Tag Archives: edtech

Taking on Trolls

A few weeks back I had the pleasure to attend ALT-C and listen to a fantastic and insightful keynote by Josie Fraser – In The Valley of the Trolls (available on YouTube). In her keynote Josie advocated when dealing with trolls it was best to ignore, block, and delete.

Now normally I advocate of this method, however a troll in my community this week got a little more than they bargained for when writing this post on the Facebook fan page of Sainsburys…

I’m not going to get into the semantics of dairy for health, but as a vegan myself we are subjected to trolling pretty much on a daily basis. However, unlike in Josie’s keynote this isn’t just reserved to the world on online, it has been on many occasions to my face. I can’t even seem to escape it as some people I know even introduce me as ‘this is Hannah, she’s vegan’ (way to go guys). So ignoring, deleting, and blocking can then become somewhat trickier when the troll is standing right in front of you… 

In the situation with the lady that posted to Sainsburys she informed us that our cheese wasn’t cheese so should be called Gary and none of us would be invited to her wine and cheese parties in the future. Now this invite blacklisting would sadden some, especially as we are the ones that eat the celery at these parties. However the community and then Sainsburys chose *not* to ignore, delete or block, but instead fight back with humour to lessen the troll…

With a few hours the troll-fightback campaign had gone viral. Gary was truly born, adopted by all vegan/vegan friendly companies and vegans as our new word for cheese 

It even made the news and so the question is…what happened to the lady? 

Well, it seems the troll is now considering a candlelit dinner with none other than…Gary. 

Hope he brings some celery. 



Adaptive Learning: Who are we adapting for?

Earlier this evening I met with a good friend of mine after a day of meetings to put the world of educational technology to rights. The caveat of this post is that most thought provoking discussions I know have taken place in the presence of either caffeine or alcohol. In this case the latter as ironically it’s caffeine I’m unable to handle. 
Midst the discussion that moved from recommendation engines (a given with his role), MOOCs  (a given with my role), mobile learning and OER (a given in both our roles), we moved to the subject of adaptive learning.

In education we are often thinking in the mindset of putting the learner at the centre of their own learning. With SocialLearn I worked on exactly that, and now with MOOCs I’m researching how a variety of learning designs can be adapted for a particular demographic of learners most likely to take that MOOC to provide positive engagement. A number of academics I know would advocate whole heartedly to this approach of adaptive learning.

However, my esteemed colleague-from-another-company played the role of devil’s advocate and asked: 

“What is it that we are adapting them for?” 

He proceeded to explain that if we concentrate our entire efforts to providing learner-centred learning that though we are adapting the learning to them we aren’t actually adapting the learners themselves to the outside world. And isn’t that what education  is for?

What if we adapt our learning to be delivered for example in mobile format and podcast as their learning preference, but when they reach the outside world their in-workplace learning is a printed/pdf manual or training workshop – where are the learner’s adaptive learning skills now? How will they engage? 

It poses a question that I haven’t considered much before, and frankly don’t have the full answer to yet (as I pen this from my train home), but I’m more than happy to open the debate to the wider community. No doubt we will broach this topic once more when I’m next in town. 

Until then…I’m still Doctor in Waiting