Why Build a Wall?

This is a wall:

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-8-06-24-am

If your purpose is to protect information, this wall is useful.

If your purpose is to make money on the information, this wall is useful.

But if your purpose is to share information this wall will keep people out.

When we are trying to build a community, even if everyone has a password, this wall will keep people out.

What are you trying to hide?

From Doug Belshaw: We should be continually asking the question, can we make this public?

Because that’s how knowledge moves, ideas connect, people learn, innovation begins, and our world becomes a better place for our kids.

More Thinking on Open Practice:

Matt Thompson: How to Work Open

Doug Belshaw: The Importance of Working Open in Education

Mike Caulfield: New Directions in Open Education

Open Education Leadership

Learning Math in the Open

Featured image shared by Stephen Downes under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license

Resources for LCEEQ 2017

 

Leadership in a Networked World

 

It is a privilege to be living at a time with the greatest exponential technological change that humanity has ever seen.

Ensuring our students can take advantage of the opportunities that will be available to them at a time when nearly all standardized work, from assembly line production to report writing, can be done by robots, is a complex and challenging responsibility.

How do we share our learning as we shift from a culture where learning is provided to a culture where learning is sought?  Understanding the tools that allow us to connect with other education professionals, and effectively communicate and collaborate over physical distances is an important component of strategic leadership in our networked world.  How can our educators build the skills they need to model the learning we want to see in our classrooms? How do we ensure that our students are ready to thrive in the digital economy?

As educators, we can leverage the power of connection through professional learning networks to support each other in creating the schools and communities of learning that will help our young people to thrive in their world.

Resources:

The Future of the Professions: Richard and Daniel Susskind

World Economic Forum: 8 Digital Skills we must teach our children

Learning Network Leadership – A path forward

Working Open in Education -Doug Belshaw

How to Work Open – Matt Thompson

Langwitches Blog: Digital Citizenship and Documenting Learning

Harvard Business Review: Are You Network Literate?

The Tipping Point to Transformation: David Culberhouse

 

Virtual Math for Young Children: What Do We Know?

(Resources are posted below the slides)

 

Resources:

Ontario Renewed Math Strategy Resources

Mathies: Free digital math resources

An Evening with Dr. Jean Clinton

The True Kings and Queens of Themes

Aviva shares her learning

mPower (for Ontario)

Northern Nightcrawlers (improving attendance)

Dreambox Learning Sample Lessons

Common Sense Media: Screen Time

Common Sense Media: Learning with Technology

Think Feel Act: Lessons from Young Children

The Power of Positive Adult-Child Relationships: Connection is the Key

Finger discrimination as a precursor of numerical and arithmetical skill. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4360562/

 

Showing our Love for #ontedblogs

This week, I am focussing on making sure Ontario edubloggers know how much I appreciate the way they share their thinking openly.

The challenge to comment on 5 blogs before February 14 can be found here.

Why not make 5 comments in the next 2 weeks yourself?

Share under#ontedblogs so we can keep the conversation going!

Below are the blogs I have commented on. Please visit, read, and join the conversation!

January 30: Brandon Grasley – What we learn outside of school

January 31: Joe Caruso – Commenting on blogs

January 31: Heather Theijsmeijer – Grade 8 to 9 transitions

February 1: Matthew Morris – Doing it for the Likes

February 2: Mark Carbone – AI and You

February 3: Doug Peterson – This Week in Ontario Edublogs

 

 

 

Featured image by Wesley Fryer under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Escape Your [Filter] Bubble 10/10

We’re mesmerized by our phones.  It’s  like having a little television set that we can pull out of our pockets, and check into the many dramas unfolding around us whenever we are otherwise unoccupied.

santeri-viinamaki-smartphone-dating-app
Shared by Santeri Viinamaki CC BY-SA 2.0

Every time we open an app, our content – the information that reaches our eyes – is being controlled by someone else, often with popularity and newness as a priority over diversity and quality (Hossein Darekhshan, Ideas podcast)

On TIDE podcast episode 72, Doug Belshaw and Dai Barnes discuss how the  digital divide has become a digital literacy divide.

