BA in French Teaching; PhD in Educational Technology; Assistant Professor of ICT at University of Kentucky School of Information Science
I am an interdisciplinary digital methods researcher studying meaning-making practices on online platforms.
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📝 writeblog: spent 0:34:08 on 'publish LDS Freedom Forum study'
It’s been over a year since Levi Sands, Amy Chapman, and I started talking about doing a topic model analysis of the LDS Freedom Forum, an online space for far-right Mormonism. I’ve usually been the one slowing us down, but today, I finally checked off a task that’s been on my lost for a month and a half. I’m really excited about the project, I just need to stop dragging my feet.
📝 writeblog: spent 0:55:21 on 'publish digital religion as international religion study'
Instead of grading (😬), I spent some time grabbing links and then starting to build a web scraper, though that’s enough of a pain that I might ask a friend to borrow his CrowdTangle access.
📝 writeblog: spent 1:27:22 on 'publish Red Pill influences on DezNat study'
Went through page proofs today! Excited that the paper is so close to publication.
📝 writeblog: spent 1:12:41 on 'publish digital religion as international religion study'
I’m helping organize the Global Mormon Studies 2023 online conference, so I’ve been trying to figure out what (if anything) I would submit for myself. I’ve been wanting to do something about the online (and, thereby, intentionally international) Toronto Community of Christ congregation, but I’ve had trouble figuring out what exactly that would be. Today, an idea clicked. I was going through their YouTube and Facebook videos for some early data collection when I realized just how different the two platform experiences are.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'OpenAI Wants To Help You Figure Out If Text Was Written By OpenAI; But What Happens When It’s Wrong? | Techdirt'
Just because some worries about ChatGPT are, indeed, moral panics doesn’t mean that there aren’t legtimate criticisms of the technology—including from an educational perspective. I happen to agree with Masnick that schools ultimately need to roll with the punches here, but given how much we already expect of our schools and teachers, it’s reasonable to resent being punched in the first place. Masnick’s point about the error rate for detecting AI-generated text is an important one, though: I don’t think plagiarism-detecting surveillance is at all the right response.
📝 writeblog: spent 3:01:14 on 'publish teachers on far-right social media study'
Spent some time polishing the front end and some other finished bits of the paper.
📝 writeblog: spent 0:33:17 on 'publish ClassDojo and conflation of ed tech platforms study'
Met with Sarah and Daniela today to review the data and discuss where to go from here. I have some new tasks, and we have some new ideas—looking forward to seeing where things go!
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Twitter to remove free API access in latest money making quest - The Verge'
I presume this decisuon also cuts off academics; this is going to have a huge impact on research, and not in a good way. I’m glad I’ve pivoted to other platforms, but this is still infuriating. link to ‘Twitter to remove free API access in latest money making quest - The Verge’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Florida Teachers Are Emptying Classroom Libraries to Avoid Going to Jail'
What a dumb world we live in. link to ‘Florida Teachers Are Emptying Classroom Libraries to Avoid Going to Jail’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Inside a US Neo-Nazi Homeschool Network With Thousands of Members'
Well, this is horrifying. Another example of a news article I wish weren’t relevant to my research. link to ‘Inside a US Neo-Nazi Homeschool Network With Thousands of Members’
Cory Doctorow on behaviorism
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.
📝 writeblog: spent 0:55:26 on 'publish ClassDojo and conflation of ed tech platforms study'
Wrapped up categorizing apps/software into distinct categories. Perhaps unsurprisingly, students identified more LMSs (or SISs) and content/assessment software than behavior management or communication apps (the two main things ClassDojo does).
📝 writeblog: spent 1:44:56 on 'publish teachers on far-right social media study'
Met with Dan today for writing work. I finished a section on how the admins’ openness to far-right ideas allowed racist and conspiratorial thinking to enter what was purportedly a teachers’ social media group.
