6.4.14

[born digital fiction: pieces of herself]

Davis portrays her view on theories of how women are seen in society by using pictures and interactive digital media. “Pieces of Herself” uses a drag and drop interface by using a dress-up doll which gives readers opportunities to customize their exploration of the poem. The character is portrayed as a kind of dress-up doll that appears on the left side of the window, while readers visit the woman’s house and discover different items to place on her. Every time something is placed on the dress-up doll, it triggers an audio clip and a short, looping animation that remains on the doll. The fact that we cannot remove any of these animations is a comment on the irrevocable layering of experiences on a young woman as she is shaped by the world that surrounds her.
As you explore the poem, notice the speaker’s tone when describing the scenery. What importance does the phrase bring to the poem’s context? Colors and images emerge as the mouse clicks on the interface, and each one has a special meaning to the doll’s life. Consider the small visual and aural parts of the work and search for the meaning of every sound individually and as it combines to produce a complete artistic experience.




via I love E-Poetry.

[unhomework]

Exactly! I disagree with the idea of homework for homework's sake. There should be a reason for the homework and it should encourage life-long learning.


Why students should set and mark their own homework


Teacher Mark Creasy has turned the traditional concept of homework on it's head by tasking his students with the administration and assessment. Here's how it works
Homework
Teacher Mark Creasy's concept of unhomework is designed to inspire students and prepare them for the future.
Photograph: Ableimages/Getty Images.


Over the past 10 years as a teacher, I have come to view homework as a Goldilocks issue. For some parents, there's always too much, for others not enough and for the rest it's just right.


For me, though, the bigger issue is the inverse relationship between the time and effort taken over setting, completing and marking homework and the benefit for the learner. Traditionally-set homework – involving worksheets, workbooks, research, answering and memorising – does not and cannot meet the needs of every learner individually. Furthermore, the well-intentioned ideal behind homework – to prepare learners for the future – is impossible as children have no influence over the work, except for those who decide not to complete it.


As the parent of a nine-year-old, I view homework as something which I need to support the school in getting my daughter to complete, but I also see the way it affects how much time she has for other activities which often have as much – or more – educational benefit: baking, making, playing, and so on. Having been taught to think for herself she can frequently find better learning opportunities. I've written notes to teachers explaining why she hasn't completed the set homework and stating what she has done instead – complicated, as I work at her school too.

Replace homework with "unhomework"
Unhomework in action – three key elements


Over the past 10 years of teaching across six schools in both the primary and secondary sectors, I've developed a way to make homework more purposeful and inspire students to want to complete it for their own benefit. I call it unhomework. While it is a simple concept – get the children to set, check and assess the work so teachers don't have to – it can't be achieved without securing the right environment for success. To do this, I've established the 5 Rs as my bedrock: respect, relationships, resilience, responsibilities and rights. These are essential to make unhomework effective – the tasks children complete at home, of their own volition, are actually just an extension of this classroom ethos.


A great example of this process happened with my year 5 class recently for our topic of the sun, Earth and moon. As this is a subject where practical experiment opportunities are lacking, I decided a group project fitted the brief better. Here's an outline of unhomework in pactice:


1. The 5 Rs


• Respect – students decided what strengths they had to offer to help the group complete the topic.


• Relationships – the groups elected a leader, who monitored work and chose pieces. This involved using Google Docs for sharing, as well as play dates to create dances, songs and plays.


• Resilience – the children worked on this for more than four weeks so had to be dedicated and focused, aided by the leader who monitored the work completion.


• Rights – students had the right to complete the work as they chose, but could not assert their rights over their peers.


• Responsibilities – everyone had to complete their work to a standard that showed their best, being held to account by their peers. Students chose what was included and the mode of presentation, which included planets being made, presented as slides, drawn, written about and even danced.


2. The ground rules


Once the 5 Rs are established in your classroom, then these are the simple expectations adhered to in my classes:


• Work can be presented in any format.


• Work needs to meet a target for improvement or could be something you enjoy doing applied in a new way or to a different subject.


• The children set the deadline and must meet it. Handing in early is only positive if the work meets the standard they can achieve.


3. What? Why? How?


These three questions – what are the focus, purpose and criteria for success? – are the framework in which my classes set their own work. I suggest establishing with the class that all homework you have set in the past meets these elements (show them with examples of their work) and then ask them to set their own, recording it formally under these headings. By having all unhomework set in this way, it is easily referred back to and can be built upon. Again, the recent year five science project demonstrates each of these:


• Focus – students chose this for themselves and created a checklist with their group.


• Purpose – in discussion with their peers, the children explained why they had chosen this.


• Success criteria – the children reviewed their own work and others' against these. Using their ideas for improvement, we are currently working on a project for the topic sound with the students in different groups to continue to develop their 5 Rs.


Each aspect is important, but especially the success criteria, as they allow for self-, peer- and teacher-assessment to be focused and targeted. Similarly, the triangular feedback provided by the child, learning partner and teacher allows for development to the work to be made, rather than a simple "completed, move on" approach.