Over and over again we hear that most people on social media don’t understand that they are “liking” and “sharing” inside a “walled-garden”, and they are paying corporations for the use of that space by handing over their privacy, and their attention, to specific ads and information directed at people in their bubble.

Brodie Fenton gives and excellent example of this, where a friend suggests that the posts CBC News puts on Facebook are more interesting than the ones they post on their website. This friend is completely unaware that it is the Facebook algorithm controlling her feed, not CBC posting specific content on her site.

It follows, then, that before we can escape our bubbles, we need to

a) realize how we are being targeted inside mobile apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

b) have a desire to leave the comfort and beautifully designed experience of existing within apps

Once we have chosen to diversify our feed, how do we do it?

Here are some suggestions I have encountered this week.  Please feel free to comment with more ideas.

  1. Fool the algorithm.  Diversify your feed by randomly liking and sharing (Hossein Derakshan)
  2. Insist on open algorithms.  Insist on the right to modify our own personal algorithms.
  3. Commit to reading and consuming more content through your browser (online newspapers, blogs, podcasts) to expose yourself to more diverse ideas.
  4. Purposely follow people on social media who are nothing like you.
  5. Read one or two entire articles daily and reflect on them, perhaps even sharing back in your own blog.
  6. Become digitally literate.
  7. Become domain literate.
  8. Ensure our children develop digital literacies.

Most importantly, model  the importance of diversity and truth on the open web.  Our democracy depends on it.

 

Featured image by Mazime Bhm on Unsplash

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

 

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

Your Attention Please 9/10

We love our phones.

App developers create spaces online that we can’t resist.  They want us to “Stay, play and pay with our attention or personal data”. (Paul Kennedy, Ideas podcast)

The adoption of the smart phone was one of the most massive and ubiquitous technological uptakes in our history.  When we go from laptop to mobile phone, the keyboard and mouse are gone, and the browser and search engine are not really used much.  Writing  a lot of text is challenging, so we tend to be more focused on images and video, particularly inside apps.  These capture our attention.

According to Sue Gardner (formerly of Wikimedia Foundation), people are choosing apps because they are convenient, customized for the device, and therefore they can be designed to be a more pleasurable experience for users.

We trade our privacy for convenience, but this is how we monetize the internet.  Apps can collect far more information about users than the open web can. We are using the web in the way that technology companies are designing it for us, and that is not under our control when we are inside apps.

In a sea of information, though, the apps are arguably providing a service, sorting and personalizing the flow of information for us (Brodie Fenlon).  But then we are getting lost in our apps.  It’s an addictive activity, and companies use strategies for growth hacking – making people want to stay longer.

Sue Gardner: Apps give people exactly what they want, which is dangerous.  There is no “wholesome diet” of information.  There is no tough information to grapple with.  What gets attention gets more attention and snowballs.  Popular fake news is shared.

Apps also create a cycle of privilege.  We enter and pay with our data, which allows them to better meet our needs and keep us there, away from outside information, and making money for them.

Brodie Fenlon: Facebook favours sharability over public interest.  It favours scale over niche so local news is out.

People don’t see things that don’t share well, yet they are grabbed because they are getting what they like, so they are not taking the time to look elsewhere.  But this WORKS for us.  We are happy with this experience – even addicted to it.

And it’s our attention that is monetized over truth.  Buzzfeed reported that during the 2016 US election, Macedonian youth made money on grabbing our attention and producing clickbait, primarily for Trump supporters.

buzzfeed-clicks-are-money
Craig Silverman on Buzzfeed https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/how-macedonia-became-a-global-hub-for-pro-trump-misinfo?utm_term=.nd43K3l13j#.maB3N3nB3M

 

This model of monetizing our attention is very effective in intensifying and amplifying our beliefs, capitalizing on confirmation bias, and splitting us into a deeply divided society, where all we see is what we want to see, and what we already believe.

