EdTech Factotum #2: Instagrim, Antigonish & the state of the LMS market

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5 min read

May 19, 2017

3 articles that I found interesting this week.

Antigonish 2.0: A Way for Higher Ed to Help Save the Web

Bonnie Stewart, EDUCAUSE Review, May 8, 2017
If there is a positive to take out of the shit show that was the US election, it is that it has proven to be a rallying cry to many educators to ramp up efforts on increasing our collective digital & media literacy. Projects like Mike Caulfield'sDigital Polarization Initiative,  higher education courses on understanding fake news (including the beautifully titled Calling Bullshit course, with shades of Howard Rheingold's Crap Detection work from another web era), and the numerous individual initiatives by educators helping students become critical thinkers about information. In an age when (mis)information is used as a political weapon, these types of efforts are important.

Antignoish 2.0 is one of those projects that I have been following. In addition to the focus on digital & media literacy, Bonnie Stewart's project is firmly rooted in an interesting adult education model with ties to the 19th centry co-op movement known as The Antigonish Movement. Antigonish 2.0 borrows many of the elements of the original movement in an attempt to develop a contemporary distributed network rooted in local institutions and communities.

Antigonish 2.0, therefore, is a community capacity-building project about media literacy and civic engagement. In this era of profound political polarization, disinformation, and fake news, the project aims to frame and foster narratives of democracy and contribution. Antigonish 2.0 revisions the cooperative adult education tradition of the Antigonish Movement for a digitized world.

Despite the model being over 100 years old, it feels incredibly relevant today as it is designed to leverage both the potential of the network and local communities in a unified vision. The question is: what role will higher education play in supporting initiatives like Antigonish 2.0?

Antigonish 2.0 offers a call to colleges and universities around the globe to consider how their resources—staff, faculty, students, space, digital infrastructures, brands—can be deployed at all three layers of the initiative.

But in order to do that, higher ed has to be willing not to look the way it has always looked. It has to be willing to lend a portion of its infrastructure and its time and its endowments to this integrated model of network plus institution plus community, even though this model does not factor in prestige rankings or research dollars. It has to be willing to look to people both in and beyond classroom walls as part of its purview.

State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: Spring 2017 Edition

Phil Hill, e-Literate, May 15, 2017

While this has always been a relevant report for those in EdTech in higher education, it has become even moreso for Canadians in the past few years with the inclusion of Canadian data from LISTedTECH. Not unexpected, Canvas continues to grow at a rapid pace.

While there is no regional breakdown (likely is available for those who subscribe), I suspect the growth of Canvas in Canada is not nearly as rapid as it has been in the US. For example, in British Columbia where I work, Canvas growth has been virtually non-existent except for a single self-hosted version at Simon Fraser University.

The barrier to Canvas growth in BC is likely the data sovereignty requirements of our provincial FIPPA legislation which prohibits the storage of personally identifiable information outside of Canada without prescribed consent. With Canvas being a cloud based SaaS, this privacy requirement has likely been enough of a barrier to remove it from consideration from many regional institutions.

However, with the opening of Canadian data centres by Microsoft and Amazon, we could see a change on the horizon. BC institutions may be willing to take a closer look at Canvas as a potential contender with the regional data restriction issue addressed.

Instagrim: Why Social Media Makes Students Miserable

Donna Freitas, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7, 2017

For many years, educators have urged students to pay attention to their digital footprint as it will follow them through their life. Yeah, true. Sadly, true.

Our actions online, no matter how far in the past, can come back and be used against us; a reasoning that lies at the heart of why you are seeing many in our space take active steps to wipe their footprint on a regular basis.

As a parent with kids just getting into social media, I have become hyper-aware of the complexity involved with cultivating the "right" digital image with both their peer group and with the neverending story that is being written about them on the internet. It's chilling to think that you are just one bad post away from permanent damage.

After surveying 800 students & interviewing 200 at 13 different institutions about their social media identities, Donna Frietas has discovered that most young people are approaching social media with fear and anxiety.

Fear and anxiety — about being barred from college, getting kicked off a team or a sorority, being passed over for an internship or a job — are driving this vigilance on social media. The wrong post has the potential to go viral. So we have entered a new stage in the digital 21st century: the professionalization of social media. And that professionalization has led to a new phenomenon, especially among young people: the transformation of the self as brand. While that shift has been good in some ways, they, and we, have lost something in the evolution.

When people start referring to themselves as a "brand" – a marketing term steeped in the world of commercialization which reduces people to things – I can't help but think that maybe we have approached social media with the wrong lens. With a corporate lens instead of a human lens.

But can we be surprised that the language of corporations is so deeply embedded in our collective conscious when the platforms we use to express our identity are almost completely corporate controlled?

Thanks for reading.
Til next week.

Unless otherwise noted, all content CC-BY Clint Lalonde.

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