Audrey Watters summarises her thinking around Domain of One’sOwn. She discusses conerns around data, privacy and our knowledge of how the web works.
By providing students and staff with a domain, I think we can start to address this. Students and staff can start to see how digital technologies work – those that underpin the Web and elsewhere. They can think about how these technologies shape the formation of their understanding of the world – how knowledge is formed and shared; how identity is formed and expressed. They can engage with that original purpose of the Web – sharing information and collaborating on knowledge-building endeavors – by doing meaningful work online, in the public, with other scholars. That they have a space of their own online, along with the support and the tools to think about what that can look like. Why ‘A Domain of One’s Own’ Matters (For the Future of Knowledge)
What I think this idea really captures is our need to make the connections between the various elements of the web, whether it be APIs or coding, rather than always accepting the packaged applications that provide the easiest option.
Tom Barrett explores various examples of constraints and the creative possibilities that it provides. This is not to be confused with restraint, those aspects impose self-control. Constraints come in many different forms, including space and design.
Not to be confused with restraint which is much more about self-control, constraint is about finding the edges of the page before you begin, it is about knowing what limits you have in terms of resources. It is about must haves and must nots. And to be honest not something I previously worried too much about, but now I see constraint in lots of work that I do and inevitably seek them out if they are not so explicit. source
Naomi Barnes discusses on the supposed freedoms provided by the web. Discussing the work of Gardner and Davis, it is suggested that the app generation brings with it its own creative constructs.
Digital apps and worlds, have boundaries (or scaffolds) – no matter how vast, no matter how much the creator allows manipulation of story lines and sharing of ideas. There are limitations because a finite number of people created the experience and those creators have finite imaginations, limited further by the capabilities of digital tools. There are limitations imposed by the re-creators themselves through language and the homogeny of the sites they settle on and continue to return to. It might not feel finite…but it is.Source
A panel of experts discuss what it means to own things in the digital age in this episode of Future Tense:
More and more of the objects we use in our daily lives include software, from cars to communication devices to toys. In the digital world you never really own that software, you’re simply given a licence to use it. So what does that mean for our notion of “ownership” Source
Marten Koomen reflects on the recent sacking of Mark Latham by Sky News as uses it as an opportunity to review the continued gender divide across society. Even though they are just as capable and competent, Koomen highlights the absence of voice at the table.
The ABC’s Insiders exemplifies some broader dynamics. It shows that journalism is one field where women are as competent as men, yet still lack voice in shaping the social sphere and the debates. This seems not isolated to journalism, as women are often promoted in other fields based on their functional efficiency then ignored in conversations that shape their workplace and society. In this case, Irigaray’s products of exchange as “Mother, virgin, prostitute” could be expanded to include “highly functional robot”.Source
On the work front, I have been doing quite a bit of learning and inquiry around data literacy. In addition to this, I have been continuing to develop material to support online learning for Google Sheets and Hapara. On the side, I have been toying around with different forms of automation using Sheets, as well as developing materials for the EdTechSummit at Manor Lakes next month.
On a personal front, I finally got around to setting up my awesome blogroll that Tom Woodward created for me. I also set up my own Wikity. In regards to my family, we have been preparing for our trip to New Zealand next month. One of the perks to not automatically having school holidays off.
In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:
The skill, will, and thrill of Project Based Learning – Bianca Hewes reflects on here experiences with Visible Learning and Project Based Learning. She highlights the similarities, such as a focus on stages and structure. The post finishes with a call to work together to strive for a better education for all. It is interesting reading this alongside the David Price’s recent analyses and a useful introduction to Project Based Learning.
This isn’t a research article (I’m a teacher, not an academic), it’s a reflective post where I’ve tried to put down the thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain for the last week. I just think that in education we shouldn’t be making enemies, we shouldn’t need to take sides… we’re all in this field because we love young people, we care about their future success, and we are passionate about teaching and learning. It would be so super awesome to work together, and be positive, for better outcomes for the people that matter – the kids – and not for our own personal agendas of gains. Anyway, if you don’t like PBL, that’s cool (well, no, not really, you’re missing out, haha), but make sure you know what it is you’re critiquing before you start to bag it – cos it might just be that we’re arguing for the same thing.
