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Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids - The New York Times
[This is one of three connected articles:]

"Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids
Child care contracts now demand that nannies hide phones, tablets, computers and TVs from their charges."
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/silicon-valley-nannies.html

"The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected
America’s public schools are still promoting devices with screens — even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether."
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/digital-divide-screens-schools.html

"A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley
“I am convinced the devil lives in our phones.”"
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/phones-children-silicon-valley.html

[See also:
"What the Times got wrong about kids and phones"
https://www.cjr.org/criticism/times-silicon-valley-kids.php

https://twitter.com/edifiedlistener/status/1058438953299333120
"Now that I've had a chance to read this article [specifically: "The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected"] and some others related to children and screen time and the wealthy and the poor, I have some thoughts. 1/

First, this article on the unexpected digital divide between rich and poor seems entirely incomplete. There is an early reference to racial differences in screen usage but in the article there are no voices of black or brown folks that I could detect. 2/

We are told a number of things: Wealthy parents are shunning screens in their children's lives, psychologists underscore the addictive nature of screen time on kids, and of course, whatever the short end of the stick is - poor kids get that. 3/

We hear "It could happen that the children of poorer and middle-class parents will be raised by screens," while wealthy kids will perhaps enjoy "wooden toys and the luxury of human interaction." 4/

Think about that and think about the stories that have long been told about poor families, about single parents, about poor parents of color - They aren't as involved in their kids' education, they are too busy working. Familiar stereotypes. 5/

Many of these judgments often don't hold up under scrutiny. So much depends upon who gets to tell those stories and how those stories are marketed, sold and reproduced. 6/

In this particular story about the privilege of being able to withdraw from or reduce screen time, we get to fall back into familiar narratives especially about the poor and non-elite. 7/

Of course those with less will be told after a time by those with much more - "You're doing it wrong." And "My child will be distinguished by the fact that he/she/they is not dependent on a device for entertainment or diversion." 8/

My point is not that I doubt the risks and challenges of excessive screen time for kids and adults. Our dependence on tech *is* a huge social experiment and the outcomes are looking scarier by the day. 9/

I do, however, resist the consistent need of the wealthy elite to seek ways to maintain their distance to the mainstream. To be the ones who tell us what's "hot, or not" - 10/

Chris Anderson points out "“The digital divide was about access to technology, and now that everyone has access, the new digital divide is limiting access to technology,” - 11/

This article and its recent close cousins about spying nannies in SV & more elite parent hand wringing over screen in the NYT feel like their own category of expensive PR work - again allowing SV to set the tone. 12/

It's not really about screens or damage to children's imaginations - it's about maintaining divides, about insuring that we know what the rich do (and must be correct) vs what the rest of us must manage (sad, bad). 13/fin]
siliconvalley  edtech  children  technology  parenting  2018  nelliebowles  addiction  psychology  hypocrisy  digitaldivide  income  inequality  ipads  smartphones  screentime  schools  education  politics  policy  rules  childcare  policing  surveillance  tracking  computers  television  tv  tablets  phones  mobile  teaching  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  anyakamenetz  sherrispelic  ipad 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Standards, Grades And Tests Are Wildly Outdated, Argues 'End Of Average' : NPR Ed : NPR
"Todd Rose dropped out of high school with D- grades. At 21, he was trying to support a wife and two sons on welfare and minimum wage jobs.

Today he teaches educational neuroscience at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He's also the co-founder of The Center for Individual Opportunity, a new organization devoted to "the science of the individual and its implications for education, the workforce, and society."

In other words, Todd Rose is not your average guy. But neither are you.

In fact, he argues, absolutely no one is precisely average. And that's a big problem, he tells NPR Ed: "We've come to embrace a way of thinking about ourselves as people that was intentionally designed to ignore all individuality and force everything in reference to an average person."

Admissions offices, HR departments, banks and doctors make life-changing decisions based on averages. Rose says that "works really well to understand the system or the group, but it fails miserably when you need to understand the individual, which is what we need to do."

Rose talked with us about his new book: The End Of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness.

Q: The opening example you use in the book is that in the 1940s, when the Air Force designed cockpits based on the average measurements of the pilots, there were an unacceptable number of crashes. But when they went back and measured thousands of pilots, across 10 body dimensions, they found that zero of them even came close to the "average" on all 10. So they concluded that they had to redesign the seats and so forth to be adjustable to each person.

