Stockton’s Basic-Income Experiment Pays Off – The Atlantic

A new study of the city’s program that sent cash to struggling individuals finds dramatic changes.
— Read on www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/03/stocktons-basic-income-experiment-pays-off/618174/

Some interventions in complex systems are actually PWH SIMPLE.

(post Wendell Holmes)

Deepfakes, a handy guide to spotting boojums.

Best how-to I have read in ages.

A very important article.

TLDR: the 5 Ws

“Deepfakes are videos that glue one person’s face onto another’s body, making the former look like they’re saying or doing something that they never actually did—even if it’s something as harmless as Tom Cruise talking to the camera and hitting a golf ball. They’re hard to spot just from watching the video, but here’s the good news: you don’t actually have to watch the video to know you’ve encountered a deepfake.”

— Read on lifehacker.com/how-to-spot-a-deepfake-without-even-watching-the-video-1846397857

Excluded Containers: out of sight, out of mind: county lines-child trafficking

TL:DR –black children enslaved by drug dealers because they are outside all the bourgeois systems of survival.

Yeah, the thing you should take from this is ‘complexity’. Not, ooh it’s ‘complicated’, rather, this is ‘complex’— interconnected emergent, evolving… VUCA PICA whatever-acronymity. Yada.

Here’s how to do it…

1. Allow a trader culture to infest the guardian culture of school provision (Jane Jacobs – Systems of Survival)


2. Obsess on exam results (Long-term aim – gaming educational futures at Lloyds – I kid you not, google ‘charter schools and Wall St, the real story’ or whatever, dig deep)


3. allow schools to inappropriately and fraudently deploy commercial confidentiality

4. Allow schools to exclude pupils to improve results.

5. by redefining ‘our pupils’ and focussing only on your ‘bounded container’ (Wassex County Council is a container as is Sizewelldown Unitary, as is Vastco Academy MAAT) the problem goes away.

Now read this and come back…

All the answers to this problem are staring government, councils, agencies, whoever in the face (read my book ‘Navigating Complexity: the essential guide to complexity theory in business and management’, LOL)

But instead, funders want to approve your diversity targets and your theory of change WITHIN YOUR CONTAINER.

“There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”


Excluded containers.

Humans are betweeners

Donny knows it’s the inbetween not the things.

The material of playwork is relationships, connections. Between humans and between humans and things. It’s not about things. It’s not about Lou Spartz, it’s about our relationship with them. It’s all just junk if you think it is. That’s what that bloke Gibson is on about: affordances are the possibilities that you can see, observe, grasp.

Who are you when you are alone? Less human. That’s not a judgement, it’s an observation. I nearly wrote ‘just an observation’ as if a judgement is a bigger thing then an observation, which it isn’t. We get bigger, wider, deeper, when we are connected. Which is not to say that alone is less. It’s different.

https://psyche.co/ideas/for-donald-winnicott-the-psyche-is-not-inside-us-but-between-us

Some Playwork Resources

Given how rapidly things get lost on the interweb, it might be helpful if I park these here.

playwork_primer
The Playwork Primer by Penny Wilson (Alliance for Childhood 2009)

The very best introduction to playwork, and what it isn’t.

makingsense-playwork in practice

A lost classic, a companion piece to Best Play, containing some gorgeous stories that really give you a feel for the playworkers mindset.

best-play

What play provision should do for children. If your ‘space’ doesn’t do these, it’s not playwork provision, even if it is lovely.

jackieKilvington onThePlayworkPrinciplesPowerpointPDF2.pdf

An excellent overview for beginners

The Playwork Principles

Here they are, and in the poster below. The key one in these endtimes for playwork is #4:

For playworkers, the play process takes precedence and playworkers act as advocates for play when engaging with adult-led agendas.

