Replied to The Unfulfilled Promises of Tech in Education: Can AI Succeed? (The Construction Zone)

Will this be it? Will we see radical changes in our educational systems? Is there something that makes it different this time?

Peter, I feel like I have tried critiquing you before and I am not sure how much hope there is even left:

can you really find wisdom in one-line? The answer is probably no, but you can definitely find hope. Hope for a different world, hope for a different way of doing things, hope for a more critical viewer. And sometimes that hope is all that we have.

Source: Can You Really Find Wisdom in One-line? by Aaron Davis

I still like Bill Ferriter’s argument, that technology makes higher order learning ‘more doable’:

Technology lowers barriers, making the kinds of higher order learning experiences that matter infinitely more doable than they were in previous decades.

Source: Do We REALLY Need to Do New Things in New Ways?
by Bill Ferriter

However, I guess like all technology, it can also make lower order learning ‘more doable’ too.

As always, food for thought I guess.

Liked Why Not To Buy My New Book On Generative AI (Julian Stodd’s Learning Blog)

My new book, ‘Engines of Engagement: a curious book about Generative AI’ is published tomorrow. Pre-orders are already open, and it’s been really lovely to hear from people who have kindly already …

My new book, ‘Engines of Engagement: a curious book about Generative AI’ is published tomorrow. Pre-orders are already open, and it’s been really lovely to hear from people who have kindly already done so. We’ve even made it onto an Amazon bestseller list. The hardback book is really beautiful, and i’m very proud of it, but there is a compelling reason not to buy it. Because tomorrow, when it launches, it will also be available to download, for free, as an eBook.

Source: Why Not To Buy My New Book On Generative AI by @julianstodd

“Stephen Downes” in Downes.ca ~ Stephen’s Web ~ Why Not To Buy My New Book On Generative AI ()

Replied to Technology in education – friend or foe? by Gill (macgirl19.wordpress.com)

I can absolutely appreciate the validity of the arguments the authors raised particularly the big one – for young people (and actually, many adults as well) the primary function of technology is entertainment so attempting to change this to a learning focus (and expecting it to easily translate) is far from ideal. Technology provides an endless menu of distractions. Even as I’m writing this blog post, there are other tabs in my browser tempting me and my attention does flit from time to time. And that’s on a task that was self-initiated.

I find this such an intriguing topic Gill, especially in a post-COVID world. Your discussion of technology and distractions has me thinking about the challenge to justify the impact many years ago. I feel that the biggest challenge is actually being mindful about the choices, too often if feels like choices are made out of convenience, rather than some deliberate consideration.
Liked Considering the Post-COVID Classroom by wiobyrnewiobyrne (wiobyrne.com)

As we deal with the current situation, we not only need to consider F2F, online, and hyflex education, we need to think about what pedagogy could and/or should look like in a post-pandemic system.

As we deal with the current situation, we not only need to consider F2F, online, and hyflex education, we need to think about what pedagogy could and/or should look like in a post-pandemic system.
Bookmarked Why ‘digital literacy’ is now a workplace non-negotiable (bbc.com)

The growing importance of digital literacy doesn’t mean workers have to master all the software out there to get a job. Instead, they have to be digitally confident: keen to try new technologies; embrace how the right tools can streamline routine tasks and improve workplace collaboration; while also having the flexibility and adaptability to learn new processes.

Today, employees need to assume they’ll keep upgrading digital skills. After all, the expectation when a worker begins a new role is either they have the digital skills to do the job or they’ll learn them – fast. “Hybrid and remote working were only relevant to 5% of the workforce before the pandemic,” says Zhou. “It’s nearly half of all workers now. Regardless of what work you did previously, an employer now expects you to learn whatever digital skills are required in a role.”

Alex Christian talks about the importance of digital literacy today. Beyond my issue with the plural of ‘literacies‘, I am left wondering about how we talk about something that is continually morphing and changing? There is a danger of describing it as something that one all of the sudden becomes, like Neo learning Kung Fu in The Matrix.

In part I was reminded of a tweet from Gillian Light:

Of course ‘digital literacies’ are a non-negotiable, my question is when are we going to stop talking about them as if they are static and instead talk about them as a process and practice, not a product or professional development session attended?