It’s a dangerous way for information to flow in a democracy.

 

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

___________________________________

Featured image by Agberto Guimares on Unsplash

Resources:

CBC Ideas Podcast

The Truth About Post-Truth

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

Popular, or Important? 8/10

People LIKE fake news better.

buzzfeed-fake-news-wins
from Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/viral-fake-election-news-outperformed-real-news-on-facebook?utm_term=.uuYnWnaKn5#.kddEBEnzEM

It’s hard to argue with that.  And if you are going to click and share it, Facebook is feeding you even more of it, because as long as you are sharing and liking it, they are making money.

With the invention of the cell phone, we have left behind the open web of democratized text, for the convenience and preferred design of mobile apps.  Our phones have become our televisions. We open apps to read our feed, and if we like what we see, we can share it or make our “like” known.  And someone gets paid for that!

But if not enough people “like” it, something more popular will replace it.

The internet has become popularity-driven.  If you write something that not many people are interested in, it is very challenging to get eyes on it.  (Hossein Derakhshan ~ 9:55)  If your work isn’t popular, it’s essentially invisible.

In the open web, you move from site to site through hyperlinks, seeing and learning a variety of things while you are there.  Apps, on the other hand, confine you to one site.

Our apps determine how, when and where we are accessing information – as well as what information we can view.

A further shift to images and video, means we are watching online instead of reading online.  When we are reading, we are thinking. When we are engaging in video and images, we are invoking feelings and emotions, which means that in online environments, we are focusing on feeling over truth, and emotion over thinking (Hossein Derakhshan).

According to Henry Giroux, ‘celebrity culture’ in the US “dumbs down culture and collapses the distinction between serious and frivolous ideas”.  Celebrity culture fills people with nonsense.  The flow of money – the flurry of clicks – replaces the flow of thoughtfulness.

Popularity is monetized. Entertainment is more important than thinking.

And we are seeing the result of new reality on a global scale.

 

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

________________________________

Featured image by Noah Hinton on Unsplash

Resources:

Canadaland: People Like Fake News Better

Buzzfeed: How Macedonian Spammers Are Using Facebook Groups To Feed You Fake News

CBC Ideas: Screened Off – The Dangers of an Insular Web

The Truth of Post-Truth

_________________________________

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

 

 

 

 

A World of Feelings, Not Facts 7/10

In our online world, increasingly dominated by social media, feelings are more important than facts.

This is the assertion of Hossein Derakhshan, an idea that I first encountered on Screened Off: The Dangers of the Insular Web.

As an online teacher, I always considered video to be an excellent tool to engage learners.  But do we understand how this engagement impacts learning and thinking?

Streaming video was enabled with the spread of high-speed internet, and more often now, we consume this emotion-driven form of content over text.  This makes the Internet far more like watching television than reading a book or an article.

Increasingly,  our online time is spent inside apps, not on the open web.  According to Hossein Derakhshan, a blogger and writer based in Iran,

“Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. This is why Oxford Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as the word of 2016: an adjective “relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.””

Subject matter that we consume inside apps, like Facebook, entertains us.  Corporate owners design these spaces to keep us there, because the longer we stay, the more money they make.  Negativity does not encourage engagement, so we are presented with “feel good” content.

Instead of engaging in dialog around important social issues, and reading text, where “facts” can be challenged, more and more, we choose to spend our time in the comfort of our apps, accepting the diet of targeted, advertisement-driven mush, fed to us by the algorithm that controls our content.

Watching video (television) instead of reading text means that we become victims of those who have mastered this one-way, emotion driven form of media, and we become passive consumers of those who grab our attention instead of citizens engaged in discourse around facts.

