Transformative Experiences

Transformative Experiences
Digitally Lit #254 – 7/11/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #254 of Digitally Literate. Each week in this newsletter, I synthesize the news of the week in education, technology, & literacy. 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

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This week I was honored (humbled) to be one of the recipients of the Divergent Award for Excellence in 21st Century Literacies from the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research.

This is for recent research on how digital activists and average citizens take advantage of new technologies to provide an alternative way of organizing in order to push back against harmful societal narratives.


Star Wars Coronavirus PSA

As the perfect representative of science, reason and lyrical flow, Creepio is here to settle some confusion about the Coronavirus using rhythmically applied phrasing (RAP).

You are welcome. 🙂


Nation’s Pediatricians Walk Back Support For In-Person School

Dozens of teachers, parents and district leaders around the country are embroiled in how to open up schools in a little over a month.

States, districts and the federal government are pushing and pulling in different directions. Scientists are updating their advice to reflect emerging research and the changing course of the pandemic. Parents and educators are finding it hard to make decisions in the confusion.

Ultimately, students will go back to school, but not back to normal.

This primer from Good Housekeeping shares the four risks to consider as you prepare for back-to-school. School and classroom size, population density, local rates of COVID-19 transmission, and greatly influences the likelihood of your child getting sick.

Defund Facial Recognition

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit Police Department telling him to come to the station to be arrested. His case combines flawed technology with poor police work, illustrating how facial recognition can go awry.

Last year, a 25-year-old Detroit man was wrongly accused of a felony for supposedly reaching into a teacher’s vehicle, grabbing a cellphone and throwing it, cracking the screen and breaking the case.

What’s happening in Detroit should be a wakeup call for the nation. We can’t stop police violence without ending police surveillance.

Rooted in discredited pseudoscience and racist eugenics theories that claim to use facial structure and head shape to assess mental capacity and character, automated facial-recognition software uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other forms of modern computing to capture the details of people’s faces and compare that information to existing photo databases with the goal of identifying, verifying, categorizing, and locating people.

Facebook’s Decisions Were ‘Setbacks for Civil Rights,’ Audit Finds

An independent audit faulted the social network for allowing hate speech and disinformation to thrive — potentially posing a threat to the November elections.

Civil rights groups say company did not commit to concrete plan to address hate speech and misinformation. Facebook thinks that just showing up is part of the solution.

Can You Teach a ‘Transformative’ Humanities Course Online?

Lee Skallerup Bessettediscussing a need to approach online teaching from a willingness to recognize its potential.

Keep in mind, too, that most online courses are not transformative experiences. But neither are most courses taught in face-to-face classrooms. On any campus, you can find in-person classes that are good, bad, or transformative. To expect every online course to be either transformative or not worth your attention is an unrealistic standard that academe doesn’t impose on traditional classes.

Research methods handbook

Open practices in research can challenge assumptions about how to create and share new knowledge. This handbook draws on insights from experienced open researchers to build understanding of research in the open.

Come for the research guidance. Stay for the image collection from Bryan Mathers.


How To Make Hummus from Scratch

The kids and I loved this video on Why Americans eat dessert for breakfast. We then followed it up with this video on How I stopped hating breakfast.

One of the breakfast meals that Johnny Harris suggests is hummus. This weekend we’re going to make up a fresh batch and enjoy it.

What do you eat for breakfast?



For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

Audre Lorde

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Digitally Literate is a weekly review of the news, notes, tips, and tricks from the week that resonated with me.

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