A: Body size is a very concrete example of what I call jaggedness. There is no average pilot. No medium-sized people. When you think of someone's size you think of large, medium, small. Our mass-produced approach to clothing reinforces that. But if that were true you wouldn't need dressing rooms.

Q: So dimensions like height and weight and arm length and waist circumference ...

A: Yes, they're not nearly as correlated as you would think. Height is one-dimensional, but size isn't. People are jagged in size, in intelligence, everything we measure shows the same thing.

Q: I'm going to quote a line from the book, said to psychologist Paul Molenaar, who is arguing for a greater focus on individual difference: "What you are proposing is anarchy!" How do you make decisions about people if you can't use statistics and cutoff scores and compare them to averages?

A: People feel like if you focus on individuality, everyone's a snowflake, and you can't build a science on snowflakes. But the opposite has been true.

It's not that you can't use statistics, it's just that you don't use group statistics. If I want to know something about my daily spending habits, one straightforward way would be to collect records of what I spend every day. To take an average for myself would be perfectly fine.

Q: So you can generalize across time, but not across people?

A: We've got to let go of putting a group into a study and taking an average and thinking that's going to be close enough to universal insight.

Now we have something better. We have a natural science of individuality that gives us a surer foundation. We've gotten breakthrough insights in a whole range of research, from cancer to child development.

Q: How does what you term "Averagerianism" impact our school system both historically and today?

A: It's so ubiquitous that it's hard to see.

We design textbooks to be age-appropriate, but that means, what does the average kid of this age know and can do? Textbooks that are designed for the average will be a pretty bad fit for most kids.

Then you think of things like the lockstep, grade-based organization of kids, and you end up sitting in a class for a fixed amount of time and get a one-dimensional rating in the form of a grade, and a one-dimensional standardized assessment. It's everything about the way we test and move kids forward.

Q: With standardized tests, I often hear teachers talking about students being two months behind or ahead, as if there's a very fixed timeline for progress that all human beings should fit.

A: It feels comforting. But if you take the basic idea of jaggedness, if all kids are multidimensional in their talent, their aptitude, you can't reduce them to a single score. It gives us a false sense of precision and gives up on pretending to know anything about these kids.

Q: So alongside jaggedness, two other principles of individual variation you look at are "context-dependence" and "pathways." Talk about those.

A: It's meaningless to talk about behavior and performance without context. Let's take assessment. Carnegie Mellon [University] had this work showing that changing the way a question is asked can fundamentally alter how a kid performs. So if the [math] problem is about football players instead of ballerinas, you can't standardize on the item. That systematically affects the kids' ability to demonstrate what they know.

But at a macro level, I think [context] introduces an attention to things like the impact of stress and trauma.

Q: And what about pathways? This sounds a lot like the talk around personalizing learning using technology and allowing each student to learn at his or her own pace.

A: I think people who care about personalized learning talk about it as: If we just collect more data, we're going to have this personalization. And that's not clear to me at all.

I think when you look at the idea of pace, we are so convinced that slow means dumb and fast means smart. We feel justified in pegging the time to how fast the average person takes to finish.

But this is where, with a better understanding of this and realizing, "Oh, pace really has nothing to do with ability, people are fast at some things and slow with others," you would build a very different system than the one we have.

Q: Do you think the school system acknowledges the need to treat students as individuals?

A: Two years ago I would have said no. But my colleague Paul Reville, who used to be secretary of education in Massachusetts, he's rethinking the architecture of school systems. In most states, people have put on the books goals about meeting every kid where they're at. Even the "Every Student Succeeds" [ESSA, the new federal law] approach is based on the assumption that we're meeting each kid where they're at, to give them what they need to be successful.

But we haven't thought through the system design that needs to be in place to do that.

We're trying to have a system to do what it was never designed to do.

Q: What about in higher education?

A: In higher ed we have a brutally standardized system. It doesn't matter what your interests are, what job you want, everyone takes the same courses in roughly the same time and at the end of the course you get ranked.

This is personal for me. I have two kids in college. The idea that someone is going to click a stopwatch, compare you to other kids in your class, and the kids with the best grades can get the best jobs, that's not a good deal. I want my two boys to figure out what they love and what they're good at and be exposed to things and be able to turn that into a job.

Q: You talk about innovations that are starting to catch on, like competency-based education and credentialing — basically, accommodating different pathways and different balances of strengths and weakness.

A: There's plenty of ways we're making smaller units of learning to combine in ways that are useful to you. To me, competency based education is nonnegotiable. I don't think you can have fixed-time, grade-based learning anymore. I don't see how you justify diplomas.

