CharlieChaplinEatingMachine

Yesterday I tweeted a link to a great post, the transcript of a talk about some social aspects of technology and how allowing technologist to lead our progress might have negative impacts on our privacy and lives, here is a quote.

Those who benefit from the death of privacy attempt to frame our subjugation in terms of freedom, just like early factory owners talked about the sanctity of contract law. They insisted that a worker should have the right to agree to anything, from sixteen-hour days to unsafe working conditions, as if factory owners and workers were on an equal footing.

Companies that perform surveillance are attempting the same mental trick. They assert that we freely share our data in return for valuable services. But opting out of surveillance capitalism is like opting out of electricity, or cooked foods—you are free to do it in theory. In practice, it will upend your life.

Remarks at the SASE Panel On The Moral Economy of Tech

This spoke very much to some thoughts I’ve been having about our relationship to technology companies. Some of these were sparked  by Dean Groom, Why not to buy Minecraft Education Edition.  Some more idaea were discussed at the Always on (them) event at the University of the West of Scotland and I am in the midst of exploring those in a few microcasts, tagged DigitalUWS & microcast (one down a few more to go).

I’ve not come to any great conclusions but I do think it is something we should be thinking a lot harder about.

More grist arrived today from Stephen Downes:

I can see how the presentation would engage school leaders looking for a way to address current trends in learning, but they need to look beyond the single-vendor approach proposed here, and they should be clear that technology companies are service providers who are held accountable for delivery, not partners taking a hand in pedagogical and educational decisions.

Looking back to move forward: A process for whole-school transformation ~ Stephen Downes

I know myself enough to recognise that I am somewhat enthralled by technology and software. I certainly need to think about my relationship, on so many levels, with the technology I use. Should we be addressing this in the classroom with our pupils?

featured image is probably walking a copyright tightrope, but seems appropriate

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Last week I attended the morning of the Always on (them) event at the University of the West of Scotland. This was organised by Professor David McGillivary. It looked at Digital and Social Media use in Education.

Last week I posted a brief summary of my talk and links to the audio I recorded for EDUtalk.

I ended my talk with a few questions that I though were worth thinking about. This is the first of a few microcasts doing just that.

Here a three questions I think go together:

  • Are we getting the best out of Social Media?
  • Should pupils be more involved in posting?
  • Do we read others productions or are we using SM mainly as a broadcast?

These are the easiest questions to start with. They come from the recent rapid expansion in the number of schools blogging and using Twitter across Scotland. I am comparing it to how I though blogging was going to go when I was actively involved in classroom blogging with pupils from 2004 till 2008.

At that time I primarily though about blogging as an activity for pupils. I also tried to get my pupils reading some other pupil blogs, doing a wee bit of commenting, occasionally blogging in reaction and the like. This was quite time consuming. It did lead to some interesting experiences.

We did not perceive much of an impact on our local community or even parents. Only getting engagement online for parents when we went away for week long school trips.

Reading class and school blogs more recently I get the impression that they are more targeted at local community and parents and are largely authored by staff.

A couple of days before the event I tried to see if I could gets some numbers to back up this impression.

Glow blogs consists of 33 instance of WordPress one for each Local Authority and one central. Each has a home page listing up to 40 of the most recently updated public blogs.

I did a bit of scripting to:

  • Scrape a list of urls from each LA page (1212 blogs)
  • Download the RSS feed latest posts from each of these blogs (9002 posts)
  • get the authors for all of these posts.

From that I could guess that users that were Mr, Ms, Mrs, Miss, Dr and the like were adults, there are a few who use their glow usernames which I discarded and some who have initial second name who I presume are adults. Finally I removed a few familiar faces who I know are not pupils.
This left me with 15% of posts that could have been posted by pupils. I suspect it is even lower as some teachers use their full name as their display name on Glow Blogs.

This is quite different that the figure I would have guessed 10 years ago. At that point I though blogging would have become a place for pupils to share their learning and gain audience and for teachers to post for professional development. It looks like we are using blogs more to broadcast to parents and community.

I’d be really interested in finding out about school use of Twitter in a similar fashion. It appears to me that most of the tweets are coming from teachers. I wonder if there is discussion of what is tweeted with pupils, if classes look at other schools tweets. How much engagement between classes and learners is going on? Is Twitter part of learning or is it mostly used by schools to showcase that learning?

In both blogging and tweeting is the idea of more pupil voice a good one? Is it too complex to manage? Is there anything to be gained by engaging with other classes and groups of learners?

