Bookmarked Turnitin User Agreement: I disagree by Hans de Zwart (
I have better things to do than read the whole text (~ 5.100 words) but I did read enough to know that I couldn’t agree with this User Agreement. Instead I decided to write this blog post explaining what I find so disagreeable.
Hans de Zwart writes a Turn It In user agreement that he would be will to sign:

My work can only be used by Turnitin to check for plagiarism.
As I see no reason for it being my responsibility to help Turnitin get better at doing their job (by giving them the ability to recognise when somebody plagiarizes my work), I want Turnitin to delete my work as soon as the check has been done.
If Turnitin relies on third parties to do the plagiarism check, then I would need a limitative list of these parties and the assurance that the above two conditions will also count for them.

For more on Turn It In, read this post by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel.

Bookmarked Stop Looking at My Bad Leg: Introduction to my new book: Reach for Greatness (Education in the Age of Globalization)
Current understandings of human nature and human learning suggest that human beings are differently talented (Gardner, 1983, 2006) and have different desires and interests (Reiss, 2000, 2004). Thanks to the diversity in the environment in which they are born, humans also have different experiences that interact with their natural talents and interests to give each person a unique, jagged profile of abilities and desires, stronger in some areas and weaker in others (Ridley, 2003; Rose, 2016). In other words, everyone has a handsome leg and, at the same time, a deformed leg.
This is the introduction to Yong Zhao’s new book Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for All. It continues some of the ideas Rose discussed in his book, The End of Average. However, on first glance it seems to overlook other aspects to education, such as society.

One quote that caught my attention was the association between experiences and greatness:

experiences have costs and risks. Every experience requires time, and some require money and extra effort. Thus, adults want every activity their children experience to be positive, to lead to some desirable outcome. They don’t want their children to waste their time, energy, or money, or worse, to have experiences that may have a negative impact. Responsible adults naturally have a tendency to prescribe experiences for children. The result is that many children are allowed to have only experiences deemed to be beneficial and safe by adults.

I think that this is where the difference between individual and society stands out, in that you cannot have people achieving their own sense of greatness if the access to experiences is not equitable. This was not something discussed in a recent debate on the ABC around private vs. public education.

I am also intrigued by the link with Wagner’s work too, and am interested in its association with the wider discourse around personalization and how this differs from ‘personalised’ learning.

Bookmarked The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants by John Harris (the Guardian)
Around the world, a handful of visionaries are plotting an alternative ​online ​future​.​ ​Is it really possible to remake the internet in a way that’s egalitarian, decentralised and free of snooping​?​
John Harris speaks with a number of people about alternatives to today’s dependence on super nodes and silos. Aral Balkan and Laura Kalbag talk about their concept of a indienet where users control their data:

Using the blueprint of Heartbeat, they want to create a new kind of internet they call the indienet – in which people control their data, are not tracked and each own an equal space online. This would be a radical alternative to what we have now: giant “supernodes” that have made a few men in northern California unimaginable amounts of money thanks to the ocean of lucrative personal information billions of people hand over in exchange for their services.

While David Irvine discusses the idea of a distributed SAFE network built on blockchain technology:

The acronym SAFE stands for “Safe Access for Everyone”. In this model, rather than being stored on distant servers, people’s data – files, documents, social-media interactions – will be broken into fragments, encrypted and scattered around other people’s computers and smartphones, meaning that hacking and data theft will become impossible. Thanks to a system of self-authentication in which a Safe user’s encrypted information would only be put back together and unlocked on their own devices, there will be no centrally held passwords.

No one will leave data trails, so there will be nothing for big online companies to harvest. The financial lubricant, Irvine says, will be a cryptocurrency called Safecoin: users will pay to store data on the network, and also be rewarded for storing other people’s (encrypted) information on their devices. Software developers, meanwhile, will be rewarded with Safecoin according to the popularity of their apps. There is a community of around 7,000 interested people already working on services that will work on the Safe network, including alternatives to platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

It is interesting to consider these ideas alongside that of the #IndieWeb community. I think both are aspiring to create a demonstrably better web. It will be interesting to see where all of this goes.

