Tag: education

Welcome To The Bubble

WELCOME
Welcome To The Bubble
Digitally Lit #255 – 7/18/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #255 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 hello@digitallyliterate.net.

I had several friends reach out behind the scenes this week with the same question. “There is so much information and anxiety about opening classrooms in a month. Could you cut through the mess and identify wicked problems that we should address?

Dear colleagues…this issue is for you. <3

Watch

Welcome To The Bubble

 

One of my recent interests focused on “The Bubble.” For those of you that may not know, the NBA is creating a social bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort to finish up the 2019-2020 season.

It’s interesting to see the steps being taken to protect lives, but also the social media content coming out from all. One of my favorites is the VLOG from Sixers rookie Matisse Thybulle.

I’m wondering what our institutions will learn from this experiment, and what can we use to protect lives in our classrooms.

Read

America is not prepared for schools opening this fall. This will be bad.

There is nothing Americans can do to save public education right now. We had a window about three months ago. We saw this coming. Teachers all saw this coming. There was no federal help, no national leadership.

We got to visit bars and amusement parks this summer, though. So there’s that.

This COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool provides interactive context to assess the risk that one or more individuals infected with COVID-19 are present in an event of various sizes.

Teachers: You Are Being Gaslit

We are being presented with the false choice between our own safety and quality education. We are being made to feel crazy for being scared to do our jobs, when in reality, it is logical to be scared.

You have the power to shut it down.

Stay Apart or Stay Home

Student conduct codes and pledges promise good COVID-19 habits.

Whether we call this a “community compact,” “social contract” or “behavioral compact,” it’s time for educators to start thinking about the words you’ll use to address this with your students. Educators are the prime (most important) connection with our students. Your life (and the lives of others) may depend on it.

What will you say?

How to Judge Whether Your School District Is Doing Enough

I’m sure no one could use this guidance at this point. 🙃

This 62 page report the Harvard School of Public Health’s “Healthy Buildings” Program outlines recommendations for five aspects of in-person schooling:

  • Healthy Classrooms
  • Healthy Buildings
  • Healthy Policies
  • Healthy Schedules
  • Healthy Activities

As we think about opening up the new academic year, we should be focusing on the students that need to attend F2F, as opposed to blanket policies. To that end, this piece on CERPs (COVID-19 exposure risk profile) is a mandatory read.

CERPs hinge on preexisting forms of social differentiation such as socioeconomic status, as individuals with more economic resources at their disposal can better insulate themselves from exposure risk.

How to talk to conspiracy theorists—and still be kind.

  1. Always, always speak respectfully.
  2. Go private
  3. Test the waters first
  4. Agree
  5. Try the “truth sandwich”
  6. Use Socratic method
  7. Be very careful with loved ones
  8. Realize some people won’t change
  9. If it gets bad, stop
  10. Every little bit helps

Make

Real-time collaboration with Canva

Learned two great things from Richard Byrne about Canva. I use Canva 2 to 3 times per day…so this rocks.

Canva started rolling-out real-time collaboration options similar to what you might experience with Google Docs or Drawings. Canva has an education version that is completely free for teachers and students. Head to Canva for Education page to sign up.

Consider

consider

Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice.

John Lewis

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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 needed this post this week. I think you’ll enjoy this storry about two teachers trying to find a safe way to find students missing in their classrooms.

As a regular reader of Digitally Literate….you should complete this survey on the future of digital life in light of COVID-19 and AI.

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

Transformative Experiences

WELCOME
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 hello@digitallyliterate.net.

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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.

Watch

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. 🙂

Read

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.

Make

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?

Consider

consider

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.

This is haunting.

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

Things That Matter

WELCOME
Things That Matter
Digitally Lit #251 – 6/20/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #251 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 hello@digitallyliterate.net.

I was involved in two pieces this week:

Watch

Facial Recognition: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

 

John Oliver takes a look at facial recognition technology, how it’s used by private companies and law enforcement, and why it can be dangerous.

IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon all announced pauses on their facial recognition tech last week. Part of the reason is the racial bias inherently built into these systems and the impact on Black lives.

Read

Trump Can’t Immediately End DACA, Supreme Court Rules

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), protects people brought to the United States as children by shielding them from deportation and letting them work.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.

This ruling has important implications for educational settings, and has been shown to ease transition into adulthood for these youth.

What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently

They view the success of black students as central to the success of their own teaching.

To fight against systemic racism means to buck norms. Educators at every level must be willing to be uncomfortable in their struggle for black students, recognizing students’ power and feeding it by honoring their many contributions to our schools.

