- She does not mention the role of platforms in perpetuating these problems, nor does she critique the power they hold or the values behind their designs
- She ignores power structures and focuses instead on working on students’ minds.
- Values of social justice
- Deep consciousness of the ways in which power and oppression work in the world and have historically worked in the world
We’re not fighting a misunderstanding between two parties with the same amount of power. We’re fighting active disinformation fueled by hate groups and spread by algorithms outside of our democratic control. boyd, who works for Microsoft Research, never once mentions a tech company or platform. At a minimum, we need to be literate about how those platforms shape our understanding of the world.But I’m going to circle back to something. Maybe it’s not directly there, but checking our own selection and confirmation bias is in itself helpful to developing a social justice orientation. As are danah boyd’s other recommendations (and I have no idea why she refers to them as cognitive strength because I’d never heard the term before and it sounds a bit off to me). Yes the platforms have power and it is oppressive power. But if the recipients of all the platforms produce are critical, empathetic individuals who care about social justice, and who also understands how platforms work… Wouldn’t those platforms wield less power over us? Danah boyd’s solution is missing the questioning of oppressive power structures while overly inflating the importance of individual agency. The problem with people who focus on agency is that they don’t keep in mind what Martha Nussbaum calls “combined capability” which is the ways in which the environment can restrict someone’s ability to do what they are capable of. Given what we know about algorithms and platforms, individuals’ agency is limited. But it’s not zero, and it’s worth working on. On the other hand, focusing only on the power of the platforms can make us despair because they are outside our circle of control and sometimes even sphere of influence. The platforms reproduce oppression because
- Oppression and injustice are already the status quo
- Algorithms and platforms sometimes mirror the status quo
- Algorithms and platforms sometimes exacerbate and amplify the injustice in the status quo
- People who work on these platforms and people who hold them accountable don’t have social justice as their bottom line
- Society has huge chunks of people who don’t have a problem seeing oppression and social injustice – as long as it’s mainly happening to someone else
- I think there’s a key difference between critical or literacy as a technical thing which can absolutely be used “wrong” vs critical as critical pedagogy meaning conscious of oppressive/unjust power structures
- We cannot work on individuals and ignore the broader power structures
- BUT ALSO we cannot just stop at critiquing the broader power structures. We need to also work at the individual level to nurture agency that can stand up to this broader injustice at the individual and colletive level, not just for advocacy. Otherwise, the power of the platforms becomes debilitating.
Silicon Valley is literally built on segregation, which makes white supremacy a feature rather than a bug as Chris Gilliard argues: “design of these platforms, well-aligned with their racist history, promotes notions of free speech and community that are designed to protect the folks in society who already benefit from the most protections.”Big yes to this. But what are we doing to combat the racism and injustice in the world itself? How do you create a society that is both deeply aware of historical and current injustices within it, but is also working to actively do something about it? Neither psychology nor sociology alone will fix this. Criticality does have a cognitive dimension (which can include some technical skills, but also digging deep into power structures), but it also has an interpersonal dimension (how we behave towards others) and it has an attitudinal dimension (where inclination towards social justice and empathy come in) – and it should also have an action dimension (clear in critical pedagogy texts, but not critical thinking; see also Barnett’s work on criticality as well; rarely mentioned in US literature). I’ll give a quick nod to Mike Caulfield’s Three Acts which go through the basic fact-checking, down to questioning broader power structures, and into possible action students can take – this latter really important so students don’t feel frustrated by what they’ve learned and don’t turn into mere perpetual skeptics. I think!!
- How can digital media that enables connection, creation, and collaboration enable us to better fulfill a school/ campus/ organization’s mission/ enact our values?
Digital media that enables connection can help people build a better understanding of one another. In Engagement in a Time of Polarization, we discussed how difficult it can be to create meaningful connections in this political climate especially with digital media. But through discussions and videos there was an emphasis on deep listening; listening to develop a deeper understanding of someone’s perspective/experiences instead of listening to immediately respond. This is something I truly believe UW Bothell could benefit from. With UW Bothell’s core values and mission statement emphasizing inclusive culture- building an inclusive and supportive learning community, UW Bothell could utilize digital media to build better connections and collaboration especially with students. This utilization could also lead to better communication and transparency between students and administration. One recent example at UWB that I feel is the start of better understanding of students is the social media campaign the Diversity Center had that welcomed UWB students to share their identities with the hashtag #ibelongUWB. Though this campaign didn’t get the most engagement, I thought the idea and message around it were great. I think the engagement was low because UWB doesn’t do many social media campaigns and students are still learning about the Diversity Center itself. But this type of use of digital media could potentially help build better bridges between students and the administration.
- What are some limitations in the potential of digital media for enacting our mission and values?
To be honest, there really isn’t much I can do to change these people’s minds. But I have gotten through to some through debates on Facebook. Yes, I said debates on Facebook. Look, I know I am not going to change the world by debating on Facebook. I know that it is not for everyone. But so many people are so rarely exposed to ideas outside of their comfort zone – that silently reading a debate on Facebook might be the only time they are exposed to opposing viewpoints. You see, I bring up different points not to win the argument, but to expose the larger number of those reading the posts to different viewpoints. Of course, I am not talking about arguing with “that uncle” on my private Facebook wall. I go to local newspaper and community groups and pages to bring up different views for consideration – from pro-vaccination to stricter gun regulation to transgender bathroom access to Black Lives Matters. Yeah, its not exactly what anyone would call “fun.” Usually it goes nowhere. But then there is that random DM from someone that tells me I have changed their mind on something. So I know it is getting through in some ways to some people, even though they might not let me know every time. Look, if my strongly pro-Trump cousin can suddenly come out and post a rant on Facebook about how he is tired of Trump and will no longer vote Republican until they clean up their act… and he is quoting some ideas that I know I posted earlier… you know that I or someone else he is following on Facebook are getting through to him. We can’t just write these people off as extreme viewpoints that will never change. I get that it is hard work to get through to people, especially in online environments. It is not for everyone. But if that is something you feel you can do (and I wouldn’t recommend doing it constantly – I frequently will just get off social media for days at a time to recover from debates)… don’t feel bad for doing it. Don’t feel like your part is “less than” or “not as hard.” We need people to engage with different viewpoints, especially those where we are standing on issue of equality or safety that should be the baseline middle point (but has been labeled as “polarized” by others).
