RWS Final Paper 12.12.18

Emily Richards

RWS 100

Professor Chris Werry

December 9 2018

RWS #3

In what many call the “age of technology”, people have has countless resources made available at their fingertips through technological advancements and social media. It also seems that to many members of older generations, today’s youth has acquired any and all knowledge of technology, since they were born into it, and it has always been a skill of theirs. In her piece titled “It’s Complicated, The Social Lives of Networked Teens” author Danah Boyd asserts that this is not the case. She argues that teens only know what they need to for their everyday lives, and having mastered these daily tasks, it may seem that they know how to do everything, when in fact they only know what they feel they need to learn, and pick up certain technological skills quickly, but are extremely uninformed in other areas. Adults on the other hand, have had to learn technological skills at a later age in life, and they find it significantly harder to acquire these skills at an older age. Boyd utilizes the terms “digital native” for those who grew up learning any and all technological skills they would need in life; and “digital immigrant” for those who are tasked with learning later in life what others grew up with. Her overall argument is that although there are some that have been surrounded by technology since they were born, and there are others who are learning the same skills at a later point in their lives, neither group holds the key to unlocking all that technology can do for us. Both older and younger generations can benefit from learning more than just the bare minimum of knowledge regarding technology. Only through learning and exploring can we further our technological society and unlock the plethora of benefits technology we have yet to discover.

In her book titled “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens”, Author Danah Boyd addresses the stereotype that today’s youth has unlimited knowledge of technology and how to utilize it, and references “digital natives” in comparison to their older counterparts, who have to learn how to navigate this digital world, which is harder to do later in life, thus earning them the name “digital immigrants”. Boyd counters this claim with the assertion that nobody is truly digitally literate, and generations both old and young both have a lot to learn about all that technology has to offer. I will be analyzing Boyd’s text and her claim that generations both old and young can become digitally literate through education about the credibility of sources.  She suggests that through education and teaching both “digital natives” as well as “digital immigrants” how to find reliable and credible sources, can we ensure a more digitally literate and well informed future for the digital world we are living in.

Boyd’s central claim is that although many assume that teens know everything there is to know about the internet, it is more often than not that when researching online, teens simply choose the first source that pops up on their screen, and make no further effort to research the source itself, and whether or not is credible or trustworthy. In certain cases, both students and teachers dismiss certain sources due to their lack of credibility, when in fact they are just as reliable in comparison. One of the world’s most utilized websites is Wikipedia, and while many think of the source as a shortcut way to getting information without it being reliable, in comparison, it is just if not more reliable than certain more “well-respected sources” such as Britannica. Boyd recounts a survey she did with high school students all over the country and their opinions on Wikipedia, where “In Massachusetts, white fifteen-year-old Kat told me that “Wikipedia is a really bad thing to use because they don’t always cite their sources. . . . You don’t know who’s writing it.” Brooke, a white fifteen- year-old from Nebraska explained that “[teachers] tell us not to [use Wikipedia] because a lot of—some of the information is inaccurate.”’ (Boyd 187). Almost all students seem to believe that Wikipedia is unreliable because they think that anyone can edit it, and you don’t know who is writing the articles that you are taking information from. Boyd counters this claim with the fact that “analyses have shown that Wikipedia’s content is just as credible as, if not more reliable than, more traditional resources like Encyclopedia Britannica.  Teachers continue to prefer familiar, formally recognized sources. Educators encourage students to go to the library. When they do recommend digital sources, they view some as better than others without explaining why” (Boyd 187), while many assume that Wikipedia is an unreliable source that enables lazy student to gather information fast, in reality it is just as trustworthy as more well-respected encyclopedias such as Britannica. Even though students were firm in their beliefs that Wikipedia is a “bad source” to use on academic, researched assignments, they could not give a solid reason why it is unreliable, just that it is; “When I asked students why they should prefer sites like Encarta and professors’ webpages, they referenced trust and credibility, even though students couldn’t explain what made those particular services trustworthy” (Boyd 188). If schools were to implement more education of the credibility of certain sources online, and educate both students and teachers about what really makes a source trustworthy, society could advance further technologically and enable generations both old and young to utilize the internet to its fullest potential and use reliable, credible sources so that they can create well-researched and factually-based scholarly works.