So when we look to grade a child on how they are as a reader we need to make sure that the assessments we provide actually provide us with the answers we need. Not an arbitrary number that again rewards those who already have established solid reading habits and punish those that are still developing. And if you are asked to grade independent reading, ask questions; what is it you are trying to measure and is it really providing you with a true answer? Are you measuring habits or skills? Are the grades accurate? If not, why not? And if not, then what?
As a teacher of nearly 15 years, I have attempted annual to crack the code for asking great questions. I am working on it. Happily, I have written a lot of blogs to capture, distill and codify my thinking into practical strategies for classroom talk and questioning
As the days shorten (at least on our side of the world) let’s take stock and reflect on the story so far. Here are some questions to help you reflect on your culture-building efforts – and perhaps to help you consider new goals to work on. Suffice to say – none of us can manage to get all of these things happening beautifully all at once! This is an ‘aspirational’ check list- I hope it provides the basis for some affirmation as well as for some challenge.
#ProjectDreamtime: connecting with Arnhem Land and learning about culture – Lee Hewes documents a Project-Based Learning unit focusing on bringing stories of the Dreamtime into the digital age. What stands out in Hewes’ account is the place of technology to make collaborative learning ‘more doable’. This includes a class website, Skype to connect with a remote indigenous community and a YouTube channel to celebrate and extend the learning.
So over the last couple of weeks of the summer holidays, I designed the project outline for the project, which is guided by the driving question, ‘How could new technologies be used to tell traditional stories?’, and set about trying to connect with some schools from remote Indigenous communities. In fact, I emailed probably around 50 schools from remote NSW, QLD and the NT, trying to establish connections. I finally managed to secure a connection with an awesome school from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, which I’ll write a little more about later. I also contacted the AECG and organised for a visitor to come to our school with some Aboriginal artefacts and to introduce the students to Indigenous culture.
Black-out poetry can be a fun and educational activity for students. For those that have trouble coming up with a poem, this activity can be helpful since the students already have all the words for the poem and just need to choose the ones they want to keep.
A Change Sprint is focused on a central question posed by the member who calls or convenes the Spring to action. Each question, so far, has changed at least slightly in the course of each of the Sprints – the question can be iterative but it guides the discussion. A participant will convene a Sprint because they want help with an idea, a problem, a challenge…and are looking for a particular kind of outcome. They might want a model. They could need something said in a particular way, or need an idea workshopped before it goes out into the wild. Before beginning, each convenor has to create a simple project charter that explains the necessary background in a simple, organized way. The charter allows people to get up to speed in a hurry, and provides a location for discussion around broader contextual issues. We have a google template that has been working well for us. It’s been really important to us that the sprints are as efficient as possible. We put the time limit on a sprint at 5 days, but any can end if the initial target is met and the convenor’s challenge addressed.
So, here’s what I need from Twitter, in this new world – I don’t want my Twitter timeline/stream to be controlled by algorithms, but I do want more control (note: I want the control, not for it to be done for me) over the kind of tweets that fill my timeline. If the 1,300 or so people I follow on Twitter want to share and discuss current affairs and Brexit and the like, then I am happy for them and don’t want to stop them, or unfollow them either. I just want some way to filter those out, until I want to read them. Twitter is acting against the rise (and rise) of trolls and the nasty side of the internet (some say too late).
Here we B.Y.GO again… 😉 – Corrie Barclay provides his thoughts and reflections on going BYO*. He touches on such things as having a plan and documentation in place (much of which he posted in a follow up post). What interests me about such discussions are the nuances associated with each situation. I am also intrigued by the different approaches to action research and reflection associated with such programs.
What I am personally pleased with it that my beliefs towards integrating a successful BYO program have not changed all that much from roughly 9 years ago. What was needed to be in place then, still needs to be in place now. I have over the years read and seen quite a lot in this space and at the end of the day, you do not need ‘21 successful tips towards BYOD‘, or, ‘BYOD, 45,721 points for successful integration‘, or anything in between. Here I have shared my key tips, points, notes, ‘things’, whatever you would like to call them, that have assisted and driven myself towards leading and implementing BYOD frameworks. As usual, comments welcome.
