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Tag Archives: Social Trends
CBC Radio Interview: False Amber Alert
I was interviewed by CBC Radio today regarding a false Amber Alert message that was being forwarded via SMS throughout Saskatchewan, especially in the Estevan area.
From the Leader Post:
REGINA — Saskatchewan RCMP are advising the public that a text message Amber Alert circulating around the province relating to a missing child is a fake.
RCMP detachments and various municipal police services have fielded a number of queries since Tuesday night from concerned citizens throughout Saskatchewan in response to an Amber Alert text message they received on their cellphones.
The text message read: “Amber Alert 3 year old girl taken by a man driving a new silver truck plate 72B831. Keep it going so they can find her.”
It looks like other versions of this false Amber Alert have been going around since last February and have been reported in several other States.
The piece from CBC Radio (Blue Sky) is included below. My interview starts about 7 minutes in.
Edtech Posse Podcast 5.6 With Howard Rheingold
Dean, Rob, Rick, and I had the privilege of speaking with Howard Rheingold for our latest podcast. In this podcast we discussed “twitter, community, and the challenges of creating inquiry-based learning”. It was a great conversation where I think we all learned and reflected quite a bit, and I hope you enjoy.
Twitter Search in Plain English
Twitter search and tagging is becoming increasingly relevant, especially in light of recent events in Iran. This timely video from Common Craft explains the basics of Twitter search, tagging, and trends. This may help people who are not currently on Twitter to understand it’s usefulness and relevance for capturing public thoughtstreams.
Keynote: Harnessing the Power of Social Networks
I gave a keynote presentation yesterday titled “Harnessing the Power of Social Networks in Teaching and Learning” at the University of Delaware. Below, you can find the archived video and my slide deck.
I want to thank all of the good people at the University of Delaware who invited me, greeted me with wonderful hospitality, and let me be part of their excellent summer faculty institute. It was a terrific experience!
Microsoft’s Vision for 2019
Microsoft’s Business Division president Stephen Elop recently unveiled the latest vision from Microsoft Office Labs, a piece titled “2019″ (via Started Something). Take a look at this possible future.
There are some very interesting technologies pictured here, many that really do not surprise me, although I am not sure that Microsoft will be the company that pulls this off (the absence of BSODs *did* surprise me though). What do you think? Did anything impress you? Is this where we are headed? What’s missing?
The five minute version of this video is available within this post.
Several people I know have recently confessed of their perceived addiction to the Internet. I do not think this diagnosis can be described as broad as “Internet addiction” without getting a better understanding of what exactly draws them to connect (e.g., socialization, information, gaming, combinations of these, etc.). In any case, I believe that addictions associated to existing and emerging technologies are real, and understanding these will be of increasing importance to educators, parents, and our youth.
Chinese doctors recently “released the country’s first diagnostic definition of Internet addiction” in the midst of increases to psychological disorders attributed to Internet overuse. The country will officially designate hospital psychiatric units to treat cases of Internet addiction.
So, do you fit the bill?
Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.
See full article here.
Update: There is a better article on the same development at the Times Online.
Photo Credit: nataliejohnson
Kunstler on (Virtual) Reality
James Howard Kunstler, social critic and author of The Long Emergency, has got me thinking. Here are a few passages from Kunstler’s essay, Virtual is No Refuge for the Real.
One of the extremely painful lessons of our time, I’m convinced, will be that the virtual is not an adequate substitute for the real. It will be painful because the notion of virtuality has become a psychological crutch for a culture that is recklessly destructive of real places, real experiences, real relationships with real people, and real notions of purposeful, decent behavior….
One of the most popular beliefs of the computer era has been that virtual places are every bit as okay as real places….
For adults the result has been an amazing amount of pervasive situational loneliness. Despite the fact that so many Americans own a car there is no place to go, at least no places of casual socializing unrelated to chain store commerce. So the chat rooms and listservs of the Internet are supposed to take the place of actually being somewhere.
What do you think? Have you given these ideas much thought?
