While game-based learning and simulation environments make it possible to assess students’ interaction with complex systems (Frezzo, Behrens, & Mislevy, 2009), a concern remains that they will drift into performativity. That is, away from truth, justice and beauty, and into a performance maze where what is considered as performance is determined by computer programmers, and what is considered good performance is determined by input/output ratios. Performativity par excellence (Lyotard, 1984; Lyotard & Thébaud, 1985/2008). It evokes the dystopia of the films The Hunger Games and The Matrix (I haven’t seen either though). source
Society is a human product. Society is an objective reality. Man is a social product. source
We all like to see ourselves as grassroots, we all like to think of ourselves as authentic, and more authentic than the systems in which we work. But as we form networks, connect with the powerful, engage with the corporations, the integrity of any grassroots claim diminishes. Whether working in the Department, working for PISA, or working for the VCAA, when you’re in the system, when you are in an organised network, you are the system. And yes, the system has problems, and systems need to be fixed. source
This is somewhat associated with the debate about [[Digital Identity vs. Digital Citizenship]]. I am also reminded of Althusser’s remark that as subjects we are [[always already interpelated]].
As an individual, company, or institution you want as much control over your online existence as you possibly can. The lines you draw in the sand are important. It is critical that you stop from time to time and take assessment of the lines you’ve drawn (aka Google yourself). Get rid of old accounts. Clean up dead profiles. You should be also taking every opportunity that you can to make sure you draw lines within your domain, while also applying more thoughtfulness about the lines you draw in other people’s domains.Source
This is interesting to consider where APIs sit in the discussion of [[Digital Identity vs. Digital Citizenship]].
A personal data dashboard of sorts where you could explore what providing access to certain data (or not) would cost you. For example, if you do choose to prevent Twitter or Google from tracking your location, what do you give up? In many ways, the dashboard would be a space where you could make informed decisions about what you decide to share. We noted that something like this would have to be run by a third-party independent of the major social media silos in order to ensure that when Facebook or Google say they have locked down access to your information, that can be independently verified. source
To support this concept, Bryan Mathers created a sketch.
Do your utmost to take charge of the school’s digitized administration and communication, and adopt solutions that advance the creation of the desired ecosystem and culture, understanding that at times the school will be obliged to use the mandated systems.
Set the goal of providing your staff and clients with a digitized administration at least on par with the best SME offerings, that continually reduces their workload while simultaneously improving the intuitively, efficiency, effectiveness, economies and productivity. source
One of the challenges is that many of these applications bring with them a particular way of working, a certain [[templated self]]. Jim Groom discusses the idea of the next generation LMS, which provides the means for informed digital consent in regards to data surveillance.
We need to combine the best of project-based learning, career technical education and career readiness, and the best available digital tools and resources. I should be superintendent of the western world right? OK, until then, can we work towards collaboratively calling out the three areas driving it all. How complicated is this? It’s not. PBL, CTE/Career Readiness and Tech really do cover it all. Let’s do this. source
It is interesting reading this alongside Eric Sheninger’s discussion of capabilities verses skills. This all leaves me wondering about the prospect of [[Open Badges]] to support such changes.
The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It’s the integrative web, the iterative web, the web as an arrangement and rearrangement of things to one another.
The Stream is a newer metaphor with old roots. We can think of the”event stream” of programming, the “lifestream” proposed by researchers in the 1990s. More recently, the term stream has been applied to the never ending parade of twitter, news alerts, and Facebook feeds.
Audrey Watters builds on this metaphor to compare LMS and Domain of One’s Own.
Discussing the development of Micro.Blog, Manton Reece discusses the idea of open garden as an answer to the walled garden created by platform capitalism:
The answer to a walled garden is not to create a platform without rules. It’s not outsourcing decisions to algorithms, with recommended users and topics that can be gamed or lead new users astray. That’s not enough for the challenges brought to us by massive, ad-based social networks, where fake news and hate can spread quickly.
We need a new approach. Not controlled only by algorithms, but also not a walled garden that limits distribution of content. We need a system that prioritizes curation while preserving the freedom to publish outside of silos, with APIs based on the IndieWeb that are open by default instead of locked down with developer registration.
Tanya Basu discusses the rise of ‘digital gardens’ on the web:
Beneath the umbrella term, however, digital gardens don’t follow rules. They’re not blogs, short for “weblogs,” a term that suggests a time-stamped record of thought. They’re not a social-media platform—connections are made, but often it’s through linking to other digital gardens, or gathering in forums like Reddit and Telegram to nerd out over code.
We need to re-decentralise the Web. I wrote a few years ago about the dangers of newsfeeds that are algorithmically-curated by advertising-fuelled multinational tech companies. What we need to do is quickly replace our reliance on the likes of Facebook and Twitter before politicians think that direct digital democracy through these platforms would be a good idea. source
This is something that Michael Caulfield captures in his discussion of [[the garden and the stream]].
Digital identity, as a practice, operates counter to the collaboration and cooperation that need to be part of digital citizenship. source
Although not quite the same, this reminds me of the contradiction that Gert Biesta touches upon in his notion of a good education.
There is no stance from which you could call someone ‘digitally literate’, because (as Allan Martin has pointed out), it is a condition, not a threshold. There is no test you could devise to say whether someone was ‘digitally literate’, except maybe at a very particular snapshot in time, for a very defined purpose, in a certain context. source
I have elaborated on Belshaw’s book here.
