Tag: anti-racism

Dark Patterns


Welcome back, friends. Thank you to all of you that regularly (or irregularly) reach out and say hey each week. I value learning how you’re doing in your worlds.

This week I published the following:

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.


Being A Dad is Awesome

As the kids get older, we’re able to head out a bit more and go on adventures. What once was a battle to take a walk around the block, might soon lead to a family bike ride.

I’ve been in the market for a mountain bike that I can rebuild…or possibly rebuild my own and ride with the kids. Thankfully, the YouTube algorithms brought me this video and the oldshovel YouTube channel. Think of it as part ASMR, part bike repair. It was just the therapy I needed this week.


Facebook Stopped Employees From Reading An Internal Report About Its Role In The Insurrection. You Can Read It Here.

Facebook Knows It Was Used To Help Incite The Capitol Insurrection.

TLDR of the report:

  • Stop the Steal (StS) grew rapidly after the election as a movement, but Facebook enforcement was piecemeal.
  • Treating StS as a network allowed Facebook to understand coordination in the movement and how harm persisted at the network level. This harm was more than the sum of its parts.
  • Examining the StS network allowed Facebook to observe the growth of Patriot Party.
  • Facebook learned a lot from these cases. They’re building tools and protocols and having policy discussions to help Facebook do this better next time as part of the Disaggregating Networks taskforce.

Taking Action on Dark Patterns

On Thursday, April 29th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hosted a workshop on the problem of “dark patterns.”

The concept, little more than a decade old, was coined by user experience designer Harry Brignull in 2010 to describe “deceptive user interfaces.”

At its workshop, the FTC seeks to “explore the ways in which user interfaces can have the effect, intentionally or unintentionally, of obscuring, subverting, or impairing consumer autonomy, decision-making, or choice.”

This Twitter thread by Yael Eisenstat is an excellent review of the questions we should be asking.

For more on dark patterns, review the following video from The Nerdwriter.

Ethical AI? Children’s Rights and Autonomy in Digital Spaces

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to help children thrive in some online spaces. While heavily debated, AI is being used to track down child predators, help eliminate bias in child welfare cases, and even predict which schoolchildren will need extra assistance in the classroom.

But as a new and exponentially growing field, there is potential that this technology, if not used ethically and thoughtfully, might hurt this next generation of children – a generation that is growing up shared in a way adults could have never dreamed of when they came of age even only a decade ago.

On Social Media, American-Style Free Speech Is Dead

Major platforms’ policies aren’t actually inspired by the First Amendment. evelyn douek says that’s a good thing.

In a new article published by the Columbia Law Review, she argues that the pandemic exposed the hollowness of social media platforms’ claims to American-style free speech absolutism.

In this interview she suggests that to recognize that “the First Amendment–inflected approach to online speech governance that dominated the early internet no longer holds. Instead, platforms are now firmly in the business of balancing societal interests.”

How to Be an Antiracist Supervisor: Start with Changing What You Call Yourself

What would we call ourselves if we were not using terms rooted in oppression? What would we do differently?

What would it be like to center health and wellness in our approach to our work with our teams?


GyShiDo – The art of getting your shit done

Thankful to Doug Belshaw for sending this along.

  1. Relentless focus
  2. Single task
  3. Boring consistency
  4. No bullshit
  5. No meetings
  6. Follow up
  7. Don’t be an asshole



I’m increasingly thinking that every functioning system has two forms: The abstraction that outsiders are led to believe, and the reality that insiders actually and carefully operate. You don’t incrementally learn a system. You eventually unlearn its necessary lies.

Dan Kaminsky

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Next on the menu…foolproof cacio e pepe.

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Cover image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Sheri Edwards



Hello All!

This week I published the following:

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.


Rapper Killer Mike: Engage with people who don’t look like you

Cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis are reckoning with how police respond to incidents following a spate of deadly officer-involved shootings. CNN’s Brooke Baldwin speaks with rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render about what he believes can make a difference.