TPP

And finally, for now, some thoughts from Professor Play himself on what makes Playwork unique:

What Is Unique about Playwork? Fraser Brown

The Unique Elements of Playwork

  • A conceptualisation of the child that actively resists dominant and subordinating narratives and practices
  • A belief that while playing, the ‘being’ child is far more important than the ‘becoming’ child
  • An adherence to the principle that the vital outcomes of playing are derived by children in inverse proportion to the degree of adult involvement in the process
  • A non-judgemental acceptance of the children as they really are, running hand in hand with an attitude, when relating to the children, of ‘unconditional positive regard’
  • An approach to practice that involves a willingness to relinquish adult power, suspend any preconceptions, and work to the children’s agenda
  • The provision of environments that are characterised by flexibility, so that the children are able to create (and possibly destroy and recreate) their own play environments according to their own needs
  • A general acceptance that risky play can be beneficial, and that intervention is not necessary unless a safety or safeguarding issue arises
  • A continuous commitment to deep personal reflection that manages the internal relationship between their present and former child-self, and the effects of that relationship on their current practice

blind men and elephants, naah… it’s worse 

blind men and elephants, naah… it’s worse
it’s more like people living at the bottom of their own private mineshaft,
gazing up at the flickers of light far above them,
like victorian families viewing daguerreotypes
projected by candle flame via an epidiascope.
Like this herbert…

​who obviously hasn’t read this ‘product’..​.

The Origins of Order – Stuart A. Kauffman – Oxford University …

https://global.oup.com › product › the-origins-of-order-9780195079517

​or maybe he has, but he certainly hasn’t read …
Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics (1992) ISBN 0-679-74816-4
​or 

The Nature of Economies (2000) New York: Random House, The Modern Library. ISBN 0-679-60340-9

…or maybe he has, and does not acknowledge it. Aeon should be ashamed to publish essays without references.

Another mineshaft dweller

 in his own little academic bubble, 

lord of his tiny intellectual domain. 

Another seeker of the one system, 

the one theory, 

the one ring, 

the theory of everything. 

There are a hundred theories of everything 

and they all hold fragments of the true cross, 

and they are all right in some ways

 and sooo wrong in others.

What is it useful to believe right now, grasshopper? 

Does that make you happy?

​Still, you gorra larf innit?​

An homage for Lou Spartz, unsung hero of ‘stuff’

Lou Spartz, who passed away recently was an adventure playground pioneer, who introduced Simon  Nicholson to the idea of kids doing stuff with old stuff that was lying around. Simon , being an architecture student, coined a confusing and intellectually reified terminology , based on his good friend’s own moniker. This slight playful moment, has now, courtesy of an academic journal, become a rod (a stick, louspart1, in the jargon) with which to beat children who put garden canes in the fabric tray. Aieee! Back in the day, we just called it stuff. Stuff. Stuff lying around.

LostWorkshops1: why lying to children is a parental dutyand lying to consultancy clients is a crime

This workshop, drawing on the work of Lakoff and Johnson, Postman and Weingartner, Dunbar, Tsoukas, Miyami, Minkoff, Vespuigi, Cohen and Stewart, Maturana and Hegel explores the complex relationship between truth, solidarity, tribal bonding, decision-making, leadership and socialisation, and the limitations of consultation and evaluation.

In today’s complex world of true lies and false facts, where the internet is blah blah.

To book this workshop contact Plexity. For more information, please reread.

Scarfolk Books have asked me to point out that they are not sponsoring this workshop and apologise for the misleading flyers.

Local authorities dwelling sightless in Plato’s cave

ADSS get really grumpy…

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/16/councils-unwittingly-helping-drug-gangs-recruit-children-inquiry-says

“Councils are unwittingly acting as “recruiting sergeants” for drug gangs by sending vulnerable children to care homes miles away from where they live, a parliamentary inquiry has found.

“Thousands of young people who are sent to children’s homes up to 100 miles (161km) from their homes are becoming magnets for paedophiles and gangs who use children to traffic drugs from inner-city areas to provincial towns, according to evidence sent to the all-party parliamentary group for runaway and missing children and adults.

“More than 70% of the 41 police forces that responded to the inquiry said placing children out of area increased their risk of exploitation, often resulting in them being coerced into going missing.”

ADSS spokesdroid grumpily hinted at ‘having words with’…

Rachel Dickinson, the president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said: “The suggestion in this report that local authorities are acting as ‘recruiting sergeants’ is wholly inappropriate and we are in dialogue with the report authors directly.”

Social workers would be struck dumb if they couldn’t use ‘inappwopwiate’ and ‘dialogue’ going forward…

If the ADSS had any understanding of networks, predator- prey interactions and autopoiesis, and

If they had any youth workers, and

If they listened to their youth workers

They could easily have seen this coming…

If you contract out your service delivery, you contract out your sensory apparatus.

