OLDaily will be on hiatus for the next three weeks as I turn off all my devices and head out for a bikepacking expedition on Anticosti Island. The next issue of OLDaily is scheduled for August 29.
This article (16 page PDF) is your traditional social sciences survey of a class of psychology students (the most representative sample group anywhere!). The observation is that "there was a general sense that it was difficult to obtain a feeling of learning community when learning was delivered exclusively online and for some this was not a possibility at all." Specifically, "central to this sense of isolation was the inability to physically see, meet and share space with fellow students." Moreover, "a sense of mutuality and shared experience appeared crucial to the underpinning of learning communities." Let me propose an alternative interpretation: students are unable to feel a sense of privilege when they're not physically connected. They don't feel they get exclusive access to services (for example, "visibility and accessibility of academic teaching staff"). They feel this loss as a devaluing of their education, as it becomes something anyone could obtain, and not specific to their own particular cultural and ethical community identified by a range of cues, practices, and tokens developed by their out-of-classroom interactions with each other. Image: Myers & Ogino.
"What if," asks Tim O'Reilly, "instead of thinking of the metaverse as a set of interconnected virtual places, we think of it as a communications medium?" Then the metaverse is "about a time when immersive digital worlds become the primary way that we communicate and share digital experiences." I think this is very much applying a web 2.0 lens to web3. The distinguishing characteristic of the metaverse and web3 is object permanence in a digital space. And yes, we could think of a set of objects as a place, or as a communications medium, and any number of other things. But what's actually new is that we can now use digital objects in ways previously reserved for physical objects only - as keys, tokens, currency, credentials, identifiers, and the like (use your imagination to extend this list).
What I like about this analysis (57 page PDF) of the phenomenon of 'dog whistles' is that it embeds it into the idea of linguistic practice as (in part) characterizing a community. A 'dog whistle' is "speech that seems ordinary but sends a hidden, often derogatory message to a subset of the audience." The author provides several examples. The question is, is it a dog whistle only if the speaker intends it to be a dog whistle. Anne Quaranto argues that dog whistles can be unintentional, but conditions apply. "Covertly coded speech is only possible because there's something a speaker and hearer are both part of - a linguistic practice, an established usage learned from others and shaped by others' past performances." We see this a lot in the community not just in the form of dog whistles but also as memes, popular expressions, abbreviations, slang, and many other forms. The idea that we're all speaking 'one common language' with mutual understanding and shared meaning is, to my mind, wrong. Image: Vox.
This (17 page PDF)(also) is a clear and direct presentation of Malagasy ethics and in particular the principle of fihavanana. "As a first pass, we can say that fihavanana is a state of peace or harmony that people can achieve with others within their communities; it is modeled on the peace, harmony, solidarity, love, and closeness that is often seen in family ties." Source materials are Malagasy proverbs (ohabolana) that either directly use the term or talk about it without using its name. It's worth noting some of the distinction between this concept and the Western approach to ethics that many pundits say are 'universal': the allowance that "emotion and feelings have a role to play in deciding what one ought to do," the idea that "one should do good for others out of a feeling of love and not out of a sense of requirement," and some clear limitations of the scope of the moral community. Image: Pharos.
This short post summarizes the 2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report: Data and Analytics Edition (54 page PDF) and focuses on the 15 trends across five categories it outlines: data-supported social equity, lagging technology, economic challenges from external competitors, the influence of environmental issues, and the interplay between politics and education. These lead to the four scenarios, which are, respectively: only measurement matters, budget-imposed constraint, institutional collapse, and institutional transformation. The report itself also outlines key analytics technologies and trends (p. 12) which include emphases on data management, data sources, architecture, data literacy, diversity equity and inclusion (DEI), and assessment.
This toolbox reminds me of de Bono's lateral thinking more than anything else, not in terms of content (they are quite different) but in terms of providing a series of 'tips and tricks' to improve thinking habits and to break us out of bland complacence. It's also much more extensive than de Bono, divided into ten categories each of which has a number of specific items. Via Doug Peterson.
Interesting set of reflections on the use of AI for creative purposes. Ben Werdmuller considers some of the legal implications - for example, "I did not grant permission for my code, my drawings, or my photographs to form the basis of someone else's work. But a human artist also draws on everything they've encountered, and we tend not to worry about that" (see also Wendy Grossman on this). He also suggests that AI will be used as a tool for creativity, rather than replacing creators entirely - "at least, for another generation or so." I'm waiting to see the DALL-E fashion designs.
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