Hope Is A Discipline

A great discussion with activist, writer, and educator Mariame Kaba.

Make sure you listen to 36:40-45:55 if you’re in a time crunch. The transcript for this part of the interview is here.

For more, check out Kaba’s pieces in the NY Times, The Nation, and NPR.

‘We Need To Be Nurtured, Too’: Many Teachers Say They’re Reaching A Breaking Point

“The mental health and well-being of teachers can have a really important impact on the mental health and well-being of the children who they’re spending most of their days with,” Jennifer Greif Green, an education professor at Boston University explains. “Having teachers feel safe and supported in their school environments is essential to students learning and being successful.”

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.

In psychology, we think about mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing. Flourishing is the peak of well-being: You have a strong sense of meaning, mastery, and mattering to others. Depression is the valley of ill-being: You feel despondent, drained, and worthless.

Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression — and in some ways, it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.

The Infrastructural Power Beneath the Internet as We Know It

Control over underlying tech infrastructure determines who benefits from it, raising the prospect of alternative ownership and profit models.

Perhaps we should begin thinking about Internet infrastructure in terms of a property landlord. It helps us think about power and what’s at stake when proposing alternatives to such centralization. Capital, and who controls it.

What’s at stake for both the tech industry and government regulators isn’t what is or isn’t infrastructure, but what the ownership and profit model for that infrastructure looks like and whom it benefits.

Substituting “the means of computation” for “infrastructure” isn’t going to make it any easier to alter those ownership models, but it might make it easier for us to focus on building and maintaining an internet that serves the public’s needs.

Welcome to the YOLO Economy

Burned out and flush with savings, some workers are quitting stable jobs in search of post-pandemic adventure.

YOLO is an acronym for “you only live once”. Along the same lines as the Latin carpe diem (‘seize the day’), it is a call to live life to its fullest extent, even embracing behavior that carries inherent risk. It became a popular internet slang term in 2012.

The pandemic is not over, and millions of Americans are still grieving the loss of jobs and loved ones. Not everyone can afford to throw caution to the wind. But for a growing number of people with financial cushions and in-demand skills, the dread and anxiety of the past year are giving way to a new kind of professional fearlessness.


The Blob Tree Test – ¿How do you feel today?

This is the Blob Tree test created by behavioral psychologist Pip Wilson, who is a psycho-educational gamester and EQ developer. This test helps us to recognize and strengthen emotions, and to some extent, understand our social status in society too. Each blob figure in this picture is in a different mood and has a different position on the tree.

How to use the Blob tree emotional test – There are hundreds of ways to use this image.


Each of the “blobs” in the tree has a different mood and has a different position. These are a variety of characters that express a variety of feelings. It is very important to use “blob”, instead of him or her, since they are not white men or women, they have no gender or color



Everything worthwhile is done with others.

Mariame Kaba

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Sea Glass cats are awesome.

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




Welcome back to base camp.

This week I also posted the following:

  • A Turning Point – Learning Event #5 – As you identify the arc of your story, which story are you currently living?
  • Documenting Instructional use of Technology in Higher Education – Last week I shared a piece of research that unpacks the development and validation of an instrument that examines digital literacy practices at our institution. In an upcoming thread of posts, I’ll unpack the work.
  • First Principles Thinking – First principles thinking is the act of boiling a process down to the fundamental parts that you know are true and building up from there.
  • Diamonds and Glass – How do we value things for their clarity and transparency.
  • Seven Steps to Chunking Content – Chunking is the strategy of breaking up information into shorter, bite-sized pieces that are more manageable and easier to remember.

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.


The Insane Engineering of the Perseverance Rover (19:41)

The Perseverance rover from NASA successfully landed on Mars this week.

The video above from Real Engineering breaks down the science, technology, engineering, and math that made this possible.

For more on Perseverance, you should also watch this video from Mark Rober.


Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole

Critical thinking, as we’re taught to do it, isn’t helping in the fight against misinformation. Our attention economy allows grifters, conspiracy theorists, trolls and savvy attention hijackers to take advantage of us and steal our focus.

An interview with Michael Caulfield in which he suggests that we resist the lure of rabbit holes, in part, by reimagining media literacy for the Internet.

The Librarian War Against QAnon

Part of the rallying cry that we hear about the current mis/disinformation war is that people should “do the research.” Barbara Fister indicates that classical information literacy is not enough.

Most students in the past 50 years have received instruction under various names: media literacy, digital literacy, news literacy, information literacy, civic literacy, critical thinking, and the umbrella concept of meta-literacy. This curriculum is constantly being reinvented to meet perceived crises of confidence, largely driven by the emergence of new technologies.

The present moment demands serious inquiry into why decades of trying to make information literacy a universal educational outcome hasn’t prevented a significant portion of the population from embracing disinformation while rejecting credible journalistic institutions.

A Case Against the Peeping Tom Theory of Privacy

Yes, it’s creepy when companies can track your every move. But the Peeping Tom narrative and current media narrative do not capture the collective dimension of data privacy. The truth is that the companies that track our every move generally don’t care about us as individuals. They want data to feed to machine learning tools.

The word privacy, or the “more general right of the individual to be let alone” is not the right word for these times. We need to instead focus on data collection and behavioral microtargeting.

Why digital writing tools are a ‘double-edged sword’ for dyslexic kids

When schools shut down and moved online due to the pandemic, suddenly teachers who relied on paper activities to teach dyslexic kids how to read were forced to improvise.

Technology has evolved as an incredible learning tool—and an indispensable one in the pandemic. But even in this remote-first world, dyslexic learners and their parents should remember that relying on technology has its costs.

Cartoon Network Releases Third ‘Steven Universe’ Anti-Racism PSA

Cartoon Network released its third anti-racism PSA, “See Color,” which sees Amethyst (voiced by Michaela Dietz) and friends from “Steven Universe” explain the importance of seeing people for their race.

It is part of a four-part series developed by “Steven Universe” creator Rebecca Sugar and “OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes” creator Ian Jones-Quartey to provide kids and families with productive ways to disrupt common narratives about racism.

Head over to www.crystalgemsspeakup.com for links to the PSAs, as well as social justice organizations and additional tools and information.


Make a plan for the personal data during online events

There are many reasons to hold an event online: a pandemic, concerns for the environment, national travel restrictions, or to keep costs low.

Use this template to learn about the tools that are available to host online events and the differences between how they work, such as types of encryption.

If you’re bringing people together online, it is your responsibility to evaluate the risks and benefits of using these online tools so you can make a better decision of which tool to use and when.



Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’

Mary Anne Radmacher

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Really loving this series of posters from Learning for Justice.

And that’s all folks. Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

The Internet is a Crime Scene

The Internet is a Crime Scene

Welcome back friends. I hope you…and those around you…are safe.

This week I worked on the following:

  • Accessible and Approachable – We must make intellectual work accessible, and accessible work intellectual.
  • Monkeys Throwing Feces – Some insight as my partner decides to leave social media for the foreseeable future.
  • Fit Versus Fit – When we look for a job, there are usually two questions that many jobs will ask. Are you the right fit and are you the right fit?

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.


Green Child of Mine

This is the way.

You are welcome.


11 Tips to Help Children Process the Storming of the Capitol Building

  1. Be careful with curious eyes and ears
  2. Make this a teachable moment
  3. Reassure your kids that everyone is safe
  4. Listen to their concerns
  5. Pay attention
  6. Put your oxygen mask on first
  7. Explain that violence is never the answer
  8. Talk about consequences
  9. Give your kids a break
  10. Take a Screen Detox
  11. Tell stories of kindness

They Used to Post Selfies. Now They’re Trying to Reverse the Election

The Capitol siege was the biggest media spectacle of the Trump era. It will be interesting to see this leads to any change in our relationship to misinfromation.