I have always presumed that these were good ideas. They don’t seem to have gained the popularity I expected.

I seem to have ended up with even more questions than I started with. Given it looks like I’ll be teaching in school next session I am looking forward to testing some of these things out in reality.

featured image: Portable shortwave transmitter | Flickr – Photo Sharing! used under a Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic — CC BY-NC 2.0 licenses.

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On Thursday I attended the Always on (them): Digital and Social Media use in Education event at the University of the West of Scotland. This was organised by Professor David McGillivary.

I only stayed for the morning as I had to get back to run a twilight course. Very disappointed to have to leave early as the morning set up some great questions for discussion in the afternoon. I was speaking just before lunch and as I listened to other speakers I had to update my talk on the sly.

I recorded the audio for all morning speakers for edutalk, I’ve now posted them with a DigitalUWS tag.

In my presentations I briefly described my own history of blogging and podcasting at Sandaig, Glow Blogs and ended with some questions. Preparing for the talk allowed me to think sound some ideas that have been buzzing in my mind for a while. I hope to tease them out in a few subsequent posts or microcasts.

My rather rough slides at: Always On

Audio, from Edutalk:

And the questions I ended with:

ARE THESE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS?

  • Are we getting the best out of Social Media?
  • Should pupils be more involved in posting?
  • Do we read others productions or are we using SM as a broadcast?
  • Are we aware of the costs & implications of using free commercial software?
  • Do we need to teach, copyright, ownership, where is my stuff?
  • Long form via short form, where is your attention at?
    Media, 140 chars vs Video vs Audio vs Long Form?
  • As professionals do we have enough understand the tools and their affordances?
  • Do we know any more about Internet Princes than youngsters?

I think these are important questions and the answers to some are simple but others are very complex indeed.

I referred and pointed to a post I read on the way to the event:
Stereotype Threat and Police Recruitment | Hapgood
Where it said:

We get hung up on “ease-of-use” in software, as if that was the only dimension to judge it. But social software architectures must be judged not on ease of use, but on the communities and behaviors they create, from the invite email to the labels on the buttons. If one sentence can make this much difference, imagine what damage your UI choices might be doing to your community.

I believe we need to think a lot more about the software we use and the effect it has on communication and on us. Hopefully I’ll think a bit more about this in some subsequent posts/microcasts.

If you didn’t make the event I’d recommend listening to the audio and the Twitter stream #DigitalUWS has some good stuff too.

Featured image, my own photo, I though my lock screen image is relevant to some of the things I was trying to talk about.

cc-by-sa

Alan asked, Call / Plea / Beg for Responses: What If Creative Commons Certifications? for some feedback on Creative Commons. He is working on a project to educate folk about Creative Commons.

Here are the Questions:

  • Who are you? Introduce yourself, first name fine, where in the world you live, what kind of work you do.
  • What role does Creative Commons play in the things you do? This could be related to work/teaching, but also in terms of media sharing for content created. Or it could be “none”.
  • What would it mean to you to have a Creative Commons certification? What would you do with it, how would it play into the things you do. What is its value? And like in Bill’s video, that answer might be “nothing”.
  • What might it look like to earn a certification? Imagine, project a vision for what it would take for you to get a Creative Commons certification, how/where is it done (in person, workshop, course, online)? How long does it take? What kinds of things are you doing to earn it?

Alan suggested spending around 5 minutes recording. I spend a little more and my recording was shorter. I’ve taken a oblique shot at answering the questions, having a wee bit of fun. Here is my video:

 

On reflecting I should have spent a bit more time on this, but hopefully folk will get the idea. I like creative commons, publish using that license and consume a fair amount of cc material.

Some of the audio is a bit muffled, the video in the first section is poor, but I like the “poem” and the idea. The major faux-paux is the badges in the 3rd section, which is a public domain image, not one with a CC license.

Here is the text of the second section:

Creative Commons how do I love you, let me count the ways:

I love how you decorate my blog posts,
How you provide me with a grist for my mash ups,
You allow me to share and be shared,
Give me hope for a world that is less greedy.
You articulate freedom,
Win by losing,
Hint at the richness that the digital may provide,
You alliterate a connection to the best of the past, level the creative field,
And enrich the world.

Hopefully the hints at the levellers (not the band), and the commons on both of which my knowledge is slight and romantically tinged.

The Third and Forth Questions I try and combine:

These next two questions I though I’d tackle together.
I don’t have many certificates. I’ve passed the odd exam, got a degree but these have never really driven me to learn.
I’ve had a look at open badges and earned a few mostly tyre kicking.

