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TL;DR Newsletter by Ian O’Byrne
Letter sent on Aug 31, 2016

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) newsletter #60

Welcome to issue 60 of the TL;DR Newsletter. In TL;DR I’m synthesizing what I read and learned this week in literacy, technology, and education. If this is your first time here…welcome. :)

This week we discuss the challenges and opportunities in creating your own narrative.

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 did a lot of work behind the scenes as classes and the new semester started up. Most of my new work is living in various syllabi. No worries…I’ll share more of this in upcoming posts.

A working day — Dressmaker, Ghana

I’ve shared a lot of videos here on TL;DR from Alain de Botton and The School of Life. Apparently through their website, and their YouTube channel, the collective is now focusing on developing emotional intelligence.

This week I noticed that they started sharing a series titled “A Working Day.” These videos follow people from around the world during a normal day. I started up aplaylist of these videos here. Definitely will fold these into upcoming discussions and lectures about culture, identity, and diversity.

Like. Flirt. Ghost: A journey into the social media lives of teens

Mary H. K. Choi in Wired documents some of the behaviors used by teens in their social media practices. In the piece, she meets with five teens to have them deconstruct their own behaviors.

Mary tries to capture the strange and mystical world of the socially media savvy teen:

Teens, though, are remarkably elusive. You could follow one on Twitter (although the majority avoid the platform) or chat with them during gameplay on Xbox Live, but for the most part it’s very weird for everyone. Besides, ask any teen how to use social media — what those rules are — and they won’t be able to tell you a thing. But ask them targeted questions and they’ll break down a palimpsest of etiquette in rote, exhaustive detail: the moon emoji (indicates awkwardness), screengrabbing Snapchat messages (don’t do it), and Instagram selfie saturation points (no back-to-backs). To them the rules are a birthright. To most of us adults, they’re as mysterious as the flight patterns of bees.

In defense of play

Post by Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and philosophy at UC Berkeley in The Atlantic. The post discusses the need and importance of play in learning.

In many of my classes I indicate that play is usually one of the most important elements of learning and cognition. This is especially true in the technology classes and programs that I have taught/developed. I often provide time for play to alleviate some of the anxiety as students explore new content, spaces, and tools.

As Alison notes in this piece, even though everyone (humans, chimps, wolves, dolphins, rats, crows, and even octopuses) plays, the role role of play in the classroom is under fire.

What is play? Gopnik details the varying elements of play in cognition and provides examples of these different areas.

Noam Chomsky defines what is means to be a truly educated person

Some perspectives on what it means to be “truly educated” and “creative” from video interviews of Noam Chomsky. These are pulled together on the Open Culture website.

Specifically, Noam notes that “truly educated” (from his perspective) is identified by:

the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and create constructively, independently, without external controls.

He continues:

…”it’s not important what we cover in the class; it’s important what you discover.” On this point of view, to be truly educated means to be resourceful, to be able to “formulate serious questions” and “question standard doctrine, if that’s appropriate”…. It means to “find your own way.”

A domain of one’s own in a post-ownership society

Great post by Audrey Watters which is a response to another great post by Maha Bali. The posts unpack the challenges and opportunities that exist as we create and curate our digital identities…and how much we can actually “own” online.

I’ve often had these struggles as I build and break things online. I strive (and teach others) to build up your own personal cyberinfrastructure that you own. In doing so, I often hear from others that I don’t really own anything, and that I’m being a digital packrat or hoarder. :)

I appreciate understanding the way that these two brilliant people are making sense of these same challenges. I also appreciate how they both took the time to blog and respond to each other. Finally, I love that Maha used hypothes.is to provide additionally commentary to Audrey’s post. Great stuff!!!

I have a piece coming out soon in JAAL about “a domain of one’s own.” I hope to interview these two to have them speak more about their perspectives.

18 Digital tools and strategies that support students’ reading and writing

Another great post from Katrina Schwartz in MindShift. This post shares possibilities for digital texts and tools to scaffold student literacy practices.

The post shares advice about tools and practices (like the sue of screencasting) to support students as they prewrite, draft, edit, publish, evaluate, read, and research.

Two of the tools that I’m now checking out as a result of this post are Instagrok andRewordify.

Give an anonymous TED Talk

Last spring I applied to speak at the upcoming TEDx Charleston event. I wasn’t accepted. :(

But…this past week I noticed that Chris Anderson and TED are looking for free thinkers that want to submit anonymous audio stories to the network. In this experiment, they’re partnering with Audible to share humans expressing their own narratives. I think this will be extremely powerful and form a new podcast series worth following. I’m also intrigued by the anonymous nature of these submissions.

I had an anonymous idea I was considering submitting to the Academics Anonymous section of The Guardian. This might be even more interesting.

What ideas might you share?

Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.

- Octavia E. Butler

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