Growing In The Shade

Hello all, welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #355.

I posted the following since we last saw each other:

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Critical Program Reading (1975) – 16mm Film

This animated gem is from an outfit called Edutronics and the focus is on writing code that others can read and understand what you’ve written.

In some of my research, I’m identifying this need to think out loud and how this informs our problem solving practices.

I study America’s youth. Here’s what I found

Older generations tend to stereotype recent generations of young people, questioning their intelligence and self-control, and calling them lazyselfish, and uncaring. With all of this, young Americans are also burnt out. The reasons for burnout include too many expectations and demands, plus too few resources and support. These increasing demands have been both internal (unrealistic educational goals and perfectionism) and external (the rising cost and competition of college and stagnant wages). 

Why this matters. Today’s youth are overworked and showing signs of burnout, such as anxiety and depression.  Young people need to reclaim rest, rejuvenation, and revitalization as acts of political warfare. Make love, not war was the mantra of 1960s youth, and perhaps we need a new one today: Make love, not work. 

We need boredom to live better lives. But social media is destroying it

I’m a parent to two children. In our home we have multiple gaming systems, and devices all over the home. We also have books, Legos, art supplies, and quiet spaces where they can go be by themselves. At times, one of them will come by and say “I’m bored.” My quick retort is that boredom is a blessing, and that we have plenty of chores they can do around the house. I think I need to rethink that guidance and instead focus on the values in this time…and think about how I waste my time when I’m feeling bored.

Why this matters. When boredom creeps in, many of us turn to social media. But that may be preventing us from reaching a transformative level of boredom.

Alarmed by A.I. Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach

This week we had our first Faculty Senate meeting of the new semester. Near the end of the meeting, one of my colleagues brought up ChatGPT and an audible groan came from the masses. Questions about blocking this menace from our school created some buzz. The response from our head of Instructional Technologies (IT) focused instead on how we might use these AI tools to help support and monitor students. As regular readers of DL, you know that I was squirming in my seat. o(≧▽≦)o

In the post above, they share the following TikTok video meant to scare some sense into their readers.

@caleb_sorensen It’s a hack y’all #chatgpt #college #finals #minnesota #smsu #screammovie ♬ original sound – Caleb Sorensen

Why this matters. Educators and intuitions from K-12 up through higher ed are looking to block, ban, or indoctrinate students on the value and need for academic integrity. I think these tools offer opportunities to help level the playing field and support all learners. Not just the ones that are good at doing school.

How Edgar Allan Poe became the darling of the maligned and misunderstood

Scott Peeples writes a piece on Edgar Allan Poe, who would have turned 214 years old on Jan. 19, 2023. Poe was a regular focal point in my middle grades classroom. Peeples indicates that Poe remains one of the world’s most recognizable and popular literary figures, yet the focus is often about the idea of Poe, and less about the power and complexity of his prose.

Why this matters. As referenced in Netflix’s Addams Family spinoff Wednesday, a sympathetic teacher urges the main protagonist to not to lose “the ability to not let others define you. It’s a gift.” She adds, “The most interesting plants grow in the shade.”

Nick Lehr/The Conversation via DALL-E 2, CC BY-SA

The case for dark matter has strengthened

The standard model of cosmology, ΛCDM (Lambda Cold Dark Matter), is seen by some to be the best model to describe the status of our Universe starting from the Big Bang via formation of elements, stars and galaxies to the present time. This model includes dark matter. Though it makes up about 26% of the Universe, we cannot see dark matter. But we know it’s there because we can see its effects. 

Not all astrophysicists agree. Some argue that dark matter doesn’t exist; instead, our understanding of the laws of physics needs to be modified. A new paper published in Nature Astronomy suggests that the “modified physics” hypothesis is now seen to be more consistent with the dark matter explanation. The research suggests that the Milky Way and surrounding galaxies formed as part of a cosmological quirk, and not as part of a plane of satellites.

Why this matters. Most of the way we think about the world is based on a model developed by the Ancient Greeks. This suggests that everything in the universe is made of four elements (earth, air, fire, water). Centuries of scientific experimentation let us know that this theory is incorrect, and that only about 5% of what makes up our existence is visible. The rest is unseen, invisible, or known simply as dark matter or dark energy. Everything we experience is only a tiny fraction of reality. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Create Custom Google Maps

Want to create a beautiful, custom map for your website, email, or app? Simply pasting the address, or copying a link to an online map service…or even sharing a PDF map is not helpful as people try to find you and meet up IRL.

Atlist is a no-code tool for creating custom Google Maps that can be embedded on any website. It’s used for world maps, store locators, visualizations, infographics and much more. Here are some of Atlist’s functionality:

  • Hundreds of Markers — Create maps with hundreds of markers. Add markers manually or by importing address data from an Excel spreadsheet or CSV.
  • Custom Map Styles — Custom map styles are like map templates— they change the colors of your map. Atlist has thousands of different map styles to choose from (though an integration with Snazzy Maps). 
  • Modals — Interactive maps needs modals (modals are the info windows that pop up when you click a marker). Atlist let’s you add directions, photos and much more to modals. 
  • Embed Anywhere — You can embed Atlist maps on any website.
  • Mobile Friendly — Works in iOS and Android.

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.

Audre Lorde

At a new website called Character.AI, you can chat with a reasonable facsimile of almost anyone, live or dead, real or (especially) imagined. “These systems are not designed for truth,” explains the company’s co-founder, “but for plausible, open-ended conversation.”

Cover image Ian × DALL·E, CC BY-SA

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