Handheld Learning 2008, Day 2, danah boyd

Presentation streamed to qik

Learning in a networked world: we see

1. new technology as the devil incarnate
2. new technology as a panacea

Reality is much more nuanced. Why should we use technology in the classroom and run the risk of failure? Education is about teaching young children to think, but sometimes we get lazy because of standards and testing [true?? Not sure I completely agree here. I think sometimes teachers’ hands are tied].

New technologies are not good or bad on their own, but how they are being used [but technology is not neutral!!]. We need to figure out how to incorporate it effectively into the educational system.

Technology is fundamentally rupturing many aspects of everyday life: networking. It is part of everyday life (a la Wade Roush)

Educators have two immediate responsibilities:

1. know what technologies are out there, who uses them, how they are being used, esp. unexpected uses.
2. teach  how to use technology to understand the world around us. Need to understand how technology is rupturing our lives as we know them.

Learn from young people about the technology.

Social network sites: place where people go online to participate in their social network online (v. social networking = f2f).
1. profile (i.e. a decorated IP address, a digital being online. Putting forth your best foot, and thinking about your audience. Writing profile for yourself and your friends. Originates in bedroom culture: decorate your room to show off who you are).
2. Friends: three clusters: 30-40 friends; couple 100 people (broader peer group); collectors (as many as possible -> mostly adults). Friends are a person’s audience. Friending is socially awkward.
3. Comments/wall/testimonials: space of conversation in complement to other communication tools. Need to look at it as a form of public social rooming, not as just text. It’s social upkeep.

Vast majority of time spent is completely social, keeping up relationships, having fun. Place to hang out online, esp. when considering kids are often constrained to home (parent restrictions, overscheduling kids, a la USA Today article).

Properties and dynamics of sites need to be understood to see if they are appropriate for use, as well as work with kids as to whether they should be using these sites:

1. Persistence: digital trace. What you put online stays there. You have to deal with this.
2. Replicability: making something private public; can lead to cyber bullying (are you dealing with an original or an altered copy? What are complications, repercussions)
3. Scalability: potential for … Avg. blog is read by 6 people. Unexpected scalability and visibility.
4. Searchability: young people are searchable by the people who hold power over them.

Dynamics of four properties:

  • Invisible audiences and how you deal with this.
  • Collapsed contexts of time and space online
  • Convergence of public and private (public is what parents control, private is what youth controls).
  • How are public and private being decoupled from space and time

Importance to teach kids this stuff. Kids learn the coping strategies and social techniques. Adults should help guide this learning process.

Need to understand the properties of the technologies, what they do, and what the implications are of putting them in a classroom situation. You could rupture all sorts of social structures.

Some tools are easier to implement than others (e.g. Ning).

All the social networking stuff is starting to go mobile. Within two years they should all be mobile (like search went mobile): result: more social technology.

What are the mobile properties we care about. They have all of the social media properties with an added notion of (de)locatability. You can be anywhere and be connected (as opposed to having to be in front of a computer). So how do you educate for that?

Learning outside of the classroom (access to info anywhere).

E.g. Wikipedia: most transparent information available (discussion and history). Good teaching tool because you can’t take information for granted. Wikipedia can be used as a tool to show how information is created, what the biases are.

Need to teach a literacy of the world, teach about the structures around us and how to think critically. Goes beyond traditional and media literacy.



Image Credit: My camera


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