Open Education- Get (or Is) Federated?

Personally had been meaning to join Mastodon for over a year ago, and finally did last weekend. Loving it! Finding the conversations there is much more interesting and positive. Wish I’d joined years ago.

Happy to be moving away from this toxicity …

From a CBC story this morning about all the layoffs posed to hit Twitter today: Twitter employees brace for layoff notices today | CBC News

Seeing that this morning, made me finally broach that move with the people I am working with. Had been contemplating doing that all week, and that was the huge push I needed to do so.

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Thanks for venturing here, Doug. This is all exciting, and while I feel I have an understanding, the sheer array and variety of all these things is bewildering.

What would I do with Bonfire, Misskey, and all the other long lists of federated services? My head is spinning- how do we frame this for people who are just getting aware of it.

Stephen’s talk did walk through the concepts conceptually, but my hunch is we are facing a large intuition gap that we ought to be helping people bridge.

Hi Erica, good to see you are in the Fediverse (and that you updated your profile). The conversation space does feel fresh-- I do think it’s more than trying to just transport the twitter mode into a new box, I see it as a fresh opportunity to build a new presence.

See you there!

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For what its worth (and for @Mackiwg sake) I installed the discourse Data Explorer plugin and was able to create a query to find how many folks have quickly added their fediverse ids (mostly people in this thread).

I am not sure how / if I can make this capability public to run a search, can only export as CSV or JSON data. But I learned a new trick here.

And…

We are now awarding Fediverse Pioneer badges to those who have added a user name to their profile!

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@cogdog - this resource might help people get their heads around the different ‘flavours’ of the Fediverse: fediverse.info | The bespoke fediverse guide. - it’s an annotated list of services that employ ActivityPub and fill different niches currently dominated (in the mainstream perception, at least) by various heavily marketed centralised, closed, proprietary, profit-motivated services (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). This is the ‘parallel universe’ that we should all be investigating!

People wanting to experiment with these, the OERF has instances of a few (besides Mastodon) folks can try and we’ll be adding more over the coming weeks.

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Nice work finding the Data Explorer! I’ll need to add that to our Discoursen… Very cool.

Yeah, I agree. I need to fill you in on Castopod, the podcast sharing / syndication platform I’ve been using in the Fediverse. It is totally cool, and has me in an uber happy, nerd out mode. I will add you to our backend to take a peek under the hood, as it may be something you wish to use with OEGvoices.

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In terms of open education, I think there is much to like about how the fediverse operates.

At the OER level, federation is one way to get around the desire for the “one repository to rule them all” approach. Standards-compliant, federated repositories (think Peertube for video) that are connected via federation allows discovery tools to be built that could easily search the fediverse for relevant content & aid in findability while allowing local control of individual repositories to be at the local level. No need to support a behemoth of a repo when a thousand small scale repo projects can be connected together.

In terms of open pedagogy, having a local, locked-down instance of a platform can give learners some confidence to work in a safe controlled space and, as they gain confidence and skills, can then be connected to a wider ecosystem to make their work or conversations more open. Think a local Mastodon instance for a course that stays local for the first 6 weeks of a course while learners find their feet, and then opens up to connect to the wider network for the final 6 weeks of a course creating a hybrid closed/open pedagogy model.

Really, what federation is about is resilience & sustainability. Federation is the overarching design feature of the most resilient of all networks - the internet - and embracing federation is embracing resiliency in design. One node falls, other nodes are still there. And having that broadly distributed network baked into the systems we use could be a key to open education sustainability.

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A post was split to a new topic: Stewardship Advice for the Fediverse

Indeed. And that message tends to get lost during those periods of transition. Especially given the current diversity in Mastodon instances.

Which reminds me of ActivityStreams, OStatus, etc. Sure, everyone’s talking about PeerTube, Diaspora+, Matrix, and Nextcloud. Does anyone remember the other platforms based on open protocols?
As a Yulblog member, I remember when Evan Prodromou was telling us about Laconica. If I get this right, Identi.ca (which now operates pump.io) was the basis of GNU Social.

Of course, Ward Cunningham and others have been working on federated services for quite a while. I’m just thing about the “microblogging” and social network services aspects.

For even more personal context… (Not that anybody should care. It’s just to tie things in.)
I briefly lived in ATX in 2007-8 (Keep Austin Weird!). And got a chance to participate in BarCamp Austin III, during SXSWi. This is where I really started using Twitter, which had made a big splash the previous year. I distinctly remember Kevin Marks giving a talk about the Open Graph. To this day, it’s a big part of what we’re missing, from commercial social networking services. For instance, LinkedIn doesn’t even allow you to export your graph, anymore. And with all the work we’ve been doing on Linked Open Data, these proprietary graphs remain a missing piece which could really bring us to another phase in the Semantic Web.

