Election Strife, Protest And Noise: In 2017, Russia Cranked Up The Volume
The Russian Facebook scandal damages liberals as much as the right
The Republicans might have been tarnished by the St Petersburg troll factory, but Democratic fantasies about social media were rubbished in the process
The ads in question were memes, manufactured and posted to a number of bluntly named, pseudo-American Facebook
accounts in 2016 by workers at a troll farm in St Petersburg, Russia. There were thousands of these ads, it seems, plus parallel efforts on Instagram and Twitter. Between them, they reached over 100 million people.
The memes were big news
for a while because they showed what Russian interference in the 2016 election actually looked like, in vivid color. Eventually the story faded, though, in part because it was superseded by other stories, but also, I think, because the Russian ad story was deeply distasteful to both sides of our atrophied political debate.
The ads were clumsily written. They were rife with spelling errors and poor grammar. Their grasp of American history was awful. And over them all
hovered a paranoid fear that the powerful were scheming to flip the world upside-down in the most outlandish ways: to turn our country over to the undocumented … to punish the hardworking … to crack down on patriots and Christians … to enact Sharia law right here at home.
The social media platforms aren’t neutral arbiters, selflessly serving the needs of society. As is all too obvious now, they are monopolies that manipulate us in a hundred different ways, selecting our news, steering us towards what we need to buy. The corporate entities behind them wield enormous power in Washington, too, filling
Democratic campaign coffers and keeping the revolving door turning
for trusted servants. Those who don’t comply get disciplined.
Internet watchdog demands explanation after Ramzan Kadyrov claimed Facebook also suspended him without explanation
Kadyrov has accused the US government of pressuring the social networks to disable his accounts, which he said were blocked on Saturday without explanation. The US imposed travel and financial sanctions on Kadyrov last week over numerous allegations of human rights abuses.
The former rebel fighter, who is now loyal to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is a fan of social media, particularly Instagram, which he has used in recent years to make barely veiled death threats against Kremlin critics.
Leonid Levin, the head of the Russian parliament’s information technologies and communications committee, suggested the move by Facebook and Instagram was an attack on freedom of speech.
Dzhambulat Umarov, the Chechen press and information minister, described the blocking of Kadyrov’s accounts as a “vile” cyber-attack by the US.
Neither Instagram nor Facebook had commented at the time of publication.
In 2015, Kadyrov urged Chechen men not to let their wives use the WhatsApp messaging service after an online outcry over the forced marriage of a 17-year-old Chechen to a 47-year-old police chief. “Do not write such things. Men, take your women out of WhatsApp,” he said.
more on fake news in this IMS blog
Nice outline of the presidential candidates views on K12
The major party hopefuls still in the race as of last week boasted widely varied records and stances on K-12. (Download as a PDF.)
Related: How Meaty Are the Presidential Candidates’ Online K-12 Positions?
Excellent interactive chart available from Global Network Discovery
Here is a wonderful interactive chart from Global Network Discovery that you can use to compare the affordances of different laptops. The chart compares a wide variety of laptops on criteria that include things such as : memory, storage capacity, screen size, and weight. You can also use the search functionality accompanied with the chart to refine your search by CPU, brand or model. Hovering your cursor over any laptop icon will display a small box with details pertaining to that product. These details include, besides the specs and features of that laptop, an updated version of its price.
Keep this interactive chart handy to use next time you want to buy a laptop. If you are looking for the best laptops for teachers, you can check this list instead. You can also use the “more” option in the chart to search for other comparison charts on smartphones, flash drives and SSD drives.
How to Craft Useful, Student-Centered Social Media Policies
By Tanner Higgin 08/09/18
Whether your school or district has officially adopted social media or not, conversations are happening in and around your school on everything from Facebook to Snapchat. Schools must reckon with this reality and commit to supporting thoughtful and critical social media use among students, teachers and administrators. If not, schools and classrooms risk everything from digital distraction to privacy violations.
Key Elements to Include in a Social Media Policy
- Create parent opt-out forms that specifically address social media use.Avoid blanket opt-outs that generalize all technology or obfuscate how specific social media platforms will be used. (See this example by the World Privacy Forum as a starting point.)