Thsi will most likely lead to no changes as right-wing influencers who embraced extremist views have been rewarded by Facebool algorithms. Facebook adds fuel to the fire as the social network shows ads for military gear next to posts for the insurrection.

We need to ask questions about the use of the algorithmic internet, which acts as an accelerant for white supremacy.

Every Deleted Parler Post, Many With Users’ Location Data, Has Been Archived

In the wake of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by scores of President Trump’s supporters, a lone researcher began an effort to catalog the posts of social media users across Parler, a platform founded to provide conservative users a safe haven for uninhibited “free speech” — but which ultimately devolved into a hotbed of far-right conspiracy theories, unchecked racism, and death threats aimed at prominent politicians.

The quick thinking of a self-described hacker by the name of donk_enby and a host of amateur data hoarders preserved more than 56.7 terabytes of data from Parler. This data included GPS metadata and videos from Parler and has been used to create an interactive map of this content.

Facial Recognition Technology Isn’t Good Just Because It’s Used to Arrest Neo-Nazis

Great post from Joan Donovan and Chris Gilliard on the risk and reward in our use of surveillance tech.

Crisis is often used to increase the reach of surveillance technologies. Many who consider the use of facial recognition technology ethically wrong in the context of policing take a different stance when it’s in the hands of researchers and journalists trying to identify neo-Nazis and insurrectionists. This could end up further entrenching facial recognition technology at a time when we should be working to ban it.

Teach Your White Kids About Their Privelege

Systemic racism is still a daily reality, white supremacists are feeling increasingly emboldened, and white people are inherently privileged. White parents need to talk with their white children about their privilege.

While we’re on the topic, this post by Dr. Laura M. Jimenez shares actionable advice on how to interupt whiteness in the classroom.


Six edtech tools to try in 2021

Jennifer Gonzalez from Cult of Pedagogy with a group of tools to check out this year.

  • Mote – audio feedback in Google Docs
  • AllSides – news from “all sides” of the political spectrum
  • Google Lens – use AR and machine learning to search
  • Bulb – student portfolio platform
  • EmbraceRace – a site created by an multiracial couple who wanted to do a better job of educating their children about race
  • Prezi Video – combines Prezi presentations and video



There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.

Henry Kissinger

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A Raven Queen Vanishes, and Britain Checks a Prophecy.

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Silence no longer an option

Silence no longer an option
Digitally Lit #261 – 9/26/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate.

We’re making changes here at DL. First off, I reopened the blog feed for the site. That means that you can just scroll down from the homepage and see all of the issues.

Second, I’m building up an open, online course as part of DL. I’ll have more info coming soon, but here’s a sneak peek of the first wave of learning events. This is for the educator in Pre-K up through higher ed that wants to be digitally literate in terms of teaching, learning, & assessment. Enjoy. 🙂

This week I worked on the following:

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 students of color confront impostor syndrome

Dena Simmons discusses how we might create a classroom that makes all students feel proud of who they are. “Every child deserves an education that guarantees the safety to learn in the comfort of one’s own skin,” she says.

For more guidance on imposter syndrome, check out this post from TED-Ed.


We Need to Talk About Talking About QAnon

For those of you that do not spend their time deep in the online wormhole of conspiracy and misinformation threads, you may not know about QAnon. QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory alleging that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles running a global child sex-trafficking ring is plotting against President Donald Trump, who is battling them, leading to a “day of reckoning” involving the mass arrest of journalists and politicians.

Whitney Phillips on how we need to talk about how a person’s existing worldview feeds into & is fed by recommendation algorithms. This is how the attention economy has has become possible, profitable & untouchable.

QAnon seems to be rebranding as they get more attention.

Telling the Truth About Slavery Is Not ‘Indoctrination’

Clint Smith on how our country is made better, not worse, by young people reckoning with the full legacy of the institution.

