Clearly we’re at a stretched-thin moment of tension about race, inequality and gender in America and elsewhere. It’s much harder to explain why we like something than why we hate it, and to be honest, I’m at a loss for words. I’ve been watching this all week, hoping I’d find some way to express what I’m seeing there that keeps me coming back. I never found it. But I just watched it again.
There’s nothing wrong with scissors, glue, and cardboard paper – I hope schools are not so quick to discard such fun, fulfilling, and slowed down activities.
Webmention, like most every IndieWeb technology, hides its light under a bushel of deep obscurity. I discovered IndieWeb three months ago by happenstance, and since then exactly zero of my fellow web-working professionals with whom I’ve brought up the subject had heard of it before that moment. On the one hand, I find this truly fascinating: here is a geographically diverse group of deeply caring technologists who have not just invented but, over most of a decade, refined and iterated tools for a truly democratized web. They have developed them to a point where the web’s core standards body has recognized their merit, and — more to the point — where a jaded lifelong web-engineer like me can so much as glance at them and immediately feel amazed by their coiled-spring potential, suddenly hungry to start working with them myself.
Any intervention in schools, and any implementation of research, involves questions of power. How do we make sure that the most vulnerable have a voice and are not shut down in the name of listening to ‘the research’?
Sam Wineburg has talked about this process as taking bearings, and I like that term a lot. Before trudging blindly into an article, pull out the compass and the map and figure out where you landed. It’s so simple to do, there’s really no excuse for not doing it.
The key is to not just say, but do. Offer more attractive alternatives. And don’t just encourage other activities; actually get involved. Do things your kids like to do. Take them places they like to go. Help them learn a sport. Help them learn to play an instrument.
Make it easy for friends to visit, and for them to visit friends — in real life, not virtually.
The EU is responding to consumers who feel ripped off. They’re tired of having their data stripmined and their attention stolen … Marketers don’t have to race to the bottom. It’s better at the top.
I believe that people sometimes need to learn to work building their objectives on the fly given what they’ve been confronted with. So how do I design activities that allow for people to learn to persist through that uncertainty and still be willing to accept half answers when that’s as far as they will get?
Meme histories. That’s how.
The first question is, are the algorithms that we deploy going to improve the human processes that they are replacing? Far too often we have algorithms that are thrown in with the assumptions that they’re going to work perfectly, because after all they’re algorithms, but they actually end up working much worse than the system that they’re replacing. For example in Australia they implemented an algorithm that sent a bunch of ridiculously threatening letters to people saying that they had defrauded the Australian Government. That’s a great example where they actually just never tested it to make sure it worked.
The second question is to ask, for whom is the algorithm failing? We need to be asking, “Does it fail more often for women than for men? Does it fail more often for minorities than for whites? Does it fail more often for old people than for young people?” Every single class should get a question and an answer. The big example I have for this one is the facial recognition software that the MIT Media Lab found worked muchbetter for white men than black women. That is a no-brainer test that every single facial recognition software company should have done and it’s embarrassing that they didn’t do it.
The third category of question is simply, is this working for society? Are we tracking the mistakes of the system? Are we inputting these mistakes back into the algorithm so that it’ll work better? Is it causing some other third unintended consequence? Is it destroying democracy? Is it making people worse off?
Long story short: I’m a realist. Teachers are never going to make a fortune. It’s not fiscally responsible — and the fact of the matter is that we HAVE to be fiscally responsible.
But let’s quit pretending that teachers who are using their voices to draw attention to the sad state of funding in our public schools and to the impact those funding choices are having on kids are bad people trying to fleece America.
Until yesterday I’ve been embarrassingly insecure about the security of my MacBookPro’s operating system.
If the school year is grinding teachers down mentally to the point where long holidays are required, then the solution is to address what is causing the problems in school term time.
First we must offer teachers the chance to go home like the rest of us and switch off. Second, the bulk of lesson planning needs to shift out of term time, even if teachers are on-site over school holidays. That is when the pupil-free days should occur.
Third, I want principals to change culture tomorrow and be given a slice of the Gonski resources to fund the extra hours that definitively improve student outcomes.
Fourth, we need an explicit focus on the children that do not gain a year of learning in a calendar year, and not dump the responsibility solely on classroom teachers who are forced to pass the parcel.
Finally, states and territories must replace annual incremental pay rises with a genuine teacher-designed merit-based model rewarding sub-specialisation and further education.
The evidence is unequivocal: job-related anxiety is a growing health crisis with repercussions for your mental and physical well-being.
People need to choose their employer not just for salary and promotion opportunities but on the basis of whether the job will be good for their psychological and physical health. Business leaders should measure the health of their workforce, not just profits.
If the next set of FTC commissioners truly are serious about making Facebook serve the interests of the American public, here is a set of actions they should begin to take on day one. Every one of these action has a strong foundation in US law and practice:
1) Impose strict privacy rules on Facebook, perhaps using Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation as a guide.
2) Spin off Facebook’s ad network. This will eliminate, in one swoop, most of the incentive that Facebook now has to amass data and to interfere and discriminate in the provision of information and news.
3) Reverse the approvals for Facebook purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram, and re-establish these as competing social networks.
4) Prohibit all future acquisitions by Facebook for at least five years.
5) Establish a system to ensure the transparency of all political communications on Facebook, similar to other major communication networks in the United States.
6) Require Facebook to adopt open and transparent standards, similar to conditions the FTC imposed on AOL Messenger in the AOL-Time Warner merger settlement in 2001.
7) Establish whether Facebook violated the 2011 consent decree and, if so, seek court sanctions.
8) Threaten to bring further legal action against Facebook unless top executives immediately agree to work with the FTC to restructure their corporation to ensure the safety and stability of our government and economy.
9) Establish whether top executives enabled, encouraged, or oversaw violations of the 2011 consent decree and, if so, pursue personal fines against them.
At my institution, the University of the Arts London, we see the value in uncertainty. In many of our courses it is important that our students are in a liminal state for much of the time within which they are not quite sure of what they know. This is a key aspect of the process of creativity and it’s also central to my reframing, or extension of, information literacy. Questioning our self, our motivations and methods, for seeking and validating information is our only chance of maintaining our agency within complexity. Not being afraid of being immersed in complexity requires understanding the value of uncertainty. This is all the more important where we receive information as an effect of our interactions. To ask how what we engage with has arrived in front of us and why we are comfortable with it (in the context of our identity and position) has to be central to what it means to critically evaluate.
To maintain the agency of our students (and ourselves) and not fall into the trap of assuming a ‘natural order’ which just so happens to be our current worldview we must reveal, not simplify, complexity. In tandem with this we must provide the critical tools to navigate complexity without denying it.
The WOW, WONDER, SO WHAT?, WHAT NOW? structure is a bit more fleshed out and includes that very important piece about identifying relevance, so I hope it is useful to some of you in your work with learners of all ages.
A collection of resources associated with deleting, regulating and/or leaving Facebook
Facebook provides me with the ability to opt out of advertising from those companies, just by clicking a cross in the corner. All I need to do is devote some time to clicking a small button 174 times in a row and I am free from those companies – at least until the next 174 decide to upload my information.
What I cannot do is anything with real power. I cannot tell Facebook that the vast majority of these companies cannot possibly have acquired my email address legitimately; I cannot opt out of them all at once, defenestrating advertisers in their masses with a single click; and I certainly cannot request that no company be able to target me simply by uploading an easily guessable address to the site.