Built for Plan B
Digitally Lit #212 – 8/31/2019
Hi all, my name is Ian O’Byrne and welcome to issue #212 of Digitally Literate.
In this newsletter I distill the news of the week in technology into an easy-to-read resource. Thank you for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already.
This week I shared the following:
- Talking to children about technology, social media, and algorithms – How do you talk to children (aged 3/4 to 9/10) about the topics listed above? I’d like to interview you for our research project.
- Explain who are you…to this day – I’m sharing the course materials for the slam poetry and hip-hop class I teach every year. This is the first prompt for our first week. Come join us.
One of the greatest sources of anxiety and despair is the feeling that there can only be one answer to major problems we face: one ideal job, one ideal lover, one ideal way of life. But we should consider the extent to which there is always, just below the surface, a Plan B available.
Flexing our mental Plan B muscle hugely expands our sense of safety and spontaneity.
This post made it around the Internet last week to a great deal of debate. The byline to the article is “Students used to be blank slates – but now they arrive with agendas.” Judging by some of the criticism of this article…I think some people read just that title…and didn’t carry on to the article itself.
The article shares the challenges of teaching students when they might come to class looking to start a confrontation and harass others.
Now educators face new challenges: teaching responsibly, while also safeguarding themselves from the very kids they hope to help. “You develop this self-preservation intuition,” Ruberg tells The Verge. “You have to know what’s happening so that you know how to protect yourself.” As misinformation and hate continues to radicalize young people online, teachers are also grappling with helping their students unlearn incorrect, dangerous information. “It has made a lot of us teachers more cautious,” they say. “We want to challenge our students to explore new ways of thinking, to see the cultural meaning and power of video games, but we’re understandably anxious and even scared about the possible results.”
I do not believe that students come into my classes as blank slates. Much to the contrary, I think they come in with a wide variety of experience, opinions, and perspectives. My job is to teach my content and the facts associated with it. My hope is to provide a safe space where all students can share their “slates” and learn from one another. I also regularly am inspired and learn from them.
I probed these questions in a publication in Hybrid Pedagogy which examined the challenges of serving as a public scholar in digital spaces.
How much freedom of speech should educators have in public spaces?
YouTube seems unwilling, or unable to moderate some of the troubling content on their network.
YouTube started last week by quietly indicating that they would remove violent or mature videos that were targeted to kids. Three days later, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki explained why the service leaves up controversial or even offensive videos. Not long after Wojcicki’s comments, banned several far-right channels.
Once again, we have questions about the limits of freedom of speech, and the rules that govern them.
This post was shared by Adam Procter last week after I relayed information about the GamerGate post I shared above.
The post shares how Kitfox Games designs spaces outside of their games to interact with each other, and perhaps the development team.
Their community development philosophy focuses on the following elements:
- Rules – social structure to influence & shape behavior
- Mutual understanding & expectations – boundaries between everything/everyone
- Norms – Creating acceptable ways of communication
- Sincerity & trust – Facilitating cooperation through trust
- Home – Coziness to enable low pressure, interpersonal connections
These elements have merit as you consider your own interactions with others (online/offline). They also help guide the development of social spaces where you exist.
I’m excited to check out the upcoming Steam game by Kitfox, Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to).
In research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley scanned the brains of nine participants while they read and listened to a series of tales from “The Moth Radio Hour.” After analyzing how each word was processed in the the brain’s cortex, they created maps of the participants’ brains, noting the different areas helped interpret the meaning of each word.
This new evidence suggests that, to our brains, reading and hearing a story might not be so different.
You’re connected to the Internet. You have an unlimited supply of information, and cool stuff to consume online. This is of course topped off by this newsletter. 🙂
We may think that we’re bored, lazy, failures at life…but perhaps the problem is that we’re not focused. With this glut of information, we are incapable of sitting in silence, and focusing.
Perhaps if we tinkered a bit with our perceptions, and learned to sit in silence. Perhaps we can take guidance in the “Just Do It” advertising strategy and get things done.
Thanks to Doug Belshaw for sharing this post earlier this week.
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
The new Tool album came out this week…and I’m loving it. I’ve been a huge Tool fan for years and saw them multiple times while in college.
Digitally Literate is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Say hey with a note at email@example.com or on the social network of your choice.