Boyd’s primary claim throughout her text is that education is the key to creating a digitally literate society.

Author Leah Anne Levy of the University of Southern California reinforces the claim that it is crucial for teachers themselves to be digitally literate, so that they can educate and mentor younger generations in order to create a technologically savvy society. She emphasizes the fact that many people simply choose the most convenient source available to them, without using digital literacy skills to research the credibility of the source itself. She states that “there is a significant difference between Googling an answer and understanding why…Simply Googling an answer does not provide students with true, deep learning. And while most students understand how to use a search engine, it is up to teachers to provide students with the additional skills to bring the answers to the next level” (Levy 2018). It is vital that teachers have the knowledge to educate their students on the reliability and credibility of sources to better enable them to become digitally literate. She also argues that we have only scratched the surface of all the internet can do for us, and “Digitally literate teachers know how to inspire students to use today’s technology as a powerful toolset to expand their learning opportunities” (Levy 2018). The importance of education about technology and the internet is crucial to helping the next generation of innovators have a advanced background on the inner workings of technology itself and how it can be better utilized, but also the credibility of the sources they are using. This deeper understanding of technology is useful not just to understand the technology we already have, but to help innovate the technology of the future. As teachers master digital literacy with their lessons, they can collaborate with peers to share technology and work toward improving learning outcomes for their students…Digitally literate teachers see technology for all of its creative potential,” (Levy 2018). Both Boyd and Levy stress the importance of education in terms of technology, and how today’s teachers can pave the way for the next generation of digitally literate students through guiding them on how to sort through and use only reliable and credible sources, and how to use the internet to its fullest potential.

In his article titled “What is Digital Literacy?”, author Matthew Lynch covers the broad term of digital literacy, and what both students and teachers can do to become more digitally literate themselves. Lynch concedes that younger generations do have more knowledge than their older counterparts, but they do not hold the key to all technological information; she makes the claim that “Most students already use digital technology, such as tablets, smartphones, and computers, at home. Many students already know how to navigate the web, share images on social media, and do a Google search to find information. However, true digital literacy goes beyond these basic skills” (Lynch).  Lynch makes the claim that although students know how to use technology, they do not know how to use it to its fullest extent. He also asserts that in order to be truly “digitally literate”, one must be able “to weed out false information and find reliable sources” (Lynch), the ability to find reliable and trustworthy information on the internet is a key element to being able to navigate the digital world. He also touches on the fact that educators have felt increasingly pressured to teach their students how to hone the new skill of digital literacy, Lynch makes the claim that “educators are increasingly required to teach students digital literacy in the classroom. In many ways, this is similar to what educators have always done in teaching students to read and write. In other ways, however, digital literacy is a brand new skill.” (Lynch), in this new digital age, it is becoming increasingly important that students become able to find trustworthy sources, and through educators teaching them the skills they need, they will truly become “digital natives”. Lynch asserts that the primary method by which individuals can become more digitally literate is through teachers being digitally literate and knowledgeable themselves. Both Lynch and Boyd emphasize the fact that education is the key element to teaching people of all ages to become more digitally literate, and it is crucial that educators expand their own knowledge to intrust in the generations of tomorrow.  There is no denying that technology has become a common part of our everyday lives, and it is only through education of both older and younger generations will we be able to keep up with the times.

Author Marc Prensky describes in his article titled “What does it mean to be a digital native?”, what he calls “The war between digital natives and immigrants”, as a conflict between two groups with drastically different technological abilities. He makes the claim that try as they might, the older generations simply cannot function properly in today’s world without knowing how to use some form of technology, as the younger generations continue to learn more and more to try and keep up with the ever advancing technological advancements, He acknowledges the fact that in today’s digital world, there is a lot of pressure to learn how to navigate digitally; “Connecting with one another in the modern world requires a knack for social networking and texting, which is the norm for the digital native. But for the immigrant, it can be akin to learning a whole new language” (Prensky 2012). It is by no means easy to learn how to utilize technology, but Prensky stresses the importance of educating yourself in order to keep up with the quickly changing times, “innovation will only press forward “faster… And faster and faster” (Prensky 2012). Boyd challenges Prensky’s claim that today’s younger generations have become digitally literate, and counters argument by saying that without proper education, technology will continue to advance with a society that does not know how to properly utilize all that the innovation has to offer. The digital age we find ourselves living in today is one of fast paced and constant change, and without education on how to use the internet to our advantage, we will be left in the dust as the online world races into the future without us.

