Replied to Too Long; Didn’t Read #150 (W. Ian O'Byrne)

Major depression is on the rise among Americans from all age groups, but is rising fastest among teens and young adults, new health insurance data shows.

So what is possibly behind the data? Possibly a mix of “how busy people are” in addition to time spent in front of screens, lack of community, isolation, and sleep disruption.

I am really interested in the posts of ‘friends’ and ‘depression’. I was really taken by Sarah Jeong’s recent reflection on leaving Facebook. One of the things that stood out from her discussion was the habits that we have lost or forgotten.

I sometimes feel bad about letting relationships lapse, but then I think that it takes two to tango. Really not sure. I think that the “True friends will stay in contact if you leave ” is an interesting one. Having wiped my Facebook content, I don’t agree. It can be easy to assume that others are still there, listening, watching, following, lurking. The irony with this is that even if we are active in such spaces, we are often at the whim of the algorithm.

It will be interesting to look back at the influence of technology on the current society. That is, to look at all the parts, such as change in work habits, family, society. Time will tell.

Bookmarked Digital Readiness (steve-wheeler.co.uk)

Open Lecture: 2018 Steve Wheeler- Literacies and competencies for learning in the digital age from Educational Development Unit on Vimeo.

The rapid proliferation and deployment of smart mobile, pervasive computing, social and personal technologies is changing the higher education landscape. In this presentation I will argue that new media present new opportunities for learning through digital technologies, but that such opportunities will require new literacies. This is not just my view - it reflects the views of many other commentators including Lea & Jones (2011), Beetham et al (2009) and Lankshear & Knobel(2006). Essentially, the traditional literacies that have dominated higher education in the past are thought to no longer be sufficient in the face of recent changes. I will explore a range of new 'digital literacies and competencies', discuss the concept of 'digital fluency' and highlight some new and emergent pedagogical theories, including connectivism, heutagogy, paralogy and rhizomatic learning, that seek to explain how students are learning in the first part of the 21st Century.



Biography:
Steve Wheeler is a Learning Innovations Consultant and former Associate Professor of Learning Technologies at the Plymouth Institute of Education where he chaired the Learning Futures group and led the Computing and science education teams. He continues to research into technology supported learning and distance education, with particular emphasis on the pedagogy underlying the use of social media and Web 2.0 technologies, and also has research interests in mobile learning and cybercultures. He has given keynotes to audiences in more than 35 countries and is author of more than 150 scholarly articles, with over 6000 academic citations. An active and prolific edublogger, his blog Learning with 'e'sis a regular online commentary on the social and cultural impact of disruptive technologies, and the application of digital media in education, learning and development. In the last few years it has attracted in excess of 7.5 million unique visitors.

More about Steve Wheeler https://steve-wheeler.net/

Steve Wheeler’s presentation is not necessarily a definition of what digital literacies / fluencies, but rather a wander through education today. For Wheeler, the key is finding your desire lines and personalised learning. This not only touches on what is learned, but also how the learning occurs – negotiated, blended, socially. It is interesting to think of some of these ideas alongside Peter Hutton’s work and calls to reform Australian education.
Liked Don’t fear complexity by Dave White (Digital - Learning - Culture)

At my institution, the University of the Arts London, we see the value in uncertainty. In many of our courses it is important that our students are in a liminal state for much of the time within which they are not quite sure of what they know. This is a key aspect of the process of creativity and it’s also central to my reframing, or extension of, information literacy. Questioning our self, our motivations and methods, for seeking and validating information is our only chance of maintaining our agency within complexity. Not being afraid of being immersed in complexity requires understanding the value of uncertainty. This is all the more important where we receive information as an effect of our interactions. To ask how what we engage with has arrived in front of us and why we are comfortable with it (in the context of our identity and position) has to be central to what it means to critically evaluate.

To maintain the agency of our students (and ourselves) and not fall into the trap of assuming a ‘natural order’ which just so happens to be our current worldview we must reveal, not simplify, complexity. In tandem with this we must provide the critical tools to navigate complexity without denying it.

📓 Signals

In a reflection on engaging with the #IndieWeb, Ian O’Byrne unpacks the signals that we share online, both seen and unseen:

In a digital space, we also create and share signals. For most people, these signals are very distinct. They include tweets or posts that you share on social networks. They also include your reactions (likes, favorites, love, haha, wow, angry, sad).

