by Stephen Downes
Oct 12, 2016
Here's the teaser: "Arts-based research is beginning an investigation without expectations and remaining open to all possibilities. Now imagine asking a ninth-grade class to deconstruct and recreate a Happy Meal. Now I wouldn't want a ninth-grade class to ever be in the same room as a happy meal. But I get the point; I remember at SXSW a decade ago watching participants take café offerings and turn them into nouveau cuisine. "Arts-based research, a methodology of inquiry promoted by Professors Shaun McNiff and Elliot Eisner, asks the researcher to begin an investigation, not with a predetermined sense of what is useful, but by remaining open to all possibilities for diving in." That's how I like to do my work, but it's far from universally accepted.
I like the argument. And I think it's more right than wrong. "There is no particularly good reason why ballet or basketball should be taught through apprenticeship while science and math are not. As any scientist will tell you, our profession is as much a matter of hard-won skill as piano or tennis. In graduate school, where we really teach science, we use the same methods as a chef or a tailor."
This podcast discusses an experiment whereby the history of discussions was run through natural language analytics. "When they did that, they discovered two things: what kind of arguments are most likely to change people’s minds, and what kinds of minds are most likely to be changed."
Voice-activated WiFi kettles are still in the realm of future technology (and, I would think, about as safe as a Galaxy Note 7) but this nightmare scenario still draws out an important lesson for the internet of things (IoT) and technology integration in general. But gthe best line in the article has nothing to do with the kettle: "Well the kettle is back online and responding to voice control, but now we're eating dinner in dark while lights download a firmware update." These are all the sort of things that can't happen with household appliances. We tolerated it for decades with software because, well, software, but when the toaster won't toast we're going to begin fighting back.
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