Pride Month goes digital: Why spirit of Pride will still prevail

LGBTQ communities in the US and around the world celebrate Pride in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots and pride in being who they are. This year, Pride celebrations have moved online and many have focused on supporting racial justice.

Without in-person Pride events this year, there are questions about how to support the LGBTQ community, specifically the people who don’t have supportive families.

The FBI used a Philly protester’s Etsy profile, LinkedIn, and other internet history to charge her with setting police cars ablaze

I write and teach about privacy, security, and the digital breadcrumbs we leave behind as we live online and off. In this, I’ve asked the question about the groups that collect this data, and the algorithms that make sense of it all. Who is doing the collecting…and who is buying, or using this info?

This story details the the intricate trail of breadcrumbs Philadelphia police used to track a protester through her social media history and online shopping patterns.

The path took agents from Instagram, where amateur photographers also captured shots of the masked arsonist, to an Etsy shop that sold the distinctive T-shirt the woman was wearing in the video. It led investigators to her LinkedIn page, to her profile on the fashion website Poshmark, and eventually to her doorstep in Germantown.

Why Do People Avoid Facts That Could Help Them?

As COVID-19 rages across the U.S., I’m often enraged when I see people choosing not to wear masks in public. This post shares information on why some people choose to remain ignorant about information that would benefit them when it’s painful—and sometimes when it’s pleasurable.

Much of this guidance comes from a scale to measure people’s relative aversion to potentially unpleasant but also potentially useful information developed by Emily Ho and colleagues.

Make

Perk Up Your Iced Coffee With Cocktail Bitters

In this newsletter, we regularly examine opportunities to make things in the kitchen. This is especially true when it comes to ways to caffeinate.

This post examines the many uses of cocktail bitters.

If that doesn’t totally turn you off…perhaps you’d also like to examine fat-washing your whisky. 😉

Consider

consider

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

This week I need this opportunity to laugh at myself.

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

Worth Our Embrace

WELCOME
Worth Our Embrace
Digitally Lit #238 – 3/21/2020**

Hi all, welcome to issue #238 of Digitally Literate.

I worked on the following this week:

The Online Learning Collective – Together with a group of new friends, we volunteered to start up a Facebook Group to support educators as they adapt to the challenges of bringing their courses online. As part of this work, we build up a website, and a mentored open online course to support a community in need. Several of us were interviewed yesterday.

Technopanic Podcast Special Episode – COVID-19 – This special episode of the Technopanic Podcast shares our thoughts about the challenges of parenting, and teaching in a global pandemic.

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.

Watch

What Bill Gates is afraid of

What’s likeliest to kill more than 10 million human beings in the next 20 years? It’s probably not what you’d think.

There’s something out there that’s as bad as war, something that kills as many people as war, and Bill Gates doesn’t think we’re ready for it.

Read the whole story here on Vox.

Read

I refuse to run a Coronavirus home school

This piece from Jennie Weiner talks about the challenges & concerns parents have a we think we need to recreate school at home.

My husband and I both work full time. Like so many others, we’re attempting to keep our family safe and fed during our state’s Covid-19 shutdown while simultaneously working to convince our boomer parents to practice social distancing, reaching out to other loved ones and friends and trying not to panic. Even when everything in our life is working the way it should, and with all the privileges we have — our solid health care, our economic stability, our whiteness — we often feel overwhelmed. So this pandemic felt like a bridge too far. We had to meet it head on: holding our breath, crossing our fingers. And not judging ourselves.

We live in Zoom now

Zoom is where we work, go to school and party these days. There is a lot of discussion about whether we’re ever going back to normal. As a result of social distancing, video conferencing apps have swooped in to keep us connected.

A reminder that requiring students to keep cameras on during Zoom calls is bad teaching practice.

Zoom has marketed this as a way to build community, it is not. Perhaps the real way to build community is to turn off the cameras.

Instead of this, you can identify opportunities to differentiate instruction to support learners. I also recommend this thread from Jenae Cohn on how to build community.

Coronavirus Is Speeding Up the Amazonification of the Planet

Brian Merchant with a piece examining how platform-based monoliths are vacuuming up customers, jobs, and chunks of our economy.

If restaurants, bars, and local shops close permanently while app-based monoliths hoover up the customers and the jobs, the trendline may be very difficult to reverse as we wade out of the wreckage. And this is not a future we want.