How does this impact our understanding of our world?

derakhshan-on-tv-online
CBC Ideas Podcast: Screened Off: The Dangers of the Insular Web http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/screened-off-the-dangers-of-an-insular-web-1.3937638

____________________

Featured image shared by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

 

Text vs. World Trumps

You’ll Need a New Lesson Plan Tomorrow 6/10

I tried to avoid the Trump inauguration.

While driving to the post office, I turned on CBC Radio which happened to be livestreaming the speech and caught something about God favouring America over others before I could turn it off.

But that night, my husband remarked that there had not been many people attending the event in person.  I filed that thought away until yesterday, when my friend Jennifer posted this on her Facebook page.

jennifer-fry-facebook-trump-inauguration-crowds

I saw it before the comment was added, and thought, “Wow, Jim was right. There was such a small crowd!”

And then the rebuttal from Trump (a performance worth your time if only to see the genius of playing to the crowd).

Then came the famous press conference.  I actually began to wonder if someone had doctored the images.

But, thankfully, today multiple sources are reporting that the press conference, and Donald Trump’s speech to the CIA, were full of lies.  Yes, on his first day in office. LIES. About insignificant things.

What strikes me, though, is how difficult and time-consuming it can be to actually track down the truth.  Who is taking the time to do that?

I saw this posted earlier this morning, and I don’t know the source, but it’s an interesting read.

anna-rascouet-paz-spicer-lies

If that’s too much to read right now, here is a summary:

summary-from-the-resistance

Because the source isn’t being revealed, there is a comparison of this post to Trump posts in the Twitter conversation.

What happens when legitimate sources are afraid to be revealed?

In any case, this is for consideration and not promoted as factual, so as a provocation, I share it with you.

And then the interview with Kellyanne Conway and even another word for lies: Alternative facts!

kellyanne-conway-in-the-guardian

So what does this mean for Information Literacy instruction in our school system?

Will we still be telling children that government sites are sources of facts?  For me, this is a catalyst for educators to think deeply about how we prepare children, and their families, for this world where all the rules around who and what you can trust are changing.

Digital literacies, information and web literacies in particular, are more important now than ever, according to Kalev Leetaru

But what does an effective Digital Literacies program look like in our schools?

In addition to reinforcing the notion that information literacy rubrics like RADCABB,  and CRAPP, are insufficient, Rolin Moe takes a deeper look at why Information and Digital Literacies are not enough, and why how we teach them is insufficient.  I agree with Audrey Watters‘ assessment that this is a must-read, especially for those charged with designing Digital Literacies programs in our school system.

Do our student understand how the monetization of modern journalism promotes entertainment over factual coverage?

In addition to skills, what knowledge about the web is needed to acquire effective web literacy skills?

How are we addressing the importance of Domain Literacy in schools?

And along with teaching Digital Literacies, how are we approaching the teaching of critical thinking?

Digital literacies are not the only missing piece in the current age of propaganda, but as educators, we can make it a priority to ensure this is something we are doing well for our kids.

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

Featured image by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash

Who’s Controlling Your World? 5/10

According to former Wikimedia Executive Director, Sue Gardner, we spend three hours each day inside our mobile apps, for every hour we spend on the open web (CBC Ideas, Jan 16, 2017).

While in many of those apps, what we are exposed to is largely controlled by algorithms.  Our feeds are “personalized”, based on our previous behaviour in the app.

A friend of mine recently shared that she “liked” something on Facebook that was posted by one of her daughter’s friends, and suddenly, her own feed was populated by all kinds of content targeted for gay women.  The daughter’s friend openly identifies on Facebook as a Lesbian.

My husband often complains to me that he misses pictures of his granddaughter that I see on Facebook, even though we both “friends” with her parents.

Just because you follow someone, doesn’t mean you will see everything they post. What you do see, is controlled by an algorithm that selects your content based on your past activity. A few months ago, Facebook fired its human editors in favour of more algorithm-determined content.