Bookmarked What Adults Don’t Get About Teens and Digital Life (WIRED)

Well-meaning messages meant to keep teens safe can backfire. The key is to focus on judgment and agency, not rigid rules for screen time.

In an excerpt from Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (and Adults Are Missing), Emily Weinstein and Carrie James talk about teaching teens to build personal agency, anticipating and discussing different dilemmas before they arise, and encouraging collective agency where groups respond to challenges together.

Although I agree with all this, I still think the challenge is how to actually encorporate some of these practices into the day-to-day classroom. I once wondered of a school social space, but fear that such a space probably carries with it too much risk.

Bookmarked What should ‘digital literacy’ look like in an age of algorithms and AI? Neil Selwyn – DigiGen (DigiGen)

Algorithmic literacy is a complex and opaque area, where even computer scientists and software developers responsible for developing these systems can be unsure how they actually work. So, this is an area of education that requires adults and young people accepting that they all have lots to learn, and then being comfortable learning about it together.

Neil Selwyn argues that we need to reframe our discussion of digital literacies to focus on algorithmic literacy.

As such, this calls for rethinking what might have been previously talked about as ‘digital literacy’ as a form of ‘algorithmic literacy’. Some components of this might include:

  • recognising when data-driven automated systems are being used;
  • having a basic understanding of how these data-driven automated systems work – what Tania Bucher describes as an ‘algorithmic imaginary’;
  • knowing how to work with algorithmic systems – for example, writing with a natural language processing tool so that it helps (rather than hinders) your creativity;
  • knowing how to work around algorithmic systems – for example, using obfuscation tactics to avoid dataveillance;
  • recognising when human input and outsight is required – for example, knowing when to override an automated decision, or push back against algorithmic bias and automated discrimination.

Personally, this is what I like about Doug Belshaw’s eight elements, it provides framework to continually review the skillset and mindset associated with digital literacies.

In regards to what engaging with artificial intelligence in the classroom, Jackie Gerstein has shared some activities that she has done with her students:

Students explore the following Generative AI technologies:

Liked https://book.pressbooks.com/front-matter/preface (book.pressbooks.com)

This book is the result of a belief: that “digital” fundamentally alters the mechanics of publishing books. There is much talk about this shift in the publishing world — a calendar filled with conferences, a blogosphere popping with opinion, and not a few op-eds and even books on this very top…

“Hugh McGuire” in 👍 What is a “book” in the age of the web? | Read Write Collect ()
Liked What is a “book” in the age of the web? (Part 1 of 5) by Hugh McGuire (Medium)

In “Opening the Book”, a 2012 presentation I delivered at the late/great Books in Browsers conference, I offered this definition of a book:

A book is a discrete collection of text (and other media) that is designed by an author(s) as an internally complete representation of an idea, or set of ideas; emotion or set of emotions; and transmitted to readers in various formats.

Liked Digital Citizenship to Digital Fluency (Beyond Digital)

Here are some examples of what digital fluency could look like, and what some schools are already actively creating. One example is giving high school students a LinkedIn account and spending time supporting what it means to have a public profile and how to curate a positive digital footprint compared to a personal social media footprint. Other schools are creating blended courses for parents on how to understand the difference between the pedagogic use of digital devices in schools and the challenges of a more open ended environment of digital device use outside of school in the home. Another example is having students develop public service announcements regarding malware and then coaching younger students on how to identify phishing emails and how to manage an antivirus app. Another is walking through the architecture of effective password creation and developing sustainable strategies to ensure a solid level of security in the students personal lives as a podcast. Or having students coach their parents through the privacy and security settings of their favorite app and create a how-to help screencast.

Bookmarked Laptops – The Daily Papert by gary, Author at The Daily Papertgary, Author at The Daily Papert (The Daily Papert)

During the (US) summer of 1990, I had the great fortune of leading professional developments in the world’s first two 1:1 “laptop schools.” This work was rooted in the vision of Seymour Papert and sought to reinvent schooling in a modern progressive fashion.