It doesn't mean students can take forever, but allowing some flexibility in pace and only caring whether they master the material or not is a sound foundation for a higher ed system.

There are so many examples of a lot of really interesting universities trying these things.

Q: Yes, reading this book it struck me that in some quarters, it seems like we've already moved forward to a focus on individuality, innovation, creativity. You talk about how companies like Google are finding that GPA or school prestige or even ranking employees against each other is not useful, and instead they need to create, essentially, performance-based assessments for doing tasks in context.

A: There are bright spots where you can see the principles of individuality at work.

So for me it comes back to, well, wait a minute. So why is that not the mainstream?

What I think my contribution is, is to say: Our institutions are based on assumptions about human beings. Our education system is based on a 19th century idea of an average person and using 20th century statistics.

As long as people think you can understand people based on averages, or how they deviate from averages, it seems reasonable. It looks like accountability and fairness rather than absurdity.

Q: And you're trying to show that there's an alternative?

A: If we don't get rid of this way of thinking about ourselves and the people around us, it's hard to get the public demand to create sustainable change. That's the role that I and my organization want to play. We're making a really big bet."
anyakamenetz  toddrose  standards  grades  grading  averages  education  howweteach  schools  admissions  tests  testing  standardization  standardizedtesting  sameness  paulmolenaar  textbooks  behavior  performance  individuality 
february 2016 by robertogreco
We're Thinking About ADHD All Wrong, Says A Top Pediatrician : NPR Ed : NPR
"Diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are up around 30 percent compared with 20 years ago. These days, if a 2-year-old won't sit still for circle time in preschool, she's liable to be referred for evaluation, which can put her on track for early intervention and potentially a lifetime of medication.

In an editorial just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, Dimitri Christakis argues that we've got this all wrong. He's a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington and the director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Children's Hospital in Seattle.

Parents, schools and doctors, he says, should completely rethink this highly medicalized framework for attention difficulties.

"ADHD does a disservice to children as a diagnosis," Christakis tells NPR Ed.

Here's why. Researchers are currently debating the nature of ADHD. They have found some genetic markers for it, but the recent rise in diagnoses is too swift to be explained by changes in our genes. Neuroscientists, too, are finding brain wiring patterns characteristic of the disorder.

But the current process of diagnosis amounts to giving a questionnaire to parents and doctors. If they identify six out of nine specific behaviors, then the child officially has ADHD.

"If you fall on this side of the line, we label and medicate you," says Christakis. "But on the other side of the line, we do nothing."

This process is, necessarily, subjective. But there's an awful lot of infrastructure and, frankly, money behind it, especially in our education system. A clinical diagnosis of "chronic or acute" attentional difficulties gives public school students a legal right to special accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. But a child who falls just short of that diagnosis is left without any right to extra support.

Christakis says that, instead, we should be thinking more about a spectrum of "attentional capacity" that varies from individual to individual and situation to situation.

Think of it as a bell curve: On the far left would be someone like Thomas Edison, Mr. "Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration," laboring for weeks or months on a single problem. On the far right is someone with severe ADHD.

Attentional capacity, Christakis says, is chief among a cluster of non-academic skills that education researchers have recently become very excited about: executive functioning, self-regulation, grit. Basically, these involve the ability to delay gratification, manage your time and attention and stay on a path toward a goal.

Every child — every person — struggles with this sometimes. Reading to, singing and playing with young children, and making sure older children get a chance to move around, are interventions that can help all students to a lesser or greater extent. "Our job is to have every child maximize attentional capacity," Christakis explains.

Mark Mahone, a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute for children with special needs, agrees with Christakis' concept of a spectrum for attentional disorder. "The current thinking in the field is that attentional capacity and skills do occur on a continuum or spectrum." He also says that in general, pediatrics is evolving toward the idea of proactively supporting attentional functioning in everyone.

But, Mahone says, it doesn't mean that diagnoses and medication aren't helpful and appropriate in severe cases of ADHD. And, he says, there is strong, and growing, evidence of specific brain abnormalities associated with severe ADHD symptoms, which would lend support to the concept of ADHD as a brain disease."
adhd  anyakamenetz  2016  pediatrics  medicine  dimitrichristakis  children  schools  education  parenting  genetics  neuroscience  subjectivity 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Learning, Freedom and the Web
"Learning and the Web. Two powerful forces of change converge in a public square. Their dimensions are unpredictable, and many of the outcomes of their convergence will be unintended, but this experiment is not entirely uncontrolled. This group of scholars, hackers, and activists has calculated the likely conditions, wired in all the right connections. When lightning strikes, they’ll be ready.

