Tag: cancel culture

Tolerance for Discomfort

Hi all! Welcome back to Digitally Literate. This is issue #302.

I worked on a bunch of things in the background. I hope you’re taking some time this weekend to recharge and make you feel good.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Reach out and say hello at hello@digitallyliterate.net.

Is Mycelium Fungus the Plastic of the Future?

Plastic changed the course of manufacturing forever, but came at a cost. Mycelium technology might be the solution and the next big boom. A plastic-like replacement with so many uses and new opportunities for products, companies, and profits. The Undecided with Matt Ferrell explores mycelium technology and how it can help us achieve a more renewable and cleaner future.

Read more here.

Australia is becoming a surveillance state

The Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 gives the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) three new powers for dealing with online crime:

  1. Data disruption warrant: gives the police the ability to “disrupt data” by modifying, copying, adding, or deleting it.
  2. Network activity warrant: allows the police to collect intelligence from devices or networks that are used, or likely to be used, by those subject to the warrant
  3. Account takeover warrant: allows the police to take control of an online account (e.g. social media) for the purposes of gathering information for an investigation.

The two Australian law enforcement bodies, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) will soon have the power to modify, add, copy, or delete your data should you become a suspect in the investigation of a serious crime.

The New Puritans

How much intellectual life is now stifled because of fear of what a poorly worded comment would look like if taken out of context and spread on Twitter?

This seems like an opportunity to remember that “Twitter is not real life.” For the vast majority of people who aren’t public figures with a large social media following, “cancel culture” has no real effect on their lives for good or bad.

But, we should be aware that for a small minority it does matter, and we should pay attention when anyone is silenced. At the core of all of it is the idea that we can guarantee equal outcomes for all individuals. It’s much more complicated problem that some make it out to be.

One quote sticks out to me in particular.

What many of these people—the difficult ones, the gossipy ones, the overly gregarious ones—have in common is that they make people uncomfortable. Here, too, a profound generational shift has transpired. “I think people’s tolerance for discomfort—people’s tolerance for dissonance, for not hearing exactly what they want to hear—has now gone down to zero,” one person told me. “Discomfort used to be a term of praise about pedagogy—I mean, the greatest discomforter of all was Socrates.”

The brilliance in these culture wars is that we can’t help ourselves but engage. It’s a solid strategy for groups to focus themselves, and identify an enemy.

On Mirrors, Windows, and Telescopes

A brilliant piece by Stephanie Toliver extending a literary metaphor to better understand the intersection between reality and possibility.

In her groundbreaking piece “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop explored how books can transform the human experience and reflect it back to the reader (mirrors), how texts can offer views of real, imagined, strange, or familiar worlds (windows), and how literature can enable readers to walk through the printed text and become part of the world created by the author (sliding glass doors).

Toliver adds the following:

Through telescopes, children—especially those whose access to futures and fantasies has been distorted by violence and oppression—will be able to see that those futuristic and fantastical landscapes are actually closer than they first appeared to be.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources for Teaching About Digital Culture

A great resource with insight from thought leaders, books, articles, videos and podcasts on the following topics:

Why We Shout During an Argument (and Why It’s Not Effective)

Vanessa Bohns, a professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University, wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “[W]hile we often are overconfident in our beliefs, the tendency to shout—whether over our neighbors, friends, or adversaries—comes from underconfidence in our ability to convince others.”

Instead of yelling, gentle persuasion tends to be the most effective. Pointing out the disconnect between what a person thinks and says versus what a person does, or what they recommend for others versus themselves.

Another strategy is to ask questions, to get someone to articulate what their thoughts and views are, which is a way of getting them to engage in the topic, and think it through.

How to navigate covid news without spiraling

As the pandemic changes so quickly, there’s a better way to think about getting and sharing the information you need.

  • Beware the “scariant”-industrial complex
  • Information changes, and that’s okay
  • Focus on what’s most useful

The problem is not people being uneducated.

The problem is that people are educated just enough to believe what they have been taught, and not educated enough to question anything from what they have been taught.

Richard Feynman

I’m a Luddite. You should be one too. 🙂

Come BS with me at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Creativity is Subtraction


We improve the quality of what we are doing by reducing the quantity of what we shouldn’t be doing.

This week some of my recent research in screentime was posted. Our chapter, Co-constructing Digital Futures, is now available for #OpenReview as part of the @mitpress Works in Progress program. I worked with the brilliant Katie Paciga, Elizabeth Stevens, and Kristen Turner as we talked with our children about privacy, security, and algorithms as they use tech.

This is being published through MIT Press and they’re using an open peer review process. You can create an account and give us feedback unit October 5. Please read and comment!

Thank you to Sheri Edwards for the cover photo in this issue.

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.



Here at Digitally Literate, we love deepfakes.

Digital artist Jarkan, the same talented hand behind turning Millie Bobby Brown into Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger, has dipped into the world of James Bond for their latest piece.


Understanding cancel culture: Normative and unequal sanctioning

Cancel culture is a phenomenon where individuals transgressing norms are called out and ostracized on social media and other venues by members of the public. While its effects are decried by some and its existence denied by others, the processes that shape cancel culture are misunderstood.

This literature review by Hervé Saint-Louis explores how cancel culture affects people unequally by looking at the phenomenon known as the Karens.

The piece argues that cancellation can only occur if participating third parties with oversight over transgressing individuals perform sanctions.

A review of frameworks as a starting point for anti-racism content development

As content creators and learning designers, how do we start to think about and approach race and racism in our work? How do we do this individually and when working with program teams?

One possible opportunity is the Design for Diversity™ (D4D) framework. It is not specific to education or digital learning content, but the D4D framework contains tools and guided critical thinking exercises to undertake when starting work to help with “illuminating cultural and racial biases within your design, ideation, and creative processes.”

After EI, DI?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to perceive, use, understand and manage emotions.

The DQ Institute is working on the Digital Intelligence Quotient which offers an encompassing framework for thinking about digital citizenship, digital creativity and digital competitiveness.

What might digital intelligence (DI) look like, and how might we develop it?

OER and Teaching Through the Rearview Mirror

Ray Schroeder with a paragraph that has been stuck in my mind like an earworm. I will be stealing this for future discussions.

Are you and your colleagues teaching through the windshield or the rearview mirror? What steps are you taking to bring new materials and fresh experiences to your classes? Will your teaching hold up through five years? Who is leading the charge to make your curriculum relevant to tomorrow?

Want to Be a World-Class Problem Solver? Science Says the Trick Is to Embrace the Subtraction Habit

New research shows that removing rather than adding elements to a problematic idea, product, or process is often better–but first you have to remember to take that approach.

Changes that were more effective than additive changes.

Try it. The next time you try to solve a problem or improve a situation, think about how less could be more


Scan Your LEGO With This App to Figure Out What to Build

A new app, called Brickit, available for download in the app store, will scan your LEGOs to create an inventory of your collection. This includes counting the total number of bricks, as well as sorting them by size.

All you have to do is spread your LEGOs out on a flat surface and take a photograph, and the app will suggest different figures you can build using the bricks in your collection, including step-by-step directions.



Creativity is subtraction.

Austin Kleon

digilit banner

Facebook tests prompts that ask users if they’re worried a friend is ‘becoming an extremist.’ What could go wrong?!?!

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

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.