According to this article, " half of all U.S. schools have teachers using Seesaw, up from one-quarter in June 2016." The service offers " iOS, Android, Kindle, Chromebook and web apps where kids can share photos, videos, drawings, notes, links, files and blogs, and record voice-overs explaining their work." The idea is that if they're showing their work to a wider community, they'll work harder and pay more attention to it. As well, parents can look in to see the students' work directly. It's free for parents and students but "schools and school districts pay if they want to sync Seesaw with their student databases and grading systems, and get centralized administration, analytics and more grading features. They pay $5 per student per year." I think that allowing students to share their work is a good idea, but if you turn their portfolios into a grading system it can skew the incentives.
We talk about literacies of various sorts but the enterprise begs the question: what counts as language? Geoffrey Pullum doesn'tt really tell us - though it has something to do with "the communication of simple ideas between people." But he's clear about things that are not languages. Music. Food. Sounds made by Orcas. " The claim that information transmission was demonstrated in the music is patently ridiculous," he writes. I think the definition of language as 'information transmission' is too narrow, and this mostly because I think that cognition is not information processing. But I will agree that journalists go over the side when talking about animals speaking human language. Image: LiveScience.
I met John Perry Barlow at Idea City in 2003; I said nice things to him about his work and he urged me to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which he co-founded. "Barlow’s lasting legacy is that he devoted his life to making the Internet into 'a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth . . . a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.'" Hail and farewell.
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