Digital Literacy

You are here

IBM Recruiting for “New Collar” Jobs

A critical skills gap in the tech industry has prompted IBM to develop digital badge portfolios, add apprenticeship programs and strengthen partnerships with community colleges to fill "new-collar" jobs in cloud computing, cybersecurity and other areas where college degrees aren't required. In an interview for Inside Higher Ed, Kelli Jordan, director of IBM career and skills, says it's important that tech companies focus on hiring people with valuable skills, not just people with college degrees.

Time to Ditch Algebra?

When was the last time you divided a polynomial? If you were asked to do so today, would you remember how? Stanford University professor Jo Boaler and University of Chicago professor Steven Levitt say that instead of learning algebra, high-school students should be taught how to analyze data to boost critical-thinking skills and provide them with practical tools for grappling with real-world problems. Such a change would enable students to use math to analyze real-world issues such as the environment, social media or space travel, they insist. Boaler and Levitt point out that the closest most people get to Algebra in their daily lives is working with basic analytical software like Microsoft Excel, so why not teach them how to really use it for something that is relevant to their own lives.

Some Schools Are Using AI To Grade Student’s Work – What You Should Know

Did you know that some schools are using artificial intelligence to grade student essays? An article in Vox reports that schools across the country are using algorithms to grade essays by making predictions about how a teacher would grade them. Experts say, however, that the technology can get those predictions wrong and it's possible a particular data set could be biased about certain speech and language patterns. One of the other flaws that is noted is that the grading system rewards those who use big words, yet easily be fooled by nonsensical gibberish of sophisticated words strung together.

Consumers Lack Digital Media Literacy

A recent Pew Research Center study of US adults revealed that consumers generally lack social media literacy regarding issues such who owns what apps, how social platforms make money, familiarity with private browsing, and how cookies work. The survey did find that younger tech users were savvier about terms and issues, but even that was not universal. What was clear is that consumers need to be better informed about the more technical aspects of their digital presence – it will only become more important over time.  

How to Avoid the “Google Search Curse”

It is too easy today for people to search for answers online, says Aswath Damodaran, professor of finance at New York University Stern School of Business, who calls this trend the "Google Search Curse". Damodaran says that because we can look up answers to probelms immediately, we’re losing the agility – not just the ability - to look at a problem and solve it. He teaches his students to avoid this -- and how to be "intellectually nimble" -- by training them how to think for themselves, not just accept other people’s solutions to issues, and think through problems.

He says that obviously fact-based questions are different. You can say, “Hey, go look up on Google search what the tallest mountain in the world is.” Reasoning your way into a factual answer is not going to give you a better answer. But if your question is more analytical, he feels there is an advantage to taking a 30-minute break before you open up Google search and look for an answer.

Are New Rules of Language Evolving Online?

In a new book called Because Internet, Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how the year you first accessed the Internet determines how you talk online; how ~sparkly tildes~ became widely recognized as sarcasm punctuation; whether emojis are replacing words; and why Internet dialects like doge, lolspeak, and snek are linguistically significant. Because Internet is essential reading for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from, or for parents who are trying to communicate intelligently with their children by texts.

New Digital Safety Materials Released

Recently, Common Sense Education, which focuses on teaching students to critically analyze what they see and how they interact online as they navigate that space, released a new curriculum that includes lessons on media literacy. The curriculum is for Kindergarten to 12th grade classrooms and is free to parents, educators and schools. 

American Library Association and LinkedIn Lock Horns

LinkedIn has changed the terms of service for public libraries that use LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com. The move, being strongly criticized by the American Library Association, will “require a library cardholder to create a LinkedIn profile in order to access LinkedIn Learning," ALA said recently in a press release.

"In addition to providing their library card number and PIN, users will have to disclose their full name and email address to create a new LinkedIn profile or connect to their existing profile," the organization added. "New users will have their LinkedIn profile set to public by default, allowing their full name to be searched on Google and LinkedIn." The organization argues that this is a gross intrusion of library-goers privacy, and an unnecessary step on LinkedIn's part.

New Legislation Aimed at Misinformation

The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act, introduced recently in the Senate, would allocate funds for teaching Americans how to identify fake information on social media, especially that coming from foreign actors trying to disrupt elections. The bill, according to The Hill, would also create a grant program for media literacy efforts in grades K-12.

Pew Study Looks at YouTube’s Most Popular Content

A recent Pew Research Center report looked at the most watched videos on YouTube and found that videos featuring kids and those targeted to kids are highly popular, clocking in at nearly three times as many views on average as other types of videos. Also revealed is that videos with the keywords "Fortnite," "prank" or "worst" in their title garnered more than five times as many views as those without these search terms.  Content about video games also remains hugely popular on YouTube, with about 18% of English-language videos posted by popular channels during the study period related to video games or gaming. 

Pages