These are important problems and concepts that have weighed on me for the past several years as my time in virtual spaces certainly has increased. And I will be thinking of these issues as I explore Connectivism with many of you as CCK08 starts (officially) kicks off tomorrow.
An Anthropological Introduction To Youtube
Do yourself a favour and take some time to watch Professor Michael Wesch’s brilliant presentation to the Library of Congress, June 23, 2008. The video is 55 minutes long, but is an excellent backgrounder to social media, user-generated content, and online communities through the lens of anthropology.
This will be required viewing for my students.
No, THIS Guy Is Edupunk
My friend and colleague Marc (who really needs a blog) alerted me to this story regarding a recent legal ruling in the matter of the University of Ottawa and the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (UPUO). The case arose when the U of O charged that Professor Denis Rancourt “had misrepresented his course in a detailed web posting, in such a way as to have described a dramatically different course not compatible with the official course description.” The 65-page ruling the case supported Dr. Rancourt’s actions as within the purview of academic freedom.
But here is the stuff I really like! See these pieces of the ruling that help to describe how Dr. Rancourt led this controversial course.
The ruling establishes that pedagogical innovation and implementation are fully protected under the academic freedom enjoyed by a professor, including the choice of grading system – considered an integral part of the pedagogical method.
In the specific case, the protected pedagogical innovations included:
(a) A large fraction of the class time used to present societal and political material – in a physics course intended to deliver fundamental physics concepts as the only required physics course in an environmental studies program – as a way to motivate student learning and to position the science in the broad societal context. This was achieved using invited scientist and non-scientist speakers that included activists, politicians, community workers, etc. The ruling clarifies that no “exception [was] taken to the use of activism and social and political issues as catalysts to learning.”
(b) Parallel student workgroups with evolving themes and freely changing student memberships and town-hall-style whole-class discussions instead of traditional lectures delivered by the professor.
(c) An open invitation to all community members to freely and fully participate in the class, without necessarily officially registering and paying tuition, as a way to bring in the community to enrich class discussions and strengthen relevance and community connections. This brought in a variety of perspectives and expertises that would otherwise not have been available.
(d) Large latitude in individual student decision making regarding: order in which to learn things (e.g., workgroup membership and topic), depth of treatment, method of study, method of reporting progress, degree of cooperative work, etc. (Sharing was not considered cheating.)
(e) A satisfactory/non-satisfactory (S/NS) grading system rather than the traditional letter grade system (used in all other science courses given that term).
I have been very lucky that my Faculty and University has been supportive of my work in pursuing several similar approaches in my teaching. I am pleased to see the results of this case so positive for Dr. Rancourt as it has the potential to help other professors take risks toward passionate and creative forms of teaching and learning.
Learn more about this story here.
Video Contest: Bill C61 in 61 Seconds
From Michael Geist and FairCopyright4Canada:
Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice introduced Bill C-61, which many have dubbed the Canadian DMCA, in June 2008. There was an immediate outcry from thousands of Canadians concerned that the bill would render illegal every day activities and harm both consumers and businesses.
The C-61 in 61 Seconds video competition is one way that you can speak out. Just post your video as a response to this video. We will post the best videos on the FairCopyright4Canada channel. Deadline for submission is September 1st. A great panel of judges that includes the Barenaked Ladies Steven Page and Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian will select the best of the best. The winners will be announced on September 15th.
To make sure that your voice for fair copyright in Canada is heard, be sure to write to your MP, the Minister, and join the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group today.
JC Penny Mocked in Viral Ad
J.C. Penney Co. execs are blaming the company’s ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, for a fake ad that debuted at Cannes and is now on YouTube in which the retailer appears to be endorsing teen sex. The purported ad shows two teenagers in their own bedrooms stripping down to their underwear and then timing themselves as they race to put on their clothes. All this is done in preparation for the boy and girl to hang out in her basement while her mother is upstairs. The video, called “Speed Dressing,” ends with the teens heading down to the basement as the words “Today’s the day to get away with it” flash on the screen, echoing Penney’s use of the phrase “Today’s the day to…” in a series of ads it launched last year. Penney’s logo and “Every Day Matters” slogan then appear on the screen.