In last week’s episode, Leo used one of those inflammatory types of expressions that cause a gut reaction: REDLINING the INTERNET.
Redlining from Wikipedia: It describes the practice of marking a red line on a map to delineate the area where banks would not invest; later the term was applied to discrimination against a particular group of people (usually by race or sex) no matter the geography.
Now this may be a bit of exaggeration used to make a point. But it certainly got me thinking!
He said that the effect of our social graphs and digital footprints have become a sort of Social Redlining – how it works is this…
- We search for certain things (cookies record this)
- We click on certain links (cookies record this)
- Then when we load in a new webpage, the web server ‘serves up’ advertisements that correspond with the ‘profile’ or social graph that you have subconsciously created.
Anyone that has shopped for bird feeders on Amazon, for instance, has gotten the email: “Customers who have shown an interest in bird feeders might be interested in the following products: (numerous related products follow).
For most of us, this is a good thing. It is a given that websites are going to serve up ads. That is how they pay the expenses of gathering content, hosting it, etc. Most of us would rather see ads for stuff we are interested in, so even the consumer benefits.
What was interesting about this though is it has an amplifying, steering affect, which may become a drawback. It may narrow your choices and restrict your experience in a bad way. If you click on one style of music several times, you may never be exposed to other styles. The marketers are making an assumption about you, which may or may not be completely true and like a self-fulfilling prophecy you become more ingrained in the things that were once only a part of the whole picture of who you are.
I am not suggesting that we explicitly teach students to change the way they click and search the internet. But I do thing there is value in discussing this as we talk about modern economics, marketing, consumer behavior and technology (media) literacy.
image found in Wikipedia article • originally from the National Archives
Reviewing an article about Google’s unifying their multitude of services has particular relevance to this idea. One of the results of this recent change in policy is to unite the data they generate to create what will certainly be one of the biggest databases of human activity and interests ever created.
So can your social graph turn into a sort of Redlining of the Internet? What do your clicks and searches say about you?
Note that this discussion is peculiar to some of the issues brought about by how Apple has built what was originally an iPhone software distribution system for individual consumers (not enterprise deployment). However, with the changes being made by the Apple MacOS X App store, it may be worth thinking differently about MacOS applications as well.
Another key observation to begin this discussion about software is the notion of Ownership. Although we talk about buying software as though we ‘own’ it, we don’t actually ‘own’ software, we purchase a license for the right to use it. As a property manager for our school system, this has caused us a lot of headaches as our institution has become more accountable for things that we have purchased. The idea of software being a physical asset that can be ’seen’ is becoming less and less common. It is delivered already installed on another physical item of significant cost, may or may not be transferrable, or may delivered by downloading. There is no physical asset to ‘tag’.
I would title this response:
"Making the Case for Personal Apple ID's for the Teacher"
A fellow ADE posted a iPad App Management scenario that was summarized as follows:
- The staff member will create the account with district email address. The staff will be told that if they are to leave the district or move to another position where their iPad is not needed that their Apple ID will be transferred to a new teacher. Staff will be encouraged to download free apps with this ID and when purchased apps are needed, they will put in a request through our district's VPP process (we're creating a Google Form to expedite this process). Therefore, apps that are collected under this account will all be district apps which leads to my next point...
- Apple IDs can be edited/changed using the Apple ID website: https://appleid.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MyAppleId.woa/ When logged in, you can EDIT your email address and change it to another one.
While this may be a workable solution, the additional issue is that any programs that the teacher purchased with their own $$ or giftcards also would get transferred to the new teacher's account. I think this would impede adoption of the iPad as a personal lifestyle learning tool.
This is a matter of policy, inventory, and professional development policy. Unless there are funding restrictions (stipulations in a grant on how money is to be spent and items tracked), I would like to move schools and school systems that I work with into a new view of software. You are actually purchasing the 'right' to use intellectual property (code) as opposed to owning a physical object. Let's classify it as like we do consumables - unless it exceeds a relatively high price tag, we are giving teachers a somewhat temporal tool to improve the efficacy of their job function.
