🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'OpenAI launches programs making ChatGPT cheaper for schools and nonprofits'

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Oh, please no no no. I usually read a whole article before posting it, but just the first few paragraphs are giving me such a visceral reaction that I don’t know if I’ll make it through the rest. The existing tech giants already have such a hold on us, let’s please not let OpenAI in the door. link to “OpenAI launches programs making ChatGPT cheaper for schools and nonprofits”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Hackers are targeting a surprising group of people: young public school students'

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Audrey Watters was warning about something like this almost a decade ago. It’s time for edtech folks to step up and recognize that technology in schools goes far beyond that exciting new classroom tech—and that we can’t do something about stuff like this if we’re overly focused on efficiency and effectiveness. link to “Hackers are targeting a surprising group of people: young public school students”

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I think what bothers me about “improving learning” approaches to educational technology is that it tends to prioritize utilitarianism at the expense of everything else. Ethical concerns about AI don’t matter if grades go up, what students should learn about is largely shoved aside, and so forth.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'The Absurd One-Sidedness of the Ethics of AI Debate: A rant | Punya Mishra's Web'

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Punya is a bit warmer on AI than I am, so I wasn’t sure what I would be reading based off of the title, but this is one of the best things I’ve read on generative AI in education. These companies have so much power and could use a little more Parkerian responsibility. link to “The Absurd One-Sidedness of the Ethics of AI Debate: A rant | Punya Mishra’s Web”

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It’s a Chromebook-heavy “non-traditional instruction” snow day for kiddo today, and I’m having a lot of thoughts about Larry Cuban and that recent UNESCO report about emergency remote teaching during the COVID shutdowns.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'He Wanted Privacy. His College Gave Him None – The Markup'

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This is a really important read. It’s why educational technology researchers should be concerned about more than “does it improve learning?"—and why our understanding of edtech needs to include all of these platforms, not just the obvious stuff. link to “He Wanted Privacy. His College Gave Him None – The Markup”

new publication: Deep assumptions and data ethics in educational technology

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When I learned that Stephanie Moore and Tonia Dousay were editing a volume on ethics in educational technology, I jumped at the chance to write something on data ethics. Stephanie and Tonia’s book is now published on Royce Kimmons’s open access EdTechBooks platform as Applied Ethics for Instructional Design and Technology, and my chapter is available alongside six others on other subjects related to ethics and educational technology. Here’s a link to the online version, and I have a PDF archived on my website.

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My Mormon Studies research will probably never get the citations that my edtech work has, but it’s neat how much more layperson and media interest it generates. That said, I hope late-night weekend presentations stay rare because I’m very tired this morning.

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I’m becoming more and more skeptical of “improve teaching and learning” as a motivation for education (and especially edtech) research—it’s a noble goal, but it distracts us from so many other important questions.

whose voices does ClassDojo prioritize?

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This morning, I read an excellent piece by Lam Thuy Vo at The Markup expressing concern about how services like Amazon’s Ring cameras can distort police priorities and perpetuate bias. Here’s a good summary passage: As a reporter, I’ve always been interested in systems that disadvantage some people—when it comes to policing, they are often Black or Latino—while prioritizing the wishes of a smaller, much more powerful subset—often affluent White folks.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Leveling the technological playing field with Apple | UKNow'

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Look, I’m glad my university is aware of and responding to the digital divide, but I’d appreciate a more critical treatment of what we’re doing. This sounds almost like ad copy for Apple, and it’s falling into a lot of tired edtech tropes about how technology must necessarily improve learning. link to “Leveling the technological playing field with Apple | UKNow”

new publication: ClassDojo and student conflation of educational technologies

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Last year, Daniela DiGiacomo, Sarah Barriage, and I published an article on student and principal perceptions of ClassDojo. Our findings weren’t entirely what we expected, even if they weren’t a huge surprise. In short, students and practitioners don’t always share the concerns about edtech platforms (like ClassDojo) that are gaining steam in the critical educational technology literature. I don’t say this to shame edtech users for not thinking the way that we ivory tower types do—rather, it speaks to a long-recognized tension between theoretical and conceptual concerns held by academics vs.

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It’s already indefensible that ClassDojo promises greater access to teachers for parents willing to pay, but these features also translate into letting richer parents put more pressure on teachers. This business model is awful.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Dependence on Tech Caused ‘Staggering’ Education Inequality, U.N. Agency Says - The New York Times'

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I’d like to read the whole report before coming to definitive conclusions but wow, are there some important lessons in here for edtech—not least, that efficacy cannot be our only concern! link to ‘Dependence on Tech Caused ‘Staggering’ Education Inequality, U.N. Agency Says - The New York Times’

how is this more preferable than taxes?

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Kiddo’s school is contracting with a company called Booster to raise $78,000 for new technology for the school. U.S. schools are, of course, underfunded, and I’m generally in favor of getting more money into their bank accounts. I have a number of concerns about this fundraiser, though, and it’s making me grumpy. what “technology”? I have a PhD in educational technology, which means two things in this context. First, I’m very aware of the fundamental—and often useful—role that technology plays in learning, so I’m not opposed to updating the tech in kiddo’s school.

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It’s good to ask whether generative AI is good or bad for students, instructors, or education, but it’s arguably more important for ed. stakeholders to ask who else generative AI is good or bad for. Edtech needs to pay more attention to broader contexts.

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Heading into finals, campus sent out a message about AI detection tools maybe not being trustworthy, which is great. However, this is in the context of these tools being wrapped into plagiarism detection software we already have access to, so they should say the same about it, too.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'ChatGPT Is So Bad at Essays That Professors Can Spot It Instantly'

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Lots of helpful stuff in here. link to ‘ChatGPT Is So Bad at Essays That Professors Can Spot It Instantly’

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If ClassDojo can send me “hey, check the new content in ClassDojo” emails, it could also send me that content in the email itself, so that I never have to open the app. Too bad it’s too dedicated to walled gardening.

Cory Doctorow on behaviorism

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After bouncing off of it a year or so ago, I recently decided to restart Cory Doctorow’s novel Walkaway (which led NPR reporter Jason Sheehan to describe Doctorow as “Super-weird in the best possible way”). The audiobook is excellent, and since I started a couple of days ago, it’s displaced my podcast listening and given me another chance to wrestle with Doctorow’s ideas here. There is way too much going on (and I’m not far enough into the book) for me to engage with the underlying message of the novel (or even to be sure of what it is yet), but one passage stood out to me so much this morning that I have to write it down now.

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The desire to “enhance” or “improve” learning is a noble one, but I’m increasingly convinced it gets too much attention—and distracts us from as (or more) important questions about education and technology.

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Canvas: “You can draw conclusions about student participation with our analytics!” Also Canvas: “Mobile page view data aren’t exact, and our analytics only update every 24 hours, so don’t draw too many conclusions, lol.”

R. Sikoryak's 'Terms and Conditions' and ed tech

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My sister-in-law recently gifted me a copy of R. Sikoryak’s weird but wonderful comic Terms and Conditions, which “adapts” the 2015 iTunes terms and conditions into a comic format. I was as delighted by the gift, which I’m sure only contributed to her bewilderment (she knew I wanted the book, but I can’t blame anyone for not understanding why I wanted it). One of the gags of the comic is, obviously, the idea that a comic adaptation would get you to actually read through the whole document instead of just pretending that you have.

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Survey respondent mistyped “Infinite Campus” as “Infinite Camus,” and now I’m looking for a French existentialism punchline.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'A CompSci Student Built an App That Can Detect ChatGPT-Generated Text'

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See, as worried as I am about ChatGPT use in education, this actually worries me more, because it’s basically plagiarism detection, which I’m opposed to. link to ‘A CompSci Student Built an App That Can Detect ChatGPT-Generated Text’

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Looking for help from people working in or familiar with ed and ed tech: Do you know anything about an LMS, student information system, or other software called “Reef”? It’s showing up in survey data, but I can’t find anything on it.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'New York City schools ban access to ChatGPT over fears of cheating and misinformation - The Verge'

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Personally, I’m not very optimistic about ChatGPT, and I think OpenAI should have better considered disruptions to fields like education before releasing the tool. That said, I don’t think a ban is the solution here. link to ‘New York City schools ban access to ChatGPT over fears of cheating and misinformation - The Verge’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Schools and EdTech Need to Study Up On Student Privacy: 2022 in Review | Electronic Frontier Foundation'

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Edtech professionals aren’t paying nearly enough attention to this sort of thing. link to ‘Schools and EdTech Need to Study Up On Student Privacy: 2022 in Review | Electronic Frontier Foundation’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Brief – Hidden Harms: Student Activity Monitoring After Roe v. Wade - Center for Democracy and Technology'

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I see a worrying future for edtech ahead, and I’m not sure the academic discipline is adequately prepared for it. [link to ‘Brief – Hidden Harms: Student Activity Monitoring After Roe v. Wade - Center for Democracy and Technology’](https://cdt.org/insights/brief-hidden-harms-student-activity-monitoring-after-roe-v-wade/?utm_source=rss

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The Black Friday email I got from ClassDojo today is representative of everything wrong with the ed tech industry.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'School Facebook Pages and Privacy Concerns: What Educators Need to Know'

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Josh is doing important work here—the kind of work that edtech researchers often don’t consider as being in their purview. Glad to see this getting coverage. link to ‘School Facebook Pages and Privacy Concerns: What Educators Need to Know’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'The Essential Tech Question for Schools: What Are the Teacher's Objectives?'

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See, I get the impression that it’s increasingly district, school, and legislative priorities that are driving tech choices. I agree that teachers ought to have the agency, but I don’t know that’s the case. link to ‘The Essential Tech Question for Schools: What Are the Teacher’s Objectives?’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Students Are Using AI to Write Their Papers, Because Of Course They Are'

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Really important story here, and glad to see George Veletsianos quoted. I’ve long been an advocate for developing assessments that are impossible to cheat at, but I don’t know if that’s the entire (or even a practical) response to GPT-3. We are continuing to develop technologies whose societal effects we are not prepares for. link to ‘Students Are Using AI to Write Their Papers, Because Of Course They Are’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'How to Protect Yourself If Your School Uses Surveillance Tech | WIRED'

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I hate that there’s a need for articles like this, but I’m glad WIRED is putting them together. link to ‘How to Protect Yourself If Your School Uses Surveillance Tech | WIRED’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'When School Superintendents Market Surveillance Cameras'

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Lot of worrying stuff in here. Edtech needs to take surveillance tech more seriously, because the two are increasingly simultaneous. link to ‘When School Superintendents Market Surveillance Cameras’

ClassDojo and educational 'accomplishment'

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As kiddo’s school year has gotten into full swing and mine has gotten busier, I’ve spent less time griping about her school’s use of ClassDojo. However, I’ve also become increasingly annoyed at the fact that the weekly update email I get from the company always has the subject line “What did your child accomplish this week?” The body of the email is divided into two sections: The number of “points” that my child was assigned, and the number of “stories” that my child appeared in.