Such reckoning better prepares them to make sense of how our country has come to be, and how to build systems and institutions predicated on justice rather than oppression. Nothing is more patriotic than that.

Whose Anger Counts?

Whitney Phillips on how cancel culture can go wrong. But that doesn’t mean the objections of far-right trolls and social justice activists should be mistaken for having equal worth.

If you truly want to do something about cancel culture, take the radical step of doing what you do for everyone else. See them.

Raising Good Gamers: Envisioning an Agenda for Diversity, Inclusion, and Fair Play

In February 2020, leading researchers, game developers, educators, policymakers, youth experts, and others convened for an in-depth exploration of the forces shaping the culture and climate of online game communities and the impact of antisocial and toxic interactions on players ages 8-13.

This report from the Connected Learning Alliance synthesizes outputs and recommendations focused on the following prompts:

  • How might we develop and support gaming communities that cultivate empathetic, compassionate, and civically engaged youth?
  • What might it look like to develop youth’s socio-emotional capacities to positively shape the climate of gaming clubs and communities?
  • What role can the design of games, gaming communities, and associated technologies play in mitigating abuse?
  • How do we build the foundations of a healthy community directly into the platforms and communities themselves?

Teach Writing with the New English Language Arts Pack

Check out the new English Language Arts Minecraft Pack created in partnership with the National Writing Project. These 10 lessons for Minecraft: Education Edition focus on world-building and engage students in a game-based learning experience that will help them learn about the writing process.

This post from Christina Cantrill details the project, and how to get students to express their creativity through these worlds.

To learn more, check out the National Writing Project podcast episode featuring Joe Dillon.

If you’re new to Minecraft: Education Edition, head to education.minecraft.net/get-started.


8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom

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Synchronous Strategies:

  • Spider web discussion
  • Using chat to check for understanding
  • Flip your classroom to stimulate deeper discussion
  • Adapting think-pair-share to Zoom
  • A new twist on show-and-tell

Asynchronous Strategies:

  • Online forums create back-and-forth dialogue
  • Seeing and critiquing peer work through virtual gallery walks
  • Moving station brainstorming online



It’s good to treat your inspirations as precious.

Trent Reznor in Rolling Stone

digilit bannerWonderful read. Thinking about identity, privilege & fragility.

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

Blood On My Hands

Blood On My Hands
Digitally Lit #260 – 9/19/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate and issue #260.

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. 🔥✨㊗️

This week I worked on the following:

  • Ikigai – Some thoughts about Ikigai, the Japanese concept around a “reason for being” as I think about my social signals…and life.
  • Joy, Love, & Aesthetic Fulfillment – When was the last time you honestly felt pure joy? When was the last time you felt fulfilled?
  • Re-Examining My Social Signals – An update on how I’m thinking about re-engineer, reconnect, or disconnect the texts, places, and spaces in which I engage online. Oh, and some lessons learned about bird mating.
  • Using Graphic Novels in Your Classroom – Some ideas about how to embed these wonderful texts into your learning spaces.


The Bystander Effect vs. The Good Samaritan Effect

If you act on compassion when the moment presents itself, you will have a meaningful life.

Don’t be the bystander that stays in the dark. Do as the Good Samaritan and you will move closer to a life of purpose.


“I Have Blood on My Hands”: A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation

After being fired by Facebook this month, a data scientist published a 6,600-word memo to the company’s internal communication systems breaking down 2.5 years of her experiences on the “fake engagement team.”

Former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang pointed to activity across the world in nations such as Azerbaijan, Honduras, India, Ukraine, Spain, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

The U.S. Has an Empathy Deficit

Here’s what we can do about it:

  • Take the time to ask those you encounter how they are feeling, and really listen. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Remember that we all tend to underestimate other people’s emotional distress, and we’re most likely to do so when those people are different from us.
  • Remind yourself that almost everyone is at the end of their rope these days. Many people barely have enough energy to handle their own problems, so they don’t have their normal ability to think about yours.
  • Be aware that what is empathy for one person may not be empathy for another person. It’s not a concept that speaks for itself. Asking your friends, family, and coworkers what empathy is for them might open a new door to understanding and helping those around us.

