There are also evil women. I didn’t go looking for them either. This is what I type: “a-r-e w-o-m-e-n”. And Google offers me just two choices, the first of which is: “Are women evil?” I press return. Yes, they are. Every one of the 10 results “confirms” that they are, including the top one, from a site called, which is boxed out and highlighted: “Every woman has some degree of prostitute in her. Every woman has a little evil in her… Women don’t love men, they love what they can do for them. It is within reason to say women feel attraction but they cannot love men.”

from: Google, democracy and the truth about internet search | Technology | The Guardian

I’ve long been fascinated by google auto completes but never though of deeper implications.

I read this in the Observer this morning. Thanks to @LillyLyle for digging out the link I couldn’t find (via @IanStuart66)).

I use google all of the time and do pay attention to the auto completes as they often seem to help in refining a search. Sometimes this is just to avoid suggestions, sometime better. I’d not thought about the darker side.

On reading the article I first didn’t think that I paid much attention to auto suggestions (like adverts). I cast my mind back to yesterday when I was searching for a way to draw ‘irregular rectangles’ with JavaScript. I didn’t really find what I wanted, but burrowed down several rabbit holes steered by the suggestions.

I am used to the top google results having some sort of authority. Google a film get IMDB or Wikipedia. This gives pause.

Featured image captured with LICEcap.

Running my auto complete script leads to a few possible questions…


  • is google your friend?
  • is google evil?
  • is google racist?
  • is google listening to me?
  • is google making us stupid?

It is now Week Eight of 23 things and the topic is Digital Curation, OneNote and ClassNote

Thing 15 is tumblr. I’ve been using tumblr for a few years now for all sorts of different projects, but I though I’d skip by that to the next thing, OneNote.

Try using OneNote on your pc/laptop/device.
Create a new Notebook, add some sections, pages, and try out the features. Use the Interactive Guidance Videos to learn your way around the platform.
Write a short blog post detailing your use of OneNote and how this may/may not be of benefit to you.’

Week Eight: Digital Curation, OneNote and ClassNote – 23 Things

For two years I worked alongside Ian Stuart who is a OneNote expert. Despite Ian’s enthusiasm for OneNote and many powerful demos it didn’t at that time click for me.

I tend to keep notes as text, HTML or markdown files in Dropbox. My _notes folder has nearly 1000 notes including over 300 in a blog posts subfolder and almost 100 in the snippets one. Searching via the finder is pretty effective for this sort of information[1].

When I moved to working in the classroom this August I though I should use the chance to revisit OneNote.

I am using the mac desktop version of OneNote, my pupils use the iOS app. So these notes pertain to those applications.

I started a ‘planning’ notebook, pulling in notes and information from the school and doing my weekly planning in a simple table. It was easy to archive these pages as I went and I could the simple syncing between work and home very useful.

The ability to combine files, images, media and text is useful and works fairly simply. The fact that I’ve kept using the system for planning and extended use to include a class notebook tells me I am finding it useful.

The only major flaw I’ve found using the mac app is an occasional failure of the copy and paste keyboard shortcuts. OneNote used the standard ⌘-c ⌘-v for pasting I find these often fail, especially the first time or two I use them after opening a notebook. The menus and contextual menus work fine, but the keyboards are my preferred method of doing this. Copying something and pasting to get the previous content of the clipboard pasted is alway annoying.

I would also really like to be able to have more than one notebook open at once. I believe this is supported on windows and not mac. Given that mac users are traditionally more likely not to have documents full screen and to use drag and drop between documents I find this a wee bit surprising.[2]

I’d also like to be able to set a page width rather than have a page of infinite(?) width.

I started a class notebook to use with the pupils in my class. They are using the OneNote app on iPad Airs.

I’ve used this to distribute information, worksheets and the like to the pupils and to gather in work. I started just before the addition of the class notebook tools. When the tools appeared I’d just had some fairly negative experiences with the class sharing and using Word and Onedrive on their iPads. I though I’d give OneNote a try for this instead.

When the tools work they have been very effective, I can create a page and distrubute it to all of the pupils easily, I can target the section of their notebook I want the content to go to. I can then easily find all of that content and mark it within the notebook.

I have also got a way of distributing shared resources to all of the pupils. The only part of the workflow that is missing was the ability to upload documents created in Word and saved to OneDrive to the web (glow blogs). But failures with that was the reason I started using a class notebook in the first place.

For the most part this has worked fairly successfully. When pupils are submitting written work they seem to prefer typing in the native iOS notes app (or even word) and pasting the finished text into OneNote.

Collecting a set of brief texts in the one place on a table in the collaboration section has been more successful that multi editing a word doc[3]

Occasionally I’ve had sync failures for particular pupils, while the distributed page gets to the rest of the class it will not sync to one pupil. Often logging off force quitting, going through the log on sorts this but not always[4].

I’ve had one really frustrating experience with adding notes to pupil work which did not sync at all consistently leading to a very confusing lesson but for the most part the class notebook has been a success.

Reading back over this post so far I realise that I’ve dwelt on the negative aspects more than the positive. I thing that is because I am finding the software pretty useful and these bits of friction stand out.

There are a lot of really cleaver features.

The ability to share with pupils as a group, individually, and to distribute content to each of them is great. The choice between letting pupils edit that content or not is also useful.
Another useful feature is how easily the pupils can record audio in a page. This allow them to listen to themselves read and me to collect there reading.
One of the most interesting is the way text in images is handled. This can be searched. It also, on iOS at least can be copied.
copy text from graphic

Ironically in getting this screenshot I had a repeat of a problem I had in class this week. After I inserted an image, OneNote crashed. It then refused to sync.

sync problem
sync problem

The answer was a tweet away.