Bookmarked Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brainstorm and Threatens Global Democracy (Motherboard)
The ‘social media revolution’ gave us Donald Trump and Brexit—and is making politics impossible.
David Golumbia discusses the changes to democracy associated with social media.

least reasonable parts of our minds, on which a democratic public sphere depends. It speaks instead to the emotional, reactive, quick-fix parts of us, that are satisfied by images and clicks that look pleasing, that feed our egos, and that make us think we are heroic. But too often these feelings come at the expense of the deep thinking, planning, and interaction that democratic politics are built from. This doesn’t mean reasoned debate can’t happen online; of course it can and does. It means that there is a strong tendency—what media and technology researchers call an “affordance”—away from dispassionate debate and toward strong emotions.

He argues that we have lost the ability to think slowly, therefore making us more susceptible to irrational decisions.

In 2007 and again in 2008, Kahneman gave a class in “Thinking, About Thinking” to a powerful group of executives from companies like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia Microsoft, and Amazon (he also gave another talk about “Thinking, Fast and Slow” at Google in 2011). Kahneman is well known for bringing public awareness to the distinction between so-called “System 1” and “System 2” thinking. System 2 is good old fashioned, actual, “slow” thinking, it’s “effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious.” System 2 is the kind of rational cogitation we like to imagine we do all the time. System 1 is “fast” thinking, fight or flight, “automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, subconscious.” Facebook and Twitter are built on System 1, as is most social media. That’s why so many tech executives were at those master classes. And that’s what they learned there: How to craft media that talks to System 1 and bypasses System 2.

Golumbia describes this as a ‘revolution’

Those who celebrated the Facebook revolution and the Twitter revolution were celebrating the replacement of (relatively) calm reflection with the politics of reactivity and passion. This domination of System 2 by System 1 thinking is the real social media “revolution.” The question that remains is whether democracies have both the will, and the means to bring considered thought back to politics, or, whether digital technology has made politics impossible.

Bookmarked How the Heck Do You Grade Choice-Based Learning? (A.J. JULIANI)
Portfolios helped me visually see where my students were struggling and where they were exceeding my expectations. Portfolios also allowed for student choice in the assessment process, which as we know lead to student engagement and ownership of their learning.
Juliani provides a useful reflection on using Understanding by Design and PBL together.
Bookmarked Organizing My Pile of Old Web Bones by Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog  Alan Levine aka CogDogProfile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog Alan Levine aka CogDog (CogDogBlog)
Archiving and digital legacy [ought] to be in the air. The bava has been at it; Jim has been cleaning up his pile pf past webs, like an abandoned Known and the OpenVA web site. He’s been writing about Archiving his Digital Past and the concept of an Archive of One’s Own. I’ve been harping s...
Alan Levine unpacks the steps associated with using Site Sucker (on Mac) to download a static version of a WordPress site to then be uploaded for archiving.
Bookmarked Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies – what digital money really means for our future by Alex Hern (the Guardian)
Digital currencies such as bitcoin have caused a financial frenzy. Alex Hern explains what they are – and whether this is the end of ‘real’ money
Alex Hern continues his exploration of Bitcoin in this thorough overview. One quote that really stood out was this:

If you trust the financial system to store your funds, or Dropbox to store your files, or YouTube to host your videos, then you don’t need to use less efficient decentralised versions of those services. But if you are planning to commit financial crime, store illegal downloads, or host pirated videos a decentralised version of those services becomes much more appealing. That’s why bitcoin, for instance, has become the currency of choice for online drug dealers and cybercriminals demanding ransoms to restore hacked data.