Gary Stager reflects on Coombabah State School and Methodist Ladies’ College, the first two schools to engage with the 1:1 laptop revolution. He reflects on the experience and provides a number of associated links. What interests me is that even with all the visionary leadership, what does the program in those schools look like now for the students in those school? Does it still resemble a ‘modern progressive fashion’?
Bookmarked Kids who grew up with search engines could change STEM education forever by Monica Chin (The Verge)

Modern college students aren’t organizing their files into folders and directories, forcing some professors to rethink the way they teach programming.

Monica Chin explores some of the changes in student habits when it comes to managing files and data. Where computers are traditionally organised into filing cabinets, this has been replaced for some by the habit of simply searching for the particular item.

It’s possible that the analogy multiple professors pointed to — filing cabinets — is no longer useful since many students Drossman’s age spent their high school years storing documents in the likes of OneDrive and Dropbox rather than in physical spaces. It could also have to do with the other software they’re accustomed to — dominant smartphone apps like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube all involve pulling content from a vast online sea rather than locating it within a nested hierarchy. “When I want to scroll over to Snapchat, Twitter, they’re not in any particular order, but I know exactly where they are,” says Vogel, who is a devoted iPhone user. Some of it boils down to muscle memory.

Although it can be easy to suggest that ‘digital natives’ may not be digitally native, we also need to consider the ever changing nature digital literacies.

A cynic could blame generational incompetence. An international 2018 study that measured eighth-graders’ “capacities to use information and computer technologies productively” proclaimed that just 2 percent of Gen Z had achieved the highest “digital native” tier of computer literacy. “Our students are in deep trouble,” one educator wrote.

But the issue is likely not that modern students are learning fewer digital skills, but rather that they’re learning different ones. Guarín-Zapata, for all his knowledge of directory structure, doesn’t understand Instagram nearly as well as his students do, despite having had an account for a year. He’s had students try to explain the app in detail, but “I still can’t figure it out,” he complains.

I think another example of this change in regards to digital literacies is the dependency on such applications like Google Maps to provide algorithmic ally generated directions. Although I find it useful to know that there might be accident ahead and an alternate path for getting around it, I also like to have a rough idea about the direction I am travelling.

“John Johnston” in Liked: File not found ()

Bookmarked Reading “War and Peace” On My Iphone – Clive Thompson – Medium by Clive Thompson (Medium)

These days, my reading has bifurcated. Contemporary books, I mostly read in print. This is partly because I still like paper books a lot, but also because I want my local bookstore to survive, so I tend to email them whenever there’s a new book out; they order it in usually within 48 hours, making them essentially as fast as Amazon Prime. But for anything that’s old, classic, or from antiquity, it’s all on my phone. In addition to Tolstoy, I’ve used it to read Middlemarch (crazy-packed with wit), Moby-Dick (in which, because I’m a nerd, I found myself enjoying the whale-physiology stuff even more than Ahab’s black-metal scenes), Crime and Punishment (yikes yikes yikes), and about a third of Proust’s seven-volume Remembrance of Things Past (which I stopped because, alas, I concluded that I didn’t like Proust very much. War and Peace swept me away, but Proust never stopped being a grind. “Seriousness of purpose” only takes me so far. Apologies to all the Proust fanatics out there; don’t hate me.). At any rate, I’m slowly filling the holes in my knowledge of the big novels. If I had a Kindle meter for my life, it would probably show I’m — what, maybe 11% of along the path of the historic novels I hope to read?

Clive Thompson reflects upon the experience of reading War and Peace on his phone. He discusses the access to free text, taking notes using voice-to-text, ability to dip in and out, and access to the web to follow various lines of thought.

I once tried reading Middlemarch on my phone, but was not necessarily a fan. I do however like listening to books on my phone, whether audio recordings or via text-to-voice. This then allows me to take notes within the digital text.

What I am interested in is the cleanest workflow. This includes the applications I use to read/listen to various texts and the means of extracting my notes in a meaningful way. For example, I recently came upon a means of downloading my Kindle Notes.