What does drive me to some extent is approval from peers and betters. I like being involved in a community. I learn slowly in bursts and revisit things. I’ve learnt a bit about creative commons over the years, mostly by using and making and doing.

So rather than earn a certificate I might like to be loosely joined to a community with room for practise, play and learning. I would probably like a sticker or a t-shirt, I would not want a test.

My main though around creative commons is about sharing resources to be used creatively. I love to play with media and make things, Creative Commons is one of the things that really help. I don’t have any great claims for their worth, but I learn by doing. As a final aside I read this in the Observer today:

We’re creating more and more, this is the interesting thing, if you track the number of songs being written every year, there are millions and millions. We’re on a curve where basically everybody in the world will have written a book or a song or made a video, on average. Most of this is going to have a very small audience but that’s fine. Who cares? I think it’s OK that most of it is crap.

from: Digital prophet Kevin Kelly: I’ve learned a lot from Spielberg | Books | The Guardian

How nice if CC helps us move to a world where creating is not limited to the chosen few.

miners-playing-ping-pong

So microcast 2 comes hot on the heels of number one. A few interesting things came out of the first one. Most excitingly I got a webmention from Henrik Carlsson’s Blog. He had produced a microcast in response to mine.

This is the indieweb equivalent of a reply on Anchor held together by webmentions. My microcast sent a webmention to Henrik’s post, his ‘reply’ sends a webmention to my post and this post will send one back. This is really sweet. It parallels the anchor experience, be we own our own spaces and data.

I wonder if webmentions could be extended to include links to enclosures, that could gather the audio players together on all the sites involved in the one place.

The next nice thing was that Henrik mentioned he has an opml file of microcasts. I had a look at my RSS reader, Inoreader, and saw it suports OPML subscriptions. That means I subscribe to the OPML feed which subscribes me to the different RSS feeds that make up the file. When Henrik adds a feed to his OPML feed, that feed gets added to my feeds in inoreader. This now becomes the equivalent of a mini Anchor.

All this cheers me up considerably especially as I’ve read a few posts recently about the move to podcasting getting more locked down and controlled.

The featured image on this post is Miners playing ping pong in Queensland, ca. 1890 from flickr, No known copyright restrictions.

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This is a microcast, it is microcast number 1 here.

There is a few thinks rattling around my head that I think link up.

They were prompted bya tweet from Joe Dale this morning. I was eating breakfast when Joe tweeted that anchor, the podcasting app had some new features. One was particularly cool. Anchor allows you to reply to an audio wave with one of your own. The latest version of the app allows you to export a conversation as an audio file. This lends itself to asynchronous podcast creation.

I listened and responded to Joe’s anchor musing on the workflow he had described and about anchor from a sort of, fairly ignorant, indieweb perspective.

We waved back and forth a bit and Joe asked for more thoughts on indieweb. This is it.

The link to the idea of workflow comes from a post I made here about how to post audio to WordPress using the iOS app using Workflow. That post got a webmention from Henrik Carlsson’s blog. That is were I first heard the word microcast. He has an indieweb blog and webmentions are sort of indieweb trackbacks/ping back.

There are some basic indieweb ideas:

  • Your content is yours When you post something on the web, it should belong to you, not a corporation. Too many companies have gone out of business and lost all of their users’ data. By joining the IndieWeb, your content stays yours and in your control.
  • You are better connected Your articles and status messages can go to all services, not just one, allowing you to engage with everyone. Even replies and likes on other services can come back to your site so they’re all in one place.
  • You are in control You can post anything you want, in any format you want, with no one monitoring you. In addition, you share simple readable links such as example.com/ideas. These links are permanent and will always work.

from: IndieWebCamp

I guess the indieweb idea is the opposite, in some ways, of posting to a silo like Facebook or Anchor. These silos have their own affordances. They are easy to set up, often free and make things like having a conversation easy. To reply to Joe this morning all I had to do was click the reply button in the anchor app and talk. For Joe to reply to this he would have to post audio on a service that could send a trackback or webmention to this post. Listeners would have to follow links to hear the conversation.

On the other hand Anchor has a degree of lock-in. There is currently no RSS Feed for my waves. I can export them which is great but I can’t grab, as far as I know, all my content. I have to rely ontThe service staying around.

With this microcast I own the data, it is hosted at my own expense in my own space. It can be possed out. POSSE is an abbreviation for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere, is an indieweb principal.