On iOS I couldn’t copy the whole section, but I could select multiple pages and move those to a new section. After deleting the, now empty, problem section all was ok.

It would be good if the error message was a wee bit more indicative of the problem and how to solve it. It looks like a hangover of the Window’s desktop app? Even if I sync the OneDrive, where my OneNote files are stored, to my desktop, the OneNote files are replaced by a weblink. This raises another worry, total reliance on the cloud.

I am going to continue using the class notebook for a while and see if we can work around the problems. The many affordances of the software certainly seem worth further exploration.

It also may be that updates will fix things. The app has been very frequently updated, in fact it feels slightly beta like sometimes.

I don’t think I’ll be converting my own notes out of text files any time soon. Having them in an open format that I can open with a myriad of applications on different platforms is important and Dropbox[5] certainly seems to have syncing down a lot better.

featured image: Inside cover and first page of Foshag’s Kaminaljuyu-Jade field book by Smithsonian InstitutionNo known copyright restrictions

  1. on iOS I mostly use the drafts app to keep notes, this syncs via iCloud and has been rock solid for several years. Draft’s ability to push text to different places is outstanding. The Apple notes app is pretty good too although a lot simpler than OneNote.  ↩
  2. the first few times I used a windows computer this completely floored me, I could not understand why anyone would want full screen.  ↩
  3. this took us into of lot of failure, repeated attempts to log on and a lot of wasted time.  ↩
  4. I am not sure if these problems like others with the MS iOS apps are to do with the apps, authentication with glow or local network issues.  ↩
  5. Dropbox is not a suitable choice for use with my pupils. Onedrive via glow takes care of account management, data protection etc without me having to do any work.  ↩

The weeks are flying by. I was hoping to backtrack on a few things this week but Week Six. Copyright, OERs and Creative Commons – 23 Things popped into my inbox and thing 11 is quite timely.

Here and there

I’ve blogged here about copyright quite a bit, but it is a constantly interesting subject.

I am in general a respecter of copyright. I use other people’s images her on the blog and always attribute and respect copyright.

Occasionally for more creative purposes I sidestep the rules to use of old movie or tv footage on my DS106 blog for more fun stuff (example: characters). I don’t think any corporate dollars have been harmed;-)

I’ve had a licence on this blog for a while, originally a BY, Share Alike-Non Commercial one. Currently a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

A couple of days ago I read [Trying] Going to Flickr Zero, CC0 where Alan has changed all of his Flickr licenses to CC0. I can see the point.

My flickr photos are CC-BY-SA in the same way as this blog. This got me thinking. I am, unlike Alan, no photographer. It is unlikely anyone is going to make loads of cash from any of my images (or my deathless prose here). Over the years I’ve had a couple (2) of folk contact me to use a picture of mine for “commercial” purposes, and been delighted to do so. CC0 would change little except make reuse easier.

But I do like the idea of attribution and getting attributed. The attention feels nice. It also might encourage others…

The Share Alike idea seems nice too, but I guess might occasionally make things more difficult to use. I may lose that soon.

Another recent post that looks at the issue with some subtly: On Attribution vs Privilege of CC0Reflecting Allowed | Reflecting Allowed.

But not everything I create can be CC0. Not yet. And in my local context these things can really really matter. It can make the difference between who gets a job or tenure or promotion and who doesn’t.

and in the comments:

Audrey Alan and Doug are examples of intersectionality here – no stable academic job but famous and with lots of social capital.

I’ve not really got any problems in this regard, being an amateur sharer rather than a pro.

In Primary School

This is hard. Over the past few years I’ve had to explain copyright to teachers. Now I am back in class working with 8-11 year olds. Since I was last in the classroom full time pupils spend a lot more time on line, they are very familiar with finding images via google searches but digging out the license is hard. Lots of tools now make it very easy to ignore copyright.

I fall back on providing my class with some  public domain sites to search and my FlickrCC Stampr.


Some things I’ve found useful:

Featured image: Life is Sharing | Part of a Cleveland mural, the full saying… | Flickr CC-BY Alan Levine. Stamped my module for Alan’s’flickr cc attribution bookmarklet maker.

Week Four: Twitter and Facebook – 23 Things

I’ve been on twitter for a while so I guess I would be an intermediate user. I’ve blogged enough about twitter for it to be fairly prominent on my tag cloud.

In response to the various questions I do use lists. My follow policy is if someone follows me, they look as if their interests are in the same ball park as mine, I follow back. Lists help keep up with specific topics or groups that might get lost in the flow.

I occasionally look at the analytics. But not too much. I enjoyed having a quick look at the links provided in this thing about using twitter to get a job or for professional advancement. I don’t think I’ll ever get a job through twitter, apart from a lack of discipline the gif that punctuate my stream are possible not the best professional face. I do try to be inoffensive, as a primary teacher I know. Pupils will have a look.

I’ve not used tweetdeck for a while but have recently signed up for tweepsmap. This provides a weekly list of new followers and unfollowers. I tend to unfollow folk who unfollow me, as I’d like to be in the position of having a conversation. I do of course follow various bots and interesting folk who don’t follow back and have a few accounts that I don’t follow in lists.

Some useful twitter stuff I’ve blogged about include:

There is a pile more posts here on my blog that I’ve found interesting to skim through tagged twitter. Twitter brings up a lot of interesting questions, around privacy, algorithms, software design and more. This think has been useful in helping me revisit a lot ideas about twitter that need a bit more thought.

I am looking forward to this weeks edutalk where I’ll be talking to Charlie Farley about 23 thinks. It will be broadcast live at 8pm.  Radio Edutalk 12-10-2016 Charlie Farley 23 Things for Digital Knowledge | EDUtalk

the feature images is a screen shot of my twitter archive showing my most interesting tweet.