You might think that monitoring is your sensory apparatus, but it don’ work like dat. Blakemore’s infamous experiments on blinded kittens (I know, don’t tell me, tell him) demonstrate that the visual system remains unformed if it isn’t able to autopoietically and cybernetically interact with the locomotor system. You can’t separate learning from doing as I said in 1995 in my Manifesto for Learning.

“I think that’s what kids ultimately want: They just want someone to feel like someone cares about them. And that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2845813-inside-lebron-james-i-promise-academy-one-year-later?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits
1f787c266cbab7c3cd88258c4bebc292_crop_exact
“The I Promise School is an example of what can happen when people are willing to communally take a handful of extra steps and a few shared sacrifices. Roberts has taught in Akron Public Schools for 32 years. “When I came here,” she says, “people would tell me: ‘It’s not going to work over there. When you go over there, you’ve got those bottom kids. There’s no way that you’re going to be able to maintain what you’ve done all these years and still keep it going.’

“Well, guess what? Yes, it does. These kids know how to respect. They know how to be loving. They know how to give love in return. So, don’t tell me that it’s not possible with what we poured into the school. Look at all of this.””

“”But from a high-level perspective, the whole point is that we’re never going to stop,” she continues. “When LeBron started this program, we had this conversation about if we start this, this never ends. … We need to build something that will live beyond all of us.”

And with that, we walk back out onto the sidewalk. The chalk has settled into the pavement. The drawings are all varied—one towering figure holding a basketball, a few animals. I lift my own foot, and there is a drawing of a small person holding hands with two larger people, all smiling. Surrounded by a circle of hearts.”

Very lovely writing, very lovely place

Desert Island Playwork: what’s yours?

kevin-wolf-zSOyfjBo1tk-unsplash

Hello and welcome to Desert Island Playwork.

The idea is relatively simple. It’s like the long-running BBC radio programme.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnmr

Suppose that you have been stranded on an adventure playground, as sea levels rise and the globe warms, whatever. You can only take with you one playwork-related book (and one luxury item, which cannot be a person, so not Scarlet Johannsen or Bradley Pitt, and cannot be a communications device, so put down that iPhone 11.)

What will you choose?
Your task, dear visitor to this blog, is to reply in the comment box below, we’ll collate replies later, telling us which playwork-related book you have chosen, and why, and you can also mention the runners-up and why they didn’t quite make it.

Simples.

We said book, and we mean books, andnotbut™ you might be allowed a fillum if I, your host, is in a good mood or you make a compelling case. You can mention the film you would have picked if you were allowed to.

I ‘m the judge, and the judge’s decision is final (unless I’m bribed).

You will of course, because this is rather the point, be allowed to argue about, sorry Millenials, I mean discuss in a respectful way, anything related to your own and other folks’ choices.

Why? Because there are some superb books out there that you playworkers will find useful that are being forgotten.


kevin-wolf-zSOyfjBo1tk-unsplashEpisode 1 of Desert Island Playwork

So, without further ado, let’s welcome our first guest on Desert Island Playwork, with me, Arthur Battram. Welcome guest, please introduce yourself.

Hello, I’m Arthur Battram, I  was big in the 90s.

Thank you, Arthur,  and what book have you chosen?

Well it wasn’t an easy choice, but I ‘ve plumped (weird word, books aren’t cushions, but I  digress), I ‘ve plumped for “Making Sense: playwork in practice” a little known gem, still, thankfully available as a free download from:

http://freeplaynetwork.org.uk/pubs/makingsense.pdf

If that book didn’t exist, I  would’ve chosen the little red book by Bob Hughes ‘Notes for Adventure Playworkers’, which, oddly, has not (yet) been republished by Common Threads. I  didn’t choose this because, although the content is superb and the thinking limpid, it is from a long-vanished era. The role of the playworker described by Bob is a much wider and deeper, more strategic role than that allowed to lowly playworkers today by the like of Ofsted and academy schools.

