🙋‍♂️ Girls are outperforming boys, multitasking limits, AI’s triumphs and failures, and more – Of bits and bytes for January 22, 2024

Internet Travels

Of bits and bytes is my weekly round up of interesting links and ideas I discovered on the internet. It is published on Mondays for the previous week

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Google is adding new options for sharing in Google docs. First up is the ability to share a link to a specific time in a video stored in Google Drive. This is happening through a menu being added to the Share button. The menu is to make it easy to perform quick actions with the current document.


You’ll be able to quickly copy the link to the document, copy the link to the time of a video that is shared, or take care of pending share requests. The Sir Links-a-Lot Chrome extension can also do this, but it also can switch a link to /copy or /export?format=pdf so I’ll still be using it in conjunction with the new feature from Google.


Interesting study from the UK where they have found that girls are outperforming boys from at all ages, with the exception of math. They don’t come to any conclusions why, and the study has flaws with the older students, but it’s still a good topic for further discussion.

The ability is to multitask is a myth that just won’t die, much like the myth of learning styles. With all of the notifications, sounds, movement, tasks, and more happening at every moment in the classroom, trying to minimize multitasking seems to be a useless endeavor. I’m all open to hear from you on what you do in your classroom to minimize the amount of multitasking you or your students experience.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, talks about daily dashboards and how they can be problematic on being successful. Some companies will have a dashboard showing different metrics they are tracking. I’ve also seen these in some schools. There is a problem with these displays, and it can be seen in a study from the Texas Department of Transportation on the use of fatility signs that displayed the number of traffic deaths.

An eight-year study conducted by researchers and the Texas Department of Transportation found that fatality signs (…) actually increased the number of crashes, estimating that road sign campaigns resulted in an additional 2,600 accidents and 16 deaths per year in Texas.

What could you be doing instead? Most metrics focus on results, which lag behind what is happening. Bezos focuses on lead metrics, what they are doing now to accomplish long term goals. Track the little things that will help you accomplish the long term goal. Let me know if your district is using dashboards, I’m curious on what they are tracking, how often they are updated, and whether anyone actually notices them.

the marketing dashboard – Marketoonist | Tom Fishburne


John Schinker and I have been talking about the implosion (my word, he would pick a better word) of building a personal learning network. We live in the age of constant connectivity, yet, we are still very much isolated. His latest article speaks more eloquently than I on the issue. Over break I dug into all sorts of different ideas, from Zulip (a communications/forum app that promotes both synchronous and asynchronous discussions) and blogging platforms such as Ghost or WordPress. They all could be useful, I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around implementation. Install the software is easy, getting users onboard is infinitely harder.

Another issue with a personal learning network is Dunbar’s number, the apparent limit on the number of people with whom we can maintain relationships. Spoiler alert, this number is around 150. One of my break projects was putting together a directory of everyone that I’ve learned from since I started my professional year. It’s interesting seeing names of people that have moved away, retired, or I haven’t talked to in years. Do we need to keep these connections?

FYI, my chat server is still up. Head on over, create an account and say hi! It’s part of my “play with it and see if it works” plan.

It’s not just you, Google search has gotten worse and it looks like they don’t care since they need the ads to make money. I’ve tried alternatives such as DuckDuckGo and Bing, but for a lot of what I search for their results are lacking. Kagi Search has an interesting approach, you pay to use them (there is a free tier which gets you 100 lifetime searches). I’ve heard good things about it so I need to check it out.

Several interesting articles about ChatGPT this week. They range from ChatGPT getting lazy to what can’t AI do (Archive) to setting our expectations on the usage of AI.

Chat GPT is annoyed : ProgrammerHumor


Last year was a banner year for my writing, with me writing over 100,000 words (and some of them are actually good!). With all of this writing I noticed that I am becoming more productive, which is something that writing can do!

15 Memes for Writers That Will Crack You Up | Pepper Content

Pop Culture

Are you curious about living a better life? Check out Einstein’s 7 rules. While the term “better” is pretty subjective, number 2 is something I practice every day. And if the news makes your blood boil, read through and .

While screen adaptations are a big reason why some books become popular, the breadth of books that were borrowed from libraries in 2023 was pretty wide.

9 Things You’ll Relate to If You Prefer the Book to the Movie


Research is starting to show that our developing brains also gain a sense of grammar.

What does it take to change your mind? This essay over at Time looks at how difficult it is to change your own mind. However, there is hope. Empathy can be used to combat pseudoscience.

“Your social media post totally changed my mind on this controversial issue.” – said no one ever.

Extra Credit

Here are extra links that I found interesting that may or may not be education related or interesting to you and I didn’t want to lose them.

By design, the vast majority of Of Bits and Bytes readers never pay anything for the links, commentary, and tips it provides. But you made it all the way to the end of this week’s edition — maybe not for the first time. Want to support more journalism like what you read today? If so, click here.

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