#IndieWeb, Rights, Responsibility (and Some Russian)

I am beautiful you are beautiful
@ChrisaLdrich recently posted an article asking folks to define the #IndieWeb. As an educator it means more to me than just having a Domain or a blog. As a parent my exasperation with the current digital landscape has only grown. It isn’t that if we don’t act the web will be ruined for our children. It is more a crisis if we don’t act the web will may ruin our children.

#IndieWeb isn’t just right. It’s a responsibility. And If we ignore this responsibility we forgo our rights.

The Web is to essential in what Vygotsky called the perezhivanie involved in child development. Which Andy Blunden notes cannot be translated into English but describes it more than a “lived experience.” Blunden notes Vygotsky included the processing of “lived experience” in conjunction with the environment of the said experience. It is the whole process of life changing experiences some building over time and some in moments of crisis that have lasting effect.

We are now allowing the perezhivaniya of our children’s digital avatars to accumulate over time on spaces they do not own in places that do not make us happy. Below is a post I made to the XMCA listserv exploring this further.

I moved the discussion off of the other thread (though I am perpelexed by Perezhivaniyaha and influence of power in being told by educators to reflect on one’s funds of identity) to think about annotations.

I wanted you to know they are automatically given a Public Domain License. If there was interest and people do want to maintain rights to their content we could do a private XMCA group.

Yet you are right. Hypothes.is it is still a place I must create an account. It would be really cool to annotate from, or at least syndicate annotations back to my blog. I try to include a feed to all my annotations as an iframe but as soon as I make a public annotation I no longer own it.

I am okay with this. Many on the listserv may not be. I am cool with that too. Your data. Your destiny.

In terms of my annotations I figure I am paid by taxpayers thus my mental work on the state dime belongs in the open. I also believe in the team behind the project as creating what Anil Dash calls “ethical tech” that would pass Stommel’s test for Ethical online learning.

Yet now what happens when learning and reading itself become performative? Or the act of note taking used as a measure of learning?

When I annotate with students I never force them to give up rights to their work or publish openly. In fact I still allow print and paper annotation because I feel like I do not have a right to dictate what kind of external storage device to use (bend rule if in edtech class and doing tool evaluation).

I firmly believe students should own their data. Too often the perezhivanie surrounding online learning strips students of power. Rights to the content gone and often materials inaccessible as soon as class finishes. It can get worse and soon universities are drawing correlations between meal points spent and student performance.

The funds of knowledge and funds of identity outside of formal learning environments

This is what scares me more than anything in child development right now. “personality and knowledge are now actively constructed” (Blunden, p. 2) in environments that are simultaneously designed to take advantage of brain chemistry while controlling the flow of social peer interactions.

The Funds of Identity children draw upon are algorithmically determined by corporate interest, mob mentality and millions of dollars into never published brain, computer, and human interaction research.

Who you talk to? Facebook feed. Chasing likes and clicks? Instagram envy.

I believe we need frank conversations about our avatars as they are just networked funds in the centralized bank of facebook (as in Facebook, What’s App, Instagram, Occulus).

This is why I believe we need to teach our children early on about carving out their own corner of the web. What is the point of being able to draw on funds of identity if somebody else owns the bank?

We need to discuss with children that all the research shows notifications and social media often make more people sad than happy.

Most importantly, and a lesson I too often ignore, we need to model good digital hygiene. Remove most if not all notifications from your phone. Be picky about social media apps.Get your own website. Syndicate from your place out on to the web.

To circle back to the article that is the tough part of perezhivaniyaha in school is it is a place where funds of identity are developed yet the processing of social experiences occurs through rapid APIs and machine learning.

Thus I believe as educators we have a responsibility to our students and their avatars.

featured image credit: “We are beautiful (EXPLORE!)” flickr photo by bejealousofme https://flickr.com/photos/thexbeautyxofxlove/2873007427 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

3 responses on “#IndieWeb, Rights, Responsibility (and Some Russian)”


  • Greg McVerry


  • Jack Jamieson


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