Every product has baked in assumptions regarding how students will learn best and how a tool will be utilized in a particular school. Yet we know that to effectively select technology, one must understand whether their vision for teaching and learning aligns with the assumptions baked into the products being selected. When there is a mismatch, implementations will fail.
A set of endorsement features are about to make Open Badges more credible, searchable, and trackable. These features will allow individuals or organizations who issue badges to add endorsements by other parties to add to their credibility and trustworthiness across different communities. As with LinkedIn, it will take time and investment for these new features to become widely embraced by various stakeholders. But unlike LinkedIn’s endorsements, Open Badges will allow multiple institutions to experiment with this feature.
On Next Generation Digital Learning Environments – Jim Groom discusses the Next Generation Digital Learning Environments. It would seem that there are a number of challenges to be grappled with, including the challenge of organising personal spaces and managing our personal data online. In an associated post, Benjamin Doxtdater wonders if the problem with edtech is the lack of pedagogical imagination from the companies creating the products.
What the ELI white paper misses is that this system needs to be approached from a new perspective that humanizes the exchange of data and makes those negotiations everywhere apparent and transparent—that’s not going to happen through a federation of corporate software companies that are mining your personal data for their own profit—and if that’s the case why can’t you say no? —or even decide the terms and get a piece of the action?
Sideways Dictionary – This site helps explain various edtech terms through the use of analogies.
Sideways dictionary — it’s like a dictionary, but using analogies instead of definitions. Use it as a tool for finding and sharing helpful analogies to explain technology. Because if everyone understands technology better, we can make technology work better for everyone.
Clash Of Ideas: The Tension Of Innovation – David Culberhouse outlines the importance of tension to foster innovation. Coming back to the ‘learning well’, he highlights the importance of difference and the way in which heavily managed environments undermine this.
The most creative and innovative organizations don’t just accept ideas, they engage ideas. They wrestle and fight with ideas, not because they don’t think they are good, but because they want to make them even better. They learn to not hold any idea too close to the chest, understanding that any idea can be built upon and improved. They approach the idea process with an attitude of positive “plussing” which allows ideas to expand and evolve.
What happens in peer instruction? You give students daily opportunities to realize they understand a fraction of what they think they do, and you get amazing learning gains. People wonder why I got obsessed with federated wiki. I got obsessed for a number of reasons, but as I discussed in The Garden and the Stream, one of the primary ones was this: a daily process of trying to explain and connect incoming ideas rather than rating them and arguing them changes your brain in helpful ways. Federated wiki takes us down a path of explanation and connection. Traditional social media takes us down a path of argument and retrenchment.
A few key things have occurred in the past year for me, that now on reflection have made me realise that that ferocious person I was after to give me that little kick was never going to be found on a stage. In fact, as it turns out, it’s not even one person. It’s the conversations. The light bulb moments. The pure excitement and looks on children’s faces and those of their teachers I see every day. It’s my continued dedication to always wanting more, to being more, to making change. It’s watching things I’ve worked hard at succeed. It’s learning from the things that didn’t. It’s surrounding myself with like minded people. It’s my mentors. Sometimes it’s the littlest moments, all you have to do is notice them
My personal “need” for open is not universal. I have a social need that’s fulfilled by open/online. I need to have people who think in certain ways to be part of my life to talk to them about certain things. I also have a need to learn from open/online that’s different from what I can (and do) learn offline. But it could have been another way, you know? There’s a lot of ego and humility in blogging and openness in general. Of course when your work gets read and shared it helps boost the ego. It becomes more or less important depending on lots of things. Each post becomes less important if you post a heck of a lot (like me) but sometimes getting noticed by particular people matters. And it also involves a lot of humility because some of us share half-formed thoughts, seek help, share vulnerability, admit pain or failure or confusion. Or frustration. In ways sometimes doing it f2f doesn’t help.
Teachers are being held accountable to dubious statistics. For example, the American Educational Research Association (2015) strongly cautions against the use of value-added-models. Yet Australia reports student progress without reservation or qualification on the My School website (myschool.edu.au). This is not in the interest of students, teachers, or schools. In whose interest this reporting is occurring remains opaque.
