Archive for the ‘Doug’s Original Work’ Category

Sweden’s Cashless Economy: Pros & Cons – Great Student Debate Topic

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

The Björn Ultimatum: Two Men Fight Over Sweden’s Move to a Cashless Economy by Mallory Pickett covers both sides of the battle to get rid of cash altogether. This would be a good article for students to read and debate. As a Swedish-American who visits Swedish relatives regularly, I’ve seen a number of innovations like this that start there before being adopted in the US. @wired, May 2016 pp. 102-111.

You Rob Banks Because That’s Where the Money Is.

  • On April 13, 2013, a man walked into the Stockholm branch of Skandinaviska Enskilda Bankan and announced that “this is a robbery, I want cash.” The staff calmly explained that there was no cash on the premises. The robber was then pointed at a sign that read “This is a Cash-Free Location.” What the robber had not realized was that Sweden was at the forefront of a global economic shift to where cash is increasingly unnecessary and even unwanted. Americans are about half way as 46% of their transactions feature cash as credit card use and mobile payment options expand. Even with concerns about data breaches and identity theft, a world without cash seems inevitable, if not imminent.

In Sweden Tomorrow Happens Yesterday

  • With a population half the size of Los Angeles (10 Million) and a sophisticated IT structure, Sweden can pilot-test new developments, new systems, and new futures almost overnight. Ironically, 350 years ago it became the first country to issue paper money. Now it’s on its way to be the first to phase it out altogether. There are Swedes, however, that are fighting this trend. At the heart of this story are two men on opposite sides both named Björn. The first is Björn Ulvaeus, one of the B’s in the famous pop group named ABBA. He is also half the brains behind the Mama Mia franchise that has made him a very rich man. In 2008, his son’s residence was robbed. Ulvaeus knew that the stolen items would be sold somewhere for cash so he asked himself, “what if there wasn’t any paper money?”

Cash is Anonymous and Crime Requires Cash

  • The criminal economy depends on the anonymous, untraceable nature of cash. That explains why a lot of the cash in the world is unaccounted for. The World Banks estimate that about a third of the cash in most countries circulates underground. Take it away and thieves and drug dealers have no way to do business, and the shadow economy collapses. Ulvaeus has written widely on the subject and has gone so far to make the ABBA Museum in Stockholm a cash-free zone. As safe as Sweden is, it is always looking for ways to increase safety.

Just Swish It

  • About the same time the ABBA Museum opened, Swedish banks created the Swish mobile phone app. This lets ordinary people transfer money to each other by using their mobile phones. All you need is someone’s phone number. About half of the population is using it so far as are small businesses and even homeless people. Cash transactions fell from 40% in 2010 to 20% in 2014 and more than half of bank branches do not deal in cash. Bank robberies have fallen 70% during that timeframe. Muggings and robberies have dropped as there isn’t much incentive to rob a person or a business that doesn’t have any cash. Tax revenues are also soaring. Ulvaeus hopes other countries will follow Sweden’s example and imagines how great going cashless would be for countries like Greece.

Unexpected Consequences

  • A number of odd things have happened. There has been a claim of e-mugging, which happens when someone forces you to Swish them some money, which is easy to trace. Tourists picking up cash at the airport have complained about not being able to spend it. ATM vendors are getting so little business that they are removing many of them. People depositing cash where they still can are viewed with suspicion. Tellers question people with cash and this can be a problem for churches. Hacking is more of an issue than ever. There have been some issues, but nothing major yet.

Björn Number Two

  • On the opposite side of the cashless argument is Björn Eriksson, the former chief of Interpol. At 71, he is the same age as Björn Ulvaeus. He claims that the move to a cashless society is being pushed by the banks and credit card companies rather than the people. He is also concerned about corruption, deceit, and security risks. Cards and apps with their hidden fees make banks money whereas cash transactions do not. In fact, cash costs banks money as they have to count, handle, transport, guard, and count it again.

Swedish Nature

  • Swedes are not a cynical people. They like technology and trust their government and institutions. Most of them have been happy to renounce cash and for some, the changeover has hardly been noticeable. The seeming thoughtlessness of many Swedes concerns Eriksson. Last year he started Cash Uprising in order to save cash. His supporters are mostly rural, small businesses, and retirees. These are the people who find the disappearance of cash to be inconvenient. People who sell produce, for example, end up with cash their local back won’t take. When they drive to the nearest bank that does take cash, there are limits to what they can deposit at once. For some, the change happened so fast that they couldn’t plan for it.

