Replied to Writing to connect: knowing the “other” outside time & space (Reflecting Allowed)
Writing across each other’s blogs, I love how in some MOOCs, when people are focused on the same topic, one writes a post connecting ideas from multiple other posts, taking the ideas further, grabbing comments from elsewhere, and making something new, then recycling the ideas again. It’s a kind of “distributed” collaborative writing.
This is an intriguing reflection Maha. I like your points about writing across blogs, as well as connecting beyond ourselves. The one question I was left wondering is whether you would right the same post now? I too have written myself about the benefits of connected education. With both posts written a few years ago, I wonder if anything has changed? Would you still have the same outlook?
Listened TER #108 – ACARA’s Literacy & Numeracy Progressions with Hilary Dixon – 18 Feb 2018 from terpodcast.com
Main Features: ACARA’s Acting Director, Curriculum, discusses the new literacy and numeracy progressions, their relationship to curriculum, and intended applications in teaching and assessment practices; Annabel Astbury outlines the ABC’s new education initiative. Regular Features: Off Campus, ...

00.000 Opening Credits
01:31.214 Intro
01:55.324 Off Campus – Dan Haesler
12:48.141 Education in the News
20:44.068 ABC Education – Annabel Astbury
28:50.180 Feature Introduction
30:52.440 Interview – Hilary Dixon
59:28.218 Announcements
1:01:52.482 Quote & Sign Off

In this edition of the TER Podcast, Cameron Malcher interviews Hilary Dixon about the new Literacy and Numeracy Progressions released earlier this year from ACARA. Although the interview discusses what the progressions are, it also provides a critical context to their creation and where they might sit within the wider debate around NAPLAN and back-to-bacics curriculum.

Replied to Creating a strategic plan for your life by Ian O'Byrne (W. Ian O'Byrne)
We all have dreams, yet many of us chose not to allow them to become reality. There are many factors that may impede or restrict our ability to find a way to implement this plan. There may be specific people that subscribe to old narratives and chose to see us follow in their footsteps. The thing to remember in this process is that we all create and follow our own learning pathways. We should be the ones to determine the direction, goals, and success of our lives.
Ian, I am enjoying your series looking at vision, goals and life. I must admit that I am a little sceptical about ‘SMART’ goals. I like Steve Brophy’s notion of fuzzy goals. You might also be interested in Adrian Camm’s work around vision.
Bookmarked Fake news has a long history. Beware the state being keeper of ‘the truth’ | Kenan Malik by Kenan Malik (the Guardian)
Tempting as it is to legislate against manipulated ‘facts’, it both misguided and dangerous
It would seem that many states are trying to clamp down on the problem of ‘fake News’. Kenan Malik explains that not only is this not a new problem, but the solution does not involve the state, rather it involves trust:

There is another change, too. In the past, those with power manipulated facts so as to present lies as truth. Today, lies are often accepted as truth because the very notion of truth is fragmenting. “Truth” often has little more meaning than: “This is what I believe” or: “This is what I think should be true”. On issues from Brexit to same-sex marriage, all sides cling to their view as the truth, refusing to engage with “alternate” views. As Donald Trump has so ably demonstrated, the cry of “fake news” has become a way of dismissing inconvenient truths. And from China to the Philippines, repressive regimes use the charge of “fake news” to impose censorship and crush dissent.

This is why Mike Caulfield’s work is so important. Rather than pushing solutions onto citizens, we need to build the capacity of people to dig further.

Bookmarked Facebook has a Big Tobacco Problem by Frederic Filloux (mondaynote.com)
Facebook’s problems are more than a temporary bad PR issue. Its behavior contributes to a growing negative view of the entire tech industry.
Frederic Filloux compares the current situation with Facebook to the collapse of the tobacco industry in the 90’s. The first comparison is the denial of intent:

Facebook never sought to be the vector of in-depth knowledge for its users, or a mind-opener to a holistic view of the world. Quite the opposite. It encouraged everyone (news publishers for instance) to produce and distribute the shallowest possible content, loaded with cheap emotion, to stimulate sharing. It fostered the development of cognitive Petri dishes in which people are guarded against any adverse opinion or viewpoint, locking users in an endless feedback loop that has become harmful to democracy. Facebook knew precisely what it was building: a novel social system based on raw impulse, designed to feed an advertising monster that even took advantage of racism and social selectiveness

