Go to TL;DR Newsletter by Ian O’Byrne
TL;DR Newsletter by Ian O’Byrne
Letter sent on Jul 27, 2016

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) newsletter #55

Welcome to issue 55 of the TL;DR Newsletter. In TL;DR we’re documenting the news of the week in literacy, technology, and education. If this is your first time here…welcome. :)

This week we focus on privacy and identity in the public.

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend that you subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out next week’s issue. You can review archives of the newsletter here. Alternatively you can also check out TL;DR on Medium.

This week I worked on the following:

Veronica Belmont, Host/Producer — XOXO Festival (18:59)

Veronica Belmont celebrated a birthday this week (or at least that’s what Google says). This keynote is a thoughtful, honest accounting of the challenges that exist as we put ourselves out online.

I share this video with students as we start discussing the development of our digital identities. I want to engage in an honest and frank discussion with them about the challenges and opportunities that exist as others review and (possibly) remix our content.

Leslie Jones and her racist harassers are shining a light on a major problem with Twitter

As I help students, colleagues, and clients build and modify a digital identity, the discussion usually comes around to the use of Twitter. I think that there are enormous challenges and opportunities that exist as we create, share, and participate online. There is incredible potential that can occur when a place becomes a hashtag (e.g., #ferguson). There are also horrible things that can occur when digital spaces and anonymity allow the trolls to come out (e.g., #gamergate).

This week we saw the horribly racist and misogynistic tweets that spread across Twitter and directed at actor/comedian Leslie Jones. Some argue that we should look the other way when we see activities like this. I disagree. I think we need public dialogue and action about the behaviors and the individuals that display them.

This week Twitter has tried to correct some of the policies that create these opportunities. One of these changes is to allow anyone to apply for a “verified account.” Basically this means that they verify that your account and identity are authentic. I immediately applied to verify my account believing that this would allow users to create a “circle of trust” in the environment. Twitter rejected my application and provided this link for more info.

Positive, negative or neutral? Crucial conversations on digital citizenship

Great post from George Couros sharing a recent discussion with students about their digital identities.

The post starts with students sharing that they primarily share “bad” things online, and rarely share positive aspects of their identity. Naturally, as an educator we want to suggest that students consider sharing positives and negatives about themselves online. George notes that this might be messy as we often try to “schoolify” everything that kids like and tell them how they’re “supposed to do it.”

George leaves us with the following questions to ask students to begin dialogue:

  • Is your footprint positive, negative, or neutral? What would others say that don’t know you?
  • How do you want to be perceived offline? How about online? Is there a difference in your actions in those spaces?
  • It is important to show who you are as a person, but to also understand that this is a an open room and to be thoughtful of others. Have fun but not at the expense of someone else.

The problem of expecting privacy on social media

Post from Jasmine McNealy on the challenges that exist with our expectations of privacy and control over our online interactions.

Jasmine’s post is a clear explanation of our current understandings of public and private in the “real world” and online. She also provides an overview of the basic elements of what is public, or “publicness” when we interact online.

Once again, I believe that it is important that we consider, and problematize our definitions and considerations of privacy and security online and face-to-face.

Does our social contract for education need a reboot?

Piece from Lindsey Tepe in the Pacific Standard Magazine. The piece examines the digital texts and tools that inundate classrooms (in the U.S.) and asks whether we’re effectively servicing our students.

She notes:

But the technologies making their way into classrooms are evolving quickly, and our decentralized system of education has been hard pressed to keep up with the pace of change. While these technologies could help better implement our social contract, their adoption has been piecemeal and often lacked clear vision or purpose. Today, we are passively letting technology happen to our schools and institutions rather than proactively considering and purposefully choosing the ways in which we harness technologies to further our objectives for public education.

How teachers can see students’ identities as learning strengths

Katarina Schwartz in MindShift detailing the opportunities to bring in pop culture, hip hop, and other cultural texts into the classroom to help students notice and name their identity.

The core of the post focuses on the new book by Christopher Emdin that focuses on “reality pedagogy.” Reality pedagogy identifies ways to open up space for, and actively value students’ expertise on their own lives.

The post contains numerous anecdotes and video elements that help you (and your students) understand the possibilities to make this happen in your classroom.

A brief introduction to 360 video camera options

I’m always interested in new opportunities to play with video and digital tools. One new option that I’ve been checking out involves 360 degree, immersive video. The idea is that you can have a device take a 360 snapshot of the area and allow viewers to peer around on their own.

We’re starting to see this technology show up on YouTube and elsewhere. Through the integration of Google Cardboard, I believe you’ll see inexpensive options show up in classrooms. I think there are opportunities to use this in research and teacher education.

The one that I’m currently in love with (but haven’t purchased yet) is the Ricoh Theta S.

Along with planes, running water, electricity, and motorized transportation, the internet is now a fundamental fact of modern life.

- danah boyd

Thanks again for reading. Please feel free to share with others you believe would benefit. If you like what you see here, subscribe to get it hand-delivered to your inbox.

To review past issues please click here. You can also check out (and annotate) this on Medium.

To send me feedback, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out (wiobyrne@gmail.com) or connect on Twitter.