Digital Agility: Embracing a Holistic Approach to Digital Literacy in the Liberal Arts
A 2016 Pew Research Center study indicates that the digital divide in the United States is not solely about access to technology; it also is about the ability to use technology to get what we need.1 What does digital readiness mean; applying cumulative knowledge to real-world situations. Having a tech or STEM-related degree does not ensure digital readiness.
How Can We Encourage Digital Agility in the Liberal Arts?
Digital pedagogy often creates opportunities for instructors to create non-disposable assignments—assignments that are not designed to be thrown away but rather have a purpose past being required.3
“We need to marry the best of our academic work with the best of edtech. In other words, what would it look like if education technology were embedded in the everyday practice of academic disciplines?”4
Project-based learning fits well within the curricular flexibility of the liberal arts. In project-based work, students apply what they are learning in the context of an engaging experience.
Building off frameworks that are already in place, like the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy,
External-facing work offers students real situations where, if we imagine what digital agility looks like, they have to adjust to possible new digital environments and approaches.
Reflection provides a way for meaning-making to happen across individual assignments, projects, and classes. Without the chance to assemble assignments into a larger narrative, each experience lives in its own void.
How Can Institutions Build Systems-Level Support?
Liberal arts colleges in particular are interested in the ways they prepare graduates to be agile and critical in a digital world—as seen in the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Rubrics.
he Bryn Mawr Digital Competencies Framework5 was followed by more formal conversations and the formation of a working group (including Carleton College,
more on digital fluency in this IMS blog
The phrase “school-to-prison pipeline” has long been used to describe how schools respond to disciplinary problems with excessively stringent policies that create prison-like environments and funnel children who don’t fall in line into the criminal justice system. Now, schools are investing in surveillance systems that will likely exacerbate existing disparities.
A number of tech companies are capitalizing on the growing market for student surveillance measures as various districts and school leaders commit themselves to preventing acts of violence. Rekor Systems, for instance, recently announced the launch of OnGuard, a program that claims to “advance student safety” by implementing countless surveillance and “threat assessment” mechanisms in and around schools.
While none of these methods have been proven to be effective in deterring violence, similar systems have resulted in diverting resources away from enrichment opportunities, policing school communities to a point where students feel afraid to express themselves, and placing especially dangerous targets on students of color who are already disproportionately mislabeled and punished.ProPublica
more on surveillance in this IMS blog
“Let’s hope you kill yourself” – How Spain is failing bullying victims
Experts say that the authorities are doing little to help the growing number of young people who are dropping out of school and, in some cases, taking their own lives, because of abuse
the crux of the matter, the reason why families and institutions are constantly clashing over school bullying
Madrid regional authorities claim that cases of school harassment
are going down, but that is because it rejects most complaints: in the 2015-2016 academic school year, there were 573 complaints, of which only 179 were accepted.
In 2015, an 11-year-old boy named Diego killed himself
and left a suicide note behind: “I can’t stand going to school anymore, and there’s no other way to stop going.” The child had been attending a religious school in Villaverde, in the Madrid region. The courts twice dismissed an investigation into his death, ruling out harassment of any kind.
“We are flooded with complaints, but school bullying
is not listed in the criminal code. So other crimes have to be proven: physical injuries, crimes against moral integrity…,” says a spokesperson at the Madrid Juvenile Prosecution Service. In 2017 this department received 192 complaints and dismissed 81 because the individuals involved were under 14 and could not be held criminally liable.
more on bullying in this IMS blog
more on surveillance in this IMS blog
Nov 21, 2017, Claire McInerny
We hear that smartphones can be addictive, that screen time can hurt learning, but can’t these minicomputers also teach kids about responsibility and put educational apps at their tiny fingertips?
Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on kids and technology, says rather than considering the age of a child, focus on maturity. Some questions to consider are:
- Are they responsible with their belongings?
- Will they follow rules around phone use?
- Would having easy access to friends benefit them for social reasons?
- And do kids need to be in touch for safety reasons? If so, will an old-fashioned flip phone (like the one Sydney never charged) do the trick?
While Pew Research from 2015 puts adult smartphone ownership in the U.S. at 72 percent, there’s some debate about smartphone ownership among children. The average age for a child to get their first smartphone is currently 10.3 years according to the recent Influence Central report, Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives.
