You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

image CC BY MorizaIts a beautiful day outside. I’m spending it building a wardrobe in the bedroom. And while I wait for the batteries on the cordless drill to recharge, I’m finally catching up on my long neglected bloglines.

I highly value Stephen Downes’ recent critique the Cape Town Declaration. I started reading the declaration yesterday, but quickly lost interest in it for reasons I was not entirely sure of at the time. Stephen’s critique, the comments that follow, and the links out to other ideas about it offer up so much more food for thought than the declaration itself. I think I will spend more time following the critiques and responses before I actually read the declaration – maybe that way I will find the thing more interesting as I read through it and consider the critiques and conversations I have already read. At this point in time I intuitively share Stephen’s concerns and I think the general points he is trying to make should extend right accross the Open Educational Resources movement. There is too much standard thinking about the ‘delivery’ of education, and the near neurotic obsessing over copyright seemingly at the expense of more important issues to do with learning. Nuf said on that for now.. more to follow after I’ve had more time reading.

Speaking of reading, making the time to read really helps me to listen. Since working at the Polytech my time for reading has been slowly eaten away. While in discussions about workload I try hard to defend the time I need to read, and reckon that people in my role need to allocate at least 30% of their time to it.. for me this would be at least 40 hrs per month reading my bloglines and adding notes to my blog. I need this to remain current and to sustain my connections. Funny how a fulltime job with all its inefficiencies can eat away at that. Over the past 2 years I have been reduced to less than 20hrs reading and writing time. I am starting to appreciate the familiar chorus from people when I encourage blogging and RSS, that chorus that says, “but who has the time!” In my own loss of the time I need, I really have only myself to blame. I must defend that time, and where possible extend it. Reading other blogs, comments and general points of view are extremely helpful to my own listening abilities and the things I can bring back into my local context. The trouble is, that that amount of time impacts on my abilities to listen in on the local channels. Those face to face meetings, discussions, and other things. At the moment, there is a communication disconnect between the speed and depth of the online communication and the slowness and superficiality of the face to face…

Stephen also recently posted the transcript of the talk he made in Wellington back in 2006 on Groups and Networks – the class struggle continues. I have blogged extensively my support once again for Stephen’s thoughts here, especially through that time soon after his talk where the debate about Groups and Networks became quite controversial, ending in a wide scale dismissal of its importance. I still think it is centrally the most important issue not just limited to online learning, and this recent transcript helps keep it alive in my mind.

Brian Lamb and many others have been keeping a close watch on FB lately, and its a relief that such critique is on the record throughout the Web2 educational blogger networks.

Below is a copy paste email exchange between a friend of mine and “Facebook User Operations”. In it you will see the process my friend had to go through to get out of Facebook. This friend was once a FB enthusiast, and now he loathes it. I am also on the road out of FB and glad to be getting free of it.

Like most people I saw the huge growth in the numbers of users and got sucked into the vacumm. Being a self proclaimed media and education critic of sorts, I saw it as part of my role to get to know the platform, experiment a bit and advise and critique. Thanks to the many critical thinkers around (especially those that engaged in the FB analysis in the Facilitate Online Learning Communities Course) that job of investigation has been quick and wide ranging. In that focus group we looked at the tools, features and toys in FB, we considered the serious accusations and questionable aspects of FB’s terms and conditions, privacy practices, copyrights, and marketing data collection practices, and we have discussed the bigger social issues around things like FB. Now more recently I have been shown the difficulty people have in actually managing their accounts in FB which is the nail in the coffin for me.

Just as in our “real world” of credit cards, databases, consumer “loyalty” programs and the more serious PR efforts covered by Adam Curtis’ films The Trap and The Century of the Self, FB is just another cynical intrusion on our society and another lift of the bar for those that claim to “do no evil”. Observing the quality of ads on FB lately might indicate that things are not going too well for the inflated FB adventure.

The thing that annoys me the most about all this is that the critics of Web2 will gain yet more traction through FB like bubbles. Those who have been following the Web2 thing should probably see that the likes of FB have very little in common with web2 ideas (closed, locked in, dodgy). Some may recognise it as that familiar corrupting force that will help to derail the more hopeful aspects of the movement, such as the revived belief in the value of a critical, creative and participatory society that helps to develop a more responsive and responsible economy, and more representational culture and mediascape (Benkler – Wealth of Networks).