Apps for iOS:
- are typically very low cost or free (I know some are very expensive)
- fluctuate in price
- dynamically change in their usefulness (alternatives suddenly appear that are low cost or free that are better or more appropriate)
- are typically targeted to a very focused use or product
- may have version changes that make them obsolete unless repurchased or replaced with another app
- may involve in-App purchases that may not transfer cleanly with a changed Apple ID (has anyone experimented with this?)
To equip our teachers and students, we often invest in training that empowers them to be more effective on their job. Training always includes strategies or process tools. They take this training with them where ever they go. In many ways, a small focused-purpose app is a process tool more than a physical piece of hardware. Hardware is more tangible– and physically audit-able..
iOS is such a personal tool by design that we really need to move beyond the MS enterprise deployment model of micromanaging our factory workers. Changes in pedagogy are recommending differentiated, personalized learning. We need to be consistent with our teaching staff and empower them to differentiate their instruction and personalize their learning. Giving teachers a tool like a digital camera to use in their classroom is enhanced when we encourage them to become familiar with that tool by pursuing (ethically appropriate) personal interests / hobbies with that tool. Educational implementation increases with the passion derived from personal learning. Professional use of the iPad will be enhanced as the teacher uses it to buy, read, annotate books, magazines as well as use programs like iMovie to video and edit their daughter's dance rehearsal. That teacher will then have the confidence and the passion to use iMovie in the classroom with their students. They will understand the methods and advantages of eBook reading.
Most teachers will be happy to spend $1 here or there to test a new app for teaching the Periodic Table of the Elements, or Digital Storytelling. They will be even more likely to do so if they know that what they purchase with their own money will be their's to deploy on their own iDevices and to use for personal interests, etc. Furthermore, anything that they purchase will be available to them after they retire or if they move to a new school system.
So this disruptive technology really should cause us to rethink how we stage the software and media purchase for professional use. My argument is that teachers should use their own accounts that they take with them where ever they go. We can't treat software like we treat hardware for accounting definitions. Consider also that we are primarily purchasing a dozen or so general tools for teachers to use- things like the iWork trio, iMovie, Garageband, a Graphic Organizer App, etc. If we purchase bulk codes for equipping our teachers, this amounts to a one-time investment of around $50 per teacher. That investment may last a year, several years or more. It is not a lot of money to provide as a benefit of employment. I think there should be a cost threshold established, and perhaps purchase unique expensive apps such as Proloquo 2Go under a district controlled Apple ID.
So in summary, in an ideal deployment, the individual establishes their own personal Apple ID as the primary one on the device. Most of the district-purchased apps will be associated with the teacher's personal Apple ID. The teacher will be able to populate their iOS device with anything that is ethically appropriate and not used for a profit-making endeavor. They will be responsible for their own updates and backups. The district will provide core Apps through volume discount purchase voucher codes associated with the teacher's personal Apple ID as a non-recurring, expendable item expense. The district will use their own school/district account to install very expensive apps or apps that have been acquired through a grant or funding source that limits personal ownership. These apps will be regularly updated by the district or school tech specialist with the special account password, then device will be logged out of the school/district account and logged back in to the teacher's personal account. I think this method is also ultimately desirable for student issued iOS devices, but that is another topic entirely.
In fact no one even alerted me to the idea that it was a classroom, it felt that familiar, yet intriguing.
The first thing I noticed was a friendly smile. As I looked for patterns, my eyes were drawn by color and form. I sensed that there was a delicate balance between order and creativity, between consistency and newness. I was surprised at how human this place felt.
In this learning environment, my curiosity was stimulated, my drive for excellence and elegance stimulated. Because you had gone before, my voice and thoughts were amplified, my audience expanded. The tools you loaned me were sharp and lubricated. I had more than I knew, and knew more because the team you led empowered me to go further.
But the tools weren’t the focus, they became an extension of my reach for more and deeper. The extent of my vision was increased and my tent pegs were moved yet further out to include others. And that is the point… others. It was not about you, and after I took hold, it was not even about me… it was about us and enabling them.
Us and them – them to multiply us. Them to capture a new perspective. And the tools gave us all a voice and increase; shrinking away in the process, the tools disappeared for the purpose of the message.
Thank-you, Steven P. Jobs.
May your legacy be many others who do as you have done. You changed things for the better.