Ethics of ad blockers

Why should you be concerned about ad blocking? You should be concerned because it will reduce the incentive for the “little guy” to offer content. The cost and the effort to get your site “white listed” works against the participation of individuals or those without sponsers from the opportunity to compete for ad dollars. The following is an excerpt from a post (Page Fair) commenting on Google’s willingness to pay to protect the appearance of ads on its own sites.

Adblock Plus operates an “Acceptable Advertising” scheme, under which “large corporations” must pay to have permissible ad formats (such as sponsored search links) whitelisted. While Adblock Plus believes they are offering a fair compromise, most publishers have likened it to “racketeering” [MondayNote], “extortion” [Tom’s Guide], “shakedown” [Digital Trends], “blackmail” [Pando Daily] and “highway robbery” [Pro Sieben Sat1]. Most controversially, it was revealed in 2013 that Google is dealing with Adblock Plus to get its search ads whitelisted.

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Too many replication failures

The finding that many social science studies fail to replicate should be an embarrassment to social scientists. I suppose any participant has an explanation. I can say after being involved in social science research for many years that there is a lot of pressure for numbers (sounds like the excuse educators used when cheating on student tests).

There were many ways to play the game. My observation recognized strategies that would not necessarily result in failure to replicate., but would boost numbers For example – questionnaire studies rather than studies based in observable behaviors, multiple authorships to boost the number of lines on the vita, short duration studies. I assume the large and expanding number of journals plays to the same motivational forces.

I always thought tenure was to allow an escape from this kind of pressure and a greater focus on quality. All systems seem to revert to variables that are easy to quantify.


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Gather an acorn

Acorn, a little known (my opinion), but high quality image editing program for the Mac is available for $25 for a limited time. This app is well worth the price.


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Highway 61 Anniversary

I read today that it was the 50th anniversary of Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. Rolling Stone lists it as the 4th best album of all time. Fifty years is a long time and most who read what I write are far younger than this album. However, if you are willing to experience true classic music try a search on your iTunes, Google, Pandora, etc. and take a listen. Most of the songs are available via YouTube.

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Chromebook Alternatives

David Andrade offers a very helpful post explaining what Chrome app can serve as a reasonable substitute for specific iPad apps. So, if you are more familiar with the iPad and find yourself in a chromebook school, this substitution analysis may be helpful.

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Hang on to the good stuff

Steven Anderson had a recent post in which he admitted that we tend to forget about quality resources. We move on to new resources ignoring what we thought was great last year or the year before that.

Anderson’s examples were resources from CKFoundation. I also remember flexbooks and yes I thought customizable, free textbooks were cool too.

Time to use my search tool and see what else I wrote about way back then.

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The narrow Apple perspective

So, let’s be clear. Apple offers high quality, but expensive hardware. I own multiple Apple devices and if pushed into a corner of having to limit my hardware purchases I would have to go with Apple.

What troubles me about the Apple approach is the narrow perspective the company takes on software and services. I think Apple books have real potential. iTunes U is a great resource for education. I just can’t get into these software products because I have the feeling that the primary motivation is to sell more quality, but expensive hardware. The benefit to learners seems a convenient secondary consequence. I would probably develop our textbook as an iBook if the decision would not ignore all of those learners who prefer a different hardware platform.

I don’t kid myself – it is always about the money. Google wants to encourage ad displays and can benefit even when content is viewed on platforms other than android. Whether purposeful or not, the Google business model is “less evil” when it comes to providing experiences to all learners.

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Put the learner in the middle

Here is another idea for professional development via reading. Too many professionals read content that they agree with. They may ask colleagues for a recommendation and someone says “here is something you will like”. If much “development” from such experiences occurs at all, there is a diminishing return from following this approach as a long term strategy. Remember what Piaget had to say about “accommodation” or science educators are taught about the value of “conceptual conflict”.

So for the tech integration crowd, here is a pair recommendation.

Toyama – Geek heresy

Diamandis – Abundance

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Big picture reading

If as an educator and the read to inform yourself about your profession, I would propose you consider several books that are about the context within which educators function. Glass, for example, proposes that politics and economics are stronger determinants of learner experience than learning science. Educators may not think on this level, but to be effective advocates perhaps they should. All books here are available for the Kindle or Kindle app.
Friedman – Hot, flat & crowded
Friedman – That used to be us
Lessig – Republic lost
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Filtering by reading level

Google used to allow the filtering of search results by reading level, but for some reason (not officially announced) this advanced feature was removed.

New businesses emerge to fill a niche left unexplored by the big players. Choosito appears to be such a business promising searches results filtered to user designated reading level.

Pricing is not yet available.

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