Readers will recall I deleted Facebook a year and a half ago, citing just the sort of newsfeed manipulation we've now all come to see as harmful. If I had been able to do something about it at the time, I would have. I have spent my time since focusing on working with and developing distributed personal learning and information networks. There's no money in this. If you are required to find paying clients, you'll hear nothing but crickets (or the many voices telling you to centralize and consolidate and do analytics). The people working on Diaspora, the people working on Mastodon, the people working on SoLID - these people, and others like them, are the people who should be supported.
Two things are true. First: " Facebook makes money, in other words, by profiling us and then selling our attention to advertisers, political actors and others. These are Facebook’s true customers, whom it works hard to please." And second, "the same is true for the Times, along with every other publication that lives off adtech: tracking-based advertising." He then backs up this assertion with a detailed description of the tracking tools employed by news websites. Don't think for a minute that education is immune from this. You can't see the tracking tools in an LMS because the LMS is the tracking tool. Nothing prevents your educational institution (or the LMS vendor, if it's in the cloud) from packaging and selling detailed student data with the intent of, ultimately, influencing future behaviour. Which means, most likely, that this is exactly what's happening. As Ben Williamson writes, "the science of personality testing is slowly entering into education as a form of behavioural governance."
This is a good post outlining the history of learning objects as it developed roughly 20 years ago (hatrd to believe it has been that long!). They were a good idea, but as Weller notes, they never really took off. Why? Weller outlines some reaons: overengineering ("they became so overengineered and full of accompanying metadata, that no-one would create them "), definition debates ("tight definitions around having a learning objective or meeting a specific standard"), the reusability paradox (" reusability and pedagogical effectiveness are completely orthogonal to each other"), and unfamiliarity (" the very idea seemed quite alien to many teachers, and particularly in terms of digital content"). I think these are pretty good explanations myself and agree that they are lessons we should keep in mind for future technology.
This was a really interesting article to read. At certain points you might have to just skip over some of the tech details (unless you really want to dig deep, which I applaud). The idea here was to offer a machine learning application as a service. The application takes regular photos and renders them in the style of some artwork (hence: 'style transfer'). But the real fun is in the set-up of different services to allow this to be run mostly in the cloud using other services, things like Stripe (for payment), AWS for hosting, ReCaptcha on form uploads, Apex for deployment.
I've been involved in a Business Intelligence (BI) project for the last few months so I'm a bit more attentive to stories about BI in the ed tech press. This article is from the Microsoft publicity machine but it's a pretty good outline of how BI is being used by educators as they use "predictive analytics with Power BI to group students according to specific needs, and allow teachers to deliver lessons based on a child’s learning style." It also allows them to blend open data with school data. "You can ask questions in natural language from the database such as on ‘enrolments by geographical region’ or by school type or local government area."
Companies do a lot "to get their products embedded in our brains and part of our thinking." They want us to think of them as people, so we'll care for them, and so we'll think that they care for us. But they don't. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of Facebook, which knew about data mining and election tampering activities as far back as 2015, but is only now doing the apology tour. This article is a lavishly-linked and lucid denunciation of the idea that Facebook cared - or cares - one whit. Its responsibility and sensitivity (if it has only) is only to itself and its owners and shareholders. See also Audrey Watter's summary of (non-)coverage of the story in educational media.
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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.