Digitally Literate #232

Tolerating the Noise of Others
Digitally Lit #232 – 2/8/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #232 of Digitally Literate.

I worked on (and submitted) a manuscript this week for a bit of research on infusing computational thinking into content area instruction. I’ll share more as this moves through the review process.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think of this work at


A Message to Young People from Andrei Tarkovsky – Learn to be alone (2:21)

Andrei Tarkovsky was a Russian filmmaker, writer, and film theorist.

In this video he offers prescient advice to today’s always-on, multi-screen culture. Read more about this from BrainPickings.

I don’t know… I think I’d like to say only that they should learn to be alone and try to spend as much time as possible by themselves. I think one of the faults of young people today is that they try to come together around events that are noisy, almost aggressive at times. This desire to be together in order to not feel alone is an unfortunate symptom, in my opinion. Every person needs to learn from childhood how to spend time with oneself. That doesn’t mean he should be lonely, but that he shouldn’t grow bored with himself because people who grow bored in their own company seem to me in danger, from a self-esteem point of view.


The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President

An important post by McKay Coppins in The Atlantic provides an overview of the technologies and techniques that will shape the upcoming 2020 elections in the U.S. This playbook is already being used around the globe.

Every presidential campaign sees its share of spin and misdirection, but this year’s contest promises to be different. In conversations with political strategists and other experts, a dystopian picture of the general election comes into view—one shaped by coordinated bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-targeted fearmongering, and anonymous mass texting.

For more insight, skim through this tweet thread from Coppins as the post went live.

Technology glitches prevent same-night release of Iowa caucus results

Last week the Iowa caucuses, the first official event of the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Presidential race. The results from this event were delayed and thrown into disarray.

It appears that part of the challenges in this mess are the creation and use of an app for the purposes of data collection and reporting. This is yet another example of the need for professional development and human support when implementing new technological solutions.

It appears that this was not the only challenge to a free and clear reporting of the results. The back-up to the app included having precinct leaders call in results. It appears that online trolls from 4Chan clogged the lines to effectively stop this process.

Facial Recognition Moves Into a New Front: Schools

A district in New York has adopted the technology in the name of safety. Opponents cite privacy and bias concerns.

Read more about the challenges & concerns in an op-ed from Jim Schultz, a parent cited in the piece.

In a related thread, please review this post about how 1.7 million students are attending schools with police but no counselors.

As policymakers call for more surveillance and school police in response to safety concerns, many students don’t have access to other kinds of staff necessary for safety and support—staff like school nurses, social workers, and psychologists.

Why private micro-networks could be the future of how we connect

As I teach my students to develop a digital identity, I previously indicated a need to connect the dots between their different spaces and silos online. I also suggested that they strive for openness and transparency in their interactions online. Much of my thinking on this has changed over the last couple of years.

This piece from Tanya Basu in the MIT Technology Review shares the recent desire for smaller, better-defined networks that are a possible response to the data missteps from the past decade.

Kate Eichhorn, an associate professor of culture and media at the New School and author of The End of Forgetting: Growing Up With Social Media, has a name for this second wave of post-Facebook social media: micro-networks.

Tweens and teens are very aware of reputation management,” she says. “They already are creating micro-communities on Facebook and Instagram. They’re looking for other places to do that.

The Seven Spaces of Learning

Ewan McIntosh on applying principles of digital development to physical learning spaces so we can imagine a totally different means of designing and constructing new learning environments.

Digital land knows no boundaries of space, time or geography. The effect on learning has been profound this past decade, though still not consistently so on learning in schools. When we apply the principles of digital development to physical learning spaces, we can imagine a totally different means of designing and constructing new schools, where the physical space takes on a role as vital as the technology itself in pushing on teaching and learning practice in schools by leaps and bounds.

Thanks to Stephen Downes for this link.


Extensions for Firefox

I’m spending more time reviewing the digital texts, tools, and connections I use in my work. This includes using various Linux distributions on my computers. I spent an hour yesterday installing Pop!_OS on my Chromebook yesterday. 🙂

This desire to use Linux on my Chromebook was to enable me to install Firefox and continue to use many of the browser extensions Doug Belshaw recommends above.



The flame of inspiration needs to be encouraged. Put a glass around that small candle and protect it from discouragement or ridicule.

Mary Higgins Clark

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Digitally Literate is a weekly review of the news, notes, tips, and tricks from the week that resonated with me. I leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs as I read online. Some of this I share on my social networks…much more I do not. At the end of the week, I review my notes and write up this newsletter.

If you made it to the bottom of this week’s issue…you should check out this long read that examines how technology and notifications may make us more susceptible to misophonia…the inability to tolerate the noise of others.

Feel free to connect at or on the social network of your choice.

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