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Learning Analytics

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 18:32

Intro to learning analytics universities scotland_dec2014_smn from Sheila MacNeill I am getting increasingly interested in Learning Analytics. But the more I think about it, the more questions I have. I am impressed with the Jisc project on Learning Analytics on which this presentation is based.

Power in Airports

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 18:22

Time to get blogging again. And what better way than with a short rant.

In recent years airports have made big strides in providing access to the internet. True some still try and make you pay after your free period has run out. Others collect your email address so they can spam you forever with reduced offers for parking and flights to somewhere you never want to go to. But on the whole, access is improving (and is faster and more reliable than my home connection.

But the majority still try to hide away all electricity plugs. Over the years I have collected in my head a database of where there are power outlets – often in strange parts of the departures terminals. It is not exactly as if the amount of power laptops take is going to make more than a fraction of a different to overall airport electricity bills.

So congratulations then to Munich airport (yes, I am going to say something nice about Bayern!!). They have fitted power sockets into the spaces between seats to make recharging laptops and mobile simple. Other airports please take note.

FACE Wins $5 Million Grant To Improve College Completion Rates

Campus Technology - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 16:29
The Federation for a Competitive Economy (FACE), a partnership of schools and businesses in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California, has won a $5 million Governor's Award for Innovation in Higher Education.

Penn State Plans Second Data Center

Campus Technology - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 16:13
Penn State University has finalized plans for a new data center at its University Park campus to provide high-performance computing and data storage for research and education.

Peerless-AV Introduces New Video Stands

Campus Technology - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 15:44
Peerless-AV has introduced a new lineup of video stands that can be used in multiple classrooms.

The battle for education

Learning with 'e's - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 13:45
Education is underpinned by several philosophies, some of which are incompatible. As a result, there are many educational approaches, a myriad of theories and a bewildering number of perspectives. My students are currently grappling with this problem, as they seek to answer the essay question: 'who should define the curriculum?' To answer such a deceptively simple question, they need to spend time exploring a number of philosophical positions, and two in particular:

Socrates was an idealist, believing that reality is subjective, and that it is represented differently in each human mind. In the idealist perspective, reality is personally constructed by the individual, learning is also believed to be constructed, and all meaning is therefore negotiable. In Socratic discourse, no destination can be arrived at, nor can a definitive answer be found to any question, but other questions are generated and discussed. Social constructivist theory clearly derived from this set of tenets. Alternatively, Aristotle, an acolyte of Socrates' student Plato, subscribed to the realist perspective, believing that reality is objective. From these ancient roots grew two separate and opposing philosophies on how education should be conducted. Aristolean realist theory became the basis for behaviourist beliefs that content was central to education, under the control of experts. Adherents of behaviourism also argued that observable and measurable behaviour was central to understanding learning, giving rise to standardised testing. One the opposite end of the spectrum, Socratic idealist philosophy heavily influenced constructivist and humanist approaches to education, which privileged the learner at the centre of the process, and emphasised the importance of the student making meaning. Progressive educators see teachers as co-learners who work alongside their students, rather than experts who control content. A battle of words and ideals is raging about which is the most effective, and indeed, the most appropriate approach to adopt for the needs of today's society.

The chart above (my design), comes courtesy of Wingra School in Madison, Wisconsin is derived from the work of a number of educational theorists. It highlights several key counter views between the two positions, and is quite revealing. It shows where the battle lines have been drawn. Have a look at the list and see which one you subscribe to the most - are you a progressive or a traditionalist?

Photo by Stuart Pilbrow on Flickr

The battle for education by Steve Wheeler was written in Istanbul, Turkey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

15 documentos imprescindibles para alumnos que trabajan por proyectos

El proyecto EDIA recopila recursos que los alumnos necesitarán en distintas fases del trabajo por proyectos. También incluye otro elemento esencial: la autoevaluación del propio profesor.

Los recursos facilitan el desarrollo de aspectos esenciales en la metodología ABP como la planificación del trabajo en equipo, la revisión del proceso de aprendizaje y la evaluación final del proyecto.

Estos documentos forman parte de los REA del #proyectoEDIA para Primaria y Secundaria. Los materiales pueden ser consultados directamente o bien descargados e imprimidos. Si deseamos modificar alguno, solo tendremos que abrirlo y hacer los cambios necesarios.

Faculty Success Means Student Success: Supporting Online Faculty -- Campus Technology

Educación flexible y abierta - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 08:39

Michael Cottam, Webster University's Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of its Online Learning Center. believes that supporting his institution's online faculty is the most important element of creating student success.

See it on, via Educación flexible y abierta

Conference: mobile learning – all at sea!