In the CBC Ideas podcast, Sue Gardner, describes what happens when she creates a fake Facebook identity as a Trump supporter – how a feed full of fake news targeting Hilary Clinton suddenly appeared (36:54 here).

facebook-by-bill-ferriter
Shared by Bill Ferriter CC By-NC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/plugusin/15147354484/

The goal of an app is to keep you in there, so that you can be tracked, and fed a diet of personalized advertising.  The longer you are there, the more information the app has about your interests, and the algorithm can then feed you the very things that you like – enticing you to stay longer and create more advertising revenue.

Like Brodie Fenton says, “Aleppo doesn’t share well” (unless it is packaged as an image of a child that entices clicks).  On the apps, world news looks exactly like cat videos, pictures of our “friends”,  and advertising, and the platforms are set up to discourage further exploration, handing you the simple like/share buttons to touch on your phone before you move on.

What are the social consequences of seeing only what you like, and what you enjoy?

Human curators can make mistakes, if they don’t have good judgement. But human curators can also explain their choices and actions.

Algorithms are secret, can’t be held responsible, can change without notice, and filter based on discriminatory practices.

This is censorship on a grand scale.

Kin Lane, in the Tech Gypsies Podcast episode below, pulled out this quote:

“And Facebook is just one player in complex ecology of algorithmically-supplemented determinations with little external monitoring to see how decisions are made or what the effects might be.”

Kate Crawford and Meredith Whittaker

According to Hossein Derakhshan,  right now, algorithms are determining “who we date, what we eat, where we shop, what we see, what we buy” without oversight.

He argues that the algorithms should be both viewable and customizable by us.

What if, instead of popularity and newness, we valued diversity and quality?

How would that change the experience of so many people for hours every day?  How might that impact thinking and behaviour both inside and outside the corporately controlled digital environments we enter into so willingly?

Facebook is a “technology” company, and therefore is not subject to the same restrictions as a “media” company.

Is government involvement needed in digital environments to ensure democratic values are upheld online?

Featured image by ApolitikNow CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

__________________________________________

From A Level Playing Field to a Few Empires: What Happened to the Web? 4/10

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution as you read this: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

__________________________________________

The first timetable I was assigned as a new secondary school teacher was 3 sections of DIC2A/2G: Introduction to Computers.  It was all about DOS, binary numbers, file storage and hacking – before the excitement around Windows GUI – and I spent more time fixing the network than I did teaching!  But it was a popular course, and we recommended it to students.  Computers were new, but we seemed to understand that learning about them was important.

PET personal computer
Wikimedia

A few years later, in the mid-1990’s, when the “Internet” arrived for most users, we taught most kids to craft websites using HTML code.

Anyone could make a website to share information, and the we saw the Internet as a place that gave people voices.

netscape-navigator-by-kurazaybo-martinez-cabal
Shared by Kurazaybo Martinez Cabellaro CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Early users accessed the web and created HTML pages through Netscape, but that all changed with the release of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the first “monopoly” on the web. By 2002, 95% of online computer users were accessing the Web through this browser, but only 11% of the world’s population was online.  As it lost the “browser wars” with IE, Netscape opened-sourced its code and Mozilla was born.

According to Mark Surman, CEO of Mozilla, developers were essentially able to maintain free access to the web by ensuring free alternatives were available.

Today, though, this has shifted.  Essentially four companies – Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google – control the internet, making it next to impossible to compete, or to be heard online, if you don’t fit the monetization strategies of the tech giants.

In a world where nearly 50% of the world’s population is online, yet many users think Facebook IS the Internet,  how do we get back to an online world where all users have a voice?

From CBC Ideas: Screened Off – The Dangers of the Insular Web

“If you’re going to engage the modern world, you’re going to use the internet the way tech companies are making it for you. And you’re going to benefit from it in a bunch of ways. But you’re not really exercising a completely free choice.”
Tech thinker Sue Gardner

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how the tech giants use algorithms to control what you see online.

Featured image from Wikimedia

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

by Donna Miller Fry (@fryed)

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