Knowing the challenges complex human interactions pose to scientific study and research, why might it be that politicians and the sections of the profession are seemingly enticed by evidence-based practices and interventions? Perhaps we could consider them a bridge across the chasm that divides theory and practice, with the messiness of life and relationships in the ravine? Perhaps in the eyes of some, what education is meant to be has suffered a slow and steady erosion for too long. They cannot stand idle and observe wave after wave of fads, directionless leadership and a lack of vision. Seeing education as rudderless, misinformed and a waste of money is enough to rile anyone.
The Future of Work: 3 Mega-Trends – Graham Martin-Brown explores some of the trends associated with the future of work, including AI and universal income. This continues the conversation that is pushed by others, such as Douglas Rushkoff, Martin Ford and Doug Belshaw. It is also interesting to compare this with a post from Oxford University last year on the second topic. In the end, these are only trends and a part of the intent of the post is to highlight that the future is ours to define.
Now I don’t for a moment pretend that I have this all figured out, I like to think of myself as more of a compass than a map, but I believe that we have entered a period of massive global disruption where the status quo as we know it is going change. We can either let someone else choose our destiny or we can exert our agency and be part of a positive change to design the new status quo for the society that we want tomorrow.
Disciplinary training is not sovereign violence. But it is power. Classically, power took the form of force or coercion and was considered to be at its purest in acts of physical violence. Discipline acts otherwise. It gets a hold of us differently. It does not seize our bodies to destroy them, as Leviathan always threatened to do. Discipline rather trains them, drills them and (to use Foucault’s favoured word) ‘normalises’ them. All of this amounts to, Foucault saw, a distinctly subtle and relentless form of power. To refuse to recognise such disciplining as a form of power is a denial of how human life has come to be shaped and lived. If the only form of power we are willing to recognise is sovereign violence, we are in a poor position to understand the stakes of power today. If we are unable to see power in its other forms, we become impotent to resist all the other ways in which power brings itself to bear in forming us.
Imaginaries and materialities of education data science – In a speech for the Nordic Educational Research Association conference, Ben Williamson brings together much of his work around the collection and privatisation of big data being imagined around the possibilities afforded by the Internet of Things. Data science and analytics have progressively moved to the heart of education, with every teacher seemingly required to be versed around the topic of data literacy. The concern that Williamson and Watters raise is the notion of education as becoming an institution of cognitive control. In response to a recent Future Tense episode looking at the potential of ‘living’ digitally beyond our death, I was left wondering if there is anything missed in such a big data correlation?
One of the key things I want to stress here is that the field of education data science is imagining and seeking to materialize a ‘big data infrastructure’ for automated, algorithmic and anticipatory knowledge production, practical intervention and policy influence in education.
Technology always has a focus, whether it be student, teacher or system. One of the interesting things to consider is when different perspectives compete within the one software package.
Technology is never neutral. An incredibly clever teacher might be able to pull a technology a little bit between the vertices in the triangle, but that doesn’t change the equation. Educators need to decide upon whom they wish to bestow agency. I’m in Papert’s corner. It is best for learners and enjoys the greatest return on investment.source
Doug Belshaw adds a different take on this, suggesting that it either supports or pushes against the status quo:
There’s no such thing as a neutral system, so every time you design a new technology-based system, you’re designing to reinforce or subvert existing power structures.source
He uses the example of Open Badges to illustrate this.
Using the example of trowels used for masonry, Virginia Eubanks explains that the affordances impact the user’s experience:
I can’t swap them out. If I forget my 1/4 inch trowel and the building I’m working on has 1/4 inch joints, I’m screwed. How you use a tool isn’t totally determined – you can use a hammer to paint a barn. But you’ll do a terrible job. (2/4)
Why are smart people so susceptible to a “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” argument when we discuss tech? And what does it mean that tech critics so deeply misunderstand something as simple as a trowel? (4/4)
Gary Coleman discusses some of the challenges associated with the Fourth Revolution around regulations:
With so many regulatory questions surfacing as new business models are launched using exponential technologies, some business owners are taking a proactive role. For instance, technology companies are working with the EU to reshape privacy rules that impact their data mining business models. The drone industry has been successful in moving EU rules to a risk-based system – that is, allowing for waivers on a case-by-case basis versus waiting for a new set of regulations to be written for each scenario.