You are reading the ebook version of Learning, Freedom and the Web by Anya Kamenetz, published by the Mozilla Foundation. This ebook was designed and built by faculty and students at Emily Carr University's Social + Interactive Media Centre, with the assistance of Steam Clock Software."
marksurman  knowledge  alternative  alted  change  emilycarruniversity  self-directedlearning  self-education  hackers  hacking  making  via:steelemaley  opensource  web  freedom  anyakamenetz  mozilladrumbeat  mozillafoundation  mozilla  unschooling  ebooks  deschooling  education  learning 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Career Of The Future Doesn't Include A 20-Year Plan. It's More Like Four. | Fast Company
"Hasler has several of these skills in spades…interests are transdisciplinary…a "T-shaped person," w/ both depth in 1 subject & breadth in others…demonstrates cross-cultural competency (fluent Spanish, living abroad) & computational thinking (learning programming & applying data to real-world problems)…intellectual voracity that drove him to write 50k words on Western cultural history while running coffee shop is a sign of sense making (drawing deeper meaning from facts) & excellent cognitive load management (continuous learning & managing attention challenges)…desire to synthesize his knowledge & apply it to helping people & his ability to collaborate w/ those who have different skills, shows high degree of social intelligence."

"…not every older worker is frightened by the 4-year career. Some…have been living this way for decades, letting their curiosity—or their faster metabolism—guide them. What stands out is their sense of confidence that things can (and will) turn out okay."
collaboration  cross-culturalcompetency  computationalthinking  continuouslearning  socialintelligence  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  adaptability  specialists  generalists  creativegeneralists  curiosity  sensemaking  renaissancemen  education  transdisciplinary  retooling  unlearning  learning  jobs  anyakamenetz  careers  change  cv  trends  t-shapedpeople  specialization 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Access :: Future — Practical Advice on How to Learn and What to Learn an e-book by Stephen Downes ~ Stephen's Web
"Anya Kamenetz responds to my review saying "I've never read anything you've written (& yes, I've read plenty of your writing) that would be particularly useful, comprehensible or interesting to a bright 19 year old like Weezie, much less a 64 year old trying to earn a community college degree, like Melvin Doran, the LearnerWeb participant." Given all the practical advice I've offered in this space over the years, this seems a bit unfair. <br />
Still, recognizing that it would be helpful were my advice offered in one place, I offer a compilation of my popular & useful work:

Access :: Future Practical Advice on How to Learn and What to Learn an e-book by Stephen Downes http://www.downes.ca/files/AccessFuture.pdf

This is just one book. I also have a ton of other material on really practical hands-on stuff…which I'll compile & post some time in the future. & maybe I'll release the 'open education' book, the 'connectivism' book, etc. in the weeks ahead, if there's any demand for it."
stephendownes  education  learning  autodidacts  online  ebooks  toread  unschooling  deschooling  2011  anyakamenetz  connectivism  howto  diy  edupunk 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Review: The Edupunks' Guide, by Anya Kamenetz
"I have now had the chance to read The Edupunks' Guide and can now form some opinions based on what I've seen. And if I were forced to summarize my critique in a nutshell, it would be this. Edupunk, as described by the putative subculture, is the idea of 'learning by doing it yourself'. The Edupunks' Guide, however, describes 'do-it-yourself learning'. The failure to appreciate the difference is a significant weakness of the booklet."
education  learning  diy  edupunk  diyu  anyakamenetz  stephendownes  subculture  2011  onlinelearning  autodidacts 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Discussion: The Edupunks' Guide [See the rest of the thread, which is likely to continue expanding.]
"When I read the title of the book, I immediately thought this was yet another example of how (formerly radical) subcultures are put to work to valorize and bring the practices of everyday life under capital.

It would be interesting to know whether and how the author of this book addresses this potential contradiction. Personally, I see punk and other oppositional subcultures as expressing and disclosing forms of life and self-learning that are powerful precisely because they are informal, uncodified and untranslatable into student credits.

