Monday, May 11, 2009

A Taste of Aris

I'm always anxious to hear about how well the social software aspects of ARIS are working:

The second part of our training just left me flabbergasted. They showed us how within the ARIS system we could — wait for it — communicate with other educators through the internet! I'm talking MySpace, Facebook and Twitter kind of stuff. Private subscriptions, public ones. We could throw some questions out there to see if anyone responds and share our thoughts with other educators.

They didn't mention that Big Brother could be very interested in all that sharing and communicating. Who on earth would believe that anything we do in ARIS would really be private.

Spending $80 million on a blogging system that exists everywhere for free is inane.

Let me withdraw that. It's not inane, because I forgot ARIS is not actually designed to facilitate communication. It's designed first to monitor teachers, and then to pretend it wants to facilitate the sharing of ideas. Puh-lease! When was the last time the DoE ever showed any interest in creative thinking at the teacher level. They've been too busy with one-size-fits-all methodology and teaching to the test for more than a decade.

ARIS is neither helpful or amusing.

It is costly, not particularly innovative, deceptive and invasive. The DoE could service us much better by providing a working computer and printer in every classroom, and sending over a supply of paper and extra ink cartridges. They should design a system so teachers don't have take attendance two or three times a day, generate and disseminate copies of any relevant IEPs to every teacher required by law to get them, and most of all, guarantee we're not being monitored when we communicate and share ideas with teachers down the hall.

This reminds hom much I stressed trust and the advantages to a peer-to-peer architecture in my ETech 2003 talk, "We're All in this Together, Kid: Social Software in School Reform." I should dig up my slides. Also it reminds me to order a copy of Trust in Schools: A Core Resource for Improvement (The Rose Series in Sociology).

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