If It Doesn’t Make Sense… Refuse

John Warner questioning many of the policies and “mandatory” edicts that we use to motivate ourselves and others.

The emergent nature of the situation has revealed what is worth valuing and what is worth abandoning. It shows that constraints we are asked to live under are entirely artificial. If these things are worth abandoning in a crisis, what makes them worth adhering to under normal circumstances?

How the Coronavirus Helps Us Understand the Buddhist View of Our Interdependence

For centuries, Buddhism has offered the teaching that’s been called “dependent origination” or “interdependent origination.” This means that nothing exists independently in our world. Everything is interconnected as exist in a complex web of life that is continually changing.

We can only thrive as we become aware of how we affect each other. If we’re not able to hear each other’s feelings and needs, our relationships suffer. We thrive to the extend that we embrace our interdependence.

Make

On Digital Minimalism and Pandemics

Cal Newport with some guidance as we strive for balance in these times.

There is, I propose, a simple two-part solution to this state of affairs.

First, check one national and one local new source each morning. Then — and this is the important part — don’t check any other news for the rest of the day. Presumably, time sensitive updates that affect you directly will arrive by email, or phone, or text.

This will be really hard, especially given the way we’ve been trained by social media companies over the past decade to view our phone as a psychological pacifier.

Which brings me to the second part of the solution: distract yourself with value-driven action; lots of action. Serve your community, serve your kids, serve yourself (both body and mind), produce good work. Try to fit in a few moments of forced gratitude, just to keep those particular circuits active.

Consider

consider

Order in the absence of humanity and compassion is not worth our embrace.

John Warner

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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. Feel free to pay attention if you’d like to check my notes. 🙂

If you made it to the end of this week’s issue…perhaps you’d enjoy some Stardew Valley ASMR. 🙂

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

Digitally Literate #233

WELCOME
To The Renegades
Digitally Lit #233 – 2/15/2020**

Hi all, welcome to issue #233 of Digitally Literate.

I posted and shared the following this week:

  • Happy Safer Internet Day – I’m continuing to blog for the Screentime Research Group. This is primarily for parents and educators as they think about living & learning in an age of screentime. You’ll see distilled posts that come from this newsletter. If you’d like to blog for the group…send me a note.
  • Web Literate Educator – I have been slowing revising the open educational resource (OER) for the technology classes I teach. You can follow along here on the Google Site.

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.

Watch

My Analog Journal YouTube Channel

I love to have music playing in the background as I cook, work, and (sometimes) when I teach. I’m looking for music that I can play in the background and (hopefully) doesn’t contain expletives.

This YouTube channel is a rare gem in the wild in which they explore rare groovesin themed playlists every month. Their coffee break sessions (CBS) offer an exploration of African Grooves, Jazz from the USSR, and Japanese Funk & Soul.

You can learn more, and support this work on their Patreon page.

Read

If you could use VR to see a dead loved one again one more time, would you want to?

You knew this use of tech was coming.

If you could use virtual reality (VR) to see a dead loved one again one more time, would you want to?

This raises questions about our framing of death in future contexts. I think we’d find ourselves in a perpetual loop of looking for answers from artificially intelligent versions of loved ones long gone.

What We Want Doesn’t Always Make Us Happy

Facebook is designed to make you anxious, depressed and dissatisfied, three states of mind that make you more vulnerable to advertising and other forms of behavioral manipulation. Small wonder, then, that people who quit using Facebook report higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of depression and anxiety [pdf].

The post also examines the disconnect between happiness and utility in looking at the value of money. People usually predict that the things they say they’d pay money for would also boost their happiness — but not always.

Cost Cutting Algorithms Are Making Your Job Search a Living Hell

Companies are increasingly using automated systems to select who gets ahead and who gets eliminated from pools of applicants. For jobseekers, this can mean a series of bizarre, time-consuming tasks demanded by companies who have not shown any meaningful consideration of them.

The Original Renegade

TikTok was introduced in the United States only a year and a half ago. Norms, particularly around credit and attribution, are still being established. One of the more popular pieces of content on the network involves dancers who perform and share their choreography with others online.

Most of these dancers identify as Dubsmashers. This means, in essence, that they use the Dubsmash app and other short-form social video apps, like Funimate, ‎Likee and Triller, to document choreography to songs they love. They then post (or cross-post) the videos to Instagram, where they can reach a wider audience.

For Dubsmashers, and those in the Instagram dance community, it’s common courtesy to tag the handles of dance creators and musicians, and use hashtags to track the evolution of a dance.

