Education Evolutions #52

IMG_4227 flickr photo by Jemimus shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Select Readings and Thoughts on Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

This week, I very nearly failed to get his issue out. The sick season finally caught up with me and I could outrun it no longer. So I have been distinctly under the weather.

Nevertheless, this week’s readings are a quick mix. They are all of similar lengths and should make it easy to read them all. They range from a bit more upbeat to the Orwellian.

Given the heavy nature of the last two items, “If you read only one article…” this week has to be the first one, “Panicked about Kids’ Addiction to Tech?” We are the strongest models of behavior for the young people in our lives, at home or in the classroom. That makes it ever more important that we model mindful use of tech and talk about issues with young people. It also suggests that maybe the “addicted to tech” idea may not be the best way to look at the challenge.

Hope you have a good week and enjoy the Super Bowl, if you are into that sort of thing.

Here are three+ curated articles about education, technology, and evolutions in teaching.

Panicked about Kids’ Addiction to Tech? – NewCo Shift –  Danah Boyd (6-minute read)

Danah Boyd is one of the sharpest minds regarding teens and the Internet on the planet. She started doing her PhD research back in the early days of MySpace and continues to add to the field of literature with her insights. In this piece, she reiterates that the “addiction narrative” is part of the problem but so too are adults, especially parents. As sobering as it can be to read that, anyone with kids should.

Boyd presents some really good suggestions. I cannot say that I have always put them into practice but I have become increasingly mindful of my own use of tech and devices in my home around my kids. I do verbalize what I am doing sometimes but I also can get aggravated when anyone peers over my shoulder. So, I am far from perfect and have plenty of work to do.

Hundreds of Apps Can Listen for Marketing ‘Beacons’ You Can’t Hear – Wired –  Lily Hay Newman (5-minute read)

I almost included this last week after coming across it referenced in some other readings. Yet, last week’s articles seemed so dark, I couldn’t do it. Still, this is pretty harrowing stuff. It is enough to make me consider turning my phone off completely with greater frequency. The idea that ultrasonic beacons can be used with the microphones in smartphones is beyond unsettling.

It boggles my mind that this is even legal, but it is one more example of just how fast technology changes and slow our ethics and laws are to catch up. It should definitely make everyone take a look at the apps on their phone with a much closer eye as to what access they have to what. What should be scarier still, is that this kind of thing will somehow be turned into a convenience that some people love. Surveillance keeps encroaching on us all on the coattails of convenience.

China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone – The Atlantic –  Anna Mitchell and Larry Diamond (10-minute read)

Speaking of surveillance, this exposé on some of the things going on in China is, not surprisingly, pretty alarming. The piece paints a horrifying picture but one that looks a lot more likely than not. Perhaps more than ever the idea that simply disengaging altogether might be the most radical act seems increasingly true.

For all the clamor about companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook on these shores and abroad, the fact that there are state-sponsored Chinese companies more than willing to build the kinds of surveillance systems suggested here is more chilling. As China’s international influence grows unchecked there may be more nations amenable to these kinds of tactics than Americans might realize.

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