Learning, Digital & Education from Oliver Quinlan.
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This week: Learning from babies, the complexity of online hate speech, and a psychological war on kids

Three long reads this week, looking into ideas on how learning and digital tech are affecting our lives. Things seem so complex these days, it seems worth it to me to spend some time delving into ideas and trying to understand how complicated they are. Maybe that's just me though, making my own echo chamber catering to my love of complex ideas...

How babies learn – and why robots can’t compete

A fascinating long read meandering through some different insights into how children learn, and how we often ignore this as they get older. What really stood out to me was the section on how important 'shared attention' is for babies learning language, and why this means children don't learn spoken language from overhearing adults, from TV programmes or digital media. They learn it from experiencing shared attention with adults around particular objects or activities. It just shows how the fundamental learning that shapes our lives is such a social process. As we get older and are able to access more abstract learning it's easy to forget this. 

The far-right use online jokes to launder right wing ideology, and mainstream comedians are helping them do it

I found this article really interesting surfacing some of the dense complexity around online culture and our current politics. Often the mainstream narratives on this are quite simple; such as free speech and comedy 'vs' causing offense. This article suggests that some groups are subverting these tired narratives and using them to spread their ideas under the guise of them, in a multilayered kind of 'hiding in plain sight'. Well worth a read for digging beneath the simple narratives we have about comedy and hate speech online.

Also worth a read, two views on the #deletefacebook meme. One urging people to be the pioneers in moving on, and another more cautious.

The Tech Industry's War on Kids

A fascinating article by a child psychologist on the psychological techniques being built into technology in order to maximise use, and the effects this is having particularly on young people. This article is heavy on the details of how psychology is being used and the negative consequences, and light on suggestions as to what we can do to address this. One recommendation is that the psychology community needs to be stronger at implementing ethics, something that I've seen quite a few people calling for the technology development community to do after recent revelations around use of data. If psychologists are having to be called to behave ethically, with all the coverage of ethics that I would have thought their training has, we will have a long way to go to address this in the technology industry.
... and finally...
Thanks for reading.
Until next week,


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