This piece by Taylor Lorenz shares the challenges that occur as a creator’s content becomes popular online, and then is ultimately co-opted by the TikTok masses.

The future of assessment: five principles, five targets for 2025

This report from JISC is the result of an experts meeting exploring assessment in universities and colleges and how technology could be used to help address some of the problems and opportunities.

JISC (formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee) is a not-for-profit) that is focused on providing relevant and useful advice for higher ed and beyond.

The report sets five targets for the next five years to progress assessment towards being more authentic, accessible, appropriately automated, continuous and secure.

  • Authentic: Assessments designed to prepare students for what they do next, using technology they will use in their careers
  • Accessible: Assessments designed with an accessibility-first principle
  • Appropriately automated: A balance found of automated and human marking to deliver maximum benefit to students
  • Continuous: Assessment data used to explore opportunities for continuous assessment to improve the learning experience
  • Secure: Authoring detection & biometric authentication adopted for identification & remote proctoring

Make

Chrome Ad Highlighter

Google recently pushed a change to the way it displays search results, further blurring the line between ads and genuine results. This lightweight Chrome extension makes sure the difference remains crystal clear.

Consider

consider

Unless the mass of workers are to be blind cogs and pinions in the apparatus they employ, they must have some understanding of the physical and social facts behind and ahead of the material and appliances with which they are dealing.

John Dewey

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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.

I really enjoyed this video on the birth and evolution of metal. The content and quality of the Trash Theory YouTube channel is excellent if you’re looking to learn more about music.

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

Digitally Literate #225

WELCOME

Real, flawed Users
Digitally Lit #225 – 12/07/2019

Hi all, welcome to issue #225 of Digitally Literate, thanks for stopping by. Please subscribe if you would like this to show up in your email inbox.

This week my latest research piece was finally made available online from CITE. It is titled Educate, Empower, Advocate: Amplifying Marginalized Voices in a Digital Society.

I examine how activists use digital, social technologies for the purposes of amplifying marginalized voices & enacting social change. I considered whether (& how) these texts & practices may be used in the classroom.

This week I also was at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Literacy Research Association (LRA) presenting talking about technology, education, and computational thinking. More to come soon.

Watch

How to Simplify Your Life (6:34)

As you start thinking about the end of the year…and possibly making some changes…think about adding to your life by subtracting.

Read more about the connections between simplicity and anxiety here.

Read

Nothing Lasts Forever – Not Even on The Internet

An interesting, interactive piece by Annalee Newitz looking at the current and future reach of the Internet. Newitz unpacks whether it is possible to create a form of digital communication that promotes consensus-building and civil debate, rather than divisiveness and conspiracy theories.

The piece includes threads of an interview with sci-fi author John Scalzi.

The article examines the unintended consequences that flow from new discoveries. When we think about new technologies and their role in society, we need to consider the real, flawed people who will use it…not the idealized consumers in promotional videos.

Scalzi imagines a new wave of digital media companies that will serve the generations of people who have grown up online and know that digital information can’t be trusted. Scalzi hypothesizes this new generation will care about who is giving them the news, where it comes from, and why it’s believable.

They will not be internet optimists in the way that the current generation of tech billionaires wants,” he said with a laugh. They will not, he explained, believe the hype about how every new app makes the world a better place: “They’ll be internet pessimists and realists.”

TikTok Admits It Suppressed Videos by Disabled, Queer, and Fat Creators

TikTok Admits It Suppressed Videos by Disabled, Queer, & Fat Creators.

I’ve heard a lot about TikTok over the last couple of months in my communities. I’ve explored the possible use of this as a replacement for Vine and playing with content creation.

This story is another example of why it is important to understand code, data privacy, algorithms, & the ethics/ethos behind these technology companies.

Truth, Lies, and Digital Fluency

Good friend Doug Belshaw was given a title and description by equally good friend Bryan Alexander. This was for one segment of ITHAKA’s The Next Wave Conference in New York City.

Belshaw was asked to respond to whether or not we should continue to question the trustworthiness of digital information…and how much worse can it get.

I always enjoy materials from Doug’s presentations not only from the ideas he shares, the format in which he shares it. We can all learn a lot from the thought and transparency he bakes in to everything. The slides are available here…and also here on the Internet Archive.

Why parents in a school district near the CIA are forcing tech companies to erase kids’ data

Parents at a public school district in Maryland have won a major victory for student privacy. Tech companies that work with the school district now have to purge the data they have collected on students once a year.

Experts say the district’s “Data Deletion Week” may be the first of its kind in the country.