In this case, there is also the additional risk that the DIY attitude may be mobilized as a form of endorsement "from below" of the rising online education industry sponsored by Republican governors such as Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry. Or even worst to justify government cuts to spending in lower and higher education. After all, if we no longer need schools to learn why should we use taxpayers money for education?…"
anyakamenetz  edupunk  reform  policy  politics  stephendownes  jimgroom  marcodeseriis  mikecaufield  2011  appropriation  punk  radicalism  radicals  valorization  monetization  capitalism  capital  contradiction  subcultures  self-directedlearning  self-learning  unschooling  deschooling  spending  education  informal  informallearning  highereducation  highered 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Dear EDUPUNK, | bavatuesdays
"…last straw has been your indecent exposure in the title of yet another book by Anya Kamanetz…

I mean, when did you stop dating journalists and start dating advocates for a mechanized vision of DIY education? You and I had deep institutional roots, and I am still proud to serve the public mission, why have you turned from this vision? I don’t know, EDUPUNK, I’m confused. I know I don’t own you, I know I have to let you go, but damn it….I loved you once! And I have a feeling your new lovers have moved away from any pretense of “reporting the state of education” and into the realm of advocating for a new corporate ed model. What’s more, I’m afraid they might continue to pimp out your good name—so be careful out there–it is a money hungry world. It might seem all fun and good right now, but just wait until they stick you in a cubicle and have you cold calling kids for that much needed education insurance they’ll need when corporations control the educational field."
jimgroom  edupunk  education  highereducation  highered  forprofit  anyakamenetz  unschooling  deschooling  words  meaning  definitions  money  billgates  gatesfoundation  khanacademy  salkhan  culture  edupreneurs  salmankhan 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Announcing my Next Project: The Edupunk’s Guide to a DIY Credential » DIY U
"The Edupunk’s Guide to a DIY Credential will be an e-book distributed free on the web in summer 2011.* The primary goal is to reach low-income students and potential students to help them find alternative paths to a credential using online and open resources.  The secondary goal is to reach educators and administrators interested in incorporating the latest technology, social media, and collaborative learning into their approaches in order to cut costs while improving learning, socialization, and accreditation both inside and outside the classroom…

Here’s what I’d love to learn more about:

-Alternative higher ed programs, particularly for credentialing prior learning,  experiential learning, self-learning. I know about Excelsior. What else?

-Really smart HR people who are thinking about recruitment given the world of open learning.

-Really smart people I haven’t interviewed yet, who you think I should."
networkedlearning  freelearning  openphd  anyakamenetz  diyu  education  learning  unschooling  deschooling  openlearning  2011  alternative 
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Opposition to DIY Education - By Reihan Salam - The Agenda - National Review Online
"The only way to restore the concept of higher education as a public good is to reinvent it as a truly public good: not subject to antiquated notions of scarcity and hierarchical expertise, but adapted to the current reality of free, open, and immediate sharing of knowledge."
anyakamenetz  highered  highereducation  publicgood  education  policy  economics  hierarchy  sharing  knowledge  expertise  scarcity  reihansalam 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Unschooling the University - Pat Farenga's Blog
"Teenage homeschoolers and unschoolers and their parents would benefit from reading DIY U in particular, if only to give them pause before going to college. After years of learning without attending elementary or high school, homeschoolers and unschoolers who decide to continue learning in their own unique ways without going to conventional college will find DIY U a valuable resource. Indeed, the last section of the book is a very useful resource guide for creating your personal Do It Yourself University."
patfarenga  anyakamenetz  diyu  unschooling  deschooling  books 
june 2010 by robertogreco
A Is for App: How Smartphones, Handheld Computers Sparked an Educational Revolution
"What's at issue is a deep cultural shift, a fundamental rethinking not only of how education is delivered but also of what "education" means. The very word comes from the Latin duco, meaning "to lead or command" -- putting the learner in the passive position. Rabi Kamacharya is an MIT engineering grad who returned to his native Kathmandu from Silicon Valley to found a software company and started OLE Nepal, the network's most established branch, in 2007. Kamacharya talks about technology putting "children in the driver's seat" -- to overcome the limited skills of teachers: "Even in urban areas, teachers who teach English, for example, do not know English very well. Children are at the mercy of the teachers, who may not be motivated or have sufficient materials to work with. We want to enable them to go forward with self-learning and assessment.""
iphone  handhelds  children  learning  unschooling  deschooling  teaching  education  schools  technology  smartphones  opencontent  mobile  socialmedia  software  devices  tcsnmy  gamechanging  self-directedlearning  autodidacts  21stcenturylearning  handheld  ipodtouch  edtech  anyakamenetz 
march 2010 by robertogreco

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