data, but on an engine running on that data—powered by data. Instructure recently announced their “second growth initiative [will be] focused on analytics, data science and artificial intelligence. The code name for this initiative is DIG.”
Data are not evil. Its the profit motive that distort how it gets used and why users lose control, but I want some basic analytic tools in my online classrooms. I want to use chatbots to add scaffold to classes. There are patterns in writing and HTML machines will recognize hours if not days and weeks before. I want all of it.
so it behooves them to be sure we stay afraid. If we weren’t looking for efficient solutions to the messy work of teaching and learning, Instructure’s teacher-in-the-cloud wouldn’t be an easily foreseeable future.
We should be afraid but we should also take action. To say there can never be a place for machine learning in open pedagogy isn't the the right move. We must actively seek data structures outside of the big edtech firms. Ignore their unifiying data platforms, digital credentialing systems, and forthcoming xAPI. Carve out away to share metadata free from the edtech silos.
Martha notes that the four primary goals of the initiative are to:
- Provide students with the tools and technologies to build out a digital space of their own
- Help students appreciate how digital identity is formed
- Provide students with curricular opportunities to use the Web in meaningful ways
- Push students to understand how the technologies that underpin the Web work, and how that impacts their lives
These are pedagogical goals, not instrumental ones, not goals wedded to outcomes like retention and performance—though they undoubtedly affect those things.
I think we can build a way where we still meet Martha's goals and have some fun new technologies to throw in our classes. For example I have been exploring using the class attribute any HTML element can have to keep metadata in the my plain HTML files where teachers and students can see it. That is part of the problem the edtech prededation occurs becuase we have no idea what they feed on.
This tiny bit of metadata, called microformats, is used by the IndieWeb community to power a ton of fun automation that creates some amazing open learning spaces. I hope to build new bots for badging and building smart tutors. Yet I want it to be opt-in for my learners. You log in with your domain and decide what pages and what type of metadata gets controlled.