Or I  would’ve chosen the superb, elegant, compassionate and concise ‘Primmer’ by Lady Penny Wilson of Mile End.  Why Primmer? Ask me. It is also available as a free download from:

http://theinternationale.com/papers/PlayworkPrimer_2010.pdf

Thank you, Arthur. Why did you plump (you’re right, it is a funny word, plump) for “Making Sense”?

Well, it’s based on the forgotten ‘Best Play’ principles, which tell you what good play provision should look like. And it’s an excellent exposition.

You’all need to stop making ‘The Playwork Principles’ your 10 Commandments and adopt Best Play instead, for the simple reason that the two documents are complementary and are doing different things. The Playwork Principles are about playworkers (duh) and Best Play is about play provision. I  can’t say ‘simples’ because if it was, people wouldn’t keep getting confused.

Making Sense is a gorgeous read. It’s full of delightful playwork stories. Yes, it relates these short, sparkly, simple and yet profound stories to the Best Play thingies (and can, and was, used as the basis of training that nobody could afford to buy) but let’s not get into that. 

Read Making Sense, you’ll love it. It’s got little short fun stories in it!

It will cheer you up. It might even inspire you or reinvigorate your CPD whatever that is, Cardio-Pulmonary Disease, maybe, or your reflectional practice, what-EV-er.

The links are above, download the freebies to your devices and read them on the way to and from work.

Thank you, Arthur Battram.


 

If you’d like to appear on Desert Island playwork, leave a message in the comments.

 

Photo by Kevin Wolf on Unsplash

 

 

You can’t think about complexity if you can’t think in grey, not just black and white

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-world-of-gray.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TeacherTom+%28Teacher+Tom%29

“Preschoolers are notoriously drawn toward extremes, which is, I reckon, both part of how they make sense of the world as well as how they try to assert some control over it. It’s the simplest way to categorize things: good or bad, yummy or yucky, black or white. As adults working with young children, it’s tempting for us to assert our own more mature vision of the world, to point them toward the gray areas, the “in between” that comprises most of what we know. When I was a younger teacher, for instance, I can’t tell you how many times I found myself futilely trying to get kids to see that “good guys” and “bad guys” are a matter of perspective.

” I no longer try to persuade them any more than I try to persuade adults. I’ve come to understand that they need to explore the world in this way. It’s not an ending point, but rather a natural starting point for coming to grips with a rich, complex, ever-changing world. They are doing what they need to do, what we all needed to do in order to ultimately persuade ourselves as the world of gray begins to reveal itself to us. My job is not to hurry them through, but rather to be with them, role modeling and knowing that the older they get, the more they will come to know that they don’t know.”

 

 

Here’s the Conversation We Really Need to Have About Bias at Google

By Farhad Manjoo

https://medium.com/the-new-york-times/heres-the-conversation-we-really-need-to-have-about-bias-at-google-ca6cf00f63b3

President Trump’s charges that Google shows anti-conservative search bias is wrong. But Google may well be biased against minorities and others who lack real-world power. Go to the profile of The New York Times The New York Times Aug 31, 2018

~

(note to lawyers – entire article lifted from Medium/NYT, will be taken down immediately if asked!)

~

Let’s get this out of the way first: There is no basis for the charge that President Donald Trump leveled against Google this week — that the search engine, for political reasons, favored anti-Trump news outlets in its results. None.

Trump also claimed that Google advertised President Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses on its home page but did not highlight his own. That, too, was false, as screenshots show that Google did link to Trump’s address this year.

But that concludes the “defense of Google” portion of this column. Because whether he knew it or not, Trump’s false charges crashed into a long-standing set of worries about Google, its biases and its power. When you get beyond the president’s claims, you come upon a set of uncomfortable facts — uncomfortable for Google and for society, because they highlight how in thrall we are to this single company, and how few checks we have against the many unseen ways it is influencing global discourse.

In particular, a raft of research suggests there is another kind of bias to worry about at Google. The naked partisan bias that Trump alleges is unlikely to occur, but there is a potential problem for hidden, pervasive and often unintended bias — the sort that led Google to once return links to many pornographic pages for searches for “black girls,” that offered “angry” and “loud” as autocomplete suggestions for the phrase “why are black women so,” or that returned pictures of black people for searches of “gorilla.”

I culled these examples — which Google has apologized for and fixed, but variants of which keep popping up — from “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism,” a book by Safiya U. Noble, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication.