📝 writeblog: spent 1:46:49 on 'publish beliefs about Canvas study'
I recently started a new project with colleague Meghan Dowell where we’re hoping to learn about students’ and instructors’ understanding of how Canvas works (taking some inspiration from a 2017 article by Nick Proferes). I spent time going through Canvas documentation and meeting with Meghan about our survey instrument.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Instagram Has a White Nationalist ‘Groyper’ Problem'
I wish this weren’t as relevant as it is to my work on Mormon Twitter, but here we are. link to ‘Instagram Has a White Nationalist ‘Groyper’ Problem’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'ChatGPT Is Passing the Tests Required for Medical Licenses and Business Degrees'
Headline overstates things a bit, and I’m on team “change the assessments,” but it’s still worth asking if AI developers are appropriately anticipating the disruptions these tools are causing. link to ‘ChatGPT Is Passing the Tests Required for Medical Licenses and Business Degrees’
📝 writeblog: spent 1:04:29 on 'publish DezNat and authority study'
Spent some time this afternoon finishing up a conceptual framework section which makes a case for using Weberian language for describing how this movement thinks about authority.
📝 writeblog: spent 1:40:52 on 'publish teachers on far-right social media study'
I met with Dan and spent time writing up our findings on how the admins of this teachers’ group were swimming in far-right discourses in their overall activity on the platform. No real surprise that they allowed those influences into a teachers’ group.
quoted again about Gas app in EducationWeek
This week, Discord announced that it has acquired the Gas social media app popular among secondary students. Presumably in response, Alyson Klein ran an explainer today at EducationWeek on the subject of the app. In doing this, she re-ran a quote that I provided to her for a December article that she also wrote: “It feels a little exploitative to me,” said Spencer Greenhalgh, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky’s school of information sciences.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Discord acquires Gas, the popular app for teens to compliment each other - The Verge'
A couple of months ago, I spoke to Education Week about the Gas app. I thought it had an exploitative business model then, and its being acquired does nothing to calm that fear. link to ‘Discord acquires Gas, the popular app for teens to compliment each other - The Verge’
📝 writeblog: spent 1:01:43 on 'publish ClassDojo and conflation of ed tech platforms study'
My co-authors recently got back to me with comments on my “coding” of respondents’ open-ended answers. Based on that, I made some tweaks and then started grouping “codes” into categories. It turns out there are fuzzy boundaries between many types of edtech, which probably exacerbates the underlying phenomenon we’re getting at.
📝 writeblog: spent 1:16:08 on 'publish Red Pill influences on DezNat study'
This morning, we got copyedits back on our first DezNat piece, so I’ve been going through them. I appreciate havung a copyeditor who’s better at mechanics and style than I am, but since I consider myself a pretty good writer, it’s also pretty humbling.
R. Sikoryak's 'Terms and Conditions' and ed tech
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.
📝 writeblog: spent 1:12:37 on 'publish DezNat and authority study'
Amy Chapman and I currently have an in-press paper on the far-right inspired DezNat movement on Mormon Twitter, and we’ve also been at work on a second paper covering all our analysis we couldn’t fit in the first paper. In particular, we’re interested in how the DezNat movement conceptualizes (and claims) religious authority. I spent time this morning getting back into the flow of this paper and reading up on Weber, whose tripartite model of authority ought to be helpful here.
quoted in EducationWeek about Seattle Public Schools' social media lawsuit
Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of talking with Arianna Prothero at EducationWeek about Seattle Public Schools’ suing Snap, Alphabet, Meta, and ByteDance, and she ended up quoting me—and colleagues like Jeff Carpenter and Josh Rosenberg—in her article. I appreciate that all three of us were quoted in the article, because Jeff and Josh both made points that I didn’t articulate as well in my conversation with Arianna. For example, Jeff’s comments summed up a lot of the complexities that have gone through my head:
📝 writeblog: spent 1:27:17 on 'publish ClassDojo and conflation of ed tech platforms study'
Got my data sorting done today! And this despite a considerable setback: I realized that there was a less clunky, more efficient way to categorize the open-response entries, so I started from scratch once I realized that. Fascinating to see how many different technologies students mention when prompted to pick tech similar to ClassDojo.