In addition to meanings, words have connotations. This is what the word makes you think over and above what the word actually says. My favourite, from decades of journalistic misuse, is "claimed". Compare "He said he was abducted" and "He claimed he was abducted". The use of 'claimed' injects doubt and scepticism into the sentence without ever changing the fact it describes. This article is about the use of the word 'allegedly'. It's the same sort of thing. Your average newspaper or news broadcast is filled with dozens, maybe hundreds, of these words every day. It may report facts, but it is telling you what you should believe. Unless you are aware of this impact, you have no way to defend against it. That's why children should learn critical literact before they are taught 'facts'.
Phil Hill and Michael feldstein have each taken to posting this week to defend their assertion that the rate of new installations of Moodle has declined significantly. The first, from Phil Hill, is a detailed description of the data used to construct the argument. The main point is that it's not US-only, and that Moodle continues to dominate in terms of total installations. In the second, Michael Feldstein explains why institutional higher education adoption is important for Moodle overall: these are the source of revenues for Moodle Pty, which is the source for code updates, and Moodle Pty took in $6 million in investment money from VCs who will expect a return.
The main point of this post isn't the silly headline, it's this: "humans have many characteristics it would be impossible to mimic, including empathy, emotion, appreciation for aesthetics, and most importantly deviance - also known as breaking or bending the rules... Teachers won't be replaced by computers because it is nigh on impossible to describe accurately what teachers do." This is wrong. It represents computers as rule-following devices. This may be true of your laptop, but it is not true of today's artificial intelligence.
In view of the epistemic crisis in the U.S. today this report on informaation disorders (109 page PDF) is a timely contribution. But I fear it does little better than identify the problem; the solutions are stale, sterile, and would be ineffective. The analysis is interesting: it proposes that media are being used not for the transmission of information, but rather the conduct of a ritual. "A ritual view of communication does not consider the act of reading a newspaper to be driven by the need for new information. Rather, it likens it to attending a church service. It’s a performance in which nothing is learned, but a particular view of the world is portrayed and confirmed." Or as McLuhan said of newspapers, "You get into them, like a warm bath." But the solutions they propose show no recognition of the consequenses of this analysis. Media collaboration, fatc-checking, metadata sharing, etc., will have no impact on the phenomenon. Via Michael Caulfield.
I don't think that the increasing market share of Facebook and Google by themselves mean that the web is dying, no more than the domination of Internet Explorer and netscape did back in the day. But these two giants have been exerting their influence in less than benign ways, and this is what is injuring - if not outright killing - the web. In both cases, a combination of marketing, the limiting of diversity, and the manipulation of public perception have combined to create a web designed to promote page views and attention to the trivial (and often, the false) instead of to allow us to forge genuine connections with each other.
I have just returned from China so this post caught my attention. It describes some of the issues he encountered while working to develop collaborative projects with Chinese classrooms. "I wonder if we need to start with shared values and desires," he writes. "What are the bridges we can build? What are the things we have in common?"
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.