Tony Bates - 23 Marzo, 2015 - 00:50

Splendour of the Seas

What: The mobile learning voyage: From small ripples to massive open waters

This event brings together some of the leading researchers and practitioners in the field of mLearning.  It also appeals to a wide range of audiences who are interested in enhancing learning with designing content and developing systems for mobile devices and wireless networks and all others with an interest in mobile and ambient learning. Benefits:

  • mLearn 2015 will provide researchers, academics, industry practitioners and commercial vendors all the benefits of participating in one of the premier international conferences and being exposed to the exciting and rapidly growing field of mobile and contextual learning.
  • mLearn offers unrivalled opportunities for networking with key academic and commercial contacts.
  •  mLearn is the only conference endorsed by the International Association for Mobile Learning (IAmLearn), a membership association which promotes excellence in research, development and application of mobile and contextual learning.

When: 17-24 October, 2015

Where: On a cruise ship (the Splendour of the Seas) departing from Venice, Italy

Who: The International Association for Mobile Learning (IAmLearn) ( is the custodian of the mLearn conference series. The main institutions involved in organising the 2015 conference are:

  • North West University, South Africa
  • University of South Africa
  • MidRand Graduate Institute, South Africa

Other sponsors are being sought: click here if interested in being a sponsor


  • Closing date for the submission of abstracts  – 17 April 2015. To submit an abstract, click here 
  • Last date for early-bird registration – 1 July 2015. To register click here
  • Notification of acceptance – 9 May 2015
  • Full paper submission – 1 August 2015
  • Full paper and/or slide show for Technology Showcases – 1 September 2015

How much:

The conference fee will include:

  • accommodation
  • 3 Meals with all drinks included
  • Gala event
  • Access to Plenary and Parallel sessions
  • All taxes and port charges
  • All gratuities.

The fee itself is yet to be announced.


Whether you think this a boondoggle or a carefully crafted educational experience where networking and focus is guaranteed, it should be great fun – if you (or your institution) can afford it.

Austin Community College’s ACCelerator: Big bet on emporium approach with no pilots

e-Literate - 22 Marzo, 2015 - 21:55

By Phil HillMore Posts (299)

While at SXSWedu, I was able to visit Austin Community College’s ACCelerator lab, which got a fair bit of publicity over the past month. While the centerpiece of ACCelerator usage is for developental math, the 600+ workstation facility spread over 32,000 square feet also supports Tutoring in a variety of subjectsFirst year experienceGroup advisingAcademic CoachingAdult EducationContinuing EducationCollege readiness assessment preparation, and Student skills workshops.

But it is the developmental math course that has received the most coverage.

Austin Community College welcomed second lady Dr. Jill Biden and Under Secretary of Education Dr. Ted Mitchell on Monday, March 9, to tour the Highland Campus’ ACCelerator and meet with students and faculty of the college’s new developmental math course, MATD 0421. [snip]

“I teach a lot of developmental students,” says Dr. Biden. “The one stumbling block does seem to be math and math anxiety and ‘Can I do it?’. This (course) seems to be so empowering and so positive. Students can see immediate success.”

MATD 0421 is a self-paced, emporium-style course that encompasses all three levels of developmental math. Paul Fain at Inside Higher Ed had an excellent article that included a description of the motivation.

Dismal remedial success rates have been a problem at Austin, which enrolls 60,000 students. So faculty members from the college looked around for alternative approaches to teaching math.

“Really, there’s nothing to lose,” said [Austin CC president] Rhodes.

The Highland Campus, where the ACCelerator lab is located, is built in a former shopping mall. Student in Austin CC can choose courses at any of the 8 campuses or 5 centers. All developmental math at the Highland Campus is run through MATD 0421, so students across the system can choose traditional approaches at other campuses of the emporium approach at Highland.

Austin CC picked this approach after researching several other initiatives (Fain describes Virginia Tech and Montgomery College examples). The IHE article then describes the design:

Austin officials decided to try the emporium method. They paired it with adaptive courseware, which adjusts to individual learners based on their progress and ability to master concepts. The college went with ALEKS, an adaptive software platform from McGraw-Hill Education.

Fain describes the personalization aspect:

The new remedial math course is offered at the ACCelerator. The computer stations are arranged in loose clusters of 25 or so. Faculty members are easy to spot in blue vests. Student coaches and staff wear red ones.

This creates a more personalized form of learning, said Stacey Güney, the ACCelerator’s director. That might seem paradoxical in computer lab that has a bit of a Matrix feel. But Güney said that instead of a class size of 25 students per instructor, the course features 25 classes of one student.

“In here there is no back of the classroom,” she said.

While the program is fairly new (second term), there are some initial results described by the official site:

In MATD 0421’s inaugural semester:

  • The withdrawal rate was less than half the rate for traditional developmental math courses.
  • 75 percent of the students completed the equivalent of one traditional course.
  • Nearly 45 percent completed the equivalent to a course and one-half.
  • Over 14 percent completed the equivalent to two courses.
  • 13 students completed all the equivalent of three courses.

Go read the full IHE article for a thorough description. I would offer the following observations.