The other comparison is with Facebooks intrusion into the third world:

As in the 1990’s, when Big Tobacco felt its home market dwindling, the companies decided to stimulate smoking in the Third World. Facebook’s tactics are reminiscence of that. Today, it subsidizes connectivity in the developing world, offering attractive deals to telecoms in Asia and Africa, in exchange for making FB the main gateway to the internet. In India, Facebook went a bit too far with Free Basic, an ill-fated attempt to corner the internet by providing a free or nearly free data plan. Having some experience with Western colonialism, the Indian government rejected the deal.

More information to add to the discussion regarding sharecropping and Facebook.

Liked Björk on Creativity as an Ongoing Experiment (thecreativeindependent.com)
I think the best connections or collaborations are when you don’t assume anything and there’s no projection and there’s no pressure and people are not forced up against the wall and like, “This is what we’re doing.” The few moments where we’ve found each other in that sort of situation, something was not right. I think where collaboration works best is when you drop all that and you just really start from scratch and you really try to make something that’s different than what you’ve done before, and you try to find a coordinate, which you wouldn’t have found on your own or with somebody different. That’s when it’s fertile.
via Oliver Quinlan
Bookmarked The cost of reporting while female (Columbia Journalism Review)
Over the course of nearly 200 years, female journalists have been under threat because of their gender, race, beat, views, and coverage.
Anne Helen Petersen documents a number of examples where women have been threatened while working as journalists. This includes a series of historical cases. This reminded me of Lindy West’s confrontation of troll and why he chose to do what he did. I am always left wondering what the answer is, sometimes fearing that such thinking creates more problems than solutions. Maybe there is something in Sherri Spelic’s suggestion to ‘think small’:

Sometimes it pays off to think small. Think next door, down the hall, at the next meeting. Act large in small spaces. Notice who’s speaking and who isn’t. Practice not knowing and being curious. Be kind. Welcome warmly and mean it.

via Audrey Watters newsletter

Listened If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS - This American Life from This American Life
It’s safe to say whatever you want on the Internet; nobody will know it’s you. But that same anonymity makes it possible for people to say all the awful things that make the Internet such an annoying and sometimes frightening place. This week: what happens when the Internet turns on you?
Lindy West also reflected upon this experience and the podcast here.
Bookmarked The offloading ape: the human is the beast that automates – Antone Martinho-Truswell | Aeon Essays (Aeon)
It’s not tools, culture or communication that make humans unique but our knack for offloading dirty work onto machines
Antone Martinho-Truswell looks into the differences between humans and animals, suggesting that what stands us apart is cognitive and physical automation.

There are two ways to give tools independence from a human, I’d suggest. For anything we want to accomplish, we must produce both the physical forces necessary to effect the action, and also guide it with some level of mental control. Some actions (eg, needlepoint) require very fine-grained mental control, while others (eg, hauling a cart) require very little mental effort but enormous amounts of physical energy. Some of our goals are even entirely mental, such as remembering a birthday. It follows that there are two kinds of automation: those that are energetically independent, requiring human guidance but not much human muscle power (eg, driving a car), and those that are also independent of human mental input (eg, the self-driving car). Both are examples of offloading our labour, physical or mental, and both are far older than one might first suppose.

Although it can be misconstrued as making us stupid, the intent of automation is complexity:

The goal of automation and exportation is not shiftless inaction, but complexity. As a species, we have built cities and crafted stories, developed cultures and formulated laws, probed the recesses of science, and are attempting to explore the stars. This is not because our brain itself is uniquely superior – its evolutionary and functional similarity to other intelligent species is striking – but because our unique trait is to supplement our bodies and brains with layer upon layer of external assistance.

My question is whether some automation today is actually intended to be stupid or too convenient as a means of control. This touches on Douglas Rushkoff’s warning ‘program or be programmed. I therefore wonder what the balance is between automation and manually completing various tasks in order to create more complexity.