Digitally Literate #199

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Nothing less
Digitally Lit #199 – 5/25/2019

Hi all, my name is Ian O’Byrne and welcome to Digitally Literate. In this newsletter, I try to synthesize what happened this week so you can be digitally literate as well.

This week I worked on several things behind the scenes that will hopefully blossom later. One of the highlights was a meeting with SC Codes and the SC Department of Commerce. I’m investigating opportunities to embed computer science and computational thinking in schools across the state…as well as in pre-service teacher education. More to come soon.

This week I also worked with Kristen Turner to record and refill our episodes of The Technopanic Podcast. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. Share…and rate us on your favorite podcasting app/space.

Finally, Digitally Literate will be off next week as I’m leaving for vacation with the family. We’ll see you back in two weeks on June 8, 2019. 🙂





60-second strategy: 3-read protocol (1:01)

For some reason, I have not noticed that Edutopia has been developing this series of “60-second strategies” on their YouTube channel.

This is a brilliant use of tech as we need more opportunities to succinctly share content while making it easy to share with others.


Finland is winning the war on fake news. Other nations want the blueprint.

An interactive piece from CNN focusing on the role of education, critical media literacy, and the fight against fake news.

Much of this we’ve seen before. Education, specifically critical literacy, and critical media literacy is needed in our schools and society.

Part of the challenge is that this practice often fails when it goes up against our value systems. and the very act of routinely questioning everything you read or learn, is antithetical to the narrative shared by many parents and educators.

In much of my research, I view this as a need to build healthy skepticism in students. This perspective is often challenged by colleagues…and is evidenced in the piece.

For more insight on this, review this Twitter thread from Mike Caulfield.

Cambridge Analytica: A Case Study In Behaviorism Run Amok

Craig Axford making the case that the news about Cambridge Analytica and their data collection on around 50 million users is not a new story at all. In this he conducts a deep dive to identify connections between data collection & algorithms, Cambridge Analytica, behaviorism, propaganda, and human motivation.

Propaganda is not simply closing off rational debate by appeal to emotion: often emotions are rational and track reasons. It rather involves closing off debate by ‘emotions detached from ideas.’ According to these classical characterizations of propaganda, formed in reflecting upon the two great wars of the twentieth century, propaganda closes off debate by bypassing the rational will…Propaganda is manipulation of the rational will to close off debate.

A food pyramid for kids’ media consumption

A great heuristic by Caitlin Harrington in Wired as we think about digital, media consumption and screentime. This is not just for kids. 🙂

Use sparingly. Limit screens before bed, during meals, and running in the background for no reason.

Use occasionally. Turn off “autoplay” on YouTube, turn on apps to limit screentime. Limit/abstain use of violent games or content.

Use moderately. Monitor usage of age-appropriate ebooks, movies/tv, online video, and video games.

Use freely. Free usage of video chats with family, co-viewing of educational content, creative tools (Scratch, Minecraft, coding platforms). Free use of audiobooks, music, podcasts. Encourage healthy, active participation with online affinity groups.

The Web Is a Customer Service Medium

Many of you reading this newsletter are frequent content creators in digital spaces. You spend a lot of your time building, sharing, and responding to others. For that population…I’m wondering what you think about this post from Paul Ford. 🙂

Ford posits that the web is a medium of customer service in which we must first consider the fundamental question of “why wasn’t I consulted?” or WWIC.

WWIC is the thing people talk about when they talk about nicer-sounding things like “the wisdom of crowds” or “cognitive surplus.” It has become the first thing I think about when I think about the web. I’ve spent a lot of time with users, and as part of various web communities. I’ve answered thousands of emails about things I built or said. Now, when I sit down to graffle, I start by asking: “How do we deal with the WWIC problem?” Everything else comes after.

Timekeeping as feminist pedagogy

I’ve been doing a lot of reading & research behind the scenes in critical feminist pedagogy as I try to problematize my perspectives.

This idea from Danica Savonick is brilliant…and I’ll definitely use it in classes next semester. Savonick indicates that this is a follow-up to her earlier post on “Creating Spaces for Conversation: Three Strategies,” which describes what facilitators can do to create an environment in which everyone speaks and is heard.

By timekeeping, I simply mean deliberately structuring how much of a given amount of time is allotted to different tasks, communicating this information to participants, helping participants prepare to work within these time constraints, helping them stay on time in the moment, and encouraging an awareness of time constraints in others.


Former FBI agent explains how to read body language

Most of my work involves the use of a screen, or communicating with other digitally. I’ve always been interested in some of the non-verbal cues as we interact and communicate with others.

In this YouTube video, former FBI agent and body language expert Joe Navarro breaks down the various ways we communicate non-verbally. What does it mean when we fold our arms? Why do we interlace our fingers? Can a poker player actually hide their body language?

As a former middle school teacher, these non-verbal cues are a great help as sometimes other forms of communication are stunted.

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Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.

Susan B. Anthony

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This short sci-fi film was a great hidden gem to the week. It’s part of the DUST channel, as they seek to create “binge watchable” sci-fi each week. Subscribe here…I did. 🙂

Digitally Literate is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Follow along here.

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