  • Rather than a pilot program, which I have argued plagues higher ed and prevents diffusion of innovations, Austin CC has committed to a A) a big program up front (~700 students in the Fall 2014 inaugural semester) and ~1,000 students in Spring 2015, yet B) they offer students the choice of traditional or emporium. To me, this offers the best of both worlds in allowing a big bet that doesn’t get caught in the “purgatory of pilots” while offering student choice.
  • While the computer lab and software are easy headlines, I hope people don’t miss the heavy staffing that are a central feature of this lab – there are more than 90 faculty and staff working there, teaching the modular courses, roving the aisles to provide help, and working in help desks. The ACCelerator is NOT an exercise in replacing faculty with computers.
  • During my tour, instructor Christie Allen-Johnson and associate professor Ann P. Vance described their plans to perform a more structured analysis of the results. Expect to see more validated outcomes starting at the end of CY2015.
  • When and if Austin CC proves the value and results of the model, that would be the time to migrate most of the remaining developmental math courses into this emporium model.
  • The one area that concerns me is the lack of structured time for students away from the workstations. Developmental students in community colleges often have not experienced academic success – knowing how to succeed, learning how to learn, believing in their ability to succeed – and often this non-cognitive aspect of math is as important as the actual coursework. Allen-Johnson described the availability of coaching that goes beyond coursework, but that is different than providing structure for coaching and self-regulated learning.

The post Austin Community College’s ACCelerator: Big bet on emporium approach with no pilots appeared first on e-Literate.

After the LL Design Conference – Part 4: Second thoughts on the Exploitation Launchpad workshops

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 22 Marzo, 2015 - 19:17

In my three previous posts I have reported on the Year 3 Design Conference of the Learning Layers (LL) project that took place in Espoo and of the talks I had afterwards in Helsinki. In the third one I discussed knowledge sharing between the parallel pilots in the LL project and aimed to end this series with these issues. However, reading Gilbert Peffer’s seven blogs on the Exploitation Launchpad Workshop triggered some further thoughts on the workshops.

1. On the preparation of the workshops

Gilbert and Raymond did a very good job in preparing the workshop and Gilbert has topped up this with his excellent documentation of the preparatory work in his three first blogs. As we know, this workshop concept was developed just before the conference and implemented as ‘rapid prototyping’. Now,  the preparatory steps have been documented and reasoning behind allocation of participants to teams has been made explicit. This provides a basis to consider, how we can build upon this experience and what could possibly be done otherwise. ( I have already referred to my own workshop experiences in my first post of this series so I will not repeat my comments here.)

2. On the team processes in the workshops

The workshop concept tried to challenge the teams to enter a creative space and outline ambitious visions instead of stick to the immediately following next steps in the project work. From this point of view the participants were invited to give themselves roles (with reference to a given palette of roles). Then the teams were required to give ratings on the roles that they mostly need – and then ratings for their own strengths. This triggered a discussion on the potentials that are represented in the teams and how to compensate the gaps. This all was covered with the catchword “teamality” (the team-level ‘personality characteristics‘ of the initiative group).

As I could observe it, this part of the exercise worked well in the group that was focusing on the tools that had been piloted in the healthcare sector. These issues could be tackled right away. However, looking beyond this group I could see major difficulties in some other groups. For the “Learning Toolbox” group I would have raised the question, what exploitation tasks of the sustainability scenario should have been covered – consolidation of LTB Development Group as a technical service provider, consolidation of the Living Lab’ model for developing training services, consolidation of a Users’ Association’ as framework for user participation and institutionalisation of External Cooperation Policies’. As long as these tasks (and respective working perspectives) were not made explicit, the participants had probably different interpretations on the vision of their team. In a similar way I would have had questions, whether the “Centre of Expertise” team is covering the whole scope of LL activities or whether it is looking for specific sectoral or IT-related innovation concepts. Probably the aim of the workshop was to stimulate discussion such issues at the same time as it drew attention to the need to provide a basis for appropriate team-building processes.

3. On the approach to ‘customers’, partners and stakeholders

In the next phases of the workshop process the teams were challenged to explain, how they can satisfy their first customer and then work with a ‘customer journey map’ to develop a timeline for different iterations and to set milestones. Here again, the group that worked with the healthcare pilots had no major difficulties. However, being reflective about changing roles, the group introduced the concept ‘proto-customer’ to express the transition from project partner role to (potentially) paying customer role.

As I understood it, the focusing on ‘first customer’ and the interpretation of the roles of partners, customers and stakeholders were less problematic in other groups. I do not want to elaborate on this because these difficulties are closely linked to the problem that I raised above. However, in the long run the debates in the working groups – even if not completely resolved – may be helpful for clarifying the next steps in the follow-up process. As we remember, Gilbert and Raymond had planned the workshop as a process with follow-up. Here we probably need to have a closer look at the mutually linked process dynamics of our project (as such) and the exploitation actions (hatching out of the project). In the follow-up we need to pay attention to both sides of the show. I am looking forward to these next steps.

