by Stephen Downes
Feb 14, 2017
As a counter to yesterday's post celebrating Apple, a couple of articles are out today with the opposite view. One of these points to the longstanding issue of Apple's software (where 'upgrade' is defined as 'removing features people use'). "Take the iPod," writes Ian Bogost. "It made listening to a whole music library easy, but iTunes always made managing that library difficult and confusing—even destructive. The other article asks Is Apple Over? Longtime Mac Shelly Palmer writes, "To be incompatible with the competition is expected. But for Apple's products to be incompatible with thousands of dollars' worth of equipment that Apple forced you to purchase borders on insane."
Amazon has launched a new video-chat and conference service called Chime. I can't say I'm a fan of the name. I downloaded the software and it seems slick if simple - note the nifty URL it give me, http://chime.aws/Downes - and I'll probably run some tests this week (so watch my Twitter account for announcements of ad hoc conferences) (note that the URL won't be useful unless I'm actually hosting a meeting).
Tony Bates reports on a project that sees him criss-crossing the country talking to education and technology innovators. He is "developing a comprehensive national survey of online learning and distance education in Canadian public post-secondary education" and working on "a project for Contact North, identifying pockets of innovation in online learning in Canadian post-secondary institutions outside Ontario." Both of these respond to oft-stated needs for more data on learning techn ology in Canada. He writes, "there seems to be a widening gap between what is actually happening on the ground and what we read or hear about in the literature and at conferences on innovation in online learning." That disconnect has always existed; it's why I report here on blogs and projects as well as on companies and academic literature.
I found this item while doing some background reading related to the IEEE-LTSC's approval today of a new proposal to look at standards for the ethical sharing of child and student data. The main point of the analysis - and indeed, the main reason for the IEEE project - is that the responsibility for the management of student data is shifting from the school to the technology company. We've seen how that can turn out badly. There's the risk of "disclosing sensitive information about children, like data about learning disabilities, disciplinary problems or family trauma." There's also a concern that "monitoring of students’ online activities may overly limit creativity, free speech and free thought, by creating a 'surveillance effect'." There are "concerns big data techniques prematurely and permanently labeling students as underperformers." And there are worries that "decision-making based on algorithmic models will exacerbate bias and create new forms of discrimination." Image: JISC, The future of data-driven decision-making.
As the website says, this "is a list of 50+ social media research tools curated by researchers at the Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. The kit features tools that have been used in peer-reviewed academic studies. Many tools are free to use and require little or no programming. Some are simple data collectors such as tweepy, a Python library for collecting tweets and others are a bit more robust such as Netlytic, a multi-platform (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) data collector and analyzer, developed by our lab. All of the tools are confirmed available and operational."
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