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Lee's blog

The Costly Issues of Two or More Operating Systems in a School

Thinking about how iPads create finacial and privacy issues for schools.

Protecting a child's identity, location and online history from exploitation and surveilance by Apple and it's third party apps is a huge job that falls within the responsibilites of the school. The iPad isn't designed to make the job of protecting the child easy. It is designed for single person use outside of institutional structures. The iPad is designed as a consumer product and though it is often hyped as being an educational tool, the control of this tool remains largely in the hands of Apple. That means, the inner workings, and data flow, remain largely out of the control of the educational authority. Even though the iPad is purchased to be the property of the Educational Authority, it is controlled by Apple, the proprietary company, who remains in control of how an iPad can be used, what software is allowed to be used, who can use it, and how much privacy...Read more

The voice of reason is whispering.

Maybe there are caring and intelligent people in the world. The following is from http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/02/29/main-findings-teens-technology-and...

Another comprehensive insight came from Barry Chudakov, a Florida-based consultant and a research fellow in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. He wrote that by 2020, “Technology will be so seamlessly integrated into our lives that it will effectively disappear. The line between self and technology is thin today; by then it will effectively vanish. We will think with, think into, and think through our smart tools but their presence and reach into our lives will be less visible. Youth will assume their minds and intentions are extended by technology, while tracking technologies will seek further incursions into behavioral monitoring and choice manipulation. Children...Read more

Privacy by Design

I would like to believe. I want to believe.
I think most things should be proactive, that we should work to avoid the pretense of false dichotomie, and I love the idea of transparency. But then, I don't think anyone actually worries how I am dealing with their personal data because I don't collect personal data on this site.
I can't understand how transparency will work if proprietary code is held as secret and sacrosanct. There are many cases in law that show, either with forethought or inadvertenly, individual privacy is held in contempt when seen as being in conflict with commercial or govermental concerns. And then, of course there is "complexity fatigue." So how do these 7 foundational principles enter into web practices in a real and meaningful way?
The objectives of Privacy by Design — ensuring privacy and gaining personal control over one’s information and, for organizations, gaining a sustainable competitive advantage — may be accomplished by practicing...Read more

Are We Teaching for Their Future?

Last I looked the preparations for the 21st Century Learner we're still underway 15 years into the century. Where is that entrepreneur-oriented education? Below is an excerpt from Yong Zhao's blog http://zhaolearning.com/2015/04/06/a-world-at-risk-an-imperative-for-a-p...

Excellence in Education

There is no disagreement that the world needs excellence in education but what defines excellence matters. There are two educational paradigms: employee-oriented vs. entrepreneur-oriented (Zhao, 2012). While both aim to prepare children to live successfully, the former focuses on transmitting a body of knowledge and skills predetermined to be valuable and the latter emphasizes on the developing the potential of each individual child. The former presumes that a body of knowledge and skills can be decided based on predications of

...Read more

Complexity Fatigue and Schools

"Is it possible that the population as a whole has complexity fatigue? How much energy does the average individual or family have to devote to privacy management? By this, we mean understanding the flow of personal information and the exercise of privacy rights and options. The importance of enforceable citizens’ rights in these deputizing situations remains. However, the likelihood of anyone actually acting on those rights grows fainter because of the complexity of life in an information society. What will best provide for the enforcement of privacy rights?"

from: Deputizing the Private Sector
Requiring the Collection of Personal Information by
Non-Governmental Entities for Law Enforcement or Other Purposes
by Robert Gellman, Stephanie Perrin and Jennifer Barrigar Digital Discretion Inc.
May 2015
An Independent Research Report Commissioned by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta...Read more

Commercialism in Education Micheal Apple takes a bite out of the holy fruit

It was 1992 when this was published. The ideas were ignored then, and twenty years later they echo off the big screens in the classroom, remaining unheard ghosts of intellectual freedom. The above is taken from Technological Literacy & the Curriculum – Jan 1 1992 by John Beynon(Author) Chapter 5 "Is the New Technology Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem in Education?" an essay by Educationalist, Michael W. Apple.Read more

Why are schools so sold on Apple?

