Tag Archives: fieldguide

Augmented Reality

In support of my last post, "Fancy Words for Simple Concepts", I found an article titled, "Digital Dualism Versus Augmented Reality" by Nathan Jurgenson, which discusses the idea of both your online presence and physical life as one entity that is entwined together. The article defines key terms, such as: augmented reality, slacktivism, and false binary. The article states that in this world, we are "comprised of a physical body as well as our digital Profile, acting in constant dialogue." The article discusses how our digital profile reflects what we do offline but that what happens online also affects our offline lives. The author doesn't defend social media, in fact says there's much wrong with it that he plans to critique and explore, but that the idea of whether or not we are living in two separate worlds is not the discussion to be having. Instead, we can explore if this idea of an augmented reality is a good thing or not.

Fancy Words for Simple Concepts

After much thinking, here is the new idea for my contribution to our fieldguide: 

  • The creation of multiple digital identities by adolescents highlights their need to share versions of themselves online, proving that there is no distinction between "real life" and "digital life".
You can see the specific questions I plan to explore in my other post: "It's Crunch Time!" Ultimately, I have come to realize that many are discussing the concept of digital dualism, and whether or not living online is real life or a separate entity. After reading "The Straw Man of Digital Dualism" and conversing with my friend Luna P., what's clear to me, is that the conversation sounds like a group of older individuals talking about "kids these days" when the kids are not just kids, but twenty and thirty year olds as well. I'm guilty of this---I've definitely thought "kids these days" when thinking about their technology use and also thought this new generation is a mess! But I also realize my generation is a part of the problem. This conversation presented in the article didn't provide any clarify, it simply discussed the ideals of both digital dualist and anti-digital dualist. 

I have come to the conclusion that, while there are different layers or things to be gained through in-face connection and then through screen time, they are both people's real life. My solution? I don't think there is one. My advice? That through accepting that this is the case, we can come to a better understanding of how to live our best lives. Period.

Common Sense: Does This Exist in the Middle Schooler’s Mind?

Instagram, Middle School, and Digital Citizenship by Jeff Knutson

Check out @LunaPandCoffee and @_teachreadwrite have a somewhat intelligent conversation about digital citizenship at the middle school level. Sarah Landis is a sixth grade teacher who implements lessons from Common Sense Education and allowed Common Sense Education into her room to observe one of the lessons on digital citizenship and how students view themselves online.

The Search Warrant for Echo’s Data

As I mentioned in this week's blog posts, my students are becoming increasingly concerned over their smart phones and their privacy. To a teenager, their bedroom door use to provide them the utmost privacy and if it was ever removed from it's hinges, as we've seen in so many teen movies and shows, then they felt their live was ending! But I'm happy to say that teenagers are starting to see that their privacy is violated every day thanks to the thing they feel they can't live without: their phones. And the social media that access from it.

One article my students read was from Scholastic, all about how "Alexa" was being requested to testify during a murder trial. Basically the police wanted access to the information which brought up a whole plethora of constitutional issues.

I found this article that shed some more recent light on the issue: "Judge Orders Amazon to Turn Over Echo Recordings in Double Murder Case" by Zack Wittaker. The article details a judge's warrant to Echo data in solving a murder. Amazon originally refused, and would not oblige until presented with a clear warrant. This article addresses that, "Although Amazon publishes a biannual transparency report detailing the number of warrants and orders it receives across its entire business, the company doesn’t — and refuses — to break down how many requests for data it receives for Echo data."

This relates back to the Hangout we had in class this week-that one of the scariest things about all of this is what the Big Five are not telling us.

"Do Something Different"

Part of this week’s work is to explore a variety of Net Art that might be of interest when producing a “Field Guide to Surviving the Darkness of the Internet”. One of the suggested sites to start with was “The One Million Masterpiece”, which caught my eye right away. What stood out at first, was the idea that this was a global project, capturing how people viewed the world from a variety of different eyes.
As a teacher in a not so diverse town, it’s my job is to teach diversity through the stories I put in my students’ hands, which is part of why this piece of Net Art stood out for me. Through exploring the site, I found that this is one of the worlds largest collaboration of art, and that anyone can participate, no matter how ‘artistic’ they feel they are. This is one picture/image made up of millions. With the creation of the internet, it’s easy to get lost in all there is, part of why the ‘darkness’ is so scary. This collection of art is a beacon of hope, a lighthouse for the sailors of the world, and an anchor to connect us all. We must remember that the world is large, but through our humanity, we are all connected. And art. Art can remind us of this.

buntingThe second piece of Net Art I chose to look at has nothing to do with the internet of 2019 but it does have to do with connecting people-which net art appears to be all about-so I feel it's relevant. Any who...in my research into the Net Art world I came across Artspace-proclaiming itself "The World's Best Contemporary Art. Online", and an article by Dylan Kerr titled "The Early Disruptors: 7 Masterpieces of '90s Net Art Everyone Should Know About". The first example I came across was by Heath Bunting, and in short, he posted a list online of all the payphone numbers for King's Cross Station and suggested people all call at the same time and have a "chat" or "do something different". It's this spirit of connectivity that light at the end of the darkness, I think, is partly about!

