Yes, we are all aware that companies like Facebook mine our personal information and target very specific advertising tailored to our seeming interests. What upsets me the most is the apparent ease of manipulation of people. The film makes clear that the 2016 US elections and the Brexit vote targeted “the persuadables” by repeatedly forcing news feeds of specific information and denying access to the contrary views.
“We know that these elections [Brexit, US 2016 election] were fought and won and lost on FaceBook” – Cadwalladr
How did these companies find their targets? They used a well-designed “know your personality” survey on Facebook, analysed the data and chose those who could be persuaded.
Brittany Kaiser, ex Business Development Director of Cambridge Analytica, calls the data mining “weaponising” and states that data are the new arms.
Carol Cadwalladr’s Ted Talk maintains that it is not about privacy but about power and is leading to the demise of democracy. She asks if this is what we want.
The Economist, however, labels this film “misinformation”and is scathing about it. I would like to think that we all exercise a high degree of cynicism about information fed onto Facebook.
Did you know that new immigrants are entitled to 510 hours of English learning? In New South Wales, this program is run by TAFE. The NSW program offers classes at the TAFE Centres, and also tutoring, where students are matched, one-on-one, with volunteers like me.
I meet with my student, a lovely young woman from Iran, weekly for one hour or so.
Although I completed the Certificate IV Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL) in preparation, the program in NSW provides a much shorter course for aspiring tutors.
This month the focus is on resources for teaching English to non-native speakers.
For some time, I have followed Larry Ferlazzo’s websites of the day and the resources he shares. Larry is a Sacremento, California based teacher who publishes “best of” lists on any topic – there are hundreds of these lists. He has written for New York Times Edutopia and Education Week Teacher, amongst others.
The focus is on design thinking and learning design, and how they can be enhanced by the use of technology. Matt delivers a solid analysis of the evidence-based research on educational technology. He provides useful suggestions and examples for practice at the “coalface”, that is, in the classroom. This book outlines the underpinnings for good pedagogical practice and for designing exemplary learning experiences using Web 2.0, social networking, mobile learning and virtual worlds.
Tanner Higgins, Director of Commonsense Education, posts a paper, What Makes a Good EdTech Tool Great that is, well, common sense! With experience in editing many reviews of online tools, he outlines seven points that developers would be wise to heed and cites examples of good practice:
With the tech topic of the fortnight – the use of Facebook data to manipulate the American elections – dismaying even those in the industry, I have been sharing the article Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you (Curran, The Guardian, 3 March) with friends who are not knowledgeable about technological concerns, security, privacy. It’s worth reading, and sharing.
It’s always good to confirm what we know about our own learning! Although there is nothing new in this article, For PD, the days of one-and-done are dead and gone! (eSchool News, September 2017) it is a sensible summary of good practice and steers away from the one-session-fixes-all approach. We know that approach does not work, and usually, we know what works for us. Four best practices are suggested:
Time – prolonged, ongoing and sustained and as well, just-in-time and providing adequate time
Personal growth – giving the learner opportunities for increasing knowledge, skills and understanding
There are definite correlations with the eSchool article.
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s (AITSL) 2014 report Designing professional learning is aimed at producing the “how to” of professional learning. The report provides guidance on designing professional learning that suits the context in which you are working, with an over-riding view that:
“Research has found that job-embedded professional learning is proving to be more effective in improving teacher practice in schools than many of the ‘traditional’ external professional learning opportunities. This means a shift towards professional learning that is primarily school-based and focused on improving teacher practice, where schools become learning communities and professional learning is part of teachers’ everyday work. This change creates a need for a greater understanding and awareness of learning design.”