It isn't hard to find an educational blogger that is awe struck by Apple products and suggests that using iPads or iMovies or any iThingy is 'awesome' educational practice. It isn't difficult to figure out why. Apple spends a lot of money on marketing and branding and public relations and their equipment is beautiful and shiny. It doesn't take much to make everything any student does look great once it's been put through the Apple template.( http://timothylee.ca/what%20do%20programs%20allow%20students%20to%20do%3F ) But is this teaching the student what we wish them to learn? How deeply researched is the premise that Apple computers increase learning? I ask every teacher I meet to show me research that shows that Apple products increase learning outcomes. Because I'd really love to know! My own research suggests that all is NOT well when students get iPads, nor is all good when they start...Read more

I'm not Alone

I'm not alone in my thoughts about the relationships of technology and society, and in what we all should do about it. And neither are you.

https://medium.com/backchannel/why-i-m-saying-goodbye-to-apple-google-an...

It is time that schools went completely to Linux based systems and joined the 'free' (as in freedom not price) software movement.
It is ironic and certainly it is a sad statement of how difficult it is to extricate oneself from the oligarchy of techno control that when I went to add a comment to the above article, I could not, as one needs a Facebook account. I don't have a facebook account. I don't want a facebook account. But as the 'commercial web' grows in power, the independant web is diminished. All website traffic is seen as the property of the big data players. Not because it is, or should be, but rather because they have the money...Read more

Programming in Processing


I call this one "Wandering Lines," and it is derived from a sketch by Daniel Shiftman ...I think.
It is built in Processing. And the code is very simple. I find my students (grade 7, 8, and 9) enjoy programming in Processing because it is such a visual and playful language. Of course when the ideas become more complex and the need for mathematical understanding recognized, many of my students back away from the challenge. Still quite a few do not. I believe that if a student has a reason to learn something they will, as long as that reason is powerful enough to drive them through the struggle of learning.

More...Read more

Ms. Google: Our Free Librarian

Our schools' librarian, Ms. Google, is a most remarkable librarian.
She has the most exceptional memory. She is very clean and very precise. Like the fabled Elephant, Ms. Google is said to never forget. And is she ever fast! Within a second of asking - and she always tells you how much time herself! (which would be conceited if it weren't so amazing!)- She can give me a list of over 22 million possible choices. 22 million! Isn't she amazing! My gosh I love having that much choice! How empowering it is. Not that I ever look at all of them... ( If truth be known I seldom go past the first page) But I love the incredible speed and thoroughness of her searches. I just love them and I just lover her. I almost never go anywhere else. And I never ask anyone else. Why would I? I trust her. Oh, I know she used to be a bit difficult. I don't mean she didn't deliver, but, on her first page she used to have like 30 choices. 30 choices on one page is too many isn't it? So, even...Read more

One does grow weary of the hyperbole

"Indeed, once you begin contrasting 1968 with 2008, you might even find yourself thinking that, on balance, the Web is not an engine for social activism but an engine for social passivity. You might even suggest that the Web funnels our urges for “participation” and “sharing” into politically and commercially acceptable channels – that it turns us into play-actors, make-believe elves in make-believe clans."
Nic Carr http://www.roughtype.com/?p=1119

For professional development teachers are often required to go to Symposiums about technology and education.
Looking to learn further I looked at the Symposium website when I was struck at how it highlighted the relationship between our educational system and corporate commercial enterprise. I couldn't help but wonder why all that we teachers were going to discuss at this symposium is what we're being sold by Apple and Google? There seems nothing about teaching our...Read more

3d Frankenstein

I am a fan of Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley. What a great author. Out of 23 years of straight war, "The Summer that Never Was" (1816), a night of ghost stories, Shelley, Byron and Pollidori, philosopher father and preminent feminist mother, Mary Shelley wrote a tale that still is vitally resonant today. I wrote a bible for a television series based on Frankenstein's Creature having survived in the Canadian Arctic. I built this 3d animation in Poser, PhotoShop and rendered it in Vue to assist in explaining the idea.Read more

I know we all care about kids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010)

I just wonder how can schools require students to be on computers longer than what the Canadian Pediatrics Society recommends? What do the CPS know that the teachers don't? What do the teachers know that Pediatricians don't?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices...