Znelxngr…My Unselfie Self

Me: What do I think of selfies? Idk ...I have a whole album of them on my phone! When I make a silly face...have a good hair day...

Znelxngr: You're so into yourself! 

Me: Shut up Z!

Z: It's true! You love looking at yourself in your phone. Idk...the whole selfie phenomenon is absurd.

Me: Who cares? It's not like it hurts you to see a selfie?

Z: It's the whole idea of them! This image conscious and self-obsessed culture we live in drives me insane. "Finding the right angle" or "Which filter should I choose?" just wastes brain cells. 

Me: I mean...I don't disagree. But the selfies I take are harmless. I'm not over hear posting selfies left and right. I have them sure, but I have never once posted a selfie of just my face for vanity or otherwise. Like those girls who post a selfie with the caption: "No makeup. No filter. Just me." or whatever. You really want me to believe that you don't care....bull.

Z: Yeah, I agree. Like they are definitely secretly hoping someone will comment and tell them how pretty they are and then isn't that the same thing as posting a done-up selfie? 

Me: Yeah! ...But....

Z: [eye roll]

Me: No no hear me out...sometimes I feel like it's a catch-22. Everyone has self-esteem right? So no matter how confident you are, and I truly believe there are people who are genuinely very confident, we all have something we are insecure about. Just maybe to different degrees. 

Z: Is there a question in there somewhere?

Me: I guess my question is this: Is it so wrong to want for the positive comments?

Z: I mean...I guess not. It's not that different than complimenting someone in person. I actually just read this article from the BBC titled, "Why Selfies Can Be Good" that quotes Alicia Elhr.

Me: Who's that?

Z: She's a a visual art critic and reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. But she just wrote a book called The Selfie Generation, apparently all about how our self image is changing. 

Me: Huh...go on...

Z: Well this article quotes her as saying, "Was there ever a time when adolescents weren’t obsessed with their own image?" And I think that's true, but doesn't just go for adolescents. Maybe that's the big difference now with our generation versus others.

Me: That past adolescents grew out of this idea when they reached maturity, but now maturity is reached later and later...if at all?

Z: Exactly. 


Me: You look like you're thinking really hard, Z. Don't hurt yourself!

Z: Ha-Ha....but idk...I was just thinking about another thing from that article that I totally contradicts my view on selfies. I'm just trying to reconcile with it. 

Me: What was it?

Z: The article talks about how selfies are empowering to groups that have been marginalized, "like women, people of colour (POC), the LGBTQ community, migrants and refugees". The article quotes feminist comic book author Mikki Kendall, who took to twitter and said, “Actually can we talk about what #selfies mean to people who never get a chance to see themselves in mainstream media?”  And now that I think about it like that, I guess it does. It gives these individuals, who wouldn't normally have one, a voice.

When Did the Social Network Become Less About Being Social?

Should we start regulating social media?

The Forbes article "Do We Really Need to Start Regulating Social Media?", by Andrew Arnold, discusses the concerns people have over laws that regulate social media. The article explores multiple perspectives, such as the importance of regulating to prevent large companies from controlling the information accessible. However, those against regulating social media suggest it won't do any good, only stifle the exchange of ideas.

I think the concern boils down to too much of anything isn't a good thing. Too much regulation runs the risk of being more totalitarian, and not enough regulation allows for governments to be overly controlling in a negative way.  The article says it best: "Hopefully when the powers that be discuss regulation, common sense will prevail."

If I Won’t WebMD it-Don’t WebMD Me!

As of now, I want to center my contribution to our Field Guide for surviving the darkness around today's youth. Being a teacher, I find this idea of digital surveillance fascinating, but also discouraging in terms of how to teach my students. They only care about the latest music or what Youtuber said what this week. I struggle with finding the words to make them care about this issue, as they need to be aware of it. 

