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Mike Caulfield's latest web incarnation. Networked Learning, Open Education, and Digital Polarization
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Educating the Influencers: The “Check, Please!” Prototype

OK, maybe you’re just here for the video. I would be. Watch the demo of Check Please, and then continue downpage for the theory of change behind it. Watched it? OK, here’s the backstory. Last November we won an award from RTI International and the Rita Allen Foundation to work on a “fact-checking tutorial generator” … Continue reading Educating the Influencers: The “Check, Please!” Prototype

Thu, 14 Feb 2019 00:26:11 +0000


Attention Is the Scarcity

There’s a lot of things that set our approach at the Digital Polarization Initiative apart from most previous initiatives. But the biggest thing is this: we start from the environment in which students are most likely to practice online literacy skills, and in that environment attention is the scarcity. The idea that scarce attention forms the … Continue reading Attention Is the Scarcity

Mon, 04 Feb 2019 17:37:07 +0000


The Fyre Festival and the Trumpet of Amplification

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that there are two documentaries out on the doomed Fyre Festival. You should watch both: the event — both its dynamics and the personalities associated with it — will give you disturbing insights into our current moment. And if you teach students about disinformation I’d … Continue reading The Fyre Festival and the Trumpet of Amplification

Thu, 24 Jan 2019 23:54:29 +0000


Smoking out the Washington Post imposter in a dozen seconds or less

So today a group known for pranks circulated an imposter site that posed as the Washington Post, announcing President Trump’s resignation on a post-dated paper. It’s not that hard for hoaxers to do this – any one can come up with a confusingly similar url to a popular site, grab some HTML and make a … Continue reading Smoking out the Washington Post imposter in a dozen seconds or less

Thu, 17 Jan 2019 01:06:44 +0000


Why Reputation?

As I was reading An Xiao Mina’s recent (and excellent) piece for Nieman Lab, and it reminded me that I had not yet written here about why I’ve increasingly been talking about reputation as a core part of online digital literacy. Trust, yes, consensus, yes. But I keep coming back to this idea of reputation. … Continue reading Why Reputation?

Thu, 03 Jan 2019 23:50:16 +0000


Some Notes On Installing Federated Wiki On Windows

It’s 2018, and I’ve still not found anything that helps me think as clearly as federated wiki. At the same time, running a web server of your own is still, in 2018, a royal pain. Case in point: recently a series of credit card breaches forced a series of changes in my credit card number … Continue reading Some Notes On Installing Federated Wiki On Windows

Thu, 27 Dec 2018 01:05:41 +0000


“Conspiracy Theorists” in 1934 and 1961

A quick follow-on to my last post — it’s worth mentioning that “conspiracy theorist” is also a much older term than many realize. A few years ago, in fact, a story was going around the forums that the term was either invented by the CIA or at least made an undesirable moniker by them. Again, … Continue reading “Conspiracy Theorists” in 1934 and 1961

Tue, 25 Dec 2018 23:45:25 +0000


The first use of the term “conspiracy theory” is much earlier — and more interesting — than historians have thought.

Was reading the new Oxford collection on conspiracy theory (quite an impressive collection, can be bought here) and noted that one of the articles dated the term conspiracy theory back to the 1870s. It’s not central to the author’s argument, but it’s not trivial either. The author sees the term as coming out of crime, … Continue reading The first use of the term “conspiracy theory” is much earlier — and more interesting — than historians have thought.

Tue, 25 Dec 2018 06:22:01 +0000


The Homeostatic Fallacy and Misinformation Literacy

I wrote a thing for Neiman’s year-end journalism predictions yesterday that I’m quite excited about. Hopefully will be out soon. (Update: it’s here.) In the article I finally publish this term I’ve been throwing around in some private conversations — the “homeostatic fallacy”.  Homeostasis is a fundamental concept of biology. The typical example is human … Continue reading The Homeostatic Fallacy and Misinformation Literacy

Thu, 13 Dec 2018 18:08:50 +0000


Recognition Is Futile (and also dangerous)

I often talk about the dangerous of teaching students to “recognize” fake news. Here’s a good example from today of why recognition is a lousy strategy that can lead to bad results, a tweet proposing that the President of Nigeria has been replaced with a clone. Here is how Peter Adams’s excellent newsletter The Sift  describes … Continue reading Recognition Is Futile (and also dangerous)

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 01:27:03 +0000


Page created: Fri, Feb 15, 2019 - 09:00 PM GMT