What does this have to do with OE as a movement? Quite a bit, actually. Yes, mapping the “usual suspects” we notice on multiple sites… and identifying blind spots in our networks (often based on language divides). It’s also about connecting people, knowledge, competencies, and resources.

All of which brings us back to Dougiamas’s work with OpenEd Tech Global. As we keep saying, it’s not about the tech. Yet working on the tech in the open, implementing the features which ensure learner agency, we can open up learning beyond no-cost versions of standard textbooks.

Excellent initiative, congratulations to those who project it. I sign up to collaborate, make the creation of the Open Edtech Association a reality and support the creation of development projects.

Hopefully this will be addressed by regulation…? (“provide effective portability of data generated through the activity of a business user or end user and shall, in particular, provide tools for end users to facilitate the exercise of data portability, in line with Regulation EU 2016/679, including by the provision of continuous and real-time access;”)

Reference:

Totally tangential here, but bringing together two of my current pursuits here, I have finally seen a useful case for “AI”

I am leaning towards rabbit.consulted it goes with my interest in rabbit holing on the internet.

What I learned- these places are real instances (no “AI” involved, just “HI”)

There are also some weird communities, like oulipo.social, whose members may only post messages that do not contain the letter ‘E’, and dolphin.town, created in protest, in which all messages must consist only of strings of ‘E’.

Those instances are real.

Eeeee eee 676 eeee ee eeeeeee.eeee

So … as we devour buckets of popcorn as Twitter implodes, I am curious about the unexpected consequence of the Fediverse – in that, if we are all sequestered in our little elephant-shaped silos how will we ever “see” others who are not like “us”, especially others with alternative views.

One of the strengths (and toxic weaknesses) of Twitter was/is the exposure to other viewpoints and ideas and thoughts that challenge your own. Of course, there are loads of positives to the Fediverse alongside the comfort of being surrounded by your tribe (and Twitter and FB have algorithms that pretty much ensure you don’t see tweets outside your worldview) … but you can still go down an unexpected and often inspiring rabbit hole.

Are we just creating our own echo chambers? And is that a good thing?

This is an excellent question at the end and one many of us are thinking about. Having a single instance (Twitter model) ensured that “everyone was there in one place” and we could use some tools to control the “algorithmic” firehose. But it was not perfect and neither is fully federated.

One can think of Twitter as a fediverse-of-one. They block all other servers and do not others to include their data. (yeah, weird analogy but I saw someone state it better).

With federation, each instance chooses which instances to include (indirectly based on who their users follow) and block. Remember that blocking can be at your instance level or you yourself can block.

#HashTag searching can help but you will only be searching across posts (with that #HashTag, this is not full text search on purpose) that are visible at your instance (publicly visible posts local to users of that instance and the users that those local users follow on other instances).

I’m not so sure twitter is imploding, unless the shedding of its employees leaves it without anyone at the helm. Maybe it is!

That is exactly what the Fediverse works around, you are not sequestered or limited to the instance you made your home. You can follow, interact with anyone on a different instance, but you can can see beyond that via the local, federated timelines plus hash tags. It’s like email, the fact that I am on hotmail and you are on google mail does not prevent us from communicating.

Or better told with cats and dogs here

I actually see much more diverse viewpoints already via the hashtags and boost from the folks I follow, with no algorithm except for chronology.

It’s not a chamber at all, but the talk of different instances might suggest that (?)

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Re-posted from other thread to join the conversation here.

Hi @IslaHF - waving to you from :new_zealand:

I totally agree - exposure to alternate views and cultures is critical for digital citizenship. However, over the past years I found the toxicity of the Birdsite exceeding the value to be gained from diverse opinion over there.

With 7.5 million users in the Mastodon network - there is a lot of diversity with a multitude of sites all interacting with each other. The Birdsite is just a micro-blogging platform, but the fediverse is a diverse array of technologies including blogs, picture sharing, event organisers, video sharing enabled by the Activitypub protocol that has many genre’s of communication all interacting with each other. We’re not silos, but rather a network of networks, reclaiming the Internet for our citizens. I’ve found it way more exciting and enriching than the Birdsite ever was :smiley:

A music technologist (who works for the legendary Moog company) used that example as a demonstration of the fediverse’s greatness.
In a way, Masto and other parts of the fediverse are bringing back some of the social dynamics that many of us cherish. Sure, it’s not that popular. And it’s radically different from the type of celebrity worship often found on birdsite. That’s kind of the point. It doesn’t have to be for “everyone” to be for anyone.