In September of 2008, when I first became acquainted with Juxta as a collation tool, I wrote a blog post as a basic demonstration of the software. I hunted down transcriptions of two versions of one of my favorite poems, Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott,” and collated them alongside the abbreviated lyrics to the song adapted from work by Loreena McKennitt. Screenshots were all I had to illustrate the process and its results, however – anyone interested in exploring the dynamic collation in full would need to first download Juxta, then get the set of files from me. We had a great tool that encouraged discovery and scholarly play, but it didn’t facilitate collaboration and communication. Now, in 2012, I can finally show you that set in its entirety.
The dream of Juxta for the web has been a long time coming, and we couldn’t have done it without generous funding from the Google Digital Humanities Award and support from European scholars in the COST Action 32 group, TextGrid and the whole team behind CollateX. As Project Manager, I’m thrilled to be a part of the open beta release of the Juxta web service, accessed through version 1.6.5 of the desktop application.
I imagine at this point you’re wondering: if I want to try out the web service, do I still have to download the desktop application? Why would I do that?
Over the past year, our development team’s efforts have been directed to breaking down the methods by which Juxta handles texts into ‘microservices’ following the Gothenberg Model for collation. We designed the web service to enable other tools and methods to make use of its output: in Bamboo CorporaSpace, for example, a text-mining algorithm could benefit from the tokenization performed by Juxta. We imagined Juxta not just as a standalone tool, but as one that could interact with a suite of other potential tools.
That part of our development is ready for testing, and the API documentation is available at GitHub.
However, the user workflow for Juxta as a destination site for collations on the web, is still being implemented. Hence this new, hybrid beta, which leverages the desktop application’s interface for adding, subtracting and editing documents while also inviting users to share their curated comparison sets online.
This is where you come in, beta testers – we need you to tell us more about how you’d like to user Juxta online. We know that collation isn’t just for scholarly documents: we’ve seen how visualizing versions of Wikipedia pages can tell us something about evolving conversations in Digital Humanities, and we’ve thought about Juxta’s potential as a method for authenticating online texts. But as we design a fully online environment for Juxta, we want to get a better sense of what the larger community wants.
I want to thank everyone who has set up and account and tried out the newest version. We’ve seen some really exciting possibilities, and we’re taking in a lot of valuable feedback. If you’ve held off so far, I ask that you consider trying it out.
But I don’t have any texts to collate!
No worries – we’re slowly populating a Collation Gallery of comparison sets shared by other beta testers. You might just find something there that gets your creative juices flowing.
The shim, once loaded in a device’s browser, opens and maintains a socket connection to the server, according to to Shim’s developers. Shim was written in 2011 by Chris Marstall, Creative Technologist at the Boston Globe. The software has been open sourced. Write the Shim originators on git.hub:
Whenever a new page is requested, the page’s URL is broadcast to all connected browsers, which then redirect themselves to that URL, keeping all devices in sync. Shim info is available on git.hub.
There is nothing wrong with real-time, feedback-oriented, integrated testing in the sense of the challenges that games and other venues offer us. And I value the motivation in Race to the Top, the desire to assess national and regional and local scores so educators can see where they are lacking and where they need to improve. But you don't do that by inflicting the wrong standards at the wrong time. Given the new computational methods we have, sophisticated ones that allow us to create learning games that, in fact, "test" you by giving you a challenge and reward your success by giving you an even greater challenge, it is dreadful to think of four year olds now having to fill in those same little A, B, C, D, None of the Above item-response answers invented in 1914 for one reason and one reason only: efficiency.
The answer to the question in my headline title, "Is It Dumb to Give Preschoolers Standardized Tests?" is unequivocal: yes. It's dumb. Don't do it. Please don't do it. It's a false metric with false goals that simply reinforces the twentieth-century's interminable confusion of "standards" with "standardization." We can do so much better.
In a blog, Opera Software Developer Relations team member Tiffany B. Brown looks at code injection, error throwing and handling and mobile debugging. She notes Opera Dragonfly and its remote debug features provide a way to debug mobile sites from their desktop. Brown mentions WebKit’s recently added remote debugging capabilities, folded into Google Chrome developer tools. Pointed to as well are Bugaboo, an iOS app for Safari-based debugging; JS Console which is available on the Web or as an iOS app; and Weinre for WebKit-based browsers. In this entry, Brown looks more closely at Dragonfly remote debug and JSConsole.