Sadly, FB is another nod to the chilling warnings in the old classic EPIC2014, “its the best of times, its the worst of times…”

> From: “Facebook Support”
>> Hi …,
>>
>> You’re welcome. Feel free to contact me with any further questions.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> ….
>> User Operations
>> Facebook
>>
>>
>>
>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>> From: …
>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>
>> That’s fine thanks.
>>
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> ——————————

——————–
>> From: “Facebook Support” <….>
>> Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 5:10 AM
>> To: <….>
>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>
>>> Hi ….,
>>>
>>> We have permanently deleted your account per your request. Please note,
>>> deletion is irreversible. Let me know if you have any other questions
>>> or
>>> concerns.
>>>
>>> Thanks,
>>>
>>> ….
>>> Customer Support Representative
>>> Facebook
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>>> From: …. (….)
>>> To: Facebook Support (….)
>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>
>>> I have removed all my friends, profile picture, and inbox messages.
>>> Delete
>>> my account now please.
>>>
>>> Thank the developers of Facebook for making this process as difficult as
>>> possible.
>>>
>>> Is there a valid reason why I have to go through that process, or is it
>>> so
>>> people give up and deactivate their accounts, so they always have an
>>> account
>>> to go back to, so you can advertise to them? Or maybe you count
>>> deactivated
>>> accounts in your supposed 55 million users?
>>> If I have asked for the account to be deleted, I should be able to get
>>> that
>>> done. I should be able to do that myself from the Facebook interface.
>>>
>>> ————————————————–
>>> From: “Facebook Support” <….>
>>> Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 7:43 AM
>>> To: <….>
>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>
>>>> Hi ….,
>>>>
>>>> Unfortunately, you have not cleared your profile of all content.
>>>> Please
>>>> remove all friends from your friends list, photos from your profile,
>>>> and
>>>> messages from your Inbox. We will then be able to assist you.
>>>>
>>>> Thanks,
>>>>
>>>> ….
>>>> Customer Support Representative
>>>> Facebook
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>> From: …. …. (….)
>>>> To: Facebook Support (….)
>>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>>
>>>> I have cleared everything from my account, and wish for it to be
>>>> cleared
>>>> from your server.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> …. …..
>>>>
>>>> ————————————————–
>>>> From: “Facebook Support” <….>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 1:28 PM
>>>> To: <….>
>>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>>
>>>>> Hi ….,
>>>>>
>>>>> If you deactivate, your account, and any information associated with
>>>>> it,
>>>>> is removed from the site. However, we do save your profile content
>>>>> (friends, photos, interests, etc.), so if you want to reactivate
>>>>> someday,
>>>>> your account will look just the way it did when you deactivated.
>>>>>
>>>>> If you want your information removed from our servers, we can do this
>>>>> for
>>>>> you. However, you need to first log in and delete all profile
>>>>> content.
>>>>> Once you have cleared your account, let us know, and we’ll take care
>>>>> of
>>>>> the rest. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
>>>>>
>>>>> Thanks for contacting Facebook,
>>>>>
>>>>> ….
>>>>> Customer Support Representative
>>>>> Facebook
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>>> From: …. …. (….)
>>>>> To: privacy@facebook.com (privacy@facebook.com)
>>>>> Subject: Deletion
>>>>>
>>>>> I would like my Facebook completely deleted, not just deactivated.
>>>>>
>>>>> Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.8.1.11)
>>>>> Gecko/20071127 Firefox/2.0.0.11
>>>>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>
>>>
>>>
>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>
>>
>>

 

Sometimes, people come into my office area and in an effort to strike up conversation or something they say, “lectures are so old school don’t you think..?”.

I don’t know what to say to a statement like that. I don’t want to discourage their attempt to show how progressive a thinker they are… but I also don’t want people thinking that Educational Development equates to anti lecture!

For the record, I think lectures are great, and I like the readings/lecture/tutorial model for teaching and learning.. when done well. But I do agree that there could be more to a lecture than the usual 1 hour in a theatre, blink and you miss it type affair..

Apart from those flippent and strangely self concious remarks we get from the occasional visitor, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of teachers I have ever worked with prodominantly use some variation of the lecture tutorial model. So while we do challenge people to reconsider their lectures a bit (ideas such as breaking the usual 1 hour lecture into a series of 6 x 10 minute lectures, webcast lectures, audio/video recorded lectures, well produced movies that say the same things, guest lectures and student lectures, and just simply improving the use of slide presentations… in all these instances we are sticking with simple variations lecture format.

Below are some links to concepts for new ways of presenting the lecture, some are good, some are terrible, some are a good idea with room for improvement:

  1. Ted Talks
  2. 10 minute lectures/webcast/recorded
  3. Berkeley on Youtube
  4. Presentations in Second Life
  5. Using Sketchup instead of Powerpoint
  6. Instant Message backchannel with a movie
  7. Wiki lecture notes
  8. Podcasting lectures

Here’s a diagram of some thinking we have developed around curriculum for sustainability:

It attempts to meet our internal staff development needs, while at the same time engaging in wider community action as well. It is hoped that by holding a regular event that is open to community participation that we will become aware of and involved in various community actions that will ultimately compliment or staff development objectives, as well as our community engagement.

Also, we have a webconference coming up with Michigan State University on Dec 11, 930am NZ time.

And a gradually developing course for sustainability change management – that will be one of many offerings in the interpret and create fields of the chart above.

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