We have to wonder why this doesn’t happen elsewhere in Pre-K up through higher education.

After 10 Years of Hopes and Setbacks, What Happened to the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were one of the most ambitious education effort in U.S. history. This piece asks whether the initiative failed, or it just needs more time to work.

The article suggests that more time, and a more integrated intervention were needed. These include connections between textbooks, curricular materials, and teacher development.

There is also a need to focus on early childhood education, teacher training/development/pay, school integration, and poverty alleviation programs.

Make

Attention! Sign up for the 2020 Digital Detox…on attention

As we head to the end of 2019, and the start of 2020, perhaps you might want to re-examine your screentime.

You might want to sign up for the 2020 Digital Detox from Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) group at Middlebury College. The focus of this year’s initiative is Attention in the Attention Economy.
Consider

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I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

Charlotte Brontë

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Digitally Literate is a synthesis of the important things I find as I surf, skim, & scan the Internet each week. I take notes of everything that piques my interest, and then pull together the important stuff here in a weekly digest.

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

Digitally Literate #222

WELCOME

A Broken World
Digitally Lit #222 – 11/16/2019

Hi all, welcome to issue #222 of Digitally Literate, thanks for stopping by. Please subscribe if you would like this to show up in your email inbox.

This week I posted the following:

Watch

Lil Buck with Icons of Modern Art (3:56)

Do yourself a favor. Put on a pair of headphones and watch this short clip.

It should provide an amuse bouche as we begin to dig into the news for the week.

Read

I’m the Google whistleblower. The medical data of millions of Americans is at risk

A whistleblower who works in Project Nightingale, the secret transfer of the personal medical data of up to 50 million Americans from one of the largest healthcare providers in the US to Google, has expressed anger that patients are being kept in the dark about the massive deal.

The secret scheme was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the US. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification.

So the Internet didn’t turn out the way we hoped. Where do we go from here?

The Internet hasn’t lived up to all our dreams for it.

But it also may not conform to the nightmares (of misinformation, of alienation, of exploitation) that so many people spin around it now.

…after decades of imagining it as a utopia, and then a few years of seeing it as a dystopia — we might finally begin to see it for what it is, which is a set of powerful technologies in the midst of some serious flux.

Definitely check out this interactive piece from the NY Times.

The Captured City

Jathan Sadowski with an excellent look at how smart technologies are being used to make surveillance and infrastructure indistinguishable from one another.

The ‘smart city’ is not a coherent concept, let alone an actually existing entity. It’s better understood as a misleading euphemism for a corporately controlled urban future. The phrase itself is part of the ideological infrastructure it requires.

I also recommend checking out this piece from John Torpey in Forbes. Torpey connects the dots between surveillance communism to surveillance capitalism and beyond. Keep this in mind given the news I shared about Google acquiring FitBit.

Surveillance capitalism, less overtly intrusive, makes our online activities a source of data that private firms harvest for their profit. Self-surveillance, finally, transforms our daily activities into a source of data that we train on ourselves.

Education, privacy, and big data algorithms: Taking the persons out of personalized learning

Results of a literature review on philanthropy in education from Priscilla M. Regan and Valerie Steeves in First Monday.

The research examines the impact of philanthropy by technology company foundations (e.g., Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) and education magazines have on personalized learning, while paying special attention to issues of privacy.

Findings suggest competing discourses on personalized learning revolve around contested meanings about the type of expertise needed for twenty-first century learning, what self-directed learning should look like, whether education is about process or content, and the type of evidence that is required to establish whether or not personalized learning leads to better student outcomes.

Privacy issues remain a hot spot of conflict between the desire for more efficient outcomes at the expense of “student privacy and the social construction of and expectations about data and surveillance.”

‘I am a scavenger’: The desperate things teachers do to get the classroom supplies they need

The Washington Post asked teachers throughout the country how much they spend on supplies, what they buy and why. Teachers — mostly in public school districts but also in charter, private and Catholic schools — sent more than 1,200 emails to The Post from more than 35 states. The portrait that emerges is devastating — and reveals that the problem has existed, without remedy, for decades. And it has gotten worse over time.

In a related story, this piece by Jon Marcus highlights the fact that funding for institutions of higher ed has regularly declined over the last decade.

Our system is broken. We are not investing in our future.

Make

Entire YouTube Studio Setup on ONE DESK (12:09)

I’ve been rebuilding my office and will have some updates coming soon. One thing I’ve been investigating is setting up an easy setup to record video from my desk.

