human implications of digital media

The World Economic Forum’s website has published two great articles by Yuhyun Park, Chair, infollution, ZERO Foundation. The first is about the 8 digital skills we must teach our children. Then a  a follow up entitled 8 digital skills children now need and a plan on how to teach them.

In the first article, Park encourages DQ – digital intelligence [rather than IQ].  DQ is a set of social, emotional and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges and adapt to the demands of digital life. These abilities can broadly be broken down into eight interconnected areas:


Digital identity: The ability to create and manage one’s online identity and reputation. This includes an awareness of one’s online persona and management of the short-term and long-term impact of one’s online presence.

Digital use: The ability to use digital devices and media, including the mastery of control in order to achieve a healthy balance between life online and offline.

Digital safety: The ability to manage risks online (e.g. cyberbullying, grooming, radicalization) as well as problematic content (e.g. violence and obscenity), and to avoid and limit these risks.

Digital security: The ability to detect cyber threats (e.g. hacking, scams, malware), to understand best practices and to use suitable security tools for data protection.

Digital emotional intelligence: The ability to be empathetic and build good relationships with others online.

Digital communication: The ability to communicate and collaborate with others using digital technologies and media.

Digital literacy: The ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share and create content as well as competency in computational thinking.

Digital rights: The ability to understand and uphold personal and legal rights, including the rights to privacy, intellectual property, freedom of speech and protection from hate speech.

Without them, the digital divide will continue to be exacerbated. They call it the

The challenge for educators is to move beyond thinking of IT as a tool, or “IT-enabled education platforms”. Instead, they need to think about how to nurture students’ ability and confidence to excel both online and offline in a world where digital media is ubiquitous.

These skills are:


Digital citizen identity: the ability to build and manage a healthy identity online and offline with integrity

Screen time management: the ability to manage one’s screen time, multitasking, and one’s engagement in online games and social media with self-control

Cyberbullying management: the ability to detect situations of cyberbullying and handle them wisely

Cybersecurity management: the ability to protect one’s data by creating strong passwords and to manage various cyberattacks

Privacy management: the ability to handle with discretion all personal information shared online to protect one’s and others’ privacy

Critical thinking: the ability to distinguish between true and false information, good and harmful content, and trustworthy and questionable contacts online

Digital footprints: The ability to understand the nature of digital footprints and their real-life consequences and to manage them responsibly

Digital empathy: the ability to show empathy towards one’s own and others’ needs and feelings online

books everywhere

Why do teachers/educators insist on making students buy books they don’t really use? unless the book is highly specialized, brand new, or significant in some way, and more importantly not available online for free, why bother? Here are some great resources I give my students every semester and add to it all the time:

Links to reputable open books and open academic journals:

Read More …

– the new influencers

Currently reading The New Influencers: a marketer’s guide to the new social media,  by Paul Gillin.  Having new influencers definitely changes how we do our marketing and advertising.  While the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ helps people make better decisions, they sometimes make ‘colossal’ mistakes as well. Gillin focuses mostly on blogging and bloggers as opposed to any other social media tool.

In any case, bloggers, according to Gillin, the new influencers of social media, have a sort of set of unspoken and unwritten defining standards… akin to a constitution of their own: thou shalt link [which is the ‘glue that holds it all together for credibility]; thou shalt not diss [practicing parliamentary civility]; thous shalt be transparent [includes ‘honesty, integrity, humility, open-mindedness and fairness’]; thou shalt comment [‘commenting is a core part of blogging protocol’] . thou shalt not blather [posts need to be concise and to the point].

He goes on to talk about blogging for and within corporations as public relations issues and gives examples of those he calls the top ‘A-list’ bloggers who are the most influential in present day markets.

– dehumanized: death by math and science?

What a fantastic essay in Harper’s magazine’s September 09 issue! The essay is entitled Dehumanized: when math and science rule the school written by Mark Slouka. Slouka questions the emphasis put in schools and in education on math and the sciences at the expense of the humanities. He wonders why every success is viewed from an ‘economic’ perspective, and how the humanities are therefore relegated to a secondary status. He wonders what type of students we are producing and recognizes that it is the type that, as Thomas Friedman said “could be hired by Bill Gates”.  ‘Values’ are fixed in math and science – the definitions of accountability and utility are fixed. The humanities are not so.

He argues in favor of the humanities of course, and makes his case so eloquently.  He says it is not a hard case to make, but I had always found it hard to explain it with such precision and such eloquence. Some of his most profound statements – the humanities

  • “teach us not what to do but what to be”
  • “their method is confrontational, their domain unlimited, their ‘product’ not truth but the reasoned search for truth, their ‘success’ something very much like Frost’s momentary stay against confusion.”
  • they are thus political because they “complicate our vision, pull our most cherished notions out by the roots, flay our pietires. Because they grow uncertainty. Because they expand the reach of our understanding (and therefore our compassion), even as they force us to draw and redrwa the borders of tolerance. Because out of all this work of self-building might emerge an individual formed through questioning and therefore unlikely to cede that right; an individual resistant to coercion, to manipulation and demagoguery in all their forms. The humanities, in short, are a superb delivery mechanism for what we might call democratic values.”
  • “if we lack language, and therefore the awareness, to right the imbalance between the vocational and the civic, if education in America – despite the heroic efforts of individual teachers – is no longer in the business of producing the kinds of citizens necessary to the survival of a democratic society, it’s in large part because the  time-honored civic function of our educational system has been ground up by the ideological mills of both the right and the left into a radiioactive paste called values education and declared off-limits.”
  • “Worried about indoctrination, we’ve short-circuited argument. Fearful of propaganda, we’ve taken away the only tools that could detect and counter it. ‘Values’ are now the province of the home. And the church. How convenient for the man.”
  • “How does one ‘do’ humanities value-free? how does one teach history, say, without grappling with what that long parade of genius and folly suggests to us? how does one teach literature other than as an invitation, a challenge, a gauntlet – a force fully capable of altering not only what we believe but how we see? the answer is, of course, that one doesn’t. One teaches some tooless, formalized version of these things, careful not to upset anyone, despite the fact that upsetting people is arguably the very purpose of the arts and perhaps of the humanities in general.”
  • “Even a dessicated, values-free version of the humanities has the potential to be dangerous, though, because it is impossible to say where the individual mind might wander off to while reading, what unsettling associations might suggest themselves, what unscripted, unapproved questions might float to the surface. It’s been said in the margins of the page, over the course of time, for the simple reason that we shape every book we read and are slightly shaped by it in turn, we become who we are.”
  • “Rein in the humanities effectively enough – whether through active repression, fiscal starvation, or linguistic marginalization – and you create a space, an opportunity. Dogma adores a vacuum.”

How much more profound can an essay be? Every now and then there is an essay or an article that grabs you – that simply captures the essence of what you wanted to say, that lights up something deep within you. This is one such article!!