This presentation is designed for parents with children who have access to the Internet to better understand the current dangers that exist in the world today.
The talk offers offer background information about past and current threats and trends. The focus of the talks will be: Your Child's Life Online, Internet Predators, Cyberbullying, dangers of mobile devices, Online Gaming, warning signs, Internet Safety Tips, and much more.
Sorat Tungkasiri is currently a Coordinator at the New Media Center. He first joined the Princeton University community in 2004 as a SCAD, then as a web developer for the Educational Technology Center. Sorat is currently seeking a Masters of Arts Degree from Columbia University with the concentration in Communication, Computing Technology in Education.
Your child’s life online
The increasingly "online" lifestyle of children today can cause new and sometimes unforeseen issues for parents. Kids today are in chat rooms, on social networks, writing and sharing information on microblogging sites like Tumblr, doing online gaming, texting friends, and even sometimes doing their homework online.
Tungkasiri showed a public service announcement called “Think before you post.” The complete video can be seen here.
According to statistics presented in the talk, 55% of teens are using social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Even larger percentages of younger children are involved in virtual worlds like Disney’s Club Penguin and Nickelodeon’s Nicktropolis. It was widely reported this past summer that Facebook surpassed the 500 million user mark; the less popular MySpace has over 100 million users. However, Tungkasiri noted, it seems likely that over 40% of the profiles on these sites are fake. ”The danger in fake profiles”, he explained, “is that those profiles can be used to gather information by predators.” Further statistics cited in that talk estimate that children under 18 spend between 8-18 hours a day online; more ominously, it's likely that 1 in 7 children are sexually solicited online.
Most sites have privacy settings that can help to keep personal information private. When privacy settings are ignored or configured incorrectly, dangerous online situations can take place. Tungkasiri cited the example of a girl named Rebecca who decided to put up an invitation to her birthday party, complete with address and other personal information, on Facebook. She inadvertently set the permission level of the invitation to "everyone." Within hours, thousands of strangers had accepted the invitation, and Rebecca and her parents were forced to cancel the party. In another similar case, 50 unknown guests showed up at a party that was intended to be private.
Tungkasiri offered suggestions to parents to help to protect their children on social networks:
Follow or friend your child on social networks
Make sure children choose appropriate screen names, without terms like “sexy” or “hot”
Check their friends list regularly.
NAMBLA or the North American Man Boy Love Association, exists on Facebook as a group. This group is just one example of the kinds of pro-pedophilia groups that exist on Facebook and other social networks, despite strict rules against such group activity. These kinds of groups exist for the purposes of fostering sexual relationships between adults and children, and are a great resource for predators. A recent news broadcast on this subject can be seen here.
While NAMBLA , upon inspection is a group that makes its intentions clear, there are other more subtle ways in which sexual predators stalk children. Predators often perform a process called grooming, a methodical method by which predators select prey, deliberately choosing to connect with vulnerable children with the intent of creating a secretive sexual relationship. Tungkasiri noted that calls to toll-free 800 numbers are not listed on phone bills, and cost nothing to the child, and are therefore now being used by predators to bypass parental oversight.
Tungkasiri listed several signs that indicate a child might be being groomed. These include:
Spending a lot of time online
Using an online account belonging to someone else
Receiving phone calls from people you don’t know or making calls to numbers you don’t recognize
Recieving gifts, mail or packages from people you don’t know
Turning away from friends and family
Becoming withdrawn or secretive
Minimizing the screen or monitor when you walk into the room
Predators use a method called SITS, or establishing 'Similar Interests Trust and Secrecy.' The guiding principle to this sort of relationship is usually a pact in which the predator requests that the child keep the relationship secret, something just between the child and their new, sympathetic "friend."
Online gaming has become another way for predators to connect with your kids, because online gaming allows for relaxed, casual conversation, similar to a phone call, but without the same level of parental tracking or controls. By joining children in a gaming space, predators have already established a common interest, and can easily develop trust through the fun and exciting team and collaborative elements of a game, or establish a rapport through play. Parents should consider setting rules and restrictions, choose games fitting for the age of their children, and should monitor gameplay. To underscore these points, Tungkasiri showed a video that outlined the dangers of online gaming.
