27 thoughts on “Hyperpolitics

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  2. You’re a funny man.

    Thought I would jump in with my own psephological example and it’s own blantant abuse.
    Just followed here from an age article where I was amused to see the quote: “The average 15 year old girl sends 100 text messages a day.”
    Despite the psycho-social implications of a person such as yourself talking about 15 yr-old culture, let’s look at the statistics of this statement.
    Let’s concure that a text message takes 1 minute to type, this includes reading of the previous text, picking up the mobile, etc.
    This is 100 minutes, or 1.66 hours texting. While some kids may text this much and forgo MSN time (sounds implausible, those kids love Messenger), the word ‘Average’ was used.
    To get an average of 15-yr-old girls you must equate for all of them and at 6 cents a text in our current socio-economic times this just isn’t real. Considering the thousands that don’t text, can’t afford to text or minimally text, then the other end of bell curve calls for some serious RSI of the thumbs.

    To state this in pleb speak, as newspaper articles should:
    Keep it real.

  3. Au contraire Terrarocks, because I have done some field work, and plan on doing some more, I know that these 15-year-old girls have accounts with Virgin Mobile, so they can get those 1-cent texts, and spend $1.00 a day for their endless texting. But yes, from the very moment they awake until the moment they sleep, they are texting. This phenomenon emerged in Japan in the late 1990s, and has started to spread throughout the world. It’s known as “co-presence”.

  4. M,

    Brilliant, I think! But, I process slower than others, so I need time for it to work its way around and through my cluttered mind.

    You state: “altruistic investment yields selfish results, and does so in such a disproportionate manner that the drive toward altruistic behavior is very strongly reinforced”

    In these social networks, does the corollary, then, also hold true:
    “selfish investment yields altruistic results”

    It seems to me that the nature of the successful social networks do rely on both forms of behaviour (the selfish and the sefless/altruistic) to thrive – too much selfish and you have a sea of blogs (monologues), too much selfless, and then opinion and thought leadership is stifled?


  5. With regard to your Age article, Brace for a Steep re-learning curve

    I thought your analysis of the situation of teachers and the curriculum was good but don’t see any evidence for this assertion at the end:

    “This initiative seems to raise more questions than answers, and that, I believe, is Mr Rudd’s intent. He wants to connect the classroom to the world beyond and laptops are his trojan horse. Once they’re in the door, there’s no choice but for a curriculum rethink and for teachers to re-train. That can only result in a real education revolution”

    This just seems to be a belief statement without any evidence

  6. Bill –

    We have two options here: either the laptops-in-secondary-schools plan is just a big media stunt, with no follow-through planned for or even envisaged by the Rudd government; or, this is a not-so-subtle way of prodding the entire national educational system into dealing with the 21st century.

    I reckon Rudd to be smart rather than stupid, to be working rationally rather than just for the sake of the soundbite. It’s been clear all along that the “education revolution” is the core of the Rudd government. It’s what he will stand or fall on in 2010. Given that chain of logic, and given the enormous effect that the laptops-in-schools program will invariably have, I reckon my words not as a statement of belief, but as a deduction based on facts.

  7. Rantalot –

    With a social network there are all sorts of selfish behavior on display. Most specifically, people are constantly jostling for the “king of the hill” position – that is, a central node in the network. However, the investment required to take that position is in effect altruistic – that is, it is done by sharing with the group as a whole, in order to improve the group’s selection fitness. That it does, as a side-effect, improve the position of the contributing member, may be of relevance to the individual, but the activity is itself altruistic. This is not a question of intent, but rather, of outcomes. Intent is individual and personal; contribution is public and network-wide.

  8. hi mark,

    I see different options to your two. I agree that the first is a non option so scrap that

    The two options I see are the productivity option and the creativity / imagination option. It is certain that Rudd / Gillard have already opted for the former – less risk and more in keeping with their managerial approach. The problem with that is that it does not really liberate the full potential of educational computer and you may end up with a situation where critics can say this is not making much difference.