The article by Cris Rowan is a bit scary and a bit sparse to be sure, however, those who have followed the growth of technology in the schools as well as the health concerns related to this growth have been aware of these issues for some time. Current viable research is supporting recent past...Read more

12 Grades a Slave

According to Wayne Grady in his book, "Technology" the "mark of a slave is obligatory submission to a higher authority."

Thinking about Slavery and schools. I wonder if in some way our modern system doesn't have the same issues of freedom and exploitation. I don't mean whippings and the racist suppression of groups of people,-- though, it is interesting to look at the recent Canadian stats on which ethnicities go to prison, and which don't.-- I mean a more general truth; that in any system, freedom from the system demands that either the system change, or, that you leave the system. We could compare a slave to being a student who doesn't have a say in attending school but must conform to a system of education that is defined by a small group of men whom they will never meet. This is not a form as visceral or brutal or disgusting as it was (and is,) but, nonetheless a form of slavery in which the individual could be expected to desire, "freedom." Yet, having resented my...Read more

The Internet Promised Us an Ocean of Ideas and Then Put Us In a Fish Bowl

Google continues to espouse rhetoric about the internet going somewhere, but there are only ten choices on the first page of a search and they are defined by Google, so as the myopic becomes the norm the promise of a great democratic forum of wonderful ideas and learning, becomes a sales showroom of the reconstructed consumerist culture. We are told there is an ocean of ideas, but we get put into a fish bowl.Read more

Digtial Citizenship: More than Ethical Behavior

If Digital Citizenship is understood to be a moral education of how to behave on the Internet, - a manners guide to social media as it were, --then educators and government are doing a terrible disservice to the children.

The idea of Digital Citizenship as a route to better conduct on the web would seem to be reasonable enough. We all want to protect children from the abuses of this new technological environment. It is clear that children and adults do write and post hurtful things on the Web without understanding the repercussions of their actions. It is always reasonable to show an expectation of moral behavior and in that schools openly promote using technology, it would seem to make sense that schools teach digital citizenship. Yet as sensational as the reports of misuse and abuse by individuals to individuals are, -and they are often most repugnant - it is wrongful to suggest that the student will be safe guarded on the Internet, or even mildly prepared to...Read more

How Tracked is My Life?

How much do we really care about our privacy being invaded?
The following are two quotes from "A Field Study of Run-Time Location Access Disclosures on Android Smartphones." You can find many articles and research that lead to the same conclusions. The results would seem to suggest that our moral indignation does not spawn action. I would think the quotes would be similar for iPhone users.

Participant P2 in the Disclosure group shared,
“Yeah, because there are other features of the app I would want to
use, right, unless there is no use for the app I would like to
keep it even if it uses location sources.”
Participant P4 said
“So when people become so dependent on technology doing things
for them automatically they give up some of their freedom
because now you have companies who can do that and use
that technology. "

And so it seems we don't mind being tracked, at least not enough to find a different app. What...Read more

Dreambreaker: to be or not to be digital?

I loved writing this movie! It was a long time ago, but, it is alive in memory.
The ideas were rich, reasonable and very futuristic at the time.

Okay the production was really cheezy, but it was a first time director and a quick production. It was produced by PNA. And they are a great group of people to work with. By hook or by crook they make movies and television and they love doing it.

The screenplay is actually kind of like a Hamlet wherein the hero deals with digital-ghost who are in The Machine. Their future world is a world where everyone is always, ON, physically hooked up to their computers, addicted to gaming and acting out fantasy lives in the virtual world. (can you imagine?) A dangerous change in technology demands society to decide between living in a physically constructed reality and working to repair the world in...Read more

Boy Meets Girl: Sean Astin

When Doug Bagot and I wrote Boy Meets Girl we really didn't have anyone in mind for the part of Mike. The casting went a number of ways and then it turned out to be Sean Astin. Sean is a very professional Actor. We discussed his views about the script. His insights into the character were spot on. He is blood-Hollywood. His mother is Patty Duke and his father John Astin. John Astin is not only known as the patriarch of the Adams' Family, but he starred in one of my favorite movies, Evil Roy Slade. http://youtu.be/sM7GSi7ZuIc I mention Evil Roy because it pre-dated and is vastly superior to, Blazing Saddles, but it did absolutely terribly at the box office. Contrary to our culture's belief in rating systems it seems the quality of a work is neither...Read more

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