A lot of the indieweb stuff is a little to technical for me but I think it is pointing to something important. Even if we use services like Facebook and anchor we should know what we are doing, what we gain and what we give up. A great post around the same space which is a lot easier to digest that the indiewebcamp is Doug Belshaw’s Working openly on the web: a manifesto.

thoughts-are-water-drops

There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.

 

William Makepeace Thackeray from: The_History_of_Henry_Esmond- William Makepeace Thackeray – Wikiquote

This is my 1000th post on this blog. Just over a year since I marked 10 Years Blogging here on John’s World Wide Wall Display.

The main benefit from blogging these 1000 posts has been the thinking that goes into them and their unpublished siblings. The main beneficiary of my blogging has been me (I see my stats). Even without many readers it is worth it.

Thinking about this post has given me the chance to think about where and what I post. This blog would be bigger if I had not hived off my DS106 blog where I’ve over 200 posts. I move them when I though it might make this blog a little strange. If I could figure out how not to break links I would now recombine them.

I am becoming more and more interested in the indieweb concept of publishing all of your content to your own space and pushing that out to silos. I’ll be thinking about all the other places I post content soon.

The second greatest thing about blogging is reading other blogs.

Serendipitously 1 I read this:

Other than writing a daily blog (a practice that’s free, and priceless), reading more blogs is one of the best ways to become smarter, more effective and more engaged in what’s going on. The last great online bargain.

Here’s the thing: Google doesn’t want you to read blogs. They shut down their RSS reader and they’re dumping many blog subscriptions into the gmail promo folder, where they languish unread.

And Facebook doesn’t want you to read blogs either. They have cut back the organic sharing some blogs benefitted from so that those bloggers will pay to ‘boost’ their traffic to what it used to be.

BUT!

RSS still works. It’s still free. It’s still unfiltered, uncensored and spam-free.

from: Seth’s Blog: Read more blogs

One of the most enduring features of my blogging years has been the reading of other blogs via RSS 2. I’d suggest that if you are interested in using the Internet to read, RSS is a great thing to learn about.

The post linked above shows one way, but there are many other services and app that will help you read, news and blogs from across the Internet. Currently I uses inoreader.com and Feeddler RSS Reader Pro 2 (iOS), to read blogs.

Featured image credit: thoughts are just water drops by Benjamin Balázs on Flickr kindly shared in the Public Domain. I though this on was interesting given my recent interest in the accidental allure of blended images.

1. one of my favourite words: searching here serendipitous 7 & serendipity 12 posts

2. I like to write about RSS too. Currently I’ve mentioned RSS in 161 posts

evolution

TeachMeet Connect

This move from Susan Ward looks like continuing the re-boot of TeachMeet in Scotland.

On Wednesday 21st September, we are launching TeachMeet Connect, a series of TeachMeets happening across Scotland on the same day, where teachers will get together and share what they do. Coinciding with the Scottish Learning Festival, this will be a celebration of all the good things happening in classrooms across Scotland and a chance to explore how TeachMeets can support professional development.

Whether you’ve been to loads of TeachMeets before or this will be your first, this is your chance to get connected to other teachers in Scotland who want to share too. We’d love you to get involved and hold a TeachMeet Connect of your own. There’s loads of info here about how to set up and run a TeachMeet and it’s entirely up to you how fancy you go- you could promote your event and have people sign up to come along and share, or you could just arrange a coffee with half a dozen colleagues where everyone talks about something that’s worked for them.

from: TeachMeet Connect – TeachMeet Scotland

On the TeachMeet front it was good to read David, for a bit of nostalgia: EdCompBlog: TeachMeet – What’s in a name?, I got the name wrong the first time round, but I don’t think I am wrong in thinking that this new blossoming of TeachMeet in Scotland is going to be great.

The featured image a the top of this post Great Gallery of Evolution a public domain photo from Joe deSousa on flickr.

When we talk personalization, we tend to talk about targeting. You learn a certain set of things, you get tested, the personalization software finds knowledge gaps and runs you through the set of canned explanations that you need.

And

While not entirely useless, this conception doesn’t fit the bulk of my experience as either a teacher or a learner. In my experience, students often have very similar skill gaps, but the remedy for each student may be radically different.

from We Have Personalization Backwards

I though this was a brilliant post. To me it reinforces that the best online learning involves contact with real people in real ways (still #ds106). I’ve stuck with online learning when there is more conversation than automation. This may change if the ‘real personalisation’ comes to online systems.