How microaggressions look different when we’re working remotely

According to Columbia professor Derald Wing Sue, whose team defined microaggressions as the “new face of racism” in 2007, these actions fit into one of three categories:

  • Microassault: an explicit racial derogation; verbal/nonverbal. For example, using racial slurs or refusing to work with someone because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin.
  • Microinsult: communication that conveys rudeness and demeans a person’s racial heritage or identity; subtle snubs, unknown to the perpetrator; hidden insulting message to the recipient. For example, telling someone they are not like others of their race or repeating an insensitive joke about the person’s ethnicity.
  • Microinvalidation: communication that excludes or negates the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a person belonging to a particular group. This could include telling a person that they are being too sensitive or that they took your joke the wrong way.

An Open Letter to a Parent Afraid of Anti-Racist Education

The Education Week invited Julie Gunlock, the Director of the Independent Women’s Forum to write a blog post that sparked a lot of outrage in the comments on the post, as well as Twitter.

As a response to this post, Christina Torres wrote this open letter as a response that suggests that Black Lives Matter does belong in the classroom.

Bodies of Work: A proposal for critical labour literacy in the post-pandemic university

A great piece by Kate Bowles, Mia Zamora, Autumn Caines, and Maha Bali map a possible path to the end of working in the pandemic university.

You should also check out this Google Doc created by teen youth teachers that shares requests for teachers and caring adults as we continue virtually connecting to classrooms.


5 Habits That Will Help Your Brain Stay in Peak Condition

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Train your brain, change your brain.

  1. Juggling Improves the Brain’s Grey Matter
  2. Never Go to Bed Without Learning One New Thing
  3. Sleeping Poorly Is Linked to Rapid Reductions in Brain Volume
  4. Any Form of Exercise Rewires the Brain: Keep Your Body Active
  5. Mindfulness Is Becoming a Global Phenomenon for a Good Reason



Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Beyond Fear, Destiny Awaits

Beyond Fear, Destiny Awaits
Digitally Lit #259 – 9/12/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate and issue #259.

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. Thank you to all of my friends that reached out via email and the socials to express thanks for coming back…and looking forward to see what changes might be afoot. You are appreciated. ❤️

This week I worked on the following:

  • Going high tech without losing high touch – As we move to digital spaces, we cannot lose what it is that makes us human.
  • My DIY Peloton – Quarantining for months has added on some pounds and tons of stress. Years of playing rugby makes my knees dead when I want to go for long runs. Here is how we’re trying to stay fit as a family.
  • Humans Have Bodies – This open letter to my children has been a long time in the making.


San Francisco In Fire Sky

I need you to care that our planet is on fire.

Blazes like the ones currently overpowering the West Coast have become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. Fire seasons have grown longer, and larger areas of land are going up in flames.


Hate Social Media? You’ll Love This Documentary

The Social Dilemma — a new Netflix documentary out this weekend — makes the case that social media is humanity’s greatest existential threat.

Social media itself is not the existential threat. Rather, it’s the way that social media surfaces and amplifies the worst of humanity.

Trump orders crackdown on federal antiracism training, calling it ‘anti-American’

I’m hesitant to share this news as it seems like another example of the President and his administration shouting about something that will never materialize. I do think it is troubling as it creates oxygen for those groups that agree with these narratives.

Trump orders crackdown on federal antiracism training, calling it ‘anti-American.’

This pushes back on any training materials “that teaches, trains or suggests the following: (1) virtually all White people contribute to racism or benefit from racism (2) critical race theory (3) white privilege (4) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country (5) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil (6) Anti-American propaganda.”