In the end, the worst stance is to be flat-footed and motionless, when change and disruption comes a calling, determined to pull the rug out from under you, to have the future forced upon you. Rather, we need leaders drenched in awareness, connecting dots, searching for signals, willing to intentionally design our way forward in a much more proactive manner. source
Leadership is a bit like rock climbing (my son took me indoor climbing over Easter). When you look up the cliff face looks formidable, unachieveable. Half way up your arms begin to shake, particularly if you are using the wrong technique. If you look down your courage can falter and you think you can’t push on any further.But like rock climbing, leadership is a skill, that with practise, can be improved. You only get better at it when you are faced with a new over-hang, new hold, or new rock face.Good leaders will assess each challenge. Have I seen this before? What did I learn last time? Should I tackle this a bit differently? Who can I ask for advice? And if I make a mistake, what is the worst that is going to happen? I’ll have to apologise, adjust my strategy and give it another go.Rock climbers, like leaders never get any better by looking at the cliff. They can learn by watching others, but the real learning happens when you hook on and give it a go. source
This reminds me of the work of David Culberhouse around embracing the VUCA.
Many educators approach education from an ethic of care and are particularly prone to bullying. As Noddings (2003) explains, a person who engages others from an ethic of care “is not seeking the answer but the involvement” (p. 176). Care is of primary importance in education. It is through an ethic of care that new insights and understandings become possible. When involvement is inauthentic and hostile, those engaging can experience toxicity and distress. Of course, those who approach life from an ethic of care still need to reason, but this reasoning needs to proceed with an empathy for different perspectives. It requires moral development (Gilligan, 1977; Kohlberg, 1971; Murphy & Gilligan, 1980). source
It is interesting to consider this alongside Michael Caulfield’s discussion of technology designed to meet a demand and whether spaces such as Twitter are designed to support and sabotage a culture of care?
In other words, you can think of the hoax as meeting a demand technology creates. The hoax is hyperreal, the realer-than-real event custom-built for the technology it will inhabit. It doesn’t subvert the technology as much as exploit it to its full potential. The hoax, not reality, shows the underlying logic of the platform, and lays it bare.
The hoax is the unbridled platform made manifest.Whether we realize it or not, that’s where we are with social media at this moment. The proliferation of hoaxes have repeatedly shown the moral bankruptcy of our current platforms, and just as early hoaxes of the 1800s started a conversation that would lead to modern journalistic ethics, we are beginning to have that discussion now about our online presses and virtual barking newsboys. And just like then, the question is not primarily about hoaxes, but about what we should be able to expect, in terms of ethics, from the people running and developing our information platforms. source
This relates to the idea that [[technology is never neutral]].
This makes me wonder what the purpose of technology, such as NAPLAN and Google Docs is fufilling?
To do work that matters, people need to know that they are the best resource your organisation will have, and they have to be utilised according to this belief. If you do not bring out the best in them, nothing you write on any document will matter. Those visions and mission statements can become important, but only people can bring them to life.Source
Another take on this is Brad Gustafson’s take on Start With Why in that in schools we should start with the students first. While Dean Shareski suggests that people and connections are what matters when leaving a conference.
Another design-based example is open-plan offices. In the push to lower overheads—and under the false assumption that it would encourage better working practices—private rooms were traded for non-divided workspaces. This resulted in environments that increase stress, particularly due to noise. Stress has become the dominant cost to human health at work. A 2016 report found that stress accounted for 37% of all work-related ill-health cases in the UK and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.Source
In response to Apple’s new open planned architecture, Rima Sabina Aouf summarises some scrutiny:
Open-plan offices have become more common since the 1990s but have come under scrutiny in recent years. A recent Haworth’s white paper said that open-plan offices are “sabotaging” employees’ ability to focus at work, with office workers losing 28 per cent of their productive time due to interruptions and distractions.
Similarly, Gensler’s 2016 UK Workplace Survey found that workers were more likely to innovate if they had access to a range of spaces supporting different working styles – including private, semi-private and open-plan environments.
These discussions remind me of the experience described by Aaron Swartz.
Wired has tried to make the offices look exciting by painting the walls bright pink but the gray office monotony sneaks through all the same. Gray walls, gray desks, gray noise. The first day I showed up here, I simply couldn’t take it. By lunch time I had literally locked myself in a bathroom stall and started crying. I can’t imagine staying sane with someone buzzing in my ear all day, let alone getting any actual work done.
In many open-plan offices, the drive for increased interaction and collaboration comes at the expense of the ability to focus and concentrate.
When distraction makes it hard for employees to focus, cognitive and emotional resources are depleted. The result is increasing stress and errors, undermining performance.
When employees can’t concentrate on their work, their desire to interact and collaborate with others is reduced.
In some ways, open spaces kill the very thing it is trying to encourage.
Seth Godin reflects upon the creative and collaborative purpose of the office and wonders if the space has lost its place?
As social creatures, many people very much need a place to go, a community to be part of, a sense of belonging and meaning. But it’s not at all clear that the 1957 office building is the best way to solve those problems.
Cooperation and collaboration are natural processes. Such skills are useful when the creative process benefits from interdependence. The best collaboration mirrors democracy when individual talents, knowledge, or experiences are contributed to produce something larger than the sum of its parts.
Work with your friends. Work with people you trust. Work with people who have different skills or expertise. If that doesn’t produce the result you desire, you will find others to collaborate with. That is how you learn to collaborate. You may teach it, but the students will not stay taught.
Honestly, I could not care less about whom my students (kids or adults) choose to work with. The only reason to assign group size is scarcity of materials (we have to share). Even in those largely avoidable scenarios, it hardly matters if group size varies a bit. The main consideration is inactivity by some members when a group is too large.
Collaboration is both selfish and selfless. You give of yourself by sharing your talent and expertise, but the collaboration should benefit you as well.Source
This is a useful provocation in thinking about technology and 21st century learning.