    This discussion between Larry Cuban and David Cavallo illustrates some of the issues involved. It’s not really a question of Rudd being smart or stupid but more a certainty that their political outlook will lead them to opt for a low risk managerial type development of this issue

    Larry Cuban:
    David Cavallo:

    The current stated ALP policy is this:
    – broadband 100 megabits / sec
    – integrated curriculum
    – productivity driver
    – vocational
    – target group yrs 9-12
    – *could* (not will) include personal laptops
    – teacher access to training

    What is really missing is the big picture vision of how computers could be used in schools as creativity and imagination tools. That won’t be forthcoming because it falls outside of the ALPs mindset

  9. Bill –

    So it seems as though “integrated curriculum” and “teacher access to training”, as given in the Government’s plan, they have some sense of magnitude of the task. Curriculum changes take _years_ to implement.

    As for creativity and imagination, that would have to be another revolution entirely, because they don’t really factor into the current secondary-school pedagogy at all.

  10. Bill –

    OK, having read both of the essays you very helpfully provided links to, here’s my thoughts:

    1) The ACOT experiment ended in 1998. As far as I’m concerned (and I have a body of work which backs this up), that’s before computers were actually useful for anything except for the occasional drills. It’s not clear that the ACOT computers were networked together, and they were _absolutely_ not networked with high-speed broadband, which was practically non-existent over the lifespan of the experiment.

    2) What the network has _become_, just over the past five years, is something so far beyond the expectations of anyone – and, most specifically, educators – that it hasn’t entered the curriculum anywhere, except in a few documented cases. In other words, pedagogy and Web2.0 (or whatever you want to call it) are worlds apart. It is not enough that the computers are networked together, it is what we do with these computers that are networked together. Read the essay which this line of comments is attached to, if you want to get an idea of what I mean.

    3) Blue-sky dreaming, while good for “the vision thing”, is going to be a very poor approach to the educational revolution. Education at the secondary-school level is quite conservative. Waving around big ideas isn’t going to do anything but vex educational administrators. The process must be gradual, but it must be thorough.

    4) To be a bit of a Trotter for a minute, I guess this argues for ‘continuous revolution’ in education. The world is evolving _far_ more quickly than the classroom, which means the desynchronization between the real world and the classroom is only growing larger and larger. Eventually this will lead to some sort of crisis. The only way to avoid that is to keep moving.

  11. hi mark,

    I’ve read your essay now and hope to be able to make a comment on it soon (still thinking)

    I just watched the 7 30 report (you were on it, well done). In your Age article you talked about laptops but my guess is that most government schools won’t opt for laptops. That will be seen as a more expensive and riskier option. I’ve taught in disadvantaged schools and the mind boggles frankly – some kids can’t even manage to bring a pen to class. Reality check.
    Some of the administrative thinking will be take on the extra hardware, keep the same software (apps) and steady as she goes captain. I like your trojan horse thinking but don’t really believe that Rudd or Gillard have thought this through.

  12. Bill –

    I can’t say as I know for sure that this is what either Rudd or Gillard were thinking. But, just perhaps, this is what they’re thinking about now. 😉

    And yes, disadvantaged schools will be a problem. But this argues _for_ letting the kids take ownership/care/responsibility for the laptops. That, more than anything else, will lead to their continued viability. That’s a sociological approach – which is what is called for here.

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  14. A couple of years back while doing my dip ed, I had the opportunity to undertake a student teacher placement in a school with a comprehensive laptop program. It was a Catholic school in Melbourne’s leafy east with a moderately well-off demographic slant. The intention was for every student to use their laptop exclusively for any written work during class, they would receive assigned work through the ethernet connection and submit it for assessment at the end of class.

    Enterprising students of a certain disposition quickly discovered that if their laptop was, for any reason, not functional, they were effectively excluded from the possibility of participating in class work. While it obviously wasn’t going to be a permanent fix, it was an attractive enough option to a sufficiently significant percentage of the student population to keep the small tech-support department constantly run off their feet and fuming about it.

    On a purely practical level, the extrapolation of this attitude could sink the entire enterprise before questions of pedagogical process or provision of content are even addressed.

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