During my research on how best to discuss this with them, I came across a New York times article, titled "How Companies Scour Our Digital Lives for Clues to Our Health", by Natasha Singer. This article brought up the idea of digital phenotyping: when a source, such as Facebook, tries to assess someone's physical or mental well-being based on their digital habits. 

According to the article, through tracking the amount of times a person touches their phone to the types of interactions they have online, this field is aiming to assess suicidal thoughts, detect depression in the users, and ultimately track consumers health. The article highlights concerns surrounding this new field, specifically the lack of research associated with it. While others argue that by attempting to detect these issues, the opposite effect will occur on individuals: increased anxiety about being tracked in this way. 

So many thoughts!

First-WHAT?! Last time I checked, a doctor is supposed to pronounce someone as ill or healthy, NOT a computer, or someone behind a screen. How in the world is an algorithm going to tell me how I feel. A computer-which is physically incapable of human emotion-is going to assess my human emotions? Bull. 

Second-One example of digital phenotyping is how Facebook is using this to assess suicidal thoughts. Facebook will scan posts and videos, looking for certain words or phrases that indicate someone will need help. My concern here is then what. If Facebook does detect a pattern, what then? According to the article, it states, "In some cases, Facebook sends users a supportive notice with suggestions like “Call a helpline.” In urgent cases, Facebook has worked with local authorities to dispatch help to the user’s location. The company said that, over a month, its response team had worked with emergency workers more than 100 times." The article later confirmed my fear, that while this sounds like an interesting step, "...Facebook has not published a study of the system’s accuracy and potential risks, such as inadvertently increasing user distress." To clarify, not only does Facebook not have a medical license, they have no proof that their efforts help, rather than hurt, an individual. 

Frank Pasquale, a law professor at the University of Maryland who studies emerging health technologies, prints up the problem that once labeled as mentally ill, that sticks with you. He raises concerns over who else has access to this information. In a world where data is bought and sold easily, who is that information being given to?

I do understand the idea of assisting mental health through online resources in this new digital age. This article reminds me of the commercials I've seen lately where there is an app you can download to talk to a medical professional via text. However, I am beyond concerned at the speed with which these technologies are being implemented. It appears that these strategies are being put in place without user consent, and could potentially do more a harm than good. If a person is mentally unstable, and feel targeted by their Facebook, who is to say how they would react. It's alarming that the research and studies haven't been conducted and I worry about this abuse of power!

Illuminating the Darkness one nightlight at a time!

In Network Narratives, our class discussions and work is being culminated into a Field Guide at the end of the semester. This is a guide to navigating our way through the darkness and into the light of this digital age we are in, and continuing to learn about.

My passion for the work I plan to contribute may grow and evolve, but at this stage, my primary concern is preparing my students for the world they are inheriting. I want them to be safe and learn to protect themselves. But in the ever increasing digital world, a world that is literally all they've ever known, how do I bring them into the light?

The article, "Be True to Your School: Protecting Student Privacy in the Digital Age" , the Journal of High Technology Law explores just that. The article discusses the use of technology in the classroom. There's no doubt about the benefits of technology, or the importance of it. Students are typing essays rather than writing them in cursive. Parent communication is immediate, and leaves no room for students to misplace letters sent home. Student report cards are readily available throughout the entire year, with a snapshot of their grades taken at the end of each marking period to be archived, eliminating the need for students to run home and snag their report card from the mailbox, later claiming to their parents that "it must have gotten lost in the mail". 

But the concern lies in protecting students privacy. In a world where laws are beginning to be passed to attempt and protect our privacy, the wording is still ambiguous. According to the article, "Of these laws, five bills were passed that focused specifically on governing the behavior of service providers to prevent them from selling student data and using it for targeted advertising."  The fear is that in protecting students privacy, we will become fearful of the technology and stop using it for educational purposes. 

The article gives the example of a Math teacher who wants her students to download an app that allows them to practice a certain math strategy. However, by downloading the app, it may be collecting information on the students and selling that information to third parties. The text states, "in order to avoid this problem, and to encourage the use of technology that could have very real benefits for students and test scores, school districts should implement a process by which these new technologies are reviewed and researched. This process would allow well-meaning teachers to ensure that the technologies that they bring into the classroom are not only benefiting their students’ academic abilities, but also ensuring that their private data is being shared only with those who need it." That sounds nicely packaged. Maybe I'm naive or missing something, but what would be an example of this process that would review the apps? Would it be an algorithm, like the ones we discuss in class? Would it work for all apps? What about if I don't have them download an app but just have them access a website? Do the higher ups in education know about this? How much money does it cost? 

It's easy to say teachers and educators need to do something. I agree. But what do we need to do and how?