I gave a presentation not so long ago that concluded "remember, it's all just cat pictures." Not everyone in the audience (a roomful of military officers) was impressed. But I meant the point seriously, and this useful article makes a similar point with much more eloquence. "Behind every cute cat is the story of infrastructure— the cables on the ground, the data centers scattered around the world, the hardware we use to access this and the platforms on which we engage with content. With infrastructure comes advantage, and with advantage comes policy, politicking and power." And that's why the U.S. wants to steal TikTok, and why I, as a longtime TikTok user, stand opposed.
I just finished Trevor Noah's excellent Born a Crime audio-book (over eight hours of cycling) and he makes a very similar point about crime: "crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn’t do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand." It's the same with fake news and propaganda. And I have to wonder, if as a society we really wanted children to learn and be educated and know the truth, why do we make it so difficult and costly to obtain? As I've said numerous times: "Democracy dies behind a paywall."
The argument here - and I agree with it - is that "we haven’t as a community of inquiry learned the lessons of the past, and the putative improvement and purification of the experiment form is once again leaving us disappointed." The idea of the 'experiment' in education has ossified around the model of 'a comparison of groups', and this model has time and again failed to yield useful results. What follows in this article is a comprehensive and thorough presentation of the argument, including a detailed deconstruction of what proponents of the experimental form deem to be a 'true' experiment. But these are "as vulnerable to distortion as any other kind of research." Ultimately, "this model of intervene‐and‐test using the protocols of a particular kind of experiment is, in education, flawed, unable to meet this branch of experimentation’s own design expectations and unwilling to take seriously the significance of confounders which vitiate the legitimacy of its findings." Image: Vox.
I think the headline is quite right - if, for example, you look at the rankings of the world's 'leading educational institutions' yopu'll find that one of the major parameters is the institution's 'reputation'. It has nothing to do with performance. The same with learning. "In higher education, the 'best' customers are elite, first-time, full-time students. They pay more; they are academically prepared; they graduate in high numbers; they demand immersive amenities; and their achievements, talents, and predominantly wealthy families contribute significantly to the prestige and reputation of the institution. The industries’ obsession with these students has been baked into the data infrastructure of higher education for decades." Quite so; how many studies have looked at what 'students' want or need? As opposed to 'everybody who learns'? So I agree with this article - the system of measurement should be changed.
This is David Wiley thinking aloud about dashboards. The core of his suggestion here is of an "action dashboard" which is "is a dashboard filled with specific actions a user might consider taking." It's not a bad idea to have links or buttons for specific actions on a dashboard (indeed, I wouldn't think of it as much of a dashboard without them). You should also have more open-ended controls (sliders, dials, etc.) to fine-tune specific parameters. But my main suggestion is to change perspective. Wiley describes a dashboard for faculty. I am much more interested in dashboards for learners. A 'personal learning environment' as contrasted with Wiley's 'personal teaching environment'.
This is a good frequently asked questions (FAQ) style article introducing social media to the uninitiated. There's nothing new here, but there's a lot of information in an accessible article and would be good as background material in an introductory digital literacies curriculum. Aside from the basic definitions, topics include online well-being, social media marketing, privacy and security, account management, and some projections for the future.
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