“I see a future where schools will be lumped into two categories. Gun free zones and ones that are not.”
“Argyle ISD and the Chief have done exactly what is needed to protect against the evils and evil people of this world!”
“Where Argyle is now, and where they started, and where they are headed is the future of safety in our world. They are not following, they and leading by example and showing everyone what must be done to protect our children at school.”
“Arming teachers is safety – they will not shoot without reason! Grow up people!!! Welcome to the millennial generation!!!”
…the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10)But the truth is no one loves it when children get murdered. Owners and investors love profits. That doesn’t mean they are particularly happy about the circumstances. The profit motive impacts how they respond. The way news media reports on these tragedies sensationalizes them. It inspires copycats. A more moral course would be to downplay the sensationalism, like they do with reporting on suicides, but that raises the spectre of a loss of market share, and lower profits. Similarly, the firearm industry response to these tragedies is that people should buy more guns. That won’t make people more safe or less tense, and it makes weapons more available to those who would misuse them. Making weapons less easily available would have a negative impact on profits though. For the love of money… I’m no scholar, but even I knew that was a quote from scripture. The context is interesting. Prior to the verse is an instruction to stay away from snark and polarization, and those who would profit from them. Later in the chapter is a commandment to the rich to share their wealth – a highly polarizing proposition in the US today.
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime Money can drive some people out of their minds (O’Jays)Going back to the start, my main takeaway is that I am just as inclined to contribute to polarization as anyone else, apparently. Something I should watch out for. If we want to be healing and unifying, we shouldn’t try to be united against others, but rather united for something. Us, rather than us vs. them. Easier said than done. Anyway, here’s Troop and Levert to kick the ballistics:
For the #engageMOOC class, we were challenged to use Mike Caulfield’s Four Moves and a Habit which helps readers discern what the truth is in what they are reading online and help with their digital literacy (steps below).
For this challenge I went to his blog and chose an activity to show how the four moves worked. The activity I chose was to verify if a photo of Vladmir Putin was surrounded by other leaders including Trump at an international conference (see below).
My first instinct was to reverse Google image search the image and see where the image came from. The first thing that comes up from this is a suggested word search for the image which is “g20 trump putin fake” which made me instantly realize this picture was fake. When I first saw the image on the blog it definitely looked suspicious, the biggest clue for me was the closeness of Putin’s head to the guys leaning behind him- I felt it was fake from the get go. But I was curious to see what came up when seeing the origins of the image. With the reserve image search, the first link that came up was a link to CNN regarding that G20 summit but did not include the image itself but included other images with Trump and Putin but cited them from Getty images which is a trusted source. The five links under that link were all regarding the circulation of the fake photo and how it was going viral. The links regarding the image being fake also provided the original image from Getty image which did not have Putin in the middle but instead just an empty chair. After finding the evidence that the photo was fake from sources like BusinessInsider and CNN, I decided to do a regular google search with “g20 trump putin fake” which came up with the altered photo in the images section and with similar links stating the image is fake. It also provided links and images with Trump and Putin’s actual conversation at the summit. While doing this research I thought about the Four Moves and it really helped me think about the sources and to dig a little deeper when looking at images or stories online.
As I listened I tweeted out a wish that all these people were connected and engaged via Twitter chats and other social media platforms, the way I've been growing my engagements. Furthermore, I hoped that more and more of the on-line interactions would point to reading material and videos the way the #engageMOOC course has been doing. cmap at the right, and in this article. It uses information to support decisions and actions, including the flow of resources into high poverty areas. I hope that my conversations on-line and with people I sit next to at lunch will lead them to look at what I'm writing, and will lead them to engage youth as intermediaries, like myself, in bringing more people to on-line forums and on-line libraries. The video below is an example of what's possible. It was created by an intern from South Korea and it shows work that previous interns did when they were working with me. This is one of many visualizations created by interns between 2005 and 2015. On this page you can see a list of interns who have worked with my organization, and the universities they came from. I've been reaching out to universities since starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993, with a request for shared ownership that involves students, faculty and alumni. While I've been fortunate to have many interns take short term roles, up to one year, I've not been able to embed a Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute program on any campus, where it shares the goal of the university and many different departments of the university, as well of many different alumni. I've never been able to bring money to the table, thus my ideas get polite nods and "go find a younger professor" suggestions. Many of the people who I'm meeting in on-line communities come from high schools and higher education. Here's an article where I invite universities to form an on-campus program that duplicates what I've been trying to do, and does it better, and for many more years into the future. I think this could be happening at the high school level, too.“If we are to remain successful as a nation, we must be active in our efforts to safeguard our position as a global economic and cultural power, not just a military one.” - Thrilled to have @SenDuckworth reinforce the importance of America's continued global engagement #usglcIL pic.twitter.com/1r3ne0C5mA— USGLC (@USGLC) February 23, 2018
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