Technology is often a topic of hot debate. The gap between old and younger generations and their knowledge about technology has only broadened in recent years. Author Danah Boyd addresses the assumption many hold that younger generations know everything there is to know about the internet, and older generations have miles to catch up; she refutes this by saying that no generation has unlimited knowledge of the internet, and the only way that we can keep up with the ever changing technological advancements is through educating generations old and young on how to use the internet to effectively, and find credible sources so that our information is factual. Learning more about what the internet has to offer can enable today’s society to become more digitally literate, in order to help us tap in to the seemingly limitless amount of resources that technology has made available. Technology and the internet may appear like a vast expanse of information we can never hope to fully comprehend but through education for generations both old and young, we can make use of all the internet has to offer; and the possibilities of what can be achieved are limitless.

 

Works Cited

Teach.com. “What Is Digital Literacy?” Teach: Make a Difference, 26 Apr. 2017,

teach.com/blog/what-is-digital-literacy/.

2012, www.cnn.com/2012/12/04/business/digital-native-prensky/index.html.

Levy, Leah Anne. “7 Reasons Why Digital Literacy Is Important for Teachers.” Teaching Salaryin California – Blog | USC Rossier Online, 25 July 2018, rossieronline.usc.edu/blog/teacher-digital-literacy/.

Lynch, Matthew. “Digital Literacy Is the Most Important Lifelong Learning Tool.” The Edvocate, 20 Jan. 2018, http://www.theedadvocate.org/digital-literacy-important-lifelong-learning-tool/.

 

RWS Paper #3 Draft 11.27.18

In what many call the “age of technology”, one has countless resources made available at their fingertips through technological advancements and social media. It also seems that to many members of older generations, today’s youth has acquired any and all knowledge of technology, since they were born into it, and it has always been a skill of theirs. In her piece titled “It’s Complicated, The Social Lives of Networked Teens” author Danah Boyd asserts that this is not the case. She argues that teens only know what they need to for their everyday lives, and having mastered these daily tasks, it may seem that they know how to do everything, when in fact they only know what they absolutely need to. Adults on the other hand, have had to learn technological skills at a later age in life, and it has been scientifically proven that one has more difficulty learning new skills when they are older. Boyd coined the terms “digital native” for those who grew up learning any and all technological skills they would need in life; and “digital immigrant” for those who are tasked with learning later in life what others grew up with. Her overall argument is that although there are some that have been surrounded by technology since they were born, and there are others who are learning the same skills at a later point in their lives, neither group holds the key to unlocking all that technology can do for us. Both older and younger generations can benefit from learning more than just the bare minimum of knowledge regarding technology. Only through learning and exploring can we further our technological society and unlock the plethora of benefits technology we have yet to discover.

RWS h.w. 11.11.18

As mentioned in class, homework for Monday is to read Boyd, give an overview of her argument,
discuss two main claims, and identify any passages in the text you might be interested in researching
or learning more about.  Post to your blogs by Monday early evening

The main idea in Boyd’s text is that although many interpret todays youth as having unlimited knowledge of technology and the internet, but in reality they have only adapted the knowledge needed for their specific needs, and they are in fact widely uneducated on all the potential technology has and what it can do for them. She best sums up her argument in her quote “Teens may make their own media or share content online, but this does not mean that they inherently have the knowledge or perspective to critically examine what they consume”.