Cyber-bullying is often the topic of news reports with a tragic ending, and may be the biggest threat in children’s lives today. Some people, referred to as angels of death actually target vulnerable teens in the hopes of encouraging them to suicide or other self-damaging behavior. One example of this is the viral video Star Wars Kid, where a child recorded his super-hero acrobatics in a high school video studio. Cyberbullies at this school got a copy of the video, and spent hours of editing and remixing it to make fun of him.
In another example theTop 6 ways to kill Piper described the ways in which a real 6th grader might be killed in an animated short made by her peers.
Tungkasiri noted some ways in which parents can combat cyber-bullying:
Take an active role in your child’s online activities
Frequently check credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges
Take your child seriously if they report an uncomfortable online exchange
Advise kids to never trade personal photographs in the mail or over the Internet
If your child meets a new “friend” online insist on being introduced
Contact your ISP and law enforcement if your child receives pornography via the Internet
Dangers of Mobile devices
Tungkasiri described some of the ways that phones and other mobile devices can be misused, putting children in danger.
Sexting is the act of simulating sex over the Internet, sometimes done with phones over the SMS messaging system, but also using video chat that exists on newer phones, as well as other videoconferencing methods.
Textual harassment is where people engage in text based battles, hurling insults or threats in a silent, but still very hurtful way.
If the child's phone is under control and supervision, it becomes less dangerous. Parental controls exist in most modern phones. Parents can check, and block, track, or remove applications of the phone, to make sure that they aren’t being misused by children.
In the second session of this talk, Tungkasiri then focused on how to enforce parental controls on various devices and platforms. He explained that the parent should use an administrative account on the child's computer and give the child a non-administrative account
Tungkasiri demonstrated how to set parental controls in the following platforms:
Another danger lurking in technology is literally invisible. Geolocation sharing is an important passive data sharing technology that provides specific location data along with photos and other messages. Used by a predator, it could lead directly to a child, disclosing personal facts about them, including their personal appearance, the location of their home, car, or other information. Similarly, bluetooth, a common local networking protocol, can be used to track the presence of specific people via their devices within a 50 foot radius.
In a demonstration of Icanstalkyou.com Tungkasiri demonstrated that cameras and cameraphones that record geolocation data can show where the content from a particular photo was taken. The site shows how to disable geotagging in your phone, so that this danger is diminished. Tungkasiri demoed how to download a photo from the internet and then use a free digital photo data (EXIF data) viewer to see all of the recorded information on the photo. Picasa has this functionality built in. Also, many solutions exist for removing EXIF data from photos. One example is EXIF Cleaner.
Safe sites and services
Tungkasiri showed some examples of kid safe browsers and browsing services, including:
Tungkasiri reminded us to keep an open dialogue with our children, and to stay on top of what they are doing. Don’t allow an unmonitored computer to be housed in a private space like a child's room. Keep it in a high traffic area, and keep an eye on what’s going on there, so that you can help them to stay safe, or to give help if they encounter unwelcome activity on the internet.
Badges are useful for certifying complex processes that are not comprehended in our grading systems. Think about what those are? According to most employers, they are most of the things employers most want in future employees. At present, education, including higher education, doesn't even know how to measure or count those things. That's why a number of us have begun to investigate badging. And why the Mozilla Foundation is pioneering an Open Badge Project. Want to know more? Check it out here: http://openmatt.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/badges-in-the-real-world/
When the distinguished visitor asked Tim, my very intelligent and media-savvy student, why he was taking my class "This Is Your Brain on the Internet," Tim answered, "Because it suddenly makes sense of all the things I like to do and that don't count anywhere else." He is on his way to a solid A in this peer-driven, peer-evaluated, media-heavy, and collaboratively organized class, but that grade does not begin to comprehend the leadership role he has assumed, the eloquence of his media skills, his dexterity at collaborative project management, or his innovative "fire starter" personal
I vote for that, for the testing to succeed, every time. We need to unravel the mystique of our current standardization metrics in order to learn lots more about how kids love to learn, feed their own learning, test themselves and one another. As usual, kids have a lot to teach us if we only stop thinking we have to make them all conform to a way of learning that is arbitrary and has little to do with how they learn on their owns and what they need to know to be able to learn for the rest of their lives.