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Posts Tagged ‘fake

I remember Ask Jeeves like I remember Lycos and Hotbot. These were search engines before Google.

I remember curation before the likes of fire-and-forget services like These tweet “curations” are Ask Peeves for me because they piss me off.

Last month I tweeted an article about providing effective formative feedback.

The title of the article included the word “cartography” because the writer likened feedback to knowing 1) where you are, 2) where you need to be, and 3) how to get there.

However, individuals and bots who did not bother to actually read the article auto “curated” it into papers about geography, way finding, navigation, and the like. Even my attempt to hashtag the tweet with #feedback did little to stem the tide.

I dread to think of “experts” and trainers showing teachers how to set up such fire-and-forget services in the name of curation. It is not curation if you 1) have not read the article, 2) are not telling a coherent story, and 3) are not doing any of the heavy lifting.

If you like fire-and-forget strategies, you are taking a shortcut. You might get views and followers initially. But when they see that you lack effort and substance when you fire, they will forget.

Earlier this month, @tucksoon tweeted this CNA article about fake news.

I turn the question on teachers and rephrase it slightly. Do teachers know how to spot bad theory and practice?

Do they know why they should question:

  • Learning styles?
  • Homework?
  • Assessment practices?
  • Digital distinctions?

If not, I share what I have written and curated on:

The two tweets I embed below are related.

My son spotted this fake LEGO set at a store last month. Buyers know it is fake, but because it looks like the real thing and is cheaper, they might purchase it anyway.

My second tweet was a brief statement about how some vendors have jumped on the bandwagon of Skills Future courses.

Relying on strategies of old, they dangled lucky draws and gifts, and made claims like being “free” or “paid for by the government”. The incentive to learn lifewide and lifelong seemed to focus on the extrinsic of rewards, cheap, or free.

How are the two examples related? Faking it is not the same as making it.

There is a quality to authentic LEGO that copiers find hard to replicate. One is something that LEGO calls clutch power. The look and feel might also not look and feel right.

By the newspaper report alone, some of the companies offering courses did not seem to focus on the relevance and quality of their Skills Future courses. They opted instead on marketing speak and gimmicks.

In both cases, the truth behind the facade might be revealed with a few key questions:

  • What is the reputation of the brand?
  • Where is the evidence of quality or timeliness?
  • How credible is the evidence of their work?

In the case of those that offer (or pretend) to teach:

  • What are their pedagogical models?
  • What rigorous research are their approaches based on?
  • How current are their offerings and approaches?
  • How transparent are their processes?

If these questions seem to require expertise outside your comfort zone or domain of knowledge, then simply listen to how they sell their ideas, ask probing questions, and listen some more.

Do they sound like they have done their homework and legwork? Was their homework something they heard at a conference or a single blog post from an expert far away? Do they seek to clarify or confuse? Do they sound like marketers or educators?

No single agency should be accountable to those that sell. We are all watchdogs now.

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If your Twitter follower count doubled overnight, how would you feel? I was not happy with my first world problem. Let me tell you why.

Whenever I do a talk, seminar, or workshop, I share my social media details at the end to keep conversations going with folks who are interested.

I forgot to do this at BETT2015 but I still gained followers in two phases.

The first phase was when I promoted my session on Twitter with #bett2015 prior to the talk. Like-minded folk started following me and we exchanged thoughts.

I typically get more followers right after the talk by showing the connect-with-me slide. This did not happen as much since I forgot to show that slide.

But something unexpected happened the day after I returned to Singapore.

My follower count was around 1,100 before BETT2015. I had carefully curated who followed me to only include who I thought were legitimate educators or education providers. I have shared before how I cull fake followers.

Overnight my follower count doubled to just over 2,200. Most people would be happy, but I was not. The following had all the signs of purchased, fake followers. Most of their Twitter avatars were in egg state and many had zero followers and/or postings. I did not arrange for this to happen.

I decided to use Amit Agarwal’s script for identifying potential fakes. I followed his instructions and ended up with a Google Spreadsheet of 837 potential fakes.

There are other tools that help with the identification of fake Twitter followers. The ones I have tried before and Agarwal’s workaround require manual removal of fakers.

I cannot imagine removing the extra 1,100 individually and by hand. I would have to do this in addition to the 20 to 50 I remove daily.

Time to scour the Web for a more reasonable solution.

Video source

Man visited the moon vs the moon landings were fake.

S G Collins provides compelling evidence against those who say that the moon landings were hoaxes. But he does so in a manner that I would label not-a-lecture.

He uses media and text to illustrate and he talks to the camera. But it does not have the structure or feel of a lecture. He presents arguments, he tells stories, and he relates his expertise.

He confronts and he challenges. But to he could have opened himself to critique by allowing comments in YouTube. Then it would really be not-a-lecture.

If you have no idea what happened almost a week ago in Singapore, you might wonder if this forum posting was factual, a fake, or farcical.

If you thought this was factual (a child actually wanted strangers to help her choose a new class monitor), you might find it both amusing and sad. Amusing because of the way it was written; sad because it was written the way many kids here speak English.

If you thought the posting was fake, you could say you knew because no school would allow their students to use mobile phones so openly. There was also little point in choosing a class monitor when the school vacation was about to start.

If you thought that this posting was a farce or spoof of last week’s by-election in Hougang, you would be right. You might also appreciate the poster’s ability to create a believable classroom scenario.

I could use an artefact like this to highlight the importance of information and digital literacies. I might facilitate a session with these questions:

  • What online source does the screenshot look like it is from?
  • Do you think this is real? How do you know?
  • What sources of information helped you determine your answer(s) to the previous question?
  • What can you now teach your parents/peers/juniors?

I could also tweak the workshops I offer on Web 2.0 and social media by providing this scenario as context for learning technical and social skills.

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