More blogs to come …


Netflix and education

OLDaily - 22 Marzo, 2015 - 18:40

Alastair Creelman, The corridor of uncertainty, Mar 22, 2015

A lot of people have talked about 'the Netflix of learning'. But it's not that easy. As Alastair Creelman says, "Delivering content at scale and adapting it to personal preferences is the easy part really. It's what you do with that content that leads to learning. You can consume tons of content without necessarily becoming much wiser. You need to be able to put it all into context and draw conclusions and this generally needs guidance and a community to discuss with." A course isn't content. It's what you do with content.

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Categorías: General

A Blogger's Springtime

OLDaily - 22 Marzo, 2015 - 06:38

In this presentation I talk about the practice of blogging in a new and complex media environment. Contrary to what may be popular belief, blogging is not dead, nor even slowing down, though attention has shifted away from the form to new types of social media. But it is part of a much larger content ecosystem which as a whole is experiencing a golden age, and blogging is a major part of that. I show people how I blog, how I use blogs, and how I am encouraging student use of blogs in MOOCs.

Spring Blog Festival, Online, via WizIQ (Lecture) Mar 21, 2015 [Comment]
Categorías: General

Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system

OLDaily - 22 Marzo, 2015 - 06:38

Richard Garner, The Independent, Mar 22, 2015

Even Finnish parents and teachers are protesting the change, we are told. But according to this article, students are already seeing benefits from the redefinition of learning from classes to 'phenomena'. "In the two years since the new teaching methods first began being introduced, pupil “ outcomes” – they prefer that word to standards – have improved." This is moving learning in the opposite direction from 'back to basics', and away from subjects trhat were defined in the 1900s. "We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow."

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Categorías: General

What If Education Reform Got It All Wrong in the First Place?

OLDaily - 22 Marzo, 2015 - 06:38

Bill Raden, Pacific Standard, Mar 22, 2015

According to this article, "That’ s the conclusion of a growing number of researchers who argue that 30 years of test scores have not measured a decline in public schools, but are rather a metric of the country’ s child poverty and the broadening divide of income inequality." I have long cited data showing that socio-economic standing is the greatest predictor of education outcomes. For example, wealthier people can afford preschool, and "“ You can see a big difference between students who have gone to preschool and who have not." And, "“ It is definitely difficult to have a child come into kindergarten who’ s never been read to,” Jones explained. “ And it’ s not that they haven’ t been read to because their parents don’ t want to— it’ s just when you’ re a single mom and you’ re working four jobs, it doesn’ t always work out that way.”

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Categorías: General

El paréntesis escolar

Cuaderno de campo - 22 Marzo, 2015 - 00:09
    Aunque muchos piensen que hay escuela desde que hay historia, la institución es reciente, producto y productora a la vez de la modernidad. Antes fue una excepción: para las clases acomodadas de las ciudades en un mundo rural y para las elites burocráticas y hierocráticas en un mundo de trabajo manual. Sólo con la modernidad, es decir, con la reforma protestante, el Estado-nación, la fábrica, el mercado, la urbanización, la codificación... llega la necesidad y la oportunidad de la escuela.     Se puede buscar tantos antecedentes y precedentes como se quiera, pero, si hay que datar el despegue de la escuela de masas, parece razonable fijarse en el surgimiento de la common school impulsada por Horace Mann (inspirado por Prusia) en Massachusetts, pronto generalizada a la Unión (y que inspirará a su vez a Giner de los Ríos, entre otros) y en la école unique francesa, promovida por Ferry, Buisson y Durkheim; es decir, entre las décadas de los cincuenta y los ochenta del siglo XIX.    Hasta entonces la infancia aprendía, incluso era educada, pero raramente escolarizada ni, por tanto, enseñada. En ese dicho africano según el cual hace falta una idea para educar a un niño, que tanto gusta a los docentes cuando demandan, con razón, apoyo, pocos reparan en que para nada se menciona a la escuela. La escolarización representa un cambio drástico respecto a toda la historia anterior de socialización familiar, aprendizaje en el trabajo, moralización religiosa, etc., cambio que consiste en acotar y especificar el espacio, el tiempo, el contenido, el método, la evaluación y los agentes del aprendizaje (ahora enseñanza) en ese conjunto de dimensiones y relaciones que llamamos escuela, o sistema educativo. 
    Numerosos signos anuncian que ese monopolio ha llegado a su fin. Seguramente no será muy distinto de lo que está sucediendo con la prensa y los medios de difusión (mal llamados de comunicación), que han perdido el monopolio de la información, con la publicidad, con la política, etc. Si la mayor parte de la enseñanza universitaria no fuera obligatoria, si no cumpliera además la importante función de custodiar a niños y adolescentes, si no fuese que estos aceptan e incluso quieren ir a la escuela porque allí están sus pares sin alternativa a la vista, o si la universidad no conservase todavía el monopolio de títulos que son la llave para las profesiones, la crisis del sistema educativo estaría al menos tan avanzada como la de los medios, la publicidad o las discográficas.
    El problema, en el fondo, es que el aprendizaje necesita cada vez menos de la enseñanza, o más en concreto de la escuela. Puede ser útil, pero ya no es imprescindible. O puede ser imprescindible por otros motivos (como la custodia o la mera socialización), pero ya no para el aprendizaje. Puede, en fin, que la concentración de aprendizaje y educación en la escuela resulte, a la postre, un mero paréntesis, es decir, una etapa histórica con un principio y con un fin. Un indicio de ello podría ser el peso relativo de enseñanza y aprendizaje en las preocupaciones sociales. El ngrama que acompaña a este texto sugiere precisamente eso a través de de un indicador indirecto pero relevante como es el de los títulos de libros publicados en los últimos doscientos años. Al principio era el aprendizaje; durante un tiempo, que viene a coincidir con el periodo halciónico de la escuela que discurre del surgimiento de los grandes sistemas de masas a la democratización del acceso, quedó subordinado a la enseñanza; ahora, en un proceso que arrancaría con los movimientos críticos de los sesenta y estalla con el desarrollo de las tecnologías y de las redes, se libera de nuevo. Y así se cierra el paréntesis.
Categorías: General