An average of 65 percent of children aged between 8 and 11 have their own smartphone in the U.K. according to a survey by Internet Matters. That survey also found that the majority of parents would like a minimum age for smartphone ownership in the U.K. to be set at age 10.
However, some kids are using smartphones from a very young age. One study by the American Academy of Pediatrics that focused on children in an urban, low-income, minority community suggested that almost all children (96.6 percent) use mobile devices and that 75 percent have their own mobile device by the age of four.
Lauricella, A., Wartella, E., & Rideout, V. (2015). Young children’s screen time: The complex role of parent and child factors. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 36, 11–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2014.12.001
Wood, E., Petkovski, M., De Pasquale, D., Gottardo, A., Evans, M., & Savage, R. (2016). Parent Scaffolding of Young Children When Engaged with Mobile Technology. Frontiers in Psychology. Retrieved from http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10024286/1/Wood_Parent_Scaffolding_Young_Children.pdf
Rikuya Hosokawa, & Toshiki Katsura. (2018). Association between mobile technology use and child adjustment in early elementary school age. PLoS ONE, 13(7), e0199959. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199959
Percentage of moms whose children used device by age 2.(THE DATA PAGE)(Statistical data). (2011). Editor & Publisher, 144(10).
PERCENTAGE OF MOMS WHOSE CHILDREN USED DEVICE BY AGE 2
Gen Y moms Gen X moms
Laptop 34% 29%
Cell Phone 34% 26%
Smart Phone 33% 20%
Digital Camera 30% 18%
iPod 34% 13%
Videogame System 13% 8%
Hand-held gaming device 13% 10%
Source: Frank N. Magid & Associates, Inc./Metacafe
more about the use of mobile devices in the classroom in this IMS blog entry
Think You’re Discreet
APRIL 21, 2019 Zeynep Tufekci
Think You’re Discreet Online? Think Again
Because of technological advances and the sheer amount of data now available about billions of other people, discretion no longer suffices to protect your privacy. Computer algorithms and network analyses can now infer, with a sufficiently high degree of accuracy, a wide range of things about you that you may have never disclosed, including your moods, your political beliefs, your sexual orientation and your health.
There is no longer such a thing as individually “opting out” of our privacy-compromised world.
In 2017, the newspaper The Australian published an article, based on a leaked document from Facebook, revealing that the company had told advertisers that it could predict when younger users, including teenagers, were feeling “insecure,” “worthless” or otherwise in need of a “confidence boost.” Facebook was apparently able to draw these inferences by monitoring photos, posts and other social media data.
In 2017, academic researchers, armed with data from more than 40,000 Instagram photos, used machine-learning tools to accurately identify signs of depression in a group of 166 Instagram users. Their computer models turned out to be better predictors of depression than humans who were asked to rate whether photos were happy or sad and so forth.
Computational inference can also be a tool of social control. The Chinese government, having gathered biometric data on its citizens, is trying to use big data and artificial intelligence to single out “threats” to Communist rule, including the country’s Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic group.
Zeynep Tufekci and Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: Privacy is over
Zeynep Tufekci writes about security and data privacy for NY Times, disinformation’s threat to democracy for WIRED
more on privacy in this IMS blog
Competent, Literate, Fluent: The What and Why of Digital Initiatives
how should associated terms including literacy, competency, and fluency be distinguished
In the 2019 EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Key Issues in Teaching and Learning, digital and information literacy maintains a top-five position for the third consecutive year.
Is it significant that Bryn Mawr College has a framework for digital competencies, Virginia Tech is launching a program in digital literacy, and the University of Mary Washington has a curricular initiative for advanced digital fluency? And what does it mean that Penn State has shifted its focus from digital literacy to digital fluency?
Jennifer Sparrow and Clint Lalonde have argued that digital fluency is a distinct capacity above and beyond digital literacy.
digital frameworks … on three levels:
- First, digital initiatives aim to enhance students’ success after graduation.
- A second major objective is to develop “digital citizenship.”
- At a third level, digital initiatives can promote deep reflection upon the distinctive nature and ethics of knowing and knowledge in the digital age.