Week 9 Summary: Changing Direction Can Give You Whiplash

This week we looked at algorithms and how they influence us not only in our private lives but in our vocational situations.  While much of our study of algorithms seemed to focus on the inclusion or exclusion of search results in Google, Facebook, and other social media or news platforms, I tried to look at another facet in how we determine what information is relevant to us as teachers, to our students, and how we use that information to refine our definitions of relevance.

For me this was most poignant as I use algorithms in some form almost every day.  One major concern I have is that of the five high schools in my district, three use different curriculae in any one content area than the other two.  Therefore, what is being tested in our common assessments may not match up with what is being taught or tested at any other school.  In general I believe this makes algortihm use in testing student proficiency invalid and basically a waste of time.  Is this fair to the students?  Is this fair to parents who are under constant pressure to be more involved?  Some of our Tweets this week addressed these issues.

I began to fully realize the senselessness of our testing cycle after reading Gillespie:

“The algorithmic assessment of information then, represents a particular knowledge logic, one built on specific presumptions about what knowledge is and how one should identify its most relevant components.”

Also, I read several posts and the underlying readings supporting them which kept taking me back to our studies in Block 1 of digital cultures.  I am now thinking more of how algorithms determine, or at least influence, the social, and professional, paradigms we adhere to and how we go about trying to predict the outcomes of our day baesd upon preconceived perceptions of people, behavior and circumstances.