Internet ratings

Another hat tip to podnosh blog for another “educational” scoop, yet again proving the Charity Commission to be out of touch with the reality of learning.
[KENYON’s FARM Free range eggs]
(Podnosh seems unselfishly willing to read the most turgid official publications or the FT, so the rest of us don’t have to. And to put the crucial bots of the content online, entertainingly)
[Muller Fruit corner blackberry and raspberry yoghurt]
The UK Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, is more familiar with the internet than the Charity Commission are. However, in many ways, that’s a pity, because he sees the web as yet another opportunity to control the manifestations of “culture.” He thinks the internet is out of control so web sites should be subject to controls similar to those applying to broadcast media.
He told the Financial Times that there is a need to stop product placement on the internet and to put sex/violence ratings on content in You-tube videos.
[Lurpak butter]
As if these aren’t either ludicrous (suggestion 1) or heinous (suggestion 2) enough, he used the “governance” word….
….And he showed his sense of humour is at a culturally-dangerous low level, when he reported a child’s joke and completely missed the comedy.

You do have to stop and think when you read a quote from a nine-year old boy in Tanya’s report about whether we are sufficiently controlling this online world in which our children are roaming. It’s funny but it does make a very important point. He said: “I’m worried I’ll get lost on the internet and find I’ve suddenly got a job in the army or something.”

[Vegemite – not a patch on Marmite, btw]
He said “It made me laugh and I’m glad it made you laugh too but I think it makes an important point” which was that children really are worried about the internet….. I kid you not.

(Maybe, when he was child, he was too scared of the video to post slices of toast through the VHS cassette orifice.)

[The Village bakery – Polski chleb/Polish bread]
The wit of a primary school kid goes over the Culture Secretary’s head. He assumes the kid’s in genuine fear at some level, because he doesn’t really understand the nature of a “joke.” (This is the Culture Secretary, remember.)

So it’s not surprising that he doesn’t know that nothing boosts a site’s attractiveness to teenagers like over-18 content ratings.
[Brazil nuts]
This blog has been brought to you by everything I’ve eaten in the past 6 hours.

Charity begins at school

I’m baffled as to why insulting blogs fits into an evaluation of whether private schools should be considered charities. Charity Commission report was brought to my attention by a badscience post that linked to a podnosh blog about it.

Well, that speaks for itself, in terms of whether blogs can have educational value….

And props to Ben Goldacre for this fine defence of open knowledge:

Without even thinking about what effect it might have on the people who read it, I can say for certain that writing here has had a huge impact on the way I work and think: it has made me more rigorous and more transparent in my reasoning, because I can get away with nothing; it has made me think about the importance of finding and linking to primary references, attributing ideas, sharing workloads, and collaborating. It’s also reinforced for me the value of open access publication, as I’ve seen more and more people from outside of academia who wanted to read academic papers, simply for their own interest and edification.(from badscience)

The Charity Commissioners say that blogs and wikis have no educational value, because

the content is superficial and this information is not verified in any way, it would not be accepted as having educational value without positive evidence.

Clearly, they are just looking for a reason why they don’t have to include educational websites and blogs in their “charities ” definition. Fair enough. There are enough bogus charities without everyone who posts a page on wikipedia being able to solicit tax-exempt donations.

However, this looks a lot like they are tying themselves in knots to find ways to tip a wink to private schools as to how to meet the new rules that require them to justify their charitable status.

(Sadly for them, they can no longer rely on the self-evident charitable-ness of giving the sons and daughters of the upper classes a better education than the rest of us peasants. )

According to the document,

Charitable purposes (or aims) are those that fall within the various descriptions of charitable purposes in the Charities Act 2006, set out below, and any new charitable purposes that might be recognised in the future.
a) The prevention or relief of poverty;
b) The advancement of education;
c) The advancement of religion;

Blimey, plenty of room there for a swathe of minor private schools to experience a magical overnight religious conversion. How convenient that religions don’t have to prove that the things they teach are “verified in any way.”