Bookmarked Co-constructing Digital Futures: Parents and Children becoming Thoughtful, Connected, and Critical Users of Digital Technologies (wip.mitpress.mit.edu)

As researchers and parents we understand the need to build digital literacy and engagement through the digital world, but that this is counterbalanced by giving up privacy and leaving a data trail. By early adolescence, our children are internalizing acceptable internet use. Parents and teachers need to be part of the conversation with them that shapes their understanding on these concepts. This chapter presents key findings from four case studies that examined how parents and children might understand, navigate, and become more reflective about the trends, forces, and tensions around privacy, security, and algorithms in their lives and the activities in which they engage on screens.

W. Ian O’Byrne, Kristen Turner, Kathleen A. Paciga and Elizabeth Stevens share findings based on case studies stemming from their own digital parenting. The focus was on how we might empower children to advocate for their own rights, rather than focusing the conversation around fear and harm.

As literacy researchers, we are parents with, perhaps, more knowledge about how algorithms and privacy work in a digital world, and we sit at an interesting intersection (Garcia et al., 2014). In this writing, we propose a more collaborative approach than what has typically been adopted when thinking about children and technology. Rather than framing the problem as technology doing harm to children, we suggest that we can empower children to advocate for their own rights in an age of screentime (Turner et al., 2017).

The four themes/strategies they shared are:

  • Find an Approach Point
  • Provide Media Mentorship
  • Address Concerns Head-on
  • Use Language that Empowers

In the end, the authors argue that, “conversations about privacy, security, and the nature of algorithms need to start early and be ongoing.”

My take-away from the piece is that it is able make the most of the opportunities when they may arise.

“wiobyrne” in Creativity is Subtraction – Digitally Literate ()

Bookmarked The Clubhouse App and the Rise of Oral Psychodynamics by zeynep (Insight)

Oral culture is not suited to certain kinds of knowledge accumulation and legibility of the world, some of which is necessary to hold our institutions together. And this underappreciated transition is certainly one big reason for the current tension in this historic transition: because of technology, oral psychodynamics have broken through at scale, and we are trying to manage them with institutions that operate solely through an within print/written culture. And that cannot, will not, hold without adjustment.

Zeynep Tufekci approaches Clubhouse from the perspective of oral culture. This reminds me of David Crystal’s discussion of language and the internet.

The Internet is essentially text-based at present, but, Crystal suggests, we can easily imagine speech becoming progressively more important as speech production and recognition techniques progress.

Liked Adults made the media mess (aare.edu.au)

Social media platform Facebook pulled the plug on Australian news last week after a tussle between the government and the digital giant. What does that mean for Australian educators and students? What are the ways we can combat misinformation and disinformation? And how far along are we in the struggle to teach media literacy (answers from a professor and a PhD student)? How important is it for students to create their own content? PLUS read an excerpt from Kid Reporter, a handbook for young investigators (and their teachers) by Saffron Howden and Dhana Quinn; and Peter Greste’s review of the book.

Bookmarked A framework for digital resilience: supporting children through an enabling environment (blogs.lse.ac.uk)

Digital resilience – like the internet itself – is a built on connection. Developing children’s digital resilience must be a collective response. This requires having the evidence to know what actually works, the will to design better services, the understanding to apply regulation appropriately, and the capacity to provide relevant and accessible support.

Cliff Manning discusses the Digital Resilience Framework:

The framework defines digital resilience and is designed to provide a simple process for organisations to assess for themselves whether different types of environments, content, online services and policies support, or hinder, digital resilience. 

This has me rethinking the idea of digital mindfulness and Ian O’Byrne’s point that it is a collective action.

Resilience and recovery are not the responsibility of an individual, they are the result of collective action.

Bookmarked This Digital Home (Alannah and Madeline Foundation)

Family stories of connection during social isolation

The Digital Home project is a social research program examining the changing aspect of technology for Australian families in staying connected, informed and healthy through social isolation. The intent is to provide stories behind the numbers, such as ‘hours of screentime’ and ‘number of devices’.

This includes discussions of:

The associated also report provides a number of recommendations, including incorporating digital technology into considerations around policy decisions that impact families and recognising the rights of children in a digital age.

‘Supported by Facebook’, it is interesting to consider this alongside documentary The Social Dilemma and some of the criticism raised about technology solving its own problems.