The Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) and the Canadian Journal of Education (CJE) have a bouncy new website, and even better, open access to their articles, including this one (15 page PDF). It's a statement-of-principles sort of article that speaks to progressive ideals and contemporary challenges. "education in Canada and elsewhere should always embrace certain goals unique to democratic societies... Students must be exposed to multiple perspectives and taught to think and to dialogue in the kinds of expansive ways on which democracy thrives." Quite so. Now - if only the site would get an RSS feed so I can learn about new articles when they're posted - oh! here it is - unadvertised and still under construction.
Scott Mcleod comments on Audrey Watter's post (see below) remark that "These new technologies, oriented towards consumers and consumption, privilege an ideology of individualism," replying that "how we balance collective societal good versus individual learning and life success needs is incredibly challenging." It's obvious that it's challenging, of course, but also, the distinction between 'individual' and 'collective' is too simple to be useful. In the past I have offered the idea of the network as a half-way point - supporting autonomy, but creating means and mechanisms to function as a community. What other models are there? Where are the ideas? Educators and technologists have a responsibility here that goes beyond saying it's "incredibly challenging".
A few things in this post from Audrey Watters are worth noting. First, from Ursula Franklin, a wide concept of technology. “Technology involves organizations, procedures, symbols, new words, equations, and, most of all, a mindset.” Second, the analysis (once again) of the "new normal" in education technology. "What might be subverted? What might be lost? (That is, who will lose?)" And finally, what this new normal looks like: "Silicon Valley’s ways also include individualism, neoliberalism, libertarianism, imperialism, the exclusion of people of color and white women from its workforce," she writes, "Silicon Valley’s ways and Silicon Valley’s technologies are readily subverting the values of democracy and justice." Maybe - but then what? What do we do about it. We can't simply 'resist technology' - we need to be smarter than that. What's the alternative vision? What should new educational technology look like? I've tried to articulate a vision - and I wish Watters would do the same.
In these days of multiple hacking scandals it's easy to suppose that developers should simply create more secure websites. But as Michael O'Brien argues, "Developing secure, robust web applications in the cloud is hard, very hard." This post will give readers an indication of how hard the task is as O'Brien offers a checklist of dozens of items a developer needs to check or ensure in order to secure a website. The best point is the last: "Have a practiced security incident plan. One day, you will need it."
"After seeing a version of personalized learning in action recently," writes Michael Petrilli, "I’m worried that it may be reinforcing some of the worst aspects of standards-based, data-driven instruction. Namely: It might be encouraging a reductionist type of education that breaks learning into little bits and scraps and bytes of disparate skills, disconnected from an inspiring, coherent whole." All very well but he recommends instead to "teach a wonderful, aligned curriculum. Decide what novels, stories, and books are worth students’ time and teach those to the standards." That's not really better. It's still a form of education as indoctrination. You're still feeding them, when they should be learning to shop and cook for themselves.
Barnes & Noble Ed Pushing Beyond Books
Why would Barnes & Noble make a deal to bring predictive analytics services to universities? Phil Hill says Hill said it suggests recently acquired B&N subsidiary LoudCloud "is focusing more intently on analytics after years of being 'here, there and everywhere' in the ed-tech market." But it also represents a deeper push by the publisher to get into learning technology generally. Here's the vision: "Imagine that a system of collecting and analyzing data was created by academics for academics. You own your data; you don’t need to purchase reports or subscribe to a service to get that information. It won’t be sold to outside vendors, it is standardized, and you can, with relative ease, access de-identified data from other member institutions within the consortium for research purposes."
This technology, used already by Coursera and just adopted by GitHub, has the potential to replace REpresentational State Transfer (REST) as the primary language for Application Programming Interfaces (API). This is the way web servers communicate with each other when handling requests. The website explains the difference this way: "GraphQL queries access not just the properties of one resource but also smoothly follow references between them." In other words, it returns a set of data types, and not just one data type. As a result, "While typical REST APIs require loading from multiple URLs, GraphQL APIs get all the data your app needs in a single request."
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.