Tag: adolescents

On What We’ve Lost


Welcome back, friends and family.

In 2020 I was selected as one of the winners of the Divergent Award from the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research. Because we could not meet together for an awards ceremony and series of keynotes, the honorees submitted a video. Here are my responses.

This video was edited together into a literacy doczoomentary reflecting on the past twenty years of 21st-century literacies and where we go from here. Enjoy.

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 say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self – 1 Year Later

It’s been exactly one whole year of forest fires, murder hornets, pandemics, isolations, protests, quarantines, elections, vaccines, and riots and yet here we find ourselves, back at the beginning…

This series of videos from Julie Nolke is funny…and terrifying at the same time.

Enjoy Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


Guns don’t kill people…good guys and the legitimization of gun violence

It’s Time To Retire The ‘Guns Don’t Kill People — People Kill People’ Argument. Actually, guns DO Kill People.

The research linked above utilizes an online concealed carry forum to critically analyze how firearm proliferation is rationalized in the U.S.

The analysis focuses on three specific examples of violence—the Parkland, Florida, and Philando Castile shootings, and stories of children who find guns and shoot themselves and/or others to critically examine the discourse used to rationalize the proliferation of guns as a response to gun violence in the U.S.

The “guns don’t kill people” argument is flawed because it sidesteps the debate. The issue is not whether guns can spontaneously kill people on their own. The issue involves how incredibly easy a modern weapon makes killing.

Police Violence And Reform: The Inequality In Restorative Justice Opportunities

From George Floyd to Adam Toledo to Daunte Wright to countless other killings, the world is asking questions about racial injustice and excessive use of force by police. A patchwork approach to police reform has left the nation at a critical crossroad with no clear path forward.

One possible path might be available in restorative justice. In educational contexts, this is based on three pillars:

  • Empathy for all and by all
  • A mumbled “sorry” is not enough
  • Everyone is involved in the healing

NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with attorney sujatha baliga about whether restorative justice principles are useful after a shooting incident or killing involving a police officer.

How to Help Your Adolescent Think About the Last Year

For many of us in education, we’re turning the page to the summer…and the fall. As the number of vaccinated adults rises, we begin to imagine a post-COVID world.

In previous posts and interviews, I’ve discussed the need to learn lessons from this global pandemic.

Online schools are here to stay, even after the pandemic. Some families have come to prefer stand-alone virtual schools and districts are rushing to accommodate them — though questions about remote learning persist.

Judith Warner suggests that we should not refer to this as a “lost year.” Also, screen time with friends? It’s good for mental health.

Pew Report on Social Media Use in 2021

A new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that despite a string of controversies and the public’s relatively negative sentiments about aspects of social media, roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they use any kind of social media site. This is a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years.

A majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, while the use of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok is especially common among adults under 30.

Google Earth is now a 3D time machine

Google has pushed out what it says is Google Earth’s “biggest update since 2017” with a new 3D time-lapse feature.

Entering the new “Timelapse” mode of Google Earth will let you fly around the virtual globe with a time slider, showing you satellite imagery from the past 37 years.

Using the 3D Google Earth globe, you can watch cities being built, forests being cut down, and glaciers receding.


What to say when someone is gaslighting you

The term “gaslighting”— as in, the psychological manipulation, not the 19th-century profession—has been thrown around a lot over the past decade or so.

Here’s how to deal with gaslighting and stand firm in your truth:

  • Know how to recognize when gaslighting is happening
  • Stand firm in your truth
  • Write things down
  • Keep the conversation simple
  • Be willing to leave the conversation
  • Don’t worry about trying to outsmart the gaslighter
  • Increase your support system and share your truth



Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first.


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If spiders and spiderwebs fascinate you, then you may be interested to know researchers have turned spiderwebs into music. It’s a virtual look into the world of spiders and the vibrations they sense.

Look/listen here. Perhaps VR (virtual reality) is more your speed.

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Digitally Literate #231

Machine Learning Delay
Digitally Lit #231 – 2/1/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #231 of Digitally Literate.

Last week I posted this piece about talking to youth about privacy, security, & digital spaces. These materials and the related interview were used by Meghan Herbst in a piece for Wired on How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids in the Digital Age.

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 hello@digitallyliterate.net.


