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.

Liked The Back to Basics Conundrum in Early Learning: Reflecting on the Past to Move us Forward (Technology Rich Inquiry Based Research)
I invited participants to create a story based on their stick and stone creations, using Tier 2 words and other literary techniques. This is a complex way of looking at a basic part of every early childhood educator’s practice – reading to children and supporting emerging writers.
Bookmarked Different Approaches To Using Student Blogs And Digital Portfolios by Kathleen Morris (The Edublogger)
I have observed differences in how student blogs work in a variety of areas. There appears to be a spectrum in at least six key areas
Kathleen Morris provides a series of steps to follow when setting up blogs in the classroom. She also created a graphic to capture this:

Having said this, she is also mindful that every school has its own context and exists at a different point on the continuum of six aspects: duration, privacy, content, reflection, quality and control.

Bookmarked Managing Classroom and Student Blogs (freetech4teachers.com)
One of the questions that I am frequently asked about blogging and have included in my webinar on the topic is “do you recommend that I have just one blog or should all of my students have their own blogs?” There is not a clear cut answer to this question because the answer depends upon how you envision using blogs in your teaching practice.
Richard Byrnes reflects on his experience of blogging in the classroom. He addresses the question whether to have a single blog or several blogs, basically it depends on how you intend on using them:

If your use of blogging is going to be limited to just distributing information about your class(es) to students and their parents, one blog is all that you need. Even if you teach multiple courses, one blog is sufficient if you’re only using it to distribute information. Simply label each new blog post with the name or section of the course for whom the information is intended. From a management standpoint it is far easier to label each blog post on one blog than it is to maintain a different blog for each course that you teach. That is a lesson that took me one semester to learn.

In regards to students, for a single class Byrnes recommends a group approach:

The solution that I recommend is to create a group blog for each class that you teach. Create the blog using whichever platform you like then make each student an author on the blog. To track who wrote what on the blog make sure that the author’s name (first names only or use pen names with young students). Alternatively, you can have students label or tag posts with their names or pen names to sort out who wrote what. As the creator and owner of the group blog you will be able to see who wrote what from your administrative panel, but that doesn’t help parents who want to check the blog to see what their children have been sharing.

While if you have 25+ students in a class then use something like Feedly to manage blogs. My question about this approach is that it assumes that the blogs are private. If you use Campus Press (Global2) then there are other built-in options.

Although I have blogged about my own experiences and Kathleen Morris wrote an extensive post capturing an array of possibilities, I think that it is always useful to stop and consider other perspectives.

Bookmarked Problem Finding by Tom Barrett (The Curious Creative)
I have adapted some of the Design Kit steps below and have a HMW Framing template
Based on the methods of Design Kit, Tom Barrett breaks the process of framing a problem into eight steps:

  1. Describe the problem or issue
  2. List the stakeholders
  3. Re-frame the issue as a How Might We statement
  4. Describe the impact you are attempting to have.
  5. Why needs your help the most?
  6. What are some possible solutions to your problem?
  7. Describe the context and constraints you have to your future ideas.
  8. Re-write a different version of your original HMW statement.

Here is an image I made based on the How Might We format:

I remember when I ran Genius Hour, I used HMW, however I struggled with supporting students in developing these. I think that Barrett’s steps helps with that.