- Use these opt-out forms as a way to have more substantive conversations with parents about what you’re doing and why.
- Describe what platforms are being used, where, when and how.
- Avoid making the consequences of opt-out selections punitive (e.g., student participation in sports, theater, yearbook, etc.).
- Establish baseline guidelines for protecting and respecting student privacy.
- Prohibit the sharing of student faces.
- Restrict location sharing: Train teachers and students on how to turn off geolocation features/location services on devices as well as in specific apps.
- Minimize information shared in teacher’s social media profiles: Advise teachers to list only grade level and subject in their public profiles and not to include specific school or district information.
- Make social media use transparent to students: Have teachers explain their social media plan, and find out how students feel about it.
- Most important: As with any technology, attach social media use to clearly articulated goals for student learning. Emphasize in your guidelines that teachers should audit any potential use of social media in terms of student-centered pedagogy: (1) Does it forward student learning in a way impossible through other means? and (2) Is using social media in my best interests or in my students’?
Moving from Policy to Practice.
Social media policies, like policies in general, are meant to mitigate the risk and liability of institutions rather than guide and support sound pedagogy and student learning. They serve a valuable purpose, but not one that impacts classrooms. So how do we make these policies more relevant to classrooms?
First, it forces policy to get distilled into what impacts classroom instruction and administration. Second, social media changes monthly, and it’s much easier to update a faculty handbook than a policy document. Third, it allows you to align social media issues with other aspects of teaching (assessment, parent communication, etc.) versus separating it out in its own section.
more on social media in education in this IMS blog
more on social media policies in this IMS blog
How Data Privacy Lessons in Alternative Reality Games Can Help Kids In Real Life
Ubiquitous social media platforms—including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—have created a venue for people to share and connect with others. We use these services by clicking “I Agree” on Terms of Service screens, trading off some of our private and personal data for seemingly free services. While these services say data collection helps create a better user experience, that data is also potentially exploitable.
The news about how third parties obtain and use Facebook users’ data to wage political campaigns and the mounting evidence of election interference have shined a spotlight on just how secure our data is when we share online. Educating youth about data security can fall under the larger umbrella of digital citizenship, such as social media uses and misuses and learning how not to embarrass or endanger oneself while using the internet.
Darvasi’s students in Toronto can pool together 55 faux bitcoins to purchase and launch the BOTTING protocol against an opponent. The student targeted at Fallon’s school in Connecticut would then have 48 hours to record audio of 10 words of Darvasi’s students choosing and send it back to them through an intermediary (Darvasi or Fallon). For a higher price of 65 faux bitcoins, students can launch MORPHLING, which would give the opponent 48 hours to record a one-minute video explaining three ways to stay safe while using Facebook, while making their school mascot (or a close approximation of) appear in the video in some way during the entire minute.
more on digital citizenship in this IMS blog
Keynote: Cybersecurity Awareness Is Dead! Long Live Cybersecurity Awareness!
Far too often, cybersecurity awareness-raising training fails to account for how people learn and proven ways to change behaviors. The cybersecurity community too easily falls into the trap of thinking that “humans are the weakest link.” In this talk, Dr. Jessica Barker will argue that, if humans are the weakest link, then they are our weakest link as an industry. With reference to sociology, psychology, and behavioral economics, as well as lessons from her professional experience, Jessica will discuss why a better understanding of human nature needs to be a greater priority for the cybersecurity community.
Outcomes: Explore how we can apply knowledge from other disciplines to improve cybersecurity awareness-raising training and communications * Understand where the cybersecurity industry can improve with regards to awareness, behavior, and culture * Develop ideas to improve how you communicate cybersecurity messages and conduct awareness-raising training
more on cybersecurity in this IMS blog
How Churchill broke the Greek Resistance
How Winston Churchill and the British government attacked the Greek Resistance and sowed the seeds of civil war.
in December 1944: Nazi troops were still resisting the Allies, which were making slow progress in Italy and being pushed back in the Ardennes faced with the Wehrmacht’s final counter-offensive. Yet the “bands” here targeted by Churchill were not groups of collaborators, but the partisans of the great National Liberation Front
(EAM), which had for three years mounted mass resistance against the German occupiers.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the eastern Mediterranean had been the center of a rivalry between Britain and Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 having put an end to the latter country’s ambitions in the region, in the early 1940s, Greece was under unchallenged British influence. In this context, the country was of some strategic importance.