Two main passages that I found interesting were on page 177 when Boyd states “It is dangerous to assume that youth are automatically informed…Becoming literate in a networked age requires hard work, regardless of age” This touches on a very important topic, especially in todays culture. Many individuals think that once that have mastered everything that is relevant to them technology wise, they can simply stop learning. Boyd makes the claim that technology and social media is such a vast and listless expanse that you can never really stop learning, and that you should try to expand your knowledge of technology as much as you possibly can.

Another passage that I found interesting is found on page 179 when Boyd makes the claim that “our students today are all ‘native speakers’ of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.” and that “Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are, and always will be compared to them, Digital Immigrants.” this idea that younger generations were born with the knowledge of the internet and technology, therefore making them “digital natives” vs. those who have to learn technological skills later in their lives, making them “Digital immigrants” this term and the ideology behind would be something I would like to expand upon in my paper, and dive more into the conflict that can arise from the clash of generations of those who were born and grew up knowing how to utilize technology, vs. those who have to acquire the skills later in life.

RWS Essay #2 Social Media 10.28.18

Emily Richards

RWS 100

Professor Chris Werry

October 17 2018

RWS Essay #2

It seems like in today’s culture, one cannot go a day without hearing some sort of opinion on the impact of technology, and whether or not technology is overtaking our lives.Initially In the article titled “I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me.” by Roger Mcnamee, he makes the claim that  McNamee does admit that social media has had a vast array of positive effects social media has had on our lives, but the positives do not outweigh the plethora of negatives. He introduced this idea when he says, “while the conveniences of smartphones has many benefits, the unintended consequences of well-intended  product choices have become a menace to public health and to democracy” (McNamee). McNamee asserts his claim that the advertising aspect of social media is poisoning our minds, and creating an unwanted bias and influencing our political decisions. The author’s main claim is not that social media is the main issue, but the advertising that comes with it “the fault lies with advertising business models that drive companies to maximize attention at all costs, leading to ever more aggressive brain hacking” (McNamee). He makes the claim that social media itself is not the main issue, but the advertising that sways us to believe certain things and change our opinion and bias.

 

McNamee touches on the Arab Spring, a series of revolts in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Moldova, Tunisia, Egypt. Many believe that this revolution was semi-successful due to the advent of social media, and the doors of spreading revolutionary ideas and other forms of communication it opened. McNamee makes the argument that although social media did play a role in the attempt to implement democracy during the Arab Spring, this democracy was only temporary, he is quoted saying, “social media has not helped these revolutions turn into lasting democracies…the process is overly emotional…it speaks [] to the emotional, reactive, quick fix parts of us, that are satisfied by images and clicks that look pleasing, that feed our egos, and that make us think we are heroic” (McNamee). His claim that social media does not create long lasting democracy is backed up by the factual evidence that the results of the Arab Spring ended up being almost completely reversed, and there is almost no trace of successful democracy remaining in the Middle East. McNamee utilizes the the events leading up to, during, and after the Arab Spring to appeal to the readers logos, in order to make the irrefutable claim that though social media did aid in creating temporary democratic governments, they were unstable and unable to be successful in the long term. During the peak of the Arab Spring, “ex-Google marketing executive and activist Wael Ghonim famously said; “A lot of this revolution started on Facebook. If you want to liberate a society, just give them the internet. If you want to have a free society just give them the internet.”’ (McNamee). Though social media did play a large role in the Arab Spring and the democratic laws it resulted in, the fixes were only temporary, and were universally unsuccessful in creating stable, long-term democracy.

There is no doubt that social media played a key role in the controversial 2016 election. Current United States President “Donald Trump himself believes that without social media”, he very likely would not have been elected, and many scholars agree” (McNamee). Social media giants such as Facebook, which is utilized by billions of people all over world, can be manipulated and skewed so that we as users only see certain, politically biased advertisements. Websites such as Youtube also utilize this advertisement theory in order to “produce short-term happiness with serious negative consequences in the long term’ (McNamee), he presents the claim that to a certain extent, people become addicted to the internet and the endorphin rush it gives, only to have a comedown of negative emotions after they log off. Another shocking example McNamee gives to aid in his argument that people have become far too reliant and addicted to technology is a quote from the CEO of Netflix who recently noted that “his company’s biggest rival was sleep” (McNamee). A tech giant such as netflix has billions of people watching for hours and hours a day and they only stop when they are forced to due to lack of sleep.