This setup from the DSLR Video Shooter YouTube channel looks great.

Consider

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We came into a broken world. And we’re the cleanup crew.

Kanye West

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Digitally Literate is a synthesis of the important things I find as I surf, skim, & scan the Internet each week. I take notes of everything that piques my interest, and then pull together the important stuff here in a weekly digest.

This I enjoyed listening to this interview of Noam Chomsky by Zack de la Rocha while finishing up the newsletter.

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

Digitally Literate #221

WELCOME

A Brave New Face
Digitally Lit #221 – 11/9/2019

Hi all, welcome to issue #221 of Digitally Literate, thanks for stopping by. Please subscribe if you would like this to show up in your email inbox.

This week I posted the following:

Watch

Duolingo for Talking to Children (2:19)

This great video from Saturday Night Live indicates that it is never too late to learn how to talk to children.

I’ll definitely save this for future workshops and talks.

Read

Results from the 2018 International Computer & Information Literacy Study

Relatively good news from results of the 2018 International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) which assesses 8th-grade students in two domains: computer & information literacy (CIL) & computational thinking (CT).

Results show U.S. 8th-grade students’ average score in CIL higher than the ICILS 2018 average for the second year in a row. US female 8th-graders outperformed their male peers in CIL, but male 8th-grade students outperformed female students in CT.

U.S. 8th-grade students with 2 or more computers at home performed better in CIL & CT than U.S. peers with fewer computers. 72% of US 8th graders reported using Internet for research daily or at least once a week, & 65% reported teaching themselves how to find info online.

If you want to dig a bit deeper, check out the technical notes for the 2018 ICILS, additional information, the questionnaires, FAQs and the full international report.

A teen’s guide to privacy

As part of the Screentime Research Project, I’ve been studying with Katie Paciga, Elizabeth Stevens, and Kristen Turner as we learn about how to live and learn in a digital age.

This post is a good resource detailing how to talk with adolescents about how to participate online.

This piece is from Buzzfeed and is part of their series on schools and social media surveillance.

The Government Protects Our Food and Cars. Why Not Our Data?

Natasha Singer with a post in the NY Times talking about data rights and asking why we do not have specific protections. The United States is the only developed nation without a comprehensive consumer data protection law and an independent agency enforcing it.

Why are Americans protected from hazardous laptops, fitness trackers and smartphones — but not when hazardous apps on our devices expose and exploit our personal information?

Leaked documents show Facebook leveraged user data to fight rivals and help friends

Facebook says they’re trying to protect user privacy, but what they’re really doing is tapping user data — including info about friends, relationships & photos — as leverage over companies it partners with.

Your data & attention are their resource.

As we discuss each week in this newsletter…perhaps it is time to delete Facebook. What are your thoughts?

As a response to this growing cacophony of bad press, and possible government involvement, Facebook put on a brand new face.

I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can Get Yours, Too.

We now live in world where all of our lives are boiled down to a set of data points, and computer algorithms make split second decisions about us. This could be a job application, loan request, or college admissions packet.

Kashmir Hill did some digging on the data that is used to make these decisions. In this piece she shares some actionable guidance on finding your data.

The post contains a quote from Jason Tan, the chief executive of Sift, one of the companies that uses data to determine consumer trustworthiness.

“We’re not looking at the data. It’s just machines and algorithms doing this work,” said Mr. Tan. “But it’s incredible what machines can do when they can look under every stone.”

Make

Bacon pickle pizza

The fair is in town this week, and one of big hits via social media is pickle pizza.

Make your own with the link above to bacon pickle pizza. Or…perhaps a creamy garlic and dill pickle pizza is more your speed.

Consider

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Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.

Benjamin Spock

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Digitally Literate is a synthesis of the important things I find as I surf, skim, & scan the Internet each week. I take notes of everything that piques my interest, and then pull together the important stuff here in a weekly digest.

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

The Two Codes Your Kids Need to Know

This opinion from Thomas Friedman shares insight from The College Board, and a surprising conclusion about keys to success for college and life. Not surprisingly, they indicate that students need the ability to master “two codes” — computer science and the U.S. Constitution.

Their short answer was that if you want to be an empowered citizen in our democracy — able to not only navigate society and its institutions but also to improve and shape them, and not just be shaped by them — you need to know how the code of the U.S. Constitution works. And if you want to be an empowered and adaptive worker or artist or writer or scientist or teacher — and be able to shape the world around you, and not just be shaped by it — you need to know how computers work and how to shape them.

SOURCE: The New York Times