The Downside of No Cash

  • Thanks to Eriksson, the Swedish parliament may vote on a bill to require banks to provide cash services and the head of Sweden’s central bank is on his side. The biggest losers in a cashless society would be the security guards that are hired to protect cash. There is also the issue that when you spend cash, you don’t have to give up personal information. Although muggings and thefts are down, identity theft has more than doubled, and this only counts the incidents reported to the police. Cyber criminals are more active and many consumers have yet to learn how to protect themselves. Eriksson believes that banks are hiding the fact that at this stage even they have lost a lot of money.

The US is Sort of Catching Up

  • High profile hacks of the magnetic strips on the back of credit cards at places like Target and Home Depot have resulted in American retailers switching to chip readers. The chips make transactions more secure and the Swedes have had them for more than a decade. When I was there in 2010 I couldn’t even buy gas for my cousin’s car as my card lacked a chip. When I returned in 2014 I made sure I had a chip, but getting it took some effort as my financial advisor didn’t even know what it was. The US version of Swish is also in the works, but it remains to be seen how it will be received. The US also has a ways to go in regard to consumer protection. For now, transactions in the US are stalled at about 50% cash. Don’t be surprised if many Americans cling to their cash with more tenacity than the typical Swede.

My Cousins Weigh In

  • Cousin Peter Stockholm (40’s): Lot’s of people are using Swish, both when it comes to transferring between private persons and for smaller cash transfers at markets, cafés, and events. Today we went to an event for kids and all payments (hot dogs, entrance fees, parking, etc) were possible to via Swish. Most smaller stores accept it and a most prefer it. Being Swedish means that you count on the government to take care of you. I like it a lot, it is very convenient and I never lack cash thanks to Swish. I am quite sure you need a population that blindly trusts the authorities. It would be harder for Greece. October last year we got new bills, 200 SEK, 50 SEK and 20 SEK. I still haven’t seen the 200 or the 50 so that’s how often I see cash these days.
  • Cousin Martin Borås Western Sweden (40’s): Everybody is using Swish here. It’s a great service that gained millions of users very fast. It’s very common if two friends lunch together, one paying the bill and the other “Swishes”‘ the debt. Swish is also used by all small sports clubs when selling candy, drinks, and hot dogs at games. In Norway, they have a similar service called Vipps.
  • Cousins Morgan and Kristina Borås retired (70’s): We use Swish as often we can. It’s a perfect way to pay for what we buy and also to transfer money to others. I think the banks like it too as they always try to earn/steal as much money they can. Unfortunately, some older people are not trusting Swish and still use paper money. I´m sure Swish will take over, but it takes a time to have some people accept it.


  • Ultimately, Sweden’s two Björns want the same thing: a safer society. They are not so much rivals and complements. Thanks to their efforts, the US can look to the Swedes for guidance. I have been traveling to Sweden periodically since 1980. Every time I go I see innovations that come to the US in time. In 2010 I helped my cousin take some items to the recycling center. I was amazed at how hi-tech it was along with the degree they expected ordinary people to sort and recycle just about everything. This month I helped my sister clean out her house, which required many trips to the local recycling center. What I saw was an operation that looked a lot like Sweden six years ago. Just like we need to look to places like Finland for innovations in education, we need to look to Sweden for innovations in just about anything. As a Swedish-American, I know my bias is showing, but at least you know where I’m coming from. Skål!
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Thanks Steve

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Today’s Twitter Feed was almost entirely devoted to Steve Jobs (1955-2011). See my Net Nuggets for quotes, videos, and leadership links associated with Steve. I bought my first Apple II+ in 1979, my first Mac in 1984, my 10th Mac in 2009, and my iPhone in 2011. It’s really a handheld Mac that can make phone calls. I wrote reviews of several Macintosh systems for InfoWorld in the 1980’s and was a speaker at several MacWorld conferences in Boston and SanFrancisco. Needless to say I have been a big fan for the last 33 years.

The last time I cried when a famous person died was when Jim Henson moved on to the afterlife. Two quotes associated with Steve guide my thinking. The first by Henry Ford is “If I asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.” Somehow Steve knew what we wanted even if we didn’t. The second by Wayne Gretzky is “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is.” Steve was that rare person who could see into the future and help us get there in a cool way. Thanks Steve.

Thanks to @ArtJonak for his idea of what the new Apple logo should be.

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The 1st Dr. Doug Green Free Education Resource Winners

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Dr Doug's Winners
I’ll be in Italy for the next 12 days. I’m not sure how many posts I will do while I’m gone so here is a rich post you can use for professional development in the meantime. These are the first winners of my Free Resources for Busy Educators and Parents Award. Congratulations! These sources will keep you busy and learning until I’m back on 9/24/2019. If you think I left a site out that belongs send me an email at Thanks and chio.