Perhaps the most jolting claim that McNamee makes is that through your surfing of the web each and every day, you are teaching your computer about yourself, and it is storing all the information you feed it through what you are shopping for, what videos you watch, and what you search for online. This peeking over the shoulder tactic these tech giants have adopted has landed them in hot water, “large social media and internet companies have faced a series of scandals over the past few years around issues such as privacy, monopoly power access to consumer information, fake news and media manipulation” (McNamee).  Though many do not like acknowledging it, people in todays generation are online more than ever before; “average consumers check their smartphones 150 times a day…people spend up to 50 minutes on facebook….other social media apps such as snapchat, instagram, and twitter combine to take up still more time.” (McNamee). These huge industries such as google and facebook are paying attention to every thing you search and view on your computer, and “know more about you than you know about yourself” (McNamee). This access they have on your information allows them to persuade you economically, as well as catering certain ads to you based on what you have been choosing to view, until something you just glanced at on your screen yesterday has suddenly popped up as an ad on your phone, laptop, and ipad. The staggering statistic that “Facebook has over 2 billion active users around the world…Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat and Twitter, also have userbases between 100 million and 1.3 billion” (McNamee), furthers his claim that more people are online than ever before, and this number will only continue to grow. With this increase in online users, will also come an increase of peoples lives being influenced and monitored by tech giants such as google and Facebook.

For many of us, we cannot go a day without using some form of social media or technology. From getting our news, to communicating with family and friends; technology does in some aspect, control our lives. In his article titled: “I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me” author Roger Mcnamee asserts his claim that the hold that social media has on us is detrimental to our own privacy, and could potentially pose a threat to democracy. His main issue with the bias advertisements and sneaky algorithms enable tech giants such as google and facebook to peek over our shoulder at everything we view online, and than in turn give us specialized advertisements that are bias toward our own interests and political views, censoring any oppositional views. This censorship shelters our opinion and stunts the growth and development of our likes and opinions, which is a harrowing thought when thinking about the progression of democracy worldwide. Technology and social media open many doors to obtain new knowledge and connect with people all over the world, but not without a price.

 

RWS h.w. 11.7.18

How “News Literacy” Gets Web Misinformation Wrong Summary Notes:

  • Check for previous fact-checking work
  • Go upstream to the source
  • Read laterally
  • Fact checking claims
  • using special techniques to find out if what you are reading is factual and true
  • Even with sources as well-respected as the Wall Street Journal, you still have to make sure that their sources are correct
  • trusty domain search: ‘-site:wsj.com wsj.com’, which tells Google to get all the pages that are talking about wsj.com that aren’t from that site itself
  • Gauge your emotional reaction: Is it strong? Are you angry? Are you intensely hoping that the information turns out to be true? False?
    1. Reflect on how you encountered this. Was it promoted on a website? Did it show up in a social media feed? Was it sent to you by someone you know?
    2. Consider the headline or main message:
    3. Does it use excessive punctuation(!!) or ALL CAPS for emphasis?
    4. Does it make a claim about containing a secret or telling you something that “the media” doesn’t want you to know?
    5. Don’t stop at the headline! Keep exploring.
    6. Is this information designed for easy sharing, like a meme?
    7. Consider the source of the information:
    8. Is it a well-known source?
    9. Is there a byline (an author’s name) attached to this piece?
    10. Go to the website’s “About” section: Does the site describe itself as a “fantasy news” or “satirical news” site?
    11. Does the person or organization that produced the information have any editorial standards?
    12. Does the “contact us” section include an email address that matches the domain (not a Gmail or Yahoo email address)?
    13. Does a quick search for the name of the website raise any suspicions?
    14. Does the example you’re evaluating have a current date on it?
    15. Does the example cite a variety of sources, including official and expert sources? Does the information this example provides appear in reports from (other) news outlets?
    16. Does the example hyperlink to other quality sources? In other words, they haven’t been altered or taken from another context?
    17. Can you confirm, using a reverse image search, that any images in your example are authentic (in other words, sources that haven’t been altered or taken from another context)?