Doxxing to Defend Student Privacy

Hack Education - 21 Marzo, 2015 - 21:35

(Mostly this is the sort of thing I put on my personal blog and not Hack Education, but this is too important to let slide…)

News broke late last week, thanks to Bob Braun’s Ledger, that Pearson is engaged in social media monitoring of those involved in the PARCC exams. (News flash: lots of schools, lots of corporations, lots of testing orgs are.) I’ve written at length already about the implications of surveillance of students online – for free speech, privacy, identity formation, equity, justice.

So I want to turn here to some of the suppositions and strategies that have spawned this week based on Braun’s work, particularly those purporting to defend students and schools from corporate influence.

In his initial story, Braun included a photo of an email from NJ superintendent Elizabeth Jewett. In the email, she explained her concern about Pearson’s monitoring and about the potential for parental outcry in response. It was an important revelation, I don’t mean to challenge that; but no information was redacted in the image Braun posted, so Jewett’s email, phone number (with direct extension), and office address were included – all her work details. It’s all public information, one could easily argue. I mean, it’s in her email footer!

If you were a journalist, would you redact that part of the story – the email footer? That’s a good question for the editorial desk of a newspaper. But bloggers don’t have to run through that process. No legal. No questions.

Also worth noting (and debating): for no apparent reason, Braun also included a photo of Jewett. Her name, email, phone, address, and her photo.

In a follow-up story, Braun tried to posit a connection between NJDOE commissioner Bari Anhalt-Erlichson (she penned the department’s justification of Pearson’s social media monitoring), Pearson, and MongoDB. The argument Braun makes: there’s an inherent conflict of interest as Anhalt-Erlichson’s husband works for a company whose open source database MongoDB was used by Pearson in two products (OpenClass and the National Transcript Center).

As part of his “gotcha,” Braun posted the home address of Anhalt-Erlichson, noting its property value and implying that the wealth was due to Pearson-profiteering.

When education historian Diane Ravitch picked up this story, I was mortified, in no small part because I found Braun’s story to contain many, many inaccuracies, and his arguments about the connections between officials and corporations were tenuous at best. MongoDB is an open source database, for starters, freely available for companies and developers to use. There is no proof, in Braun’s story, that Pearson had paid for support services or that there’s a financial connection between the NJDOE, MongoDB, and Pearson. None.

Warning bells for me: this was the second story in a row in which Braun had disclosed the personal information of a female edu employee of the state of New Jersey. And in this second story, it wasn’t just work info; it was a home address. Her deets. Her documents. Her dox.

Ravitch has 108,000+ followers on Twitter. She boasts 18 million pageviews on her blog. (Incidentally, I also wrote this week about the sorts of tracking mechanisms that allow her to boast about these metrics without any disclosure about what happens to visitors’ information. But that’s a different story…) Needless to say, when Ravitch reposts and retweets a story, it matters. It resonates. It’s picked up. Rabble rabble rabble. As such, I think she needs to be accountable for – or jeez, at least think through, the implications of the stories she reposts.

After all, doxxing relies on these sorts of large networks. Doxxing relies on amplification. So I called Ravitch out for releasing this NJDOE official’s info. Here are some of my tweets:

.@DianeRavitch your latest blog post involves doxxing a NJDOE employee. (links to her home address.) How do you reconcile doxxing + privacy?

— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) March 18, 2015

.@dianeravitch what do you think the repercussions look like for women when they're doxxed?

— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) March 18, 2015

Here is her response:

@audreywatters I did not "dox" anyone. Contact Bob Braun's Ledger and take it up with him.

— Diane Ravitch (@DianeRavitch) March 19, 2015

Not her problem. Shrug.

A different response came from Mercedes Schneider, with a chillingly titled post “Doxxing: A Primer.”

