Monthly Archives: March 2015

Week 10 Summary

It has been a little bit difficult, due to work commitments and the busy period just before Easter, to maintain the posts to the lifestream/blog. I have been looking at topics and themes for the final assignment and will most likely focus on algorithmic culture and the art created by Emilio Chapela. Chapela has an exhibition at the Museo de Arte Carillo Gil here in Mexico City, and I would like to investigate themes and links to the EDC course from his body of work on show.

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Week 9 Summary

facebook_conn_image_976x462Facebook map of the world from

Looking at the use of algorithms and the danger they pose by placing you in a ‘filter bubble’, has been greatly engaging this week. The idea that there are algorithms in place in all areas of online interaction that are working to build up a profile of us as users is also interesting, there seems to be two tensions here.

One is the consumer profile and making sure that we are exposed to specific adverts that we may be interested in, and the second is, as above, the idea of the ‘filter bubble’, there is a chance we may not be exposed to a particular political point of view, a piece of important news, or new discovery.

Another interesting issue is how can algorithms be used in education? How can we harness the power of the algorithm in order to improve courses/content that appeals to online learners.

Adventures in algorithms

This week I went back to Netflix to see what suggestions were waiting for me. Below was a challenge they threw down… Show us what you like, choose some films, we’ll help you find series and movies that you like.

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I had a look at their options and chose these titles:

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Their suggested films were:

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In the initial section, there were choices of films that I had recently watched and ranked, and other films closely related to the genres of film I had been watching.

What was interesting is that I wasn’t offered a broader range of films. I was seemingly typecast :-) into liking rom-coms, superhero based action films, and documentaries on drug traffickers. I didn’t have a mixture of different genres to choose from. My choices, right from the beginning, were limited to recent viewing folly.

I tried to cheat the system. I had a look at the options that were being presented and choose children’s cinema and the genre of horror. My selection looked like this:

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Netflix suggested these titles:

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Who knows where they got drop dead diva from… Possibly my wife’s viewing habits…

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.13.10 PMI guess the point here is that I have been placed in a filter bubble, the suggestions being based on my recent viewing habits. Harmless here, but what if it was a political view being reinforced? What if it was a perspective on a current affair or report on a certain issue I may not have heard about.

Applying this in Education

Specialization is a wonderful thing. The deeper investigation into one area of study is something that is usually undertaken at Master’s or Doctorate level. I fear that allowing learners to choose their own bespoke route of studies, informed by algorithms, could lead to early specialization in a certain area and lose that rich, transversal, cross-curricular blend that multiple discipline studies create. Allowing algorithms to suggest or guide our educational journey could create similar outcomes in our learners, one that does not perhaps support diversity.

A great tool for looking at your #Twitter #activity in story form. #MSCEDC

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This report was interesting as I had never seen my activity on Twitter as described above. To be honest, it didn’t highlight anything I didn’t know already (apart from perhaps my interest in politics). This Twitter account was originally created to tweet homework to my first grade students and their parents. I have another private Twitter account and I hope to compare the QuillConnect report from that one with this one over the following week.



The Addiction Algorithm: An interview with Natasha Dow Schüll via @ethnomatters

Article on creating addictive tendencies and the algorithms that make people come back for more and more… How can we make education more addictive… Intelligent algorithms know what we want… The danger of Pavlov’s dogs.