petej + dc:creator=johnsonmark   18

Improvisation Blog: Education's Deepwater Horizon moment: The new Road to Serfdom
"I fear many of our institutions of learning are at risk of corruption as the shifts of power brought about through technological control coupled with weak governance contribute to the creation of "fiefdoms" with a government license to indebt young people in order to fuel capital building projects, whilst reinforcing the power of institutional leaders in a positive feedback cycle. The human consequences of this are only beginning to become apparent. Staff will feel it first. But then the consequences for students - the next generation - could be more serious. At one level, I think a connection needs to be made between the kids who get sucked into violent radicalism and the spiritual poverty delivered to them by the education system. More generally, marketing talk of "graduate premiums" carries with it a societal menace: education is not a game, and yet too many institutional managers appear to treat it as such."
education  technology  universities  capitalism  marketisation  diversity  edtech  governance  corruption  UK  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
may 2015 by petej
Improvisation Blog: Big Data, Social Ecology and the Surveillance of Management by the people
"In most institutions since the economic crash, austerity has resulted in the ramping up of ‘mutual information’ and the elimination of flexibility. My own institution conducted what it called (horribly) a ‘delayering’ exercise, removing autonomy from departments and concentrating power at the top. The tests of health are simple. How many times do senior managers say “no” to the ideas of junior staff? How many times do they refuse resourcing or funding requests? How many times do they say “yes” to their own ideas? How many times do they say “no” to their own ideas? And my favourite: How many times do people throughout the institution utter (for whatever reason) “What the Fuck?!” to things that happen per week? The WTF count is very reliable: it seems to be quite high where I am!

If we use our data right, we can ask these questions. We can demand from our managers that they act as proper custodians of educational ecologies, and not as the self-important 'CEOs' that only hubris and covetousness delude them into believing. "
education  bigData  managerialism  control  data  surveillance  ecology  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
november 2014 by petej
Improvisation Blog: #cetis14: Granting permission to ask questions about education
"The value of JISC projects was that they gave participants permission to think about education, in circumstances where this would otherwise have been impossible. It was this business of 'asking questions about education' which seemed curiously absent from the vision of the 'new JISC': it seemed that the new JISC vision is to think about keeping JISC going, not thinking about education. When explicitly asked about who in JISC was asking the 'big questions', the response given was "people above my pay grade". The old JISC was good at getting everyone asking those questions, and the conclusion is that the movement from old to new JISC is a movement from what was a 'committee' to something rather more autocratic (which kind of mirrors what's happened in our universities!)."
cetis14  JISC  education  higherEducation  universities  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
june 2014 by petej
Improvisation Blog: Knowledge Economy and Universities: Convenient Fiction?
"The academic world seems to demand greater noisiness, greater attention-seeking (but often thoughtless) publications, greater attention to bureaucratic targets (which never make sense), and increasing constraints on the capacity for teachers to do the right thing in their teaching with the students that they have. And for students, the constraints are ramping up: fees are just the start; but nobody told them about the regulations which they will fall foul of at some point, or the fact that an increasing proportion of their money will contribute towards inflated managerial salaries and grandiose development projects which they themselves will not see the benefits of."
education  higherEducation  universities  economics  politics  crisis  knowledgeEconomy  RAE  performance  managerialism  IT  informationTechnology  technology  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
january 2014 by petej
Improvisation Blog: Higher Education and the "Why Bolton?" Question
"This has been a horrible year in HE. It has been a year of rampant managerialism in Universities, where the thinkers have been subjected to a full-blooded assault by non-thinkers. "Thinking is waste - where are your outputs," screams the Research Assessment Exercise; "Don't think, just keep your students on roll," scream managers who (to be fair) find themselves playing ridiculous accounting games which even they know are daft. But people have been desperately frightened. They still are frightened: even when important things happen (deaths in the family are pretty important, for example) they struggle on into a work environment which they are barely in control of, but which they are terrified of being ejected from (as they have seen so many ejected before them)."
education  higherEducation  universities  academia  RAE  managerialism  performance  precarity  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
january 2014 by petej
Improvisation Blog: Gmail's New 'Tabs', Personalisation and "Intentionality Harvesting"
"Google's business is the prediction of the behaviour of its users. It has found a way of giving 'free' tools which people are attracted to, providing free storage services which are powerful, all as a means to getting people to reveal their intentionality. Google can play with its interfaces and tools as it seeks to 'tune' the data it harvests and the analytic services it provides. This appears to be the dominant business model of the 21st century data company. Amazon are playing a very similar game, as are Twitter and Facebook. The key is to find something that everybody wants (in Amazon's case, books; in Google's, search and storage), and then sell it at low cost (or give it away) as a means to harvesting data on what people like, what they think, etc. It is the commercial colonisation of private life."
Google  Gmail  personalisation  profiling  commercialisation  marketisation  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
july 2013 by petej
Improvisation Blog: How are you oppressed online?
"Even in a non-instructional environment, like a blog, is there oppression? "Who gives me these tools?" (I ask as I use Blogger's online editor). "Why does Blogger they give them to me?" - they do this because they want me to submit my data. "How do they benefit from my data?" My activities online are steered towards generating data that Blogger/Google can exploit. "How do they exploit it?" - we need to look at their technical infrastructure to understand what is now possible. "What are the capabilities of MapReduce, Discrete Wavelet transformations, etc?" - At each step of the way, the forces that bear upon freedom are there to be unpicked. At each step emerges a personal curriculum: the economics of information, the physics of data storage, the mathematics of analysis, the biology of interaction, the psychology of interpretation. "How can I avoid being exploited?" - what emerges through active critique is a kind of "artistry of political engagement". Like the standing man in Taksim Square, the challenge is to find new forms of expression which go under the radar and challenge those who would otherwise control us.