    10. If you searched for this example on a fact-checking site such as Snopes.com, FactCheck.org or PolitiFact.com, is there a fact-check that labels it as less than true?

  • Comments can be useful, of course. When the trail has gone cold tracing a story to its source, often it’s a comment from someone that points the way to the original story. Sometimes a person points to an article on Snopes or Politifact.
  • By the way, this ability to read a page of results and form a hypothesis about the shape of a story based on a quick scan of all the information there — dates, URLS, blurbs, directory structure — that’s what mastery looks like, and that’s what you want your employees and citizens to be able to do, not count spelling errors.
  • News as source, and news as claim. It’s an epistemological hole that we put our students in, and to help them out of it we hand them a shovel.
  •   1. Sources are scarce and we must absolutely figure out this source instead of ditching it for a better one.
  • 2. Asking the web what it knows about a source is a last resort, after reading the about page, counting spelling errors, tallying punctuation, and figuring whether an author’s email address looks a bit fishy.
  • Above all, the World Wide Web is a web, and the way to establish authority and truth on the web is to use the web-like properties of it.
  • Those include looking for and following relevant links as well as learning how to navigate tools like Google which use that web to index and rank relevant pages.
  • And they include smaller things as well, like understanding the ways in which platforms like Twitter and Facebook signal authority and identity.

 

RWS h.w. 11.5.18

  1. Some of the main claims made by Boyd is that there is a strong divide between the “digital natives” and “immigrants” and that technology and the lack of overall education about social media and technology is stregnething the divine between the two groups, which is counter productive for innovation and the future.
    1. Another claim that Boyd makes that I found interesting was about the girl from Massachusetts who claimed that she “never used wikipedia” because she had been told by her teacher that the information was not true. Boyd counters this claim by saying that there are differences between a site like wikipedia and a search engine like google. In Wikipedia, people can edit the page and add false (even if they believe it to be true) information. In the case of google, the websites employees do not typically assess the quality of the pages being presented when you search for something, so to some extent, are the same beaus they can both feed you false information.
  2. The overall argument that Boyd is making is that although the “younger generation” grew up with technology at their fingertips and have seemingly endless knowledge of technology and the internet, they in fact only know what they need to, and often have limited knowledge of technology and the internet overall. This leads to confusion from the older generations due to the fact that since adults assume that millennials have unlimited knowledge about technology, there is miscommunication between the two generations regarding technology and the internet. her claim is best summed up in the quote “It is dangerous to assume that youth are automatically informed.”

RWS h.w. 11.01.18

  • Identify the main claims, as well as any passages that struck
    you are particularly interesting, provocative, or confusing.
  •  Does anything Boyd says relate to your own experience?
  1. The main claim in this piece is that although the “younger generation” grew up with technology at their fingertips and have seemingly endless knowledge of technology and the internet, they in fact only know what they need to, and often have limited knowledge of technology and the internet overall. This leads to confusion from the older generations due to the fact that since adults assume that millennials have unlimited knowledge about technology, there is miscommunication between the two generations regarding technology and the internet. her claim is best summed up in the quote “It is dangerous to assume that youth are automatically informed.”
  • some passages that I found interesting was on page 180, where Boyd emphasizes learning environments where they prioritize furthering their knowledge in technology, “Although youth are always learning as they navigate these systems, adults— including parents, educators, and librarians—can support them further by helping turn their experience into knowledge.” (Boyd 180). I found it refreshing that Boyd acknowledges the fact that both kids and adults have a lot to learn about technology, and implementing this into learning environments can help both generations expand their knowledge on a vast and mostly unknown field of study.
  • something that struck me as interesting when I was reading was that Boys herself is a member of what she calls the “older generation” but she is speaking in defense of the younger generation and their technological abilities. It is refreshing to hear someone recognize and defend the fact that though it may seem like like teens today know how to do everything on the internet,  and in my experience, I only know what I absolutely need to, and I haven’t bothered to branch out and learn more about technology/ the internet itself. Our knowledge of the internet only begins to scratch the surface of all the information that is out there.