Peter DeWitt reflects on the question, are some teachers uncoachable?
The truth is that at some point it is no longer the coaches job to work with a teacher if that teacher doesn’t want to work with the coach. At some point it is the job of the administrator to chime in and work with the teacher. Coaches are not supposed to be evaluators. The other day a very astute coach told me they feel like they are the sheriff without a gun.
Benjamin Doxtdater reflects on the current state of EdTech and wonders if instead of teachers being scared that technology companies just aren’t ready for the future:
Perhaps it’s Edtech, not teachers, that lags far behind in its narrow discussion of technology. Rather than leading the way forward, Edtech is stuck in the past and irrelevant, especially to those of us who care about the intersection of technology and power.
Like its close cousin Disruption, unbundling has been a favourite philosophy of the silicon valley start up. It has often been applied to education (even, erm, by me). This piece for example boldly states “The bundle of knowledge and certification that have long-defined higher education is coming apart”. The idea has some merit – if education moves online, do we need all the services: content production, examination, accreditation, support, etc to come from one provider?
There are many different presentation platforms. One that has come to the surface of late is the newsletter:
A newsletter can be a powerful tool as you not only make sense of your thinking, but also share this work with others. I believe that the process of reflection is involved as you create and publish a newsletter. I often have colleagues suggest that an RSS or Twitter feed, or subscriptions to their website is the same thing as a regular newsletter. IMHO, it is not the same thing. A good newsletter serves a specific purpose, and includes synthesis and reflection for you or your audience. You are actively curating content online
Julian Stodd argues that trust is something cultivated like a garden:
You cannot demand trust, but you may be able to create the conditions where it can emerge, and grow. We know from the Landscape of Trust research that ‘trust’ is held in relationships more so than contracts, so it’s perhaps in the way we forge, and validate, and maintain, those relationships that we are best placed to take action.
It is a little like gardening: you tend to the soil, and the seeds germinate. You do not directly make them germinate. If the conditions are right, they will grow.source
For him democracy is not a normal situation, i.e., it is not a way in which the police order exists, but rather occurs in the interruption of the order in the name of equality—which is why he says that democracy is sporadic. Furthermore, democratization for Rancière is not something that is done to others; it is something that people can only do themselves. Rancière connects this to the question of emancipation
Gert Biesta Good Education in an Age of Measurement p.125
On one level, big social platforms borrowing features from one another has a long history in software development. Facebook alone took the “like” from Tumblr, the “check in” from Foursquare, “trending” from Twitter, and the “story” from Snapchat. But on another level, the recent moves to integrate real-time public posts show the internet not copying Twitter so much as they are absorbing it. Twitter is being unbundled before our eyes, and the implications are fascinating. source
Just as there are many reasons why people blog, there are also many reasons why people do not. This is a useful reflection on the challenges with blogging.
So why haven’t I blogged?
Possible reasons include:
“I’m always too busy”, but that is just a copout. I was busy when I was blogging previously, but am I underestimating the impact of an increased work stress and absorption
Many of my current ideas and arguments are too new and immature to bring to an audience. But blogging I find helps to fast track these ideas.
I require a high level of energy reserve and confidence to hang an idea out to be critiqued, to take on criticism or just use feedback to modify and adjust my idea or thinking
Writing doesn’t come easily to me. I’ve always had ideas (I’m a good dreamer), but struggle to quickly put these into a clear written argument (I wasn’t an English person). So moving an idea to writing takes me time to both finish the dreaming and then to write, edit and rewrite. source
I was listening to a recent episode of RN Future Tense talkÂ about developing a digital construct of ourselves that would exist long after we die. The idea of this virtual self is so that people could ask our opinion long after we die. This is something captured in a few ways in the Black Mirrors series. However, what I was left wondering is whether such virtual selves, based on understanding of the way we think, could sit a standardised tests, such as NAPLAN etc, for us?