during the Quadrant Conference
with Roosevelt in Quebec (August 17-24, 1943), Churchill saw his last hopes of an Allied landing in Greece vanish. Meanwhile, the Red Army’s advance beyond the USSR’s own frontiers was no longer in doubt. Churchill now took matters directly in hand, despite his advisers’ reticence, blocking off any possibility of negotiation and sending the EAM delegates home. At the same time, in a note to his high command, he drafted what would later become the MANNA plan: namely, to send an expeditionary corps to Greece after the German troops’ withdrawal.
The EAM-ELAS nonetheless succeeded in liberating a large part of the country. It established popular institutions which formed a counter-state. The worries among the British peaked in March 1944, when a “government of the mountains” was created that organized elections. Conversely, this approach awakened the enthusiasm of the Greek armed forces in Egypt, who immediately demanded that the Resistance be included in the exile government. Churchill replied with pitiless repression. He had “rebellious” elements deported to camps in Africa, and set up a praetorian guard prepared to return to Greece with the King and the British troops upon Liberation.
Everything was set for the application of the MANNA plan, which had been prepared the previous year. The victorious Red Army offensive in Bulgaria in September 1944 forced the Wehrmacht to withdraw from Greece, under attack from ELAS partisans. It was after this retreat that the British expeditionary corps arrived, accompanied by Papandreou and Scobie. Establishing themselves in the capital on October 18, the two men demanded that ELAS lay down its weapons, even as they rejected the disarming of the praetorian guard that had been formed in Egypt and, conveniently enough, transferred to Athens in early November.
December 3, 1944, saw a monster demonstration in Syntagma Square to demand Papandreou’s resignation and the constitution of a new government. The massacre that followed — the police opened fire on unarmed civilians, leaving over twenty dead and more than a hundred wounded — triggered the insurrection of the people of Athens. This was the pretext that Churchill had sought in order to be able to break the Resistance.
While the ELAS was still present across the rest of Greece’s territory, its leaders dreaded imposing new trials on an exhausted and famished population: 1,770 villages had been burned, more than a million people did not have a roof over their heads, and grain production had fallen by 40 percent. Meanwhile, the Allies’ aid only reached those who collaborated with them. With the Varkiza accord signed on February 12, 1945, the ELAS agreed unilaterally to give up its weapons. At the same time at Yalta, Churchill, together with Roosevelt and Stalin, solemnly proclaimed “the right of all peoples in liberated Europe to choose their own form of government.”
In breaking the Greek Resistance, the British had precipitated a civil war that would last — in open or latent forms — for some thirty years, with a brief lull between 1963 and 1965. It would only end with the fall of the colonels’ dictatorship in 1974. This “coup in Athens” reminds us that through its history, modern Greece has only enjoyed a very limited sovereignty.
more on history in this IMS blog
Gamification: Alternative Leaderboards
Wanting to win’ versus “wanting to avoid losing” is a subtle yet crucial distinction; Murayama and Elliot’s (2012) set of meta-analyses found the effects of competition depend on this distinction in the minds of players. When someone wants to perform better than others, they tend to benefit from competition. But when they want to avoid performing worse than others, competing tends to reduce their performance.
Senko et al’s (2017) meta-analysis found that “wanting to win” improves the performance of participants only when it’s accompanied by strategies that support feelings of mastery. So “wanting to win” alone is not enough to inoculate players from the downsides of competitive social environments.
There are 2 principles of design to support the outcome:
- Workplace performance is more complex than a single number on a leaderboard.
Let’s show the major competencies that drive the performance, instead of one single number.
- Don’t just compare yourself to others. Compare your performance against your own history!
Let’s show the trajectory for driving competencies!
Imagine a leaderboard more like a performance dashboard where your overall performance is broken down your top competencies with your historical data points. You can see the trajectory of where you’re heading. Then, you can show the company average and top performers’ numbers on each competency. You can identify your strength and opportunities. Then, you can apply AI to give you guidance on how to change your trajectory based on top performers’ data points.
More on leaderboards in this IMS blog
more on gamification in this IMS blog