Mixed Signals: Half term ends

It's the end of half term for us here. My challenge of keeping the kids away from their screens (which I've mostly failed) is nearly over.

No. 27 – 31st of October, 2021

It's the end of half term for us here.

My challenge of keeping the kids away from their screens (which I've mostly failed) is nearly over.

We're all still learning about how tech is affecting our kids (and us adults). And I take a more keen interesting in the topic than most. Yet blaming the big evil tech companies allows us to shift the blame away from ourselves.

It's a trap I've fallen into with schools. It's far too easy to blame every problem in society on the education system and overworked teachers.

So a healthy balance must be maintained. We should hold those in positions to make changes to account, to ensure those changes are made, and are positive.

And we should also take personal responsibility. To look within and see what changes we can make.

On with the links...

01. The final whistle?

The latest whistleblower, Frances Haugen, has been talking to MPs in the UK this week. Facebook's mission to 'move fast and break things' seems less innovative when the 'things' that get broken are vaccine adoption, the safety of teenage girls, and democracies.

+ It's all bad news for Facebook right now, except that shares are up 25% since January, profits hit $9bn in their most recent quarter, and they're still seeing a 6% increase in daily active users. That won't matter for long if nobody wants to work there, and kids think it's boring.

+ Not to worry, everything will be fine. Facebook has announced it will... change its name. 🙄

02. Doing it for the 'gram.

On a related note, I've just finished reading No Filter by Sarah Frier. It's the story of Instagram, from the inside, and gives a great understanding of how these social media platforms (and Facebook specifically) are built:

But nothing "just is", especially Instagram. Instagram isn't designed to be a neutral technology, like electricity or computer code. It's an intentionally crafted experience, with an impact on its users that is not inevitable, but is the product of a series of choices by its makers about how to shape behavior.

+ In case there's any doubt about the importance of how these apps are designed, and how these companies are regulated... 45% of Americans don’t believe humans cause climate change.

03. Sammy's right.

There's been plenty of noise around the new 'Social Mobility Tsar' recently, so it was refreshing to hear from Sammy Wright as his 3 years on the Commission come to an end:

We get sucked into heated debates that frame the proportion of teacher talk in a lesson as more significant for a child’s achievement than whether or not they ate that day.

+ Sammy also explains why the solution to child poverty is quite simple... give them money, in his interview with The Guardian.

+ Nautre is still the original tech innovator.

+ How do we get better at elastic thinking? By doing the opposite of what traditional schools are doing.