A day with Will Richardson, Part 3

Here is Part 3 of my notes from our day with Will Richardson. You also can see the live chat and/or follow the Twitter conversation and/or participate in EtherPad.


  • We started with a visioning exercise (and accompanying discussion)
  • Are we suffering from information overload or information overchoice?
  • The nichification / ghettoization / balkanization of society
  • Communities of interest don't look like communities of geography
  • The #1 characteristic of a healthy network is diversity of ideas. (Stephen Downes)
  • Adolescents are growing up in a much more transparent environment than previous generations; whatever they do is likely going to be public (whether they like it or not)
  • We are spending a lot more time interfacing through screens
  • We are failing to teach adolescents how to use these technological affordances in socially responsible and productive ways
    • This is because the vast majority of educators aren't information literate themselves
    • If you can't figure out who's behind http://www.martinlutherking.org/, you're illiterate these days
    • It's not hard to make the case that the world is now 24/7/365 anyone anytime anywhere. But we need access to it.
      • 1a: share the story of what it could look like for kids, lots of meetings with stakeholders, showed videos/inspiring tool usage by educators, visited other places, created cognitive disconnects, built partnerships with business/industry
      • 1b: has to be an ongoing process/conversation
      • 2b: making videocasts, using iPod touches for teacher observation/evaluation, moved to Google Docs, using digital discussion forums, using blogs/wikis/EtherPad, school board is now paperless
      • 2e: working with SETDA or iNACOL, being active in the blogosphere / Twittersphere
      • 3c: are you creating opportunities for staff to do this?
      • 5c: give credit when you use photos (modeling attribution),
      • We've got to share more with each other and with others (can CASTLE collect some of these stories?)
        • For example, Todd Abrahamson (Sigourney) is doing podcasts
        • Could we fill in the rubric examples as a group and then share with others?
        • Networks are about people who are cooperating and sharing; communities are groups of people who know each other, roll up their sleeves, and collaborate (go even further than networks)
        • We now live in an era of perpetual professional development
        • Check out the Electronic Crime Institute (John Carver)
        • Digital literacy/safety/security issues need to infuse everything; it's not a stand-alone unit
        • Are our safety/security efforts both everywhere and nowhere?
        • I want my kid to fail safely in the vicinity of some responsible adult that can help her recognize the ramifications of the mistakes that she is making
        • It can't all happen at school (Dave Keane). Where else is it going to occur? (Will Richardson)
        • Modeling by adults implies intentional, visible behavior
        • Models that Will has seen
          • Science Leadership Academy (Philadelphia, PA) - inquiry-based laptop magnet school, students are patenting a student-created biodiesel generator, SLA is tough to scale, defining questions = how do we learn?, what can we create?, and what does it mean to lead?, core values of inquiry/research/collaboration/presentation/reflection
          • High Tech High (San Diego, CA) - very tech-infused but not getting the global/networking piece yet
          • Australia is getting every kid a netbook/laptop by 2012
          • Can we do this? Is it possible? What choice do we have?
          • ​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

            Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

            Big Think Edge
            • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
            • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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            Is this why time speeds up as we age?

            We take fewer mental pictures per second.

            Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
            Mind & Brain
            • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
            • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
            • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
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            Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

            It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

            17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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            In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


            Image from the study.

            As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

            Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

            "The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

            It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

            Image by authors of the study.

            Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

            The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

            “In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

            Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

            Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

            Image source: Wikimedia commons
            Surprising Science
            • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
            • Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
            • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.

            The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.

            For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.

            A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."

            Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.

            Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.

            As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.

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