The more I think about this, the more I think we've got education upside-down. Education is about freedom, but manifests itself as oppression. Because we have been led to believe the questions that directly concern our deep freedoms are too difficult (education has told us this), we have grown accustomed to accepting the oppressive form of education as the "only way". Deep down, this is disastrous for science - which, ultimately, is an emancipatory critique. It is why what passes for science is little more than a technocracy of churning the big-data machines of genetic sequencing, social communications or intergalactic observation. Nobody's going to learn to be a scientist doing that!

But where there is oppression, there is an opportunity to help people see that there is oppression and then to overcome it. That is where learning happens. The dominant oppressive forces now are online (at least in the western-style democracies) and exercised through information and technology which nobody understands. "
information  media  socialMedia  control  ideology  technology  critique  education  learning  teaching  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
july 2013 by petej
Improvisation Blog: The Reign of Terror in Universities
"The idea of the University is increasingly driven by a market-orientated desire for academic celebrity which can attract students, create ‘impact’ and keep the institution high in the league tables. I was asked in a recent job interview “What are you the ‘go-to’ person for in educational technology?” – in other words “how are you famous?”. I was tempted to respond “Had you heard of me before the interview?” to which the answer would have been emphatically “No!” One might then reasonably say “Clearly I'm not that famous then - why should I pretend I am?" What’s this demand for self-aggrandisement about? It’s all very silly.

These things are all symptoms of terror. Deep down it is about what people worry about – Vice Chancellors particularly – and what people do to deal with their fears. The most sensible thing one can do with any fear is to talk to other people about it; the most pathological thing one can do is to act according to it. Even small fears like “we don’t have enough famous academics!” can entail systemic consequences which are potentially disastrous – in the case of “famous” academics, it is to encourage charlatanism. (The charlatan is another kind of pathologically fearful individual).

What is really needed is critical inquiry. Dealing with fear lies at the heart of this. I think that critical inquiry entails social diversity in institutions. It’s not a popular view – partly because psychology has presented a dominant ‘mentalist’ model of cognition and rational decision which focuses on the individual. But the current terror is an indicator of something bad. It is very real and is clearly accompanying the destruction of social diversity within institutions."
education  higherEducation  universities  marketisation  celebrities  REF  management  terror  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
july 2013 by petej
Improvisation Blog: Compulsory redundancies, Attachments and Forms of life in Education and Industry
In the corporate university with its business efficiencies and unfavourable working conditions, who would ever dare to attach?
education  higherEducation  universities  attachment  knowledge  business  corporatisation  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
november 2011 by petej
DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: Item 1820/727: Personal Learning Environments: Challenging the dominant design of educational systems
From the perspective of the PLE, connection is far more critical than compliance, and it is far better to offer a wide range of services, requiring support for a range of standardization
PLE  VLE  Web2.0  dctagged  dc:creator=WilsonScott  dc:creator=LiberOleg  dc:creator=BeauvoirPhillip  dc:creator=MilliganColin  dc:creator=JohnsonMark  dc:creator=SharplesPaul  elearning  edtech 
september 2006 by petej

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