Bookmarked Content moderation is not a panacea: Logan Paul, YouTube, and what we should expect from platforms by Tarleton Gillespie (Social Media Collective)
Content moderation should be more transparent, and platforms should be more accountable, not only for what traverses their system, but the ways in which they are complicit in its production, circulation, and impact. But it also seems we are too eager to blame all things on content moderation, and to expect platforms to maintain a perfectly honed moral outlook every time we are troubled by something we find there. Acknowledging that YouTube is not a mere conduit does not imply that it is exclusively responsible for everything available there.
Tarleton Gillespie unpacks the recent discussions for more moderation for YouTube. One problem that she highlights is that the intent associated with the content being created is not consistent:

Incidents like the exploitative videos of children, or the misleading amateur cartoons, take advantage of this system. They live amidst this enormous range of videos, some subset of which YouTube must remove. Some come from users who don’t know or care about the rules, or find what they’re making perfectly acceptable. Others are deliberately designed to slip past moderators, either by going unnoticed or by walking right up to but not across the community guidelines. They sometimes require hard decisions about speech, community, norms, and the right to intervene.

She also discusses the difference between television and YouTube, questioning what it might mean to have such expectations:

MTV was in a structurally different position than YouTube. We expect MTV to be accountable for a number of reasons: they had the opportunity to review the episode before broadcasting it; they employed Kutcher and his team, affording them specific power to impose standards; and they chose to hand him the megaphone in the first place. While YouTube also affords Logan Paul a way to reach millions, and he and YouTube share advertising revenue from popular videos, these offers are in principle made to all YouTube users. YouTube is a distribution platform, not a distribution bottleneck — or it is a bottleneck of a very different shape. This does not mean we cannot or should not hold YouTube accountable. We could decide as a society that we want YouTube to meet exactly the same responsibilities as MTV, or more. But we must take into account that these structural differences change not only what YouTube can do, but how and why we can expect it of them.

So what we critics may be implying is that YouTube should be responsible to distinguish the insensitive versions from the sensitive ones. Again, this sounds more like the kinds of expectations we had for television networks — which is fine if that’s what we want, but we should admit that this would be asking much more from YouTube than we might think.

One of the problems associated with moderation is the rewards behind such content:

If video makers are rewarded based on the number of views, whether that reward is financial or just reputational, it stands to reason that some videomakers will look for ways to increase those numbers, including going bigger. But it is not clear that metrics of popularity necessarily or only lead to being over more outrageous, and there’s nothing about this tactic that is unique to social media. Media scholars have long noted that being outrageous is one tactic producers use to cut through the clutter and grab viewers, whether its blaring newspaper headlines, trashy daytime talk shows, or sexualized pop star performances. That is hardly unique to YouTube. And YouTube videomakers are pursuing a number of strategies to seek popularity and the rewards therein, outrageousness being just one. Many more seem to depend on repetition, building a sense of community or following, interacting with individual subscribers, and the attempt to be first.

Bookmarked Interviewing the nonhumans by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)
Twitter’s algorithms might indeed make following a hashtag easier for us, but what is it doing for Twitter? When tens of people like an educational tweet for example, how did that happen, what are the consequences and for whom?
Here is a list of heuristics taken from ‘Researching a Posthuman World’ by Catherine Adams and Terrie Lynne Thompson

Gathering anecdotes

Describe how the object or thing appeared, showed up, or was given in professional practice. What happened?

Following the actors

Consider the main practice you are interested in. What micro-practices are at work?
Who-what is acting? What are they doing? Who-what is excluded?
How have particular assemblages come together? What is related to what and how? What work do they do?> > Choose an object of interest. What is the sociality/materiality around it?

Listening for the invitational quality of things

What is a technology inviting (or encouraging, inciting, or even insisting) its user to do?
What is a technology discouraging?

Studying breakdowns, accidents and anomalies

What happens if an object breaks or is unexpectedly missing? What practices then become more visible?

Applying the Laws of Media

This heuristic draws on the tetrad of McLuhan and McLuhan (1988) and poses the questions they proposed.

What does a technology/medium enhance?
What does it render obsolete?
What does it retrieve that was previously obsolesced?
What does it become when pressed to an extreme?

Unravelling translations

How have particular gatherings come to be and how do they maintain their connections?
What unintended realities come into being as everyday practices unfold?
What is entrenched? Who-what is excluded?