In my experience, unhomework prepares learners for their future lives by developing and embedding the skills that establish lifelong learning as a reality, not just a concept or a soundbite.


Mark has taught for 17 years in both primary and secondary sectors and is based in Buckinghamshire. The book, Unhomework, is available now.

5.4.14

[close reading strategies]

Some great ideas that really make close-reading accessible. Though this is with a grade five class, the strategies can be implemented by all levels of readers.


4.4.14

[cfp: distributed architectures and multimedia apps - paris]



« Reclaiming the Internet » with distributed architectures:

rights, technologies, practices, innovation

The research program ADAM (Distributed Architectures and Multimedia Applications, adam.hypotheses.org) (1) studies the technical, political, social, socio-cultural and legal implications of distributed network architectures. This term indicates a type of network bearing several features: a network made of multiple computing units, capable to achieve its objective by sharing resources and tasks, able to tolerate the failure of individual nodes and thus not subjected to single points of failure, and able to scale flexibly. Beyond this simplified operational definition, the choice, by developers and engineers of Internet-based services, to develop these architectures instead of today’s widespread centralized models, has several implications for the daily use of online services and for the rights of Internet users.

The final symposium of the ADAM project, open to disciplines as varied as science and technology studies, information and communication sciences, economics, law and network engineering, aims at investigating these implications in terms of a central issue. With the increasingly evident centralization of the Internet and the surveillance excesses it appears to allow, what are the place and the role of the (re-) decentralisation of networks’ technical architectures – at a time when infringements upon privacy and pervasive surveillance practices are often embedded in these architectures? Are distribution and decentralization of network architectures the ways, as Philippe Aigrain suggests (2), to “reclaim” Internet services – instruments of ‘technical governance’ able to reconnect with the original organisation of cyberspace?
Papers presented at the symposium may focus on one or more of the following four axes, although we welcome proposals that do not fully subscribe to them.
  • Back to the origins”? Past and present of distributed architectures. The initial Internet model called for a decentralised and symmetrical organisation – in terms of bandwidth usage, but also of contacts, user relations and machine-to-machine communication. In the 1990s, the commercial explosion of the Internet brings about important changes, exposing the shortcomings – for the network’s usability and its very functioning – of a model presupposing the active cooperation of all network members. Today, in a world of Internet services where fluxes and data converge towards a few giants, experimentations with distributed architectures are seen as a “return to the origins”. But is it really about the dominance of an organizational principle at different times in history – or is there a co-existence of different levels of resource centralisation, hierarchy of powers, and cooperation among Internet users over time? Are we indeed witnessing a “war of the worlds” of which the recent tensions around surveillance are the most recent illustration?
  • (Re-) decentralisation, a sustainable alternative for the Internet ‘ecology’? The technical features of distributed architectures (direct connections, resistance to failure) and their ability to support the emergence of organisational, social and legal principles (privacy, security, recognition of rights) offer new paths of exploration and preservation of the Internet’s balance. At the same time, the road towards decentralisation is far from linear. The users behind the P2P nodes can assemble in collectives that are very varied in nature, complexity and underlying motivations. This variety may be dependent upon modes of aggregation, visibility devices, types of communication tools and envisaged business models (as well as the difficulty of identifying sustainable ones). Having programmed the infrastructures with the idea that the most part of users’ online activities consist in downloading data and information from clusters of servers, network access providers raise economic objections to P2P models. Finally, developers-turned-entrepreneurs themselves often need to revisit the choice of decentralisation, because of unexpected user practices, the impossibility of making distributed technology “easy” for the public, or the seductive simplicity of centralized infrastructures and economic models.
  • Decentralisation and distribution of skills, rights, control. How does distributed architecture redefine user skills, rights, capacities to control? How can law support user practices and their diversity, instead of countering them? The decentralisation of Internet services raises several issues at the crossroads of law and technology. What are the differences if compared to centralized architectures, non-modifiable by users, where data are stored on clusters of servers exclusively controlled by service providers? From the viewpoint of user empowerment, what are the consequences of introducing encryption, file fragmentation, sharing of disk space in the technical architecture? While “first-generation” P2P networks have affected copyright first and foremost, decentralised Internet-based service prompt us to investigate issues like the redefinition of notions such as creator and distributor, the responsibility of technical intermediaries, the ‘embeddedness’ of law into technical devices.
  • What are the communicational models at stake in decentralised infrastructures and architectures? Distributed Internet services have transformed and transform today the ways in which actors make sense of their communicational capacities and their responsibilities in information sharing. User empowerment, prompted by several P2P services – increasingly mobile, self-configurable and flexible – open innovative perspectives for infrastructures of communication, their functions and their mediation capacities among actors. In what ways does this evolution transform data and communication channels? What are the representations of the values subtending these architectures and the relations among their participants, vis-à-vis other Internet services, but also within the spheres of conception, discussion and circulation of these objects? What are the new forms of contribution and what do they enable in terms of pedagogical practices and shared literacies? Finally, in which ways do distributed infrastructures relate to the notion of ‘informational common good’?
We invite paper proposals in French and/or English, in the form of a 500 to 800 word abstract sent to the address francesca.musiani@mines-paristech.fr. Key dates:
  • Deadline for the sending of abstracts: May 15, 2014
  • Notifications of acceptance sent by the Program Committee: June 6, 2014
  • Deadline for full papers: September 15, 2014
  • ADAM final symposium: October 2-3, 2014
We envisage a collective publication originating from the conference and are looking into different possibilities (edited book or special issue of a journal).
ADAM Project Team and Program Committee of the Symposium
Maya Bacache, Département SES, Télécom ParisTech
Danièle Bourcier, CERSA, CNRS
Primavera De Filippi, CERSA, CNRS
Isabelle Demeure, INFRES, Télécom ParisTech
Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay, ISCC, CNRS
Annie Gentès, CoDesign Lab, Télécom ParisTech
François Huguet, CoDesign Lab, Télécom ParisTech
Alexandre Mallard, CSI, MINES ParisTech
Cécile Méadel, CSI, MINES ParisTech
Francesca Musiani, CSI, MINES ParisTech
(1)  Funded by the French National Agency for Research (ANR), CONTINT (Contents and Interactions) Programme
(2)  Aigrain, P. (2010). “Declouding Freedom: Reclaiming Servers, Services and Data.” In 2020 FLOSS Roadmap (2010 Version/3rd Edition), https://flossroadmap.co-ment.com/text/NUFVxf6wwK2/view/

