Week ending 2020.08.16

Flavour of the week in a, ehrm, skull shell

(But seriously, watch this short!)

After a year-long hiatus during which I hopefully learned to shy away from weeknotes that aren’t a 15-minute read (you can tell I was working from home at the time), I’m giving it another go. These days, I’m back to being too busy to breathe. Not exactly in sync with my secret wish to slow down, but at least it’ll keep my weekly updates short.

Weeknotes Structure

Note to self, I’d like to set aside some time to decide on a structure for doing Weeknotes. Last year, I centred it around the week’s biggest learnings, but that led to never-ending stories each week. This time I need a lower entry threshold or I’ll never allow myself to get round to doing this.

SAGE Global

This week, 9 months and 250 hours of entrepreneurship teaching and mentoring after our first class, my group of 13-14yo’s became the SAGE Global World Cup world champions! That after my two teams came first and second in the national round of the SAGE Global competition two weeks ago.

I attended a wonderful celebratory dinner on Friday evening co-hosted by their families, and I spent half the night with my mouth agape, lost in amazement at how much growing up and growing into themselves they’ve done as a result of this process. Congratulations, Cobtain! Their Facebook page shows how active they are even post-competition … they’ve internalised my incessant mantra, “People, Planet, Profit” and are taking it to new heights 😁

It’s been an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience seeing these young people transform into a force for good, developing an entrepreneurial spirit, starting a business that will grow with them long after the competition is over, and most importantly, fostering a social enterprise mindset that has seem them develop build their for-profit businesses on a solid foundation of sustainable development and social impact.

In the words of my other team, Viet Nam national runners-up RECO, “small change changes the world.”

Work

Viet Nam’s had a fantastic run during 2020, all things considered. We’ve only had 2 weeks of lockdown, and for the most part life’s continued as normal. Of course, being in the education sector, we feel the effects of covid19 first hand. Teaching schedules have been severely disrupted since the start of February, and I’ve spent a total of one month in a physical classroom so far this year.

After a great summer holiday during which many thousands hit seaside towns to work off the cabin fever of being unable to travel abroad all year long, it was time to head back to the classroom. Only for the third covid wave to hit. After a number of postponements, tomorrow was supposed to Day 1 of the new academic year. The possibility of having to teach online, we were warned, was looming over our heads. Around lunchtime yesterday, it was confirmed. The digital ink wasn’t dry before a follow-up email informed that the local government committee isn’t allowing any form of teaching, whether offline or online, until at least September 1st.

So after a week of very late nights getting ready for the upcoming week’s classes, I suddenly find myself with an extra two weeks to get ready for the new year. Blessing in disguise, until I consider that the latest pandemic developments have pushed my planning back by a month. No mean feat if you see students for 180 minutes a week and have that culminate in starting their own businesses.

Baccalaureus Unschoolentus

I wrote a blog post about it this week. Come to think of it, I wrote a whole bunch of blog posts on a variety of topics. But for the reasons listed below, I haven’t been able to publish and thus forgot about it. More on our family’s new Baccalaureus Unschoolentus adventure next week, but suffice to say it’s gone really well this week. Learning academic writing on the fly has resulted in some interesting impromptu lessons, including citation, plagiarism, and discerning credible sources. Come to think of it, this process alone deserves a blog post. It won’t make sense to say anything else on the subject without having explained said subject, so rain check till next week!

IndieWeb

I finally managed to indiefy my website! It’s been a schlep getting my domain moved to a new registrar, but the process of going IndieWeb – which I only got to today – has been seamless thanks to the wonderful IndieWeb WordPress plugin. There’s a lot more to explore, but I’ll get to prettying it up at some point when my calendar miraculously frees up. Right after I manually add back all my content (WordPress database disaster – don’t ask).

Who needs to sign in via Google or Facebook when your own domain name can do the job – thanks IndieAuth! #ownyourdata

Zettelkasten

I’ve been trying out Zettlr and Obsidian this week. Still not entirely sold on which software to use for my Zettelkasten. Broken record, but I simply haven’t had time to spend enough time with either one. I love the look of Neuron but the tech entry level’s way too high for my social sciences brain. I thought Tiddlywiki would be an option but after an informative chat with former TW user and cognitive scientist Athul Sudheesh (whose opinion I solemnly trust on these matters, cos how to compute what mathematical psychology is when you have to use a calculator to add double-digit numbers), it’s moved way down the list. I can’t pass up trying out Anne-Laure Le Cunff‘s lovely (true beginner-friendly) TiddlyWiki tutorial over on Ness Labs, though, so I expect to experiment with it as soon as a mythical sliver of time frees up.

Playlist

Audio

Ezra Klein’s interview with Nicholas Carr, On Deep Reading and Digital Thinking, was a good listen. I wish there was a transcript cos I didn’t have the opportunity to make notes. From the episode description:

“The point of this conversation is not that the internet is bad, nor that it is good. It’s that it is changing us, just as every medium before it has. We need to see those changes clearly in order to take control of them ourselves.”

Books

I hardly read a word, but I did sneak in some time for a few pages of How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens.

Articles

It ended up being more of a structural study into how he structures his Evergreen notes, but Andy Matuschak‘s working notes have seen a lot of browser visits from me this week.