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All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

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My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

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EdTech Update





More "evil" technologies

DL.jpg Honey, we're just friends. That's all.
A couple of technology-contrarian writings that are intriguing.
The first "The Image Culture" by from The New Atlantis Journal takes a hard and thoughtful look at images in our society and asks what  impact  Photoshop  might have on how reliable we find visual information. (See photo left. And I have no Photoshop skills.)
The second  writings come from the blog if:book, a publication of the Center for the Future of the Book, about the possible downsides of the $100 laptop project.
    no laptop left behind, Nov 8, 2005
If there is one thing that makes me nervous about getting hooked on blog reading (which I definitely am), it's that I tend to only read those people with whom I feel simpatico - rarely those with whom I disagree or genuinely challenge my core beliefs. For those who get their news primarily through RSS feeds, this tendency to only read those we agree with and about issues which are of personal interest is exacerbated. With a print newspaper, I do read George Will and look at the news which is not pretty. Does this make RSS a potentially "evil" technology.
I keep thinking about a statement that Paul Saffo made at the NLB conference last week. The Web is lessening our "common culture." The example he gave is that when he polls audiences, people have either read The Da Vinci Code or the Left Behind series - rarely both. Studies of the buying habits of Amazon customer show that Republicans read only Republican books; Democrats only Democrat books.
It's always been  my firm belief that we learn more from our enemies than we do our friends. How can we develop the tendency to read a wider range of opinions in both ourselves and, even more importantly, in our students?
Happy Turkey Day!

Bullshit literacy - a rubric

 Technology leader par excellance, Art Wolinsky, has developed a rubric to measure mastery of my tounge-in-cheek skills, Bullshit Literacy  Check it out.

BTW, Harry G. Frankfurt's book, On Bullshit, will be a stocking stuffer around here.

From the original posting of September 7, 2005:

The Bullshit Literate Student will:

1. Show no social conscience or balance when deliberately distorting factoids, data, or expert opinion in presenting a conclusion.
2. Skillfully use any medium and all persuasive techniques in order to convince others. This includes the ability to use technology to doctor images and edit text.
3. Consistently, vociferously, and blindly hold to a single point of view, and know that volume, repetition and rhetoric trump reason. (ie: Stay the course.)
4. Convincingly fake sincerity.
5. Ably disguise personal gain as public good.
6. Take a single incident or news story or incident and follow it to an illogical conclusion. (See employment prediction above.)
7. Claim any idea as original.
8. Deny prior knowledge. (ie: Nobody expected the breach of the levees)
9. Create a website, wiki, blog, or podcast. (beginning level). Find a publisher, broadcaster or corporate sponsor for whom the bottom line is the bottom line. (advanced).
10. Never, never, never show doubt.


A wiki experiment

For anyone who might like to try participating in a wiki (collaborative writing environment), I have put a draft version of my next Media Matters column for Leading & Learning on a free wiki site:  Jot Spot. Log on with "guest" (no quotes) as both your username and password. If you make changes, and feel free to do so, please add your name or initials to the bottom of the document so I can see how many people contributed. I will note in the printed column that it was wiki-ized.

I'm doing this for a couple reasons. First, the topic is one on which I do not particually consider myself an expert  -  web logs. There are many  experienced folks who can increase the value and accuracy of the column for the eventual print reader if willing to make some additions and/or changes.

Second, I'd  just like to see how this wiki business pans out. I am not, by nature, a collaborative writer. Other than asking the LWW to proof read my writing for its most egregious errors in grammar and clarity, I don't like other people touching my nouns, verbs, or, especially, my adjectives. I am keeping my draft of the column in good-old Word just in case people really muck this up. (OK, I am uneasy.)

If this works, I may be on to a real time-saving ploy. Perhaps I can just throw an outline or even an idea out on a wiki and let the world write for me! I have a book that desperately needs revision. Should the wiki-sphere have a go at that too? The possibilities are mind-numbing and very appealing to this latent sloth.