Many more of your signals are unseen, or at least unseen to you. These signals include metadata, or “data about data” that tracks you as you move across the web. This metadata could be descriptive, structural, or administrative. A good way to think about this is the card catalog system in a library. You have the actual book, but then you also have information in a system about the title, abstract, author and keywords (descriptive). The card catalog system will also include information about how many pages and chapters are included in the table of contents (structural). The library will also save information about whether the book is checked out, who last checked it out, and where is it located on the stacks if it is still available (administrative).

Discussing the act of sharing online, Donelle Batty poses some questions to consider to help reflect on our own signals:

So are you in control of the story of you? Before you even start sharing life events, your opinion and the ever loved cat video, you need to consider the social spaces you are in, what settings (and personal boundaries) you are putting in place to determine who sees your content and thoughts. You see social media is a great tool for connecting with people. It is through connecting with others (be it random or deliberate) that we gain insights into peoples lives, insights that we may not have had access to before. When we gain an insight into someones life is it what we expect? Is it something that makes you feel uncomfortable or comfortable? Does it change the way you interact with them? Let’s now flip the question and ask what might the perception be of you by those who follow, friend or connect with you?

Listened A by Jeremy Keith from adactio.com
The opening keynote from the inaugural HTML Special held before CSS Day 2016 in Amsterdam.


Jeremy Keith provides a different introduction to the #IndieWeb. He maps a path from the beginning of the web, discussing apophenia, anchors, archive, all, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Atlantic, augmentation, ARPA, attribute, Adactio and authentication.

Keith invites people to the world of forking paths:

I would like us all to spend more time in the garden of forking paths. I would like us all to continue to grow this garden of forking paths. Add your own website to this garden of forking paths. Use it to make more links.

On your website, you can link to this thing over here and that thing over there, and in doing so create an entirely new forking path.

Bookmarked The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants by John Harris (the Guardian)
Around the world, a handful of visionaries are plotting an alternative ​online ​future​.​ ​Is it really possible to remake the internet in a way that’s egalitarian, decentralised and free of snooping​?​
John Harris speaks with a number of people about alternatives to today’s dependence on super nodes and silos. Aral Balkan and Laura Kalbag talk about their concept of a indienet where users control their data:

Using the blueprint of Heartbeat, they want to create a new kind of internet they call the indienet – in which people control their data, are not tracked and each own an equal space online. This would be a radical alternative to what we have now: giant “supernodes” that have made a few men in northern California unimaginable amounts of money thanks to the ocean of lucrative personal information billions of people hand over in exchange for their services.

While David Irvine discusses the idea of a distributed SAFE network built on blockchain technology:

The acronym SAFE stands for “Safe Access for Everyone”. In this model, rather than being stored on distant servers, people’s data – files, documents, social-media interactions – will be broken into fragments, encrypted and scattered around other people’s computers and smartphones, meaning that hacking and data theft will become impossible. Thanks to a system of self-authentication in which a Safe user’s encrypted information would only be put back together and unlocked on their own devices, there will be no centrally held passwords.

No one will leave data trails, so there will be nothing for big online companies to harvest. The financial lubricant, Irvine says, will be a cryptocurrency called Safecoin: users will pay to store data on the network, and also be rewarded for storing other people’s (encrypted) information on their devices. Software developers, meanwhile, will be rewarded with Safecoin according to the popularity of their apps. There is a community of around 7,000 interested people already working on services that will work on the Safe network, including alternatives to platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

It is interesting to consider these ideas alongside that of the #IndieWeb community. I think both are aspiring to create a demonstrably better web. It will be interesting to see where all of this goes.

Bookmarked Factors that Influence Parental Views About Online Safety (Leif Rask)
In the end, it is up to you whether you believe that risks exist on the internet and whether they affect you. Personally, I hope that you will take a moment to understand how the internet works, and the risks involved for you and your children. I also hope that you will help your children to understand internet safety so that they are better prepared when you’re not around. I can’t tell you what to think and what to decide. I hope that you make an informed decision, a decision that helps your children lead safer lives.
Leif Rask provides a useful provocation in regards to online safety. It reminds me in part of watching Mr. Robot or Zeynep Tufekci’s work. My only concern is that it does not necessarily provide any sort of alternative. Maybe that would be a separate post? The hard thing is that there is no ‘informed’ choice that is magically the ‘right’ choice. I choose a self-hosted version of WordPress, is that worse than Rask’s choice to use WordPress.com? I realise that I may open myself up to more risks needing to manage my site, but the lessons learnt in doing this are priceless?