I say “chillingly” here for a number of reasons, least of which being my experiences, as a woman in ed-tech, having had the ire of “the Internet” turned against me. I experienced it when I wrote critically about Codecademy. I experienced it when I wrote critically about Khan Academy. I experienced it when I wrote about harassment at ISTE. I experienced it when I wrote about Gamergate and ed-tech. Etc. Death threats. Rape threats. Harassment. Mansplaining (just a micro-aggression, sure, but my god, it wears on me and as such, undermines my work), that always tries to explain to me how I know nothing about education, technology, or any combination of the two. I’ve written about my experiences here and here. Bonus: men explained doxxing and social media monitoring to me this week.

Schneider does not name me in her post that purports to explain doxxing – there’s a lot of passive voice in describing what happened when Ravitch and Braun, to quote Schneider “were accused on Twitter of doxxing.” She does link to my twitter account – but not my individual tweets on this topic. As such I am apparently this nameless (worthless?) entity that’s challenging Ravitch, not someone with a name or a large body of work articulating the importance of privacy. Interestingly, at the very same time, Anhalt-Erlichson, by virtue of a marriage certificate and some really shoddy connections made by Braun, is worthy of being named and called out and of having her home address shared. Me, I am dismissed and erased; another woman, on the other hand, pointed to explicitly. With a call to action: she is a target; she should be punished. Me, ignored.

Since this story by Schneider was published, I have just been waiting for her mob to turn and decide to punish me. I’ve been waiting for others who loathe my work to seize this opportunity. I woke up yesterday to a bunch of Gamergate-related emails from a talk I gave last week, incidentally. I cannot even begin to describe how frightening this is. I say “I am not afraid,” and I will fight for education technology and social justice, but this ongoing bullshit makes it pretty hard. I have no institution to defend me. I have no title. I have no steady paycheck. I have no think tank, even, like Ravitch, one that I spurred. I rely on the work I do as a freelance writer, but mostly on the work I do as a public speaker. But now, increasingly, I turn down public speaking events, because I see strangers in the front row, and I fear they’re going to kill me. Today, I received a package in the mail from an address I didn’t recognize, and I cried as I opened it, wondering if it would explode.

This is what doxxing does to you.

This is what ongoing threats do to you.

This is the world in which I now operate.

I cry every day, if not because of the threats I get, because of the threats every single female friend of mind receives.

This is what you’re tapping into when you suggest that it’s really no big deal to doxx people, folks. So I have to say, Schneider’s description about doxxing is incredibly shallow, flawed, uninformed, callous.

I hate Pearson. If you know me, you know that. But I would never wish this ongoing harassment on any woman connected to Pearson. I wouldn't.

It’s publicly available information already, Schneider suggests, when she shrugs about posting Anhalt-Erlichson’s home address online. (While Braun has since removed the information from his story, Schneider links to it again in hers.) And as such, she suggests, it’s not a problem when others are pointed to that very information. That’s the argument that’s often used to sustain harassment campaigns against women: “we found it on the Internet” so it must be okay.

Schneider quotes an On the Media article from March 2014 as both her definition and her justification for doxxing’s appropriateness. It's a story in which the harassment of women is notably absent. (Only men are the targets in that story.) March 2014, for what it’s worth also pre-dates Gamergate, the ongoing campaign of harassment against women in video game development. For what it’s worth, my harassment predates Gamergate too. As does Kathy Sierra’s. As does Adria Richard’s. As does the harassment of many many folks who have angered the white, male-centered Internet communities of 4chan and Reddit and the like. We live an adjusted life. Not all of us do so with the privilege of institutional protection – in name, in status, in community, like someone like, say, Diane Ravitch.

My god, education people. Are these your allies? 4chan and Reddit? Is this the path education and ed-tech wants to take?

Schneider contends that, as long as dropping the home address of someone “serves the public good,” it is acceptable, if not warranted. Commenters seem to agree. Schneider points to the recent doxxing by baseball star Curt Schilling of those who made sexist comments about his daughter and says that she would be “hard pressed to think of anyone who would reprimand Schilling for doing so.”

But see, I would. I don’t support vigilante justice, particularly without a framework that prompts us to recognize how power and privilege extends into these extra-judicial situations. Schilling isn’t just any dad defending his daughter; he’s a famous dad. Schilling isn’t just any dad; he’s a sports hero. Schilling isn’t just any dad; he’s a millionaire. Schilling isn’t just a dad; he’s a white dad – what would have happened if Trevon Martin or Michael Brown’s dads had fought back? Schilling isn’t just any dad, he’s a gamer dad – a long time video game player and the owner of a failed video game development company, Schilling is embedded in a culture that has, as of late, been involved a deeply and violently misogynist campaign against women, a campaign that has used doxxing as one of its tools in the toolbox. I’m referring here to Gamergate, which one of the commenters on Schneider’s site suggests might be my motivation for speaking out about this.

Schneider’s post makes no mention of Gamergate. Doxxing, as she frames it, is how the powerless fights against the powerful. Indeed, doxxing is, as she puts it, “a teaching tool.”

