I had the privilege to share some of my own reflections on digital devices, “behavior surplus” and balancing digital consumption with @DelanoMagazine podcast Newsmakers: podcast: spoti.fi/3Dq8IzP and article
Over the last 18 months, our time spent online has simply increased to levels maybe not experienced prior to the pandemic. As we continue to juggle the complexity and nuisance of the pandemic, this also maybe is an opportunity for schools to re-explore their relationship to digital citizenship. The growing erosion of our privacy as well as our amplified cohabitation with Artificial Intelligence (AI) present us with new challenges.
We all have become so much more aware of being tracked 24/7 with digital ecosystem grids which are seamless and frictionless parts of our daily routines. In (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism), Shoshana Zuboff describes this process of tracking “behavior surplus. Behavior surplus is the personal data that we leave on our devices and give away daily based on a mutual agreement (user agreements) between the digital companies and us. These agreements (when is the last time you read a user agreement?) give permission for our behaviors online/offline to be tracked, collected, monitored and analyzed by companies and in some cases governments at will. The purpose of “surveillance capitalism” is to leverage this “behavior surplus” to mitigate the uncertainty of our desires and to better predict what we will do. This is then turned into a profitable commodity. The value of our “behavior surplus” is unprecedented and the raw material of human data is fueling the engines of innovation, economics, politics and power.
Over the past few years, and in some ways accelerated even more in the last 18 months, AI has a growing impact on our lives, more often than we realize. Daily, it seems we develop a growing dependency on this cohabitation with AI: be it our GPS, HomeAssistant, iRobot vacuum cleaner, Health Device, Dating Apps, SmartWatch, or SmartTV. For our students, this seamless integration of AI into our lives often comes as a frictionless change. Tik Tok is a great example of this – a social media platform with sophisticated AI and unprecedented tracking algorithms, which in a short time added 1 billion users. Overnight, Tik Tok become a teen favorite and serious competition to Snapchat and Instagram. For many educators, new digital consumables are embraced with hesitancy but somehow often the convenience is enticing enough for us to succumb to the charm of the “smart” and “wifi“ ready products.
I have worked with groups of educators and students to build a series of lessons around ARTE’s Do Not Track in order to highlight the complexity and intricacies of how we are tracked. The different episodes are thoughtfully constructed with interactive components breaking down the erosion of privacy. I am surprised how often a percentage of students confidently express their indifference with this erosion of privacy and its implications. In some ways this makes sense. If the current privacy landscape is the sole point of reference, the current state of privacy is interpreted as normal. In comparison, educators interacting with ARTE’s Do Not Track respond with far more anxious discomfort as for many this erosion is compared to experiences where individuals felt greater control over their privacy. As we re-explore digital citizenship, we need to take these varying perspectives into consideration.
The fact is that most of our students are highly proficient digital consumers and not digital natives. The same goes for many educators in general. If we think of our own interactions with digital environments, it’s very likely that most of our time is focused on consumption over creation.
We need to consider re-framing how we support educators and students in a school setting away from a sole focus on digital citizenship to a broader focus on digital fluency. This requires us to develop an approach where the focus is on developing purposeful connections to our digital ecosystems with the goal of becoming ethical digital creators of content.
The concept and idea behind digital fluency is built on the work of the DQ Institute and its DQ Framework and the 8 digital intelligences. Digital fluency is facilitating an approach where learning opportunities are constructed around the natural connections of our day to day lives with these 8 digital intelligences. The important aspect of this focus is not excluding other essential learning in the curriculum. To make this meaningful, digital fluency needs to have clear connection points to personal experience, ensure these connection points are purposeful, and build on the learning already taking place in a school’s curriculum and the different learning pathways of the units of learning.
The above graph is one sample of several surveys done with Grade 5- 6 students asking them what areas of the DQ Framework they would like to learn and focus on. Interestingly, there was a clear pattern across several groups for Digital Safety as the highest priority (from the DQ Competencies.)
An important aspect of this is allowing student voice to actively guide the design of these digital fluency connections. They are identifying valuable needs and ensuring this open communication is key to making this shift meaningful to them.
Here are some examples of what digital fluency could look like, and what some schools are already actively creating. One example is giving high school students a LinkedIn account and spending time supporting what it means to have a public profile and how to curate a positive digital footprint compared to a personal social media footprint. Other schools are creating blended courses for parents on how to understand the difference between the pedagogic use of digital devices in schools and the challenges of a more open ended environment of digital device use outside of school in the home. Another example is having students develop public service announcements regarding malware and then coaching younger students on how to identify phishing emails and how to manage an antivirus app. Another is walking through the architecture of effective password creation and developing sustainable strategies to ensure a solid level of security in the students personal lives as a podcast. Or having students coach their parents through the privacy and security settings of their favorite app and create a how-to help screencast.
It is through these activities that participants build on a set of dispositions, skills and knowledge where they feel a sense of autonomy in addressing the complexities, challenges and opportunities of the digital ecosystems we are so intimately connected to.
The new year, 2022, at our doorstep will be even more intrinsically connected to cohabitation with AI and a continued dilution of the autonomy we have with our privacy. Scaffolding digital fluency as an essential part of the learning pathways provides a guide for students to shift their energies away from being passive digital consumers to active digital creators. Digital fluency provides a mindset to better understand the importance of the ethical responsibilities of digital creation and the implications of the digital ecosystems which permeate our lives, both visible and invisible. Ignoring this will just amplify a society of passive digital consumers, while eroding our free will.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff.” Goodreads, Goodreads, 15 Jan. 2019, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26195941-the-age-of-surveillance-capitalism
Asthana, Anushka, et al. “The Strange World of TikTok: Viral Videos and Chinese Censorship – Podcast.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 7 Oct. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/audio/2019/oct/07/strange-world-tiktok-viral-videos-chinese-censorship
Written by Yuhyun Park, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “8 Digital Skills We Must Teach Our Children.” World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/8-digital-skills-we-must-teach-our-children/.
DQ Framework: “What Is the DQ Framework?” DQ Institute, http://www.dqinstitute.org/dq-framework/.
“Coalition for Digital Intelligence.” Coalition for Digital Intelligence, www.coalitionfordigitalintelligence
It has been over 14 months since you first came to visit. Since then, you have single