Teachthought on Twitter
Teachthought.Com – TeachThought is an idea and brand dedicated to innovation in K-12 education. This is pursued by growing teaching through thought leadership, professional development, resource curation, curriculum development, podcast publishing, and collaboration with organizations around the world. You could and should spend a lot of time here. @TeachThought

Mindshit on Twitter
KQED News – Mindshift – MindShift explores the future of learning in all its dimensions. They examine how learning is being affected by technology, discoveries about the brain, poverty, inequities, mindfulness, agency, social and emotional learning, assessments, game-based learning, and music. They report on shifts in how educators teach as they apply innovative ideas. @MindShiftKQED

Edutopia on Twitter
edutopia – George Lucas started this Foundation which is dedicated to transforming K-12 education so that all students can acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives. @edutopia

EdSurge on Twitter
EdSurge – Reports on the Future of Learning – EdSurge delivers insights and connects those exploring how technology can support equitable opportunities for all learners. @EdSurge

Social Media 2 Day on Twitter
Social Media Today offers news and a space to share, learn, and network with other digital marketing professionals from around the world. Anyone managing a school or district social media presence should spend time here on a regular bases. @socialmedia2day

Cult of Pedagogy on Twitter
Cult of Pedagogy is run by a team of people committed to making you more awesome in the classroom. Jennifer Gonzalez leads a team of educators that consistently gives high-quality resources. @cultofpedagogy

Getting Smart on Twitter
Getting Smart – This team of ten, lead by Tom Vander Ark, are solution designers. With backgrounds as educators, school administrators, business executives, and nonprofit leaders, our team has extensive experience in organization management, communication, and sales. @Getting_Smart

Richard Byrne on Twitter
Free Technology For Teachers – This is Richard Byrne’s blog, where he posts daily. He pioneered 1:1 education as a social studies teacher and now is an international speaker and multiple award winner. On this group he appears to be the only lone ranger. @rmbyrne

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The Bryan Golden Slam, Le Tour for Dummies, Best Biking Cities

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

The Non-Calendar-Year-Golden-Slam – In addition to my usual education links, today you get some education about sports. I hope you saw the Bryan twins win the men’s doubles championship at Wimbledon. It was special for many reasons. My wife, who died from ALS in 2009. was also twin. Starting on page three of today’s extended post, I present the other slams in tennis and golf, and some explanations. Let me know if I missed any.

For Tour de France fans I have an animation that explains it along with 3D tours of each stagefrom @rmbyrne. If you want to get on a bike, here are The 20 best biking cities in the world. How many have you been to? I’ve been to four. Page Two offers how to be viral, free virtual field trips, a college drops SAT requirement, and The Hero’s Journey by Glove and Boots.

The Downside of Blog Scraping by Linda Bailey is my most recent guest post. Students and adults who blog should read this.

Check my summary of Carlito C. Caterpillar’s Math House Games: 20 Steps to Learning Math by Domenico Marcario and click here buy at least one for anyone with young children. It’s also a great gift for primary and preschool teachers.

My summary ofThank You For Listening by Marc Wong is also worth a look. Being a better listener is in your own self-interests and Marc can help. Click the icon at the bottom of any page to purchase.

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What to do until the tests go away – EduCon 2.5

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Hello from EduCon 2.5 in Philadelphia. On January 26, 2012 I lead a conversation with thirty educators titled: Leading When the King has no Clothes: What do teachers and leaders do while we wait for policy makers to discover that the test culture they have created is a mistake? Everyone agreed that there are a number of negative results from testing required by the federal government. With that in mind, we went on to suggest things that we could do to minimize the negative impact on students and teachers. The following pages include our work from the perspectives of five different constituents. If you can add anything, send me and email and I will add it.

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You are at more risk from people you know, than people you don’t know.

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Today, school safety is a much bigger deal than ever. Schools desperately want to avoid the kind of reputation that comes with violent activity. Several years ago, New York State started gathering data on violent and disruptive incidents from all schools. The problem that I noticed when looking at the first set of data was that schools did not all report incidents the same way. Incidents of assault were particularly misreported. Some schools reported pushing and shoving as assault, while others listed violent attacks that resulted in serious injuries as something else or not at all. In order to help the schools I was working with improve their reporting, I put together the slideshow linked below. It includes summaries of actual assaults form the Brooklyn, New York police blotter along with some generalizations. In addition to the fact that the large majority of assaults occur among family members and friends, it also points out that just about anything can be considered a weapon if used as part of an attack. While I tried to add some humor to this post, I am certain that these events weren’t funny for those involved.

Click here to see the slide show on assault..

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