By “teaching tool” here, I think Schneider means both a way to illustrate a particular political position and a way to “teach someone a lesson.”

In this particular case, it’s “justice” aimed against a NJDOE employee that Bob Braun has identified as an enemy. No need for more or better substantiation; no need for more information; no need for a larger community to weigh in. No jury; and no editor. Braun has alone deemed Anhalt-Erlichson corrupt through the connections he’s made on his blog. So she must be punished. Her personal data released. And we know what happens to women when we release their details this way, particularly if they’re deemed “the enemy.” Particularly if they’re deemed “the enemy” of Internet freedom.

Yet Braun’s connections, tying Anhalt-Erlichson to Pearson, are chock full of holes. He suggests that because Pearson used MongoDB, an open source database, for at least two of its projects – OpenClass and the National Transcript Center – that Anhalt-Erlichson, by virtue of her marriage to a MongoDB exec, is corrupt and that her statement in defense of the social media monitoring of the PARCC exam, is motivated by money. There are so many flaws in Braun's argument, least of which being much of it relies on a product that was sold to Hobsons in 2013. OpenClass, the other Pearson product that uses MongoDB according to Braun, is aimed at higher education, and according to the latest assessment of the LMS market at least, used by no one, least of which being New Jersey K-12. But most importantly, MongoDB is an open source database. It is available for anyone to use for free. Pearson might pay for premium support; that is how companies like MongoDB make money off of their open source software, for sure. But there’s no record of that, particularly for contracts related to Pearson's offerings at the K-12 level in New Jersey. Pearson has ~40,000 employees, and it has significant technical expertise in-house. (I’m happy to make jokes about what that expertise looks like. Particularly if they choose MongoDB. Zing. Insider lulz.) But really, doxxing someone based on technical reporting from a reporter who doesn’t know the difference between being DDOS’ed and getting a lot of traffic on his shared server? Color me skeptical…

So what if Braun got it wrong? What if Anhalt-Erlichson has no direct financial connection to Pearson? I mean, what if she’s simply an official who has questionable politics with which we disagree? Are we still going to doxx her because of that? Is that now the new activism to fight "corporate education reform"?

For some, no doubt, it seems to be absolutely how politics and journalism will work in the future. I’ll point here – but I won’t link – to the work of Charles C. Johnson, a conservative blogger who doxxed the woman he claimed was at the center of that terribly flawed Rolling Stone article on an alleged gang rape at a UVA fraternity. Johnson doxxed the wrong woman.

It’s simply public record, Schneider argues. Johnson did too. The information is already available. But so are the tweets of students that Pearson is now monitoring – something that started this whole kerfuffle.

For Schneider, doxxing is not that serious. That is, it’s much like having one’s name and address and phone number in the phone book or, as Braun’s “reporting” uncovered, the property tax details of Anhalt-Erlichson. But what Braun, Schneider, and others fail to understand is how the Internet actually multiplies and concentrates access to that information. There is a big difference in having that information publicly accessible – and interesting to local real estate agents, for example – and having it broadcast across the Internet with the express purpose of having that data be used for punishment.

Because that’s what happens when you’re doxxed. Ask the young woman incorrectly identified by Charles C. Johnson. Or ask me. You get hundreds of dollars worth of pizzas delivered to your house. Oh. Ha ha ha ha. Your identity is traced to your parents, and they get hundreds of dollars of pizzas delivered to their house. Oh. Ha… Your email – you know, like the one Braun casually exposed in his original post – is subscribed to every possible newsletter, including the most horrifying pornography. Your inbox, search results for your name are filled with graphic images of you raped, dismembered, dead. Your phone is bombarded with calls. Callers threaten you with rape, dismemberment, death. Your Social Security Number is compromised. Your credit is affected, and at this point, because you’re so afraid for your physical safety, you laugh at the thought of a ding on your credit score.

When you’re doxxed, there’s a whistle: you’re now the target. Everything you do; everything you did. It’s fair game now.

Braun and Ravitch and Schneider whistled. They called out a woman for the masses on the Internet to target, to have all the data of her life pulled out, examined aggressively and maliciously. All in the service of protecting students from Pearson.

Now, thanks to Schneider’ justification that “doxxing is okay,” I wonder if we’ll see a new sort of crowdsourced harassment from these quarters. We’ve already seen folks from that circle go after women of color who worked for the teachers’ unions but who were, because of their demands for racial justice, deemed unruly.

If doxxing is the tactic – and “a primer” sure might indicate that it’s a-okay – then we have much more to do to prepare students about the implications of their online profiles, safety, surveillance, and discipline.

Seriously, we have to think about what it means when political groups decide to use social media mechanisms not just to observe and monitor but to stifle dissent and quite literally to destroy their opposition.

Inotas. El lenguaje musical en primaria.

Aprender las notas musicales mediante dispositivos móviles como tablets o smartphones es la propuesta de iNotas, una app desarrollada por Jaime Cores y Antonio Bocero (Android). Con iNotas los niños y niñas, acompañados por sus profesores o familias podrán estudiar las notas de una manera amena y divertida minimizando el costoso y pesado trabajo que conlleva el aprendizaje del lenguaje musical.

