Over the years Gmail’s autosuggest has learned how I write with terrifying accuracy, creating a situation in which significant chunk of my routine e-mails are algorithmically generated. I suspect this exaggerates my written quirks, ticks & deficiencies by feeding them back to me.
I’ve tended to think of myself as a fundamentally optimistic person. This has been tested a lot over the last 18 months but I still don’t think I’m someone prone to seeing catastrophe around every corner. I’m nonetheless extremely worried about what this winter will bring in the UK and I’ve felt increasingly isolated in this feeling.
This is an interesting example of what it means to think sociologically about educational technology in the sense of recognising how entrepreneurs, technologists and advocates are themselves parts of educational systems. Their pronouncements originate from within systems which have already been shaped by their activity, in spite of their rhetorical tendency to externalise those systems and position themselves as disrupters entering from outside in order to address their claimed pathologies.
A fox who had been visiting houses on our street was hit by a car early this morning, presumably by someone speeding over a bridge that had only recently been reopened to traffic. I was walking past this evening and found the fox’s death had been commemorated in a way I found really touching.
In recent years, we have seen an explosion of social media activity within the university. In some ways, this isn’t a surprise, with students leading the way in social media becoming a ubiquitous part of everyday life. It’s also not a surprise that this has led universities to increasingly see social media as an important part of their recruitment and engagement, leading to widespread use in communications and student affairs. What is perhaps more surprising is how faculty have taken to social media, both to talk among themselves and to engage with wider publics beyond the academy.
I keep coming back to this question as I begin my new job at the University of Manchester’s Institute of Education. One answer would be to invoke the sociological imagination in the sense of drawing out the connections between what C Wright Mills called ‘private troubles’ and ‘public issues’. To bring the sociological imagination to educational technology involves recognising the variability of individual experience and how this can be explained in terms of wider social forces. Another way of answering the question would be to think about the core concerns of sociological thought (the problem of social order, social transformation, collective action, stratification/inequality, social interaction and social meaning) as they relate to educational technology and manifest themselves in the roll out and use of these systems.
I find it incredibly annoying that the text is suddenly squeezed up against the title in this way: I already didn’t like the new WordPress as a writing environment but this risks tipping me over the edge. I might start writing elsewhere and copying & pasting. I feel sad about […]
This interview with Nancy Fraser about Covid-19 and the future of capitalism is an illuminating read, particularly this discussion of what could come after capitalism. The question she raises is whether Covid-19 represents a developmental crisis (leading to a new mode of capital accumulation) or an epochal crisis (leading to end of capitalism as a system):
I can be found in the garden, singing this song, when the last rose of summer is gone
Whilst the current COVID19 pandemic has brought home to many citizens in the Global North the fragility of their existence, including a lack of resilience in education systems and exacerbation of widespread learning inequalities, in the Global South this is but one more crisis in a long list that has punctuated daily lives and educational journeys. […]
Special Issue of the Swiss Journal of Sociology https://szs.sgs-sss.ch/en/home/ Deadline for Abstracts: November 15th, 2021 Guest-Editors: Luca Tratschin (Center for Higher Education and Science Studies, University of Zurich) Christian Leder (Center for Higher Education and Science Studies, University of Zurich) Philippe Saner (Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training, Zollikofen; […]
As an institution, the University faces the challenge of its own survival in the 21st century. The educational ecosystem that integrates it is under pressure and some hard conditions that restrict the work of teachers and researchers. The ‘Accelerated Academy’ project is promoted by an international group of academics willing to […]
I wrote in late 2019 about why I was deleting my personal Twitter account. This extract from Casey Newton’s newsletter perfectly captures my experience without the academic jargon I was leaning on to articulate it. My experience was that you either bleed time and energy into this dynamic or you feel like an asshole for ignoring people who misunderstand you.
The Collective on Education, Decoloniality and Emergencies is looking for a paid conference coordinator
Primary Role The Conference Coordinator will support CEDE! before, during and after our 2021 conference “Shifting power in aid: knowledges, violence, and justice”. Overview The Collective on Education, Decoloniality and Emergencies (CEDE!) is comprised of individuals and organisations seeking just practices for trans/national aid to learners, educators and education systems […]
One of the more depressing features of our information environment is the growing tendency to combine absolute scepticism of the ‘mainstream media’ with absolute credulity in relation to anonymous people stumbled across on social media.
I’ve struggled to articulate why I found this music so inspiring over the last 18 months. The melody is so simple yet is built through repetition into something that is striving, urgent and hopeful. It makes me feel there’s always the possibility for creation amidst destruction, as long as we […]