The economic condition has corrupted academia thoroughly. The notion of creating a space within which people are free to pursue exploration of ‘truth’ or ‘knowledge’ for the sake of truth or knowledge, is no longer viable. Perhaps this bubble of freedom remains intact in the arts, but the financial concerns of the university as an entity are thoroughly commercialised.

“Regressive Pedagogical Practices”

“…the introduction of new technologies (e.g. Edwards & Clinton, 2018), the harvesting of big data to enact ‘learning analytics’ (Munro, 2018; Williamson, 2018), the recruitment of very large student cohorts (Arvanitakis, 2014), and the promotion of the ‘student-as-consumer’ model (Nixon, Scullion, & Hearn, 2018) may foment a perfect storm of regressive pedagogical practices. Students are unlikely to develop efficacious agency whilst subjected to a barrage of such restrictive interventions.”

from Langer, S., Bunn, G., & Fellows, N. (2018). Towards a Psychosocial Pedagogy: The ’student journey’, intersubjectivity, and the development of agency. Learning and Teaching in Action, 13(1).

Accept the Situation

The trick is to let myself understand this is the case. Those within the institution find it hard to buck the effect, because they are paid by the institution, and their sense of identity and positional power is dependent on the fraternity of practitioners in that institution.

I am in the unusual position of being at the boundary, as always. Not sufficiently trained to demonstrate the skills required to ‘enter’ the institution as a qualified PhD. A PhD student, in the antechamber. And I am aware that by acceding to the demands of entry, I forgo some aspect of the change I bring. And thus, I am the unreasonable man who expects the system to change in order to accommodate me. It is not quite this, in truth. It is genuinely my lack of skill. However, the problem remains that should I have the skill to promote the positionality of Reflexive Reading, I shall be a member of the academy and suffer from the institutional pressures, should I try to take a position and become a paid worker.

Since I am not interested in being a paid worker, since I can do that as a teacher, though perhaps the life of being an academic would suit me, my age, temperament, and might provide better service. So, I would like to continue with the PhD, conduct the research in schools, or conduct the Delphic Study on Reflexive Reading.

However, what I must acknowledge is that, in all likelihood, any significant change is only going to happen through economic shift. That is Sqale. When academics and practitioners are freed from the organisational payment structure, and yet have some serious flow of money which enables them to keep pace with the brightest minds in the world. I think there are plenty of ‘retired’ academics who have more freedom of thought and action, but why should they commit to the level of conceptual and institutional change that is required? I’m happy to work with anyone, of course, who is willing.

“grow the network of participants, readers and authors, who have the courage to introduce the system wide changes we need.”


Can you imagine SQALE operating with everyone using zoom at the moment?

And moneyflow.

We will dissolve organisational boundaries. Change, big-time.

Visit Sqale


A List

  • Adopting real-world in digital-world
  • Tronic Cup online competition
  • Academia: legacy of text
  • Sqale enables value-tracking across multiple digital channels

Real World Legacy in Digital Engagement

Attending an online conference, a workshop with Social Informatics academics: Workshop, Part 1: Sociotechnical Change Agents: ICTs, Sustainability, and Global Challenges (SIG-SI, SIG-SM, SIG-IEP), and it became clear that they were talking about trends.

Because of the proactive attitude of anthropologists from last week’s conference, about building tools for social change, I asked whether there were people there doing this. And further, whether they were changing the institutions they were in. Radicals.

Most of it was chat about problems of engaging institutions, or adopting different tech themselves.

I asked whether they had come across any tech which allowed them to track value across channels, or even from break-out rooms to larger presentations. Nothing.

I extemporised. I remembered how I created a self-organising tournament for Tron. They had tried to run them in the past, and failed. I realised they were importing real-world problems, basically how to move people around so that they all arrived at the same place. This is not a problem with virtual. The issue was timing, that was all. And I had the simple suggestion that we needed to trust players to turn up on time. The resulting system was very light, and worked so well it continued for years. Perhaps we were doing the same with virtual meetings: trying to import real-world organisational problems to the virtual world, eg organisations, ‘companies’, and ‘positions’.

This guy involved in AI ethics said that academics have been communicating virtually for centuries. Exactly, I said. Text was appropriate for people separated by miles and across time. This is no longer our problem. And yet, conferences are mostly people reading articles at each other. What?!

I was always bored with conferences. Didn’t understand them. It wasn’t about sharing information. It was about making decisions together.

So, no answer to any tech which can transfer value from digital channel to channel. Well, nothing of scale. Literally, someone said ‘scale’.

Actually, the AI guy sent an article pointing at China’s reputation attempt. And another participants talked about studying people’s online behaviour, and then seeing if it alters output of work relative to the same group’s work in the real world. Nobody seems to get what I am talking about — live, engagement with people, and minimal ways to track value, including comments.