How Machine Learning Is Generating Strange, New Sounds (11:18)

Project Magenta is a Google Research project that uses machine learning to create new tools for artists and musicians. One of these tools is NSynth, a neural synthesizer that generates strange, new sounds like “cat flutes,” “beast guitars,” and “screaming 3D printers.”

In this video, from Nat and Friends, they explore how NSynth works, and talk with Andrew Huang about his process creating a song entirely out of NSynth generated sounds.


How to Change Your Off-Facebook Activity Settings

Facebook’s long-awaited Off-Facebook Activity tool started rolling out this week.

While it’s not a perfect measure, and we still need stronger data privacy laws, this tool is a first step toward greater transparency and user control regarding third-party tracking. Hopefully other companies follow suit, and allow users to take advantage of it.

This tutorial shows you have to clear your account of off-Facebook activity, and prevent it from being collected in the future. Go do this now.

Teenage sleep and technology engagement across the week

Amy Orben and Andrew Przybylski with research that analyses data from 11,884 adolescents included in the UK Millennium Cohort Study to examine the association between digital engagement and adolescent sleep. They compare the relative effects of retrospective self-report vs. time-use diary measures of technology use.

Results suggest that the negative associations in evidence are mainly driven by retrospective technology use measures and measures of total time spent on digital devices during the day.

This work provides an empirical lens to understand the effects of digital engagement both throughout the day and before bedtime and adds nuance to a research area primarily relying on retrospective self-report.

Why We Should Ban Facial Recognition Technology

There has been a lot of news about Clearview AI, a shadowy facial-recognition-software company providing users access to a database of 3 billion photographs scraped from social media and video streaming sites.

Max Read takes issue with a quote from one of Clearview’s investors in which he says:

I’ve come to the conclusion that because information constantly increases, there’s never going to be privacy…Laws have to determine what’s legal, but you can’t ban technology. Sure, that might lead to a dystopian future or something, but you can’t ban it.

This post by Read pushes back on this narrative that the creep of new technologies is inevitable, and attempts to stop or control it is foolish.

A De-escalation Exercise for Upset Students

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A simple technique that takes just a few minutes can help an agitated student regain the state of mind needed for learning.

  • Give the student time to regain their calm
  • Direct the student to be aware of their thoughts and feelings
  • Have the student redirect their thoughts
  • Give the student positive feedback on becoming calm
  • Give the student a little more time to refocus
  • Have the student reflect for the future

Google’s College Readiness Collection

The College Readiness Collection from the Google Applied Digital Skills Team. These lessons will help you plan and prepare for college and other education opportunities.

Organize College Applications in Google Sheets: Create a spreadsheet to track and organize college applications using Google Sheets.
Draft an Application Essay: Write a college application essay using Google Docs to jump-start the application process.
Search for Colleges Online: Gather data about college choices by conducting an online search and recording the data in a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
Prepare for a College Interview: Collaborate with a partner in a document to prepare for potential interviews.
Prepare for the FAFSA: Organize documents and other important information in a spreadsheet for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Ask Someone to Be a Reference: Use Google Sheets to compile a list of potential references, then write an email to each asking for their recommendation.


Reducing friction in the development of your OER

I blog a lot…and share materials openly online. As I build and share materials, I’m always trying to find ways to allow people to respond and critique to my materials in a friction-free manner.

In this post from David Wiley, he indicates that at Lumen Learning they are adding a button to the bottom of all webpages that links to a Google Doc version of the content. This is shared publicly, and has Track Changes turned on to allow feedback.

I may add this to my blogging, and publishing repertoire.


I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.

Kobe Bryant

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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 have some time, watch six decade-long disinformation operations unfold in six minutes.

Feel free to connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018

Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018 (pewinternet.org)
Some of the main findings from the Pew Center’s survey of U.S. teens conducted March 7 – April 10, 2018. Throughout the report, “teens” refers to those ages 13 to 17.

  • YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens. Fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’
  • Facebook is no longer the dominant online platform among teens
  • Teens have mixed views on the impact of social media on their lives
  • Vast majority of teens have access to a home computer or smartphone
  • A growing share of teens describe their internet use as near-constant
  • A majority of both boys and girls play video games, but gaming is nearly universal for boys

Read the full report here. The topline notes are here.