Te invitamos a conocer iNotas.

Doxxing to Defend Student Privacy

OLDaily - 21 Marzo, 2015 - 18:32

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Mar 21, 2015

Bob Braun's  website was inaccessible when I posted  the story about Pearson's spying on schoolchildren last week, but it's available again and Audrey Watters raises some troubling questions about some of the follow-up coverage. She notes that NJ superintendent Elizabeth Jewett's work address and phone are contained in the image Braun posted, and that NJDOE commissioner Bari Anhalt-Erlichson's home address is posted (I personally don't see a home address in the story, just a property value and the fact that that it's located in Princeton). "Warning bells for me," writes Watters. "This was the second story in a row in which Braun had disclosed the personal information of a female edu employee of the state of New Jersey."

The connection between Anhalt-Erlichson and Pearson is very tenuous. She is married to Andrew Erlichson, who is a VP at MongoDB, which once did work for Pearson. You may equally well connect me to the Pearson spying case, because I've used MongoDB and have  praised it in the past.  But the tenuousness isn't the issue here; the doxxing is - the releasing of people's personal information and documents, their 'dox'. And even that wouldn't an issue were it not for the harassment that follows, which is disproportionately aimed at women. The information is "broadcast across the Internet with the express purpose of having that data be used for punishment." The very first  comment in Braun's article talks about how to punish the offenders.

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Categorías: General

After the LL Design Conference – Part 3: Sharing experiences between LL pilots

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 21 Marzo, 2015 - 12:57

In my two previous post I have reported on the Year 3 Design Conference of the Learning Layers (LL) project that took place in Espoo and of the talks I had afterwards in Helsinki. Now it is time to shift emphasis to knowledge sharing – and in particular sharing experiences – between parallel pilot activities in the LL project. In this respect we got new impulses both regarding the construction sector pilots – sharing experiences on tools and workshops – as well as documentation of fieldwork with LL tools – in particular those to be used as collectors of experiences (“Erfahrungssammler“).

1, Sharing knowledge and experience with the Finnish pilots in construction sector

We were pleased to hear fresh reports of the pilots of the Finnish team from Aalto University with vocational schools and construction companies in using the AchSo! tool to document workplace learning. Here we were interested of the recent development of the tool since we want to integrate it into the piloting with the Learning Toolbox (LTB). Shortly after the Design Conference the Finnish team could deliver us a very positive report on their pilot in the trade union journal of the construction workers – with voices of apprentices/trainees, skilled workers and vocational teachers. It ios encouraging that the relatively limited piloting with a video annotation tool has proven to be successful in many respects. The tool seems to be working in practice, the construction workers and apprentices are getting used to shooting videos to document their work and the representatives of vocational schools are happy to work with such documentation. Moreover, this pilot appears to demonstrate good cooperation between school-based and apprenticeship-based vocational education and training (VET). As we have been informed, the Finnish pilot context provides the opportunity for flexible transition from school-based education to apprenticeship in the third year. For the LL project it is interesting to find out that the well-functioning documentation of workplace learning is considered as an important success factor in the pilot.

For us, working with the construction sector pilots in Germany (in which apprentice training is essentially present) this is in many respects inspiring. Firstly, we interested in integrating the use of AchSo! in our pilots. Secondly, we are interested in exploring the prospect for piloting with the Learning Toolbox in Finland (provided that the Finnish counterparts are interested). And thirdly, we are interested in sharing knowledge of pedagogy of VET.

 2. Using LL tools to share our project experiences

The more we have learned about the Finnish pilot, the more we ( = the ITB team) have understood the value our own fieldwork for parallel pilots and spin-off initiatives. This has inspired us to consider, how we could make our prior activities, learning experiences and interim conclusions transparent. In particular we have understood the value of our early workshops. In these events we brought the co-design processes closer to the working and training/learning contexts of apprentices and trainers and got them tuned in into participative design of LL tools. Now, looking back, the existing documentation in the form of flipcharts, workshop reports and blogs is not that easily accessible to others.

The positive experience with the videos produced by our Bau-ABC colleagues suggests that we could have a second look at the workshop results to harvest conclusions for our forthcoming field workshops – and to document them with videos  (eventually using AchSo!). However, it is not merely the experiences with individual workshops that we want to bring forward. In the exchanges with the parallel pilots we came to think of the potentials of the Bits & Pieces tool (with the timeliner) as an instrument for such project-internal exchanges. Here, indeed, we can put our own design teams into the position of application partners and to reflect, how to use LL tools to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences across complex pilot activities. This, surely will help us to find further pilot contexts for the respective tools.

I think this is enough about second thoughts after Espoo. In the meantime Gilbert Peffer has published a series of blogs on the Exploitation Launchpad Workshop in the Design Conference, worth having a closer look.

More blogs to come …