Noble argues that many people have the wrong idea about Google. We think of the search engine as a neutral oracle, as if the company somehow marshals computers and math to objectively sift truth from trash.

But Google is made by humans who have preferences, opinions and blind spots and who work within a corporate structure that has clear financial and political goals. What’s more, because Google’s systems are increasingly created by artificial intelligence tools that learn from real-world data, there’s a growing possibility that it will amplify the many biases found in society, even unbeknown to its creators.

Google says it is aware of the potential for certain kinds of bias in its search results, and that it has instituted efforts to prevent them. “What you have from us is an absolute commitment that we want to continually improve results and continually address these problems in an effective, scalable way,” said Pandu Nayak, who heads Google’s search ranking team. “We have not sat around ignoring these problems.”

For years, Noble and others who have researched hidden biases — as well as the many corporate critics of Google’s power, like frequent antagonist Yelp — have tried to start a public discussion about how the search company influences speech and commerce online.

There’s a worry now that Trump’s incorrect charges could undermine such work. “I think Trump’s complaint undid a lot of good and sophisticated thought that was starting to work its way into public consciousness about these issues,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia who has studied Google and Facebook’s influence on society.

Noble suggested a more constructive conversation was the one “about one monopolistic platform controlling the information landscape.”

So, let’s have it.

You had one job, play advocates, and it was left to the Yanks to do it.

Hello playwork.

 

Hello Fraser Brown, Bob Hughes, Gordon Sturrock, Mike Wragg, Wendy Russell, Pete King, Adrian Voce, the whole bloody lot of you clever bastards. You failed to do this, and it’s been left to a bunch of bloody Yanks, who don’t even have bloody playwork, ffs, to do it. Doubtless bloody Tim Gill, even as we speak, is busy blogging that it is his success, because he is a mate of David Ball. Whatever. And now, precisely as the last few APGs are being smashed in Bristol, and local councils continue relentlessly to make some of the most monumentally short-termist, cheese-paring and pointless and counter-productive cuts ever conceived of by a bunch of bigoted little Englander dickheads who basically would legislate for children to be put into landfill if they could, and in Solihull, they’re probably planning that right now, while all that’s happening, 60 people are going to spend two days sat on their arses in Ely, wailing about playwork.

Playwork deserves to die with advocates like these.

https://www.treehugger.com/family/adventure-playgrounds-are-safer-kids-fixed-play-structures.html

Childrensaving and Ship Building (NB: it’s Shipbuilding, all one word)

Currently, Wallsend is having its children saved. Hurrah.

Childrensaving is happening, thanks to a government-funded programme, delivered by a national children’s charity, saviours of  children, heroes in their own lunchtime {a lunch of rocket, kale and organic polenta, to be precise}.

This is part of the ongoing long-term —some things are long-term, aren’t they— the ongoing long-term deracination and outsourcing of the role of local government in the public realm.

Successive governments, red and blue and yellow, have decided that local government can’t be trusted. Central government prefers to impose 3rd sector agencies from London on communities, because local government is infested with a ‘can’t-do’ mentality and is bogged down in local politics and can’t make the thrusting managerialist interventions, on absurdly short timescales [ie. before the next election], that politicians command but can’t control.

If you wanted to talk about shipbuilding to people in Wallsend, which is the topic today, BTW, you might start by learning that shipbuilding is all one word, it’s not Ship Building. A ship building would be the hut in which you keep your little rowing boat, by a river bank. Or is it riverbank? A river bank would be a bank in which you keep rivers, or something.

So anyway, here is The Theory Which Will Transform Wallsend, starting from the ‘Past Context’ of “Ship Buildings (Lost)”…Wallsend Children_s Community Initial Overarching Theory of Change

And here is another Theory of Change…

 

You’re all busy people who don’t have time to listen to some bloody lefty pop song from 1982, so here’s the lyrics for all you busy managers who need it one side of A4 by 9 o’clock tomorrow morning…

Is it worth it?
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy’s birthday
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we’ll be shipbuilding
Well, I ask you
The boy said, Dad, they’re going to take me to Task
But I’ll be back by Christmas?
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of  The shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks, they’ll be re-opening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin, once again
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls