Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Byron Report appears to concentrate on other dangers from the web, unsuitable content for children. The presentation in media has so far obscured the interest in digital literacy that was in the research. This report could be a productive basis for discussion as there is an alarming discourse around it as well as real issues.

Things may change between now and the Protection conference. So far there has been almost no press coverage of the issues in the quote below.

"There is a long tradition of media education in UK schools, although it has remained fairly marginal to the mainstream curriculum, particularly in primary schools. Paradoxically, media literacy has not been a significant element of the National Literacy Strategy; and the National Curriculum for Information and Communication Technology currently focuses primarily on technical skills rather than on the evaluation of digital content. By contrast, media educators have a well-established conceptual framework, and a developed set of classroom strategies, that are increasingly being extended to digital media such as computer games and the internet (Buckingham, 2003, 2007; Burn and Durran, 2007). Media education involves understanding the processes by which media are produced; analysing the verbal and visual ‘languages’ they use to create meaning; making judgments about how media represent the world; and understanding how audiences are targeted, and how they respond. These approaches generally involve both critical study and creative production of media."

Annex G: The Impact of the Media on Children and Young People with a particular focus on computer games and the internet (PDF, 305kb)

I have started a topic on Guardian Talk - Media-New Media. Fear and web culture. There are links to education but it seems to start as a media issue, at least as reported.

Graphic from the main report. Could be a works instruction. Good to include mention of anti-virus software.

Information Security

The ISO survey (PDF link) published in 2007 included for the first time a section on ISO/IEC 27001:2005, a management system for information security. My interest has been in ISO 9000 but there is an overlap in how management systems work through documentation and learning. Standards could be relevant for the current research project. The Management School did contribute to the KE project.

In the UK there is now declining interest in ISO9000. However the number of certificates on the planet continues to increase. I wrote a story on this for OhmyNews, mostly about the numbers in China.

Selected numbers from the 2006 survey on ISO/IEC 27001:2005

United Kingdom 486
India 369
Japan 3,790

So although the UK has some base for this, enough not to need to outsource all data management anytime soon, the number of certificates for Japan is striking. Could it be that there is some practical reason for this?

Web search finds a couple of PDF documents that help to understand what the standard is about, both from consultants so look out for rhetoric.

Form for checking readiness from ATSEC

Information Security and ISO27001 – an Introduction from ITgovernance

The form mentions four areas where records may exist-

Preventative and corrective
Training plans for your employees
Regular reviews of ISMS

The introduction includes reference to the PDCA cycle

The PDCA cycle is the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle that was originated in the 1950s by W. Edwards Deming and which says that that business processes should be treated as though they are in a continuous feedback loop so that managers can identify and change those parts of the process that need improvement.
The process, or an improvement to the process, should first be planned, then implemented and its performance measured, then the measurements should be checked against the planned specification and any deviations or potential improvements identified, and reported to management for a decision about what action to take.

This formulation implies a level of management that is not always involved in the system. Further discussion required on how this might work.

Meanwhile the British Standards Institute (BSI) have published PAS 99, a guide to an integrated management system that could include all the standards for audit and review-

* ISO 9001 Quality
* ISO 14001 Environment
* BS OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety
* ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security
* ISO 22000 Food Safety
* ISO/IEC 20000 IT Service
The IAS view on danger seems to be that the discourse around danger is more interesting, except when this discourse causes danger, which is then regarded as real. That is a bit sweeping but is based on cases from the workshop on documentation etc. The danger of terrorists crossing the Mexico / USA border was seen as low. The danger of death from dehydration was seen as significant. So on the Casa Segura website there is a warning before some guidance on survival in a desert -

We strongly discourage anyone from making the dangerous journey through the Sonoran desert. There is not sufficient water or resources and temperatures are extreme. It will take days of walking in a harsh landscape and it is not worth risking your life!

So this is not an example of a procedure or works instruction following on from a policy. The policy is formally opposed to the procedure. However there is a link to an Australian government site about dehydration. Perhaps this could be considered as objective information, useful for people in an Australian desert.

At the workshop the most enthusiasm for detailed instructions came in the proposals for the "extreme green guerilla" (E.G.G.) community, "a network of amateur self-sustaining people who have shortened their lifespan to sustain the ultimate green lifestyle." The manifesto includes a statement - "We will not engage in consumerism. We must not consume. We must be consumed."

One project is the Animal Messaging Service. "Extreme green guerrillas are against using the Internet or mobile phones for communication, as this method will tie them to big corporation. E.G.G. are also against conventional posting service, as it leaves a great CO2 footprint. E.G.G. send messages internationally by hacking into the animal migration system. In natural sanctuaries environmental protection agencies tag migrating animals with active RFID tags. E.G.G.s hack into these tagged animals to send digital messages internationally.

The E.G.G. project is supported by detailed manuals so is a suitable case study for how detailed instructions can support a manifesto.

This is a blog version of material that may find a version style for a "paper" or at least a workshop or fringe discussion around "sciences of protection".

It may seem way off topic but it eventually clarifies ideas to attempt to present them. The academics in Lancaster deal with different subjects over time but there is some continuity. I may improve my understanding of where they are at as well as of the role of documents in a process.

I still think there is a connection between quality ideas and the work on learning organisations. The "knowledge economy" (KE) was a useful context for this. However, my impression is that it was the rhetoric around the KE that was of interest. Discourse analysis seems to be a theme that continues over different research projects. I have yet to find much about KE from IAS that looks at policy as if a positive contribution was possible. During the conference the after dinner speech was probaly the most effective presentation and the concern for academic freedom resonated with the audience.

Today in the Guardian Education section there is an article by Phil Beadle who claims that computers cannot replace the "professional brilliance" of teachers. My guess is that his take on the KE is shared by many in education.

The further agenda is also economic. If we are working towards a "knowledge economy" in foregrounding ICT use above any other skill, we are promoting an economy in which only one form of knowledge is perceived as viable or useful, and a lesson wasted on a clumsy, two-sentence PowerPoint presentation is of more value than reading a book.

So although I may seem off topic, one aim is to find some way of working with information technology that meets some of the educational objections. "Quality" is one way of describing this. Some of the academic discussion seems not to have got past a set of objections so there is not much contribution to a design stage. Is it surprising that the learning aspect of social networking is best understood by online companies? Another article this week objects to cyberbullying of teachers through student comments on Facebook. My impression is that the Guardian rarely includes a study of how Facebook works or how education could learn from it and similar sites.

To be updated later with some comment on the Networked Learning conference. Will it all be about "the dark side" or will there be anything that could connect with practice?