The Department of Education indicated that they plan to scrutinize a wide range of employee activities – including internal book clubs – in search of “Anti-American propaganda” and discussions about “white privilege” as it carries out the White House’s demand that federal agencies halt certain types of race-related training.

How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy

It’s hard to know exactly why people believe what they believe.

When asked where they found their information, almost all these voters were cryptic: “Go online,” one woman said. “Dig deep,” added another. They seemed to share a collective disdain for the mainstream media–a skepticism that has only gotten stronger and deeper since 2016. The truth wasn’t reported, they said, and what was reported wasn’t true.

How forcing colleges to go online could change higher education for the better

Matthew Yglesias trying to identify a possible silver lining to the fact that the global pandemic has pushed our learning environments to virtual spaces.

This desire to “reinvent higher education” is a common narrative that is trotted out every couple of years. I prefer this piece from 2010. I remember being excited about iTunes U when I started up my first program in higher ed.

I do wonder about the lessons we should learn about educational technologies as we head through these times. More to come.

If you’d like to chart out that future, check out the manifesto for teaching online.

How Are You Combating Your Kid’s Zoom Fatigue?

Sadly, Zoom is now critical infrastructure. As part of this, we’re seeing youth tuning in to courses remotely using a variety of tools.

How are you ensuring that your students and children are not endlessly staring at screens all day?


Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life

This episode of The Art of Manliness podcast focuses on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

…if people don’t know what their values are, they take their goals, the concrete things they can achieve, to be their values.

Thanks to Doug Belshaw for the tip.



In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.


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Beyond fear, destiny awaits.

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Escape Pods

Escape Pods
Digitally Lit #258 – 9/5/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate and issue #258. I took off the month of August from this newsletter and my social media feeds. I discuss more about this below.

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.

This week I worked on the following:

  • Gone for a minute – I was on a digital detox for the month of August. I disconnected to focus on my family as we prepare for the upcoming academic year.
  • Is social media bad for us? – Every week in this newsletter we see evidence that social media might not be good for us.

I’m in the process of making changes to my social media feeds and signals. This will include modifying content in this newsletter. I hope you’ll forgive me as you see some loose wires for a couple of weeks.

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Why I quit trying to build the perfect morning routine.


How do you start your day?

How do you build routines into your life?


U.S. court: Mass surveillance program exposed by Snowden was illegal

U.S. court says mass surveillance program exposed by Snowden was illegal.

Warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans’ telephone records violated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act & may have been unconstitutional.

Keep in mind this is still focused on “Americans” data.

All Students Need Anti-racism Education

Schools across the nation are committing to the all-important work of anti-racism. Schools with predominately white or privileged students should be no exception.

  • Teachers must re-evaluate their curriculum
  • Students need to understand privilege and rethink power
  • Schools must interrogate their practices and how they gained institutional privilege to begin with

The Privileged Have Entered Their Escape Pods

This piece by Douglas Rushkoff is a followup to “Survival of the Richest,” a report about how the wealthy plot to leave us behind after an apocalyptic event.

Unlike their human mothers, a predictive algorithm could anticipate their every need in advance and deliver it directly, removing every trace of friction and longing.

I Write the Songs

A fascinating long read about algorithms and how they try to replicate the “creation of coercive fun.”

Requiring novelty is a learned behavior. When you consume an algorithmic feed, you are constituted as a subject who is continually winning at wanting.

Video game playing and literacy: a survey of young people aged 11 to 16

Video games can provide young people with a route into reading and improve confidence in reading & writing skills. Video games can have potential benefits for increasing empathy & mental wellbeing.

Findings from survey exploring literacy-related interactions of 4626 youth in the UK using BounceTogether as a data collection tool.


Get a password manager

This week I started using Bitwarden as I clean up my password system and move away from LastPass.

Here’s how to get started with Bitwarden.



Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.

Albert Einstein

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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 really love white noise generators while I’m working. The Implanted Memories and Electric Sheep audio streams are perfect if you want that Blade Runner vibe all day while you’re working.

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