3.4.14

[cfp: crowdfunding,e-commerce]

Call for Contributions: The MoneyLab Reader
INC Reader #10

Edited by Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz

MONEYLAB

The MoneyLab project launched late 2013 by the Institute of Network Cultures and the University of Warwick considers sprouting alternative digital-economic forms, radical experiments with crypto-currencies, payment systems and revenue models against the backdrop of the ongoing global economic decline. The first MoneyLab conference took place in Amsterdam on March 21-22 2014. Blog reports and videos of the talks and discussions can be found through http://networkcultures.org/moneylab.

MONEYLAB READER

Part of the project will be the publication of the MoneyLab Reader in the INC Reader series. A volume of critical essays by theorists, programmers, activists, and artists; edited by Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz and to be published early 2015.

WE INVITE

Internet, visual culture and media scholars, critical finance scholars, anthropologists, Bitcoin researchers, artists, curators, free software and open-content advocates, P2P gurus, financial activists, conference participants and others to submit proposals for The MoneyLab Reader.

POSSIBLE TOPICS

Mobile Money // Networks & Money // Activism & Finance // Monetization of Social Capital // Crowdfunding Research // Crypto Money // Histories of Internet Banking // Money & Art // Recommendation Systems // E-wallets // Payment Systems // Like, +One, and Favorite Economies.

FORMATS

We welcome interviews, dialogues, essays and articles, images (b/w), email exchanges, manifestos, or other, with a maximum of 8,000 words, but preferably shorter at around 5,000 words. For scope and style, take a look at the previous INC Readers and the style guide (pdf).

WANT TO JOIN?

Send in your proposal (500 words max.) before June 1st, 2014. You may expect a response before July 1st, 2014.

DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS

September 1st, 2014.

EMAIL TO

Miriam Rasch (Publications Coordinator @ Institute of Network Cultures) at miriam[at]networkcultures[dot]org

BACKGROUND

While the economic downturn endures and budget cuts prevail, we have witnessed the emergence and rise of alternative payment systems and revenue models in digital media. Online bartering sites, a plethora of crowdfunding platforms, new forms of valuation, e-wallets and crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, are but a few examples. These coincide with the huge growth of mobile money transfer services across Asia and Africa and the general convergence of digital and financial industries.

MoneyLab: Coining Alternatives is a network that aims to critically explore, map and probe the politics, inner-workings and governance of these alternative digital-economic forms. It is not enough to merely promote and further develop (technical) alternatives, we also need time to ask ourselves critical questions and re-examine the very underpinnings of our endeavours.

Of central importance to this project is the formation of a collaborative network of researchers, artists, developers, engineers, and others interested in sharing, coining, critiquing, and ushering in alternative network economies., focused on the monetization debate and looked into three specific fields of inquiry: Bitcoins and other crypto-currencies, crowd funding research and mobile money in the global South.

MORE INFORMATION


INC Reader #10


Edited by Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz

2.4.14

[sign the freedom of information and expression declaration!]

The information society, the Internet and the media are today largely controlled by large corporations such as Google and Facebook and a state-industrial complex. The control mechanisms unveiled by Edward Snowden, the closure of and attack against public service media, repression against critcal journalists, online platforms and activists, and a highly centralised Internet and media economy are characteristic for this situation.

We live in an unfree information society with limits to expression and an unfree Internet.

Sign the Freedom of Information and Expression Declaration that demands a free Internet, free media and a free information society!

The 2014 Vienna Declaration on Freedom of Information and Expression
Sign:

More information and videos of talks from the Freedom of Information Conference: