  • Continuing to add vital curriculum resources to our website
  • Expanding our Teach Reconstruction and Abolish Columbus Day campaigns
  • Connecting with more educators than ever before at conferences
  • Launching a team of ZEP workshop leaders who can deepen our work throughout the country

Please ...

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Friday, 22 December


[PODCAST] #533: A Weekend With Thaddeus Russell Live Interactive Podcast (Part 2 of 2) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY TWENTY-NINE - NOV 12 - LOS ANGELES, CA) The final event of Renegade University and School Sucks Project Present A Weekend With Thaddeus Russell. Attendees grab the mic and discuss the following topics: Paul Gibbons Polyamory and the family Marcy and Olivia A mom brings her home-educated 14-year-old daughter from Hawaii to ...

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Tuesday, 19 December


[PODCAST] #532: A Weekend With Thaddeus Russell Live Interactive Podcast (Part 1 of 2) "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY TWENTY-NINE - NOV 12 - LOS ANGELES, CA) If you think you already heard everything on Unregistered, please listen to the intro for this show. The final event of Renegade University and School Sucks Project Present A Weekend With Thaddeus Russell. Attendees grab the mic and question Thad on the following topics: ...

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Saturday, 16 December


An almost Christmas sampler: Books of 2017 "IndyWatch Feed Education"

If you are like me, you read. A lot. Constantly. You have books going at home, on your phone when caught (horror!) without a paper book. Books at work, for work. Articles saved to devour, later. Fiction and non-fiction, for study, for self, for work, for the liturgical year, for intellectual and personal improvement, for escape, for story telling, for philosophy and theology wrapped in narrative,  for book club. Bits and bobs of books floating in your head, because you read a line or a page and move on.

But some books stand out. You remember them, not necessarily because they were good or bad but because something touched that frozen sea within you.

These are some of the  (many) books I read in 2017:

The Dry by Jane Harper: Australian outback. Drought. And an almost colourless main character, detective Aaron Falk. I think it is often hard for a woman author to write a male, and for a male to write a woman. I think Aaron Falk is a simplistic character in a complex story, simply because it was easier for Harper to write a male that way. The story intrigues, however, in spite of  this, and in spite of the authors obsession with weight every character is a few kilos over ideal weight or thin and at ideal weight. Can we describe characters without weight? It would be interesting to try. Nevertheless, the book intrigued me enough to make me read Harpers second novel Force of Nature. I think she grew into her writing in this novel. It tries less ostentatiously to be Australian; it just is. A mystery with a good twist, set in the Australian bush.

The Strike series by Robert Galbraith (yes, the pen-name of J. K. Rowling): I wanted to see what Rowling was like, post Hary Potter.  I wanted to read what has been described as good, old-fashioned detective novels. I think you get hints that this book was written by Rowling the detail of the world and the curiousity of the characters, for example. I was surprised, however, by the sexist description of women those pert. high breasts... It may be that Rowling felt this was expected in a detective novel, ostensibly written by a man, with a male detective as the focal point. But what an opportunity missed, to write of women without describing breasts or legs or sexually pleasing looks? Overall, I liked the novels. I enjoyed the plots and the literary inclusions. I am a bit worried that book four, however, will feel compelled to weave romance into the plot. I dont read detective stories for romance. Actually, I dont read romance. I guess that says something about me. Good o...

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Friday, 15 December


Patrick Ainley discussion paper on Michael Gove "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Revisiting Michael Gove et als 2005 pamphlet, DIRECT DEMOCRACY, An Agenda for a New Model Party, this article finds in it the blueprint for power Gove made in campaigning to leave the EU that indicates an unfinished Agenda for English primary and secondary education under hard Brexit complementing measures proposed for tertiary education in the []

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Tuesday, 12 December


Lessons for the National #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool Week of Action "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Note to readers: this post is a working document and is not yet ready to be shared or distributed. 

In the fall of 2016, educators across Seattle launched the #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool day of action to challenge institutional racism and support an elementary school facing threats including a bomb threat for daring to publicly affirm its commitment to its majority Black population.

This unprecedented action, which included over 2,000 educators donning Black Lives Matter t-shirts, inspired similar actions in Bellevue, Philadelphia, and Rochester.

Building off of these efforts, educators  this time from across the country are organizing a #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool week of action, set for February 5-9. Each day has a specific theme and is based on last years work in Philadelphia:

Monday: The Day of Demands, including Restorative Justice, Empathy, Loving Engagement

Restorative Justice is the commitment to build a beloved and loving community that is sustainable and growing. Empathy is ones ability to connect with others by building relationships built on mutual trust and understanding. Loving Engagement is the commitment to practice justice, liberation and peace.

Tuesday: Diversity, Globalism

Diversity is the celebration and acknowledgment of differences and commonalities across cultures. Globalism is our ability to see how we are impacted or privileged within the Black global family that exists...

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Monday, 11 December


"IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY NINETEEN - NOV 2 - SALT LAKE CITY, UT) View all shows from Paul Duane, the Cross-Dressing Mormon Anarchist, gives me a tour of Temple Square and shares the gospel, history, features and benefits of Mormonism in an attempt to persuade me to join the faith. Watch the full video version: View ...

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Sunday, 10 December


Dec. 11, 1917: Black Soldiers Executed for Houston Riot "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Court martial of 64 members of the 24th Infantry on trial for mutiny and murder of 17 people at Houston, Texas, Aug. 23, 1917. Image: W.C. Lloyd, San Antonio, Texas.

The primary cause of the Houston riot was the habitual brutality of the white police officers of Houston in their treatment of colored people. The Crisis Magazine, November 1917

On December 11, 1917, 13 African American soldiers were hanged just outside of San Antonio for alleged participation in the Houston Riot (or Mutiny) in August. They were:

Sgt. William C. Nesbitt
Corp. Larsen J. Brown
Corp. James Wheatley
Corp. Jesse Moore
Corp. Charles W. Baltimore*
Pvt. William Brackenridge
Pvt. Thomas C. Hawkins
Pvt. Carlos Snodgrass
Pvt. Ira B. Davis
Pvt. James Divine
Pvt. Frank Johnson
Pvt. Rosley W. Young
Pvt. Pat MacWharter

The army held three courts-martial following the Houston Riot and found 110 African Americans guilty.

Nineteen African American soldiers were hanged and 63 received life sentences in federal prison. Two white officers faced court-martial, but they were released. No white civilians were brought to trial.

Learn more from the Paris, Texas NAACP and Executed Today. Find a collection of...

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Saturday, 09 December


[SUPPLEMENTAL] #529: Brett and Tom Woods Discuss School Sucks Across America "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Supplemental Show - This is a re-post of my recent appearance on the Tom Woods show. From Brett Veinotte of the School Sucks Project just returned from a 40-day cross-country trip, where he held meetings and events highlighting alternative approaches to education. He joins me today to discuss what he found. View all shows ...

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Wednesday, 06 December


Giving Tuesday a Big Success "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Click image for larger version.

This year a team of educators, authors, and activists joined the Zinn Education Project to help with outreach on #GivingTuesday. As a result, we raised $5,268 from 74 individual donors. With our anonymous donor match, the total amount collected is $10,536 to help sustain and expand our outreach to teachers in 2018.

Our success this year is in large part thanks to team members E.R. Bills, Kipp Dawson, Christine Fogler, Mia Henry, Samuel Herron, Paul Murray, and Mark Roudan. They sent moving letters to friends and posted appeals on social media. E.R. Bills created memes such as the one to the right. We extend our appreciation to everyone who made a contribution and helped spread the word. The Zinn Education Project does not receive corporate support. Instead we depend on individuals for this people-powered work.

Along with the donations, we received many wonderful quotes and dedications, including the ones below:

Ive used Howard Zinns books for decades in my American History classes at CSU, Chico, and they never cease to educate and inspire students year after year. Howard provided a way of looking at our history that was truly unique, vital, and empathetic. It seems that at this time in our historywith so much division, turmoil, and racism rearing their ugly headswe need Howard Zinns words and ideas in the classroom, to teach us about the struggles of ordinary people to overcome tyranny and oppression and to point the way to a better future. So I am more than happy to make a donation to the Zinn Education Project. Robert Archer, Chico, California

I just appreciate and believe in anything my daughter Mia Henry supports because I know that if she believes in i...


Holiday Math and More: Playful Math Education Carnival 114 "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Do you enjoy math? I hope so! If not, the links in this post just may change your mind.

Welcome to the 114th edition of the Math Teachers At Play math education blog carnival a smorgasbord of articles by bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college.

If you would like to jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

By the way, I found a cool, semi-self-referential trivia tidbit about our carnival number: 27 14 = 114. And if you put 114 dots into a 17 Exploding Dots machine, youll get the code 222. Pretty neat!

As you scroll through the links below, you find several puzzle graphics from the wonderful Visual Patterns website. Use them as conversation-starters with your kids: What do you notice? How does each pattern grow? For older students: Can you write a formula to describe how each pattern? What will it look at stage 43?

Pattern #7, Trees


Setting the mood: Enjoy this bit of seasonal fidgeting from Vi Hart (@vihartvihart).

If you dont understand some of the references, thats normal! Pick a phrase, Google it, and enjoy the fun of learning...

Tuesday, 05 December


The Tories have increased social mobility! "IndyWatch Feed Education"

Patrick Ainley   Guardian Letter Contrary to the assertions of Alan Milburn (Observer 2 December*), the Tories have dramatically increased social mobility. However, it is general, absolute, DOWNWARD social mobility that has increased, whilst the limited, relative, upward social mobility of the post-war, welfare state period is nowadays so statistically insignificant as to be exceptional.  As []


[PODCAST] #528: A Roundtable of Hot Topics! In Denver "IndyWatch Feed Education"

(#SchoolSucksAcrossAmerica - DAY EIGHTEEN - NOV 1 - DENVER, CO) Denver was one of the biggest gatherings of the tour, with many attendees who were unfamiliar School Sucks Project. After I introduced myself and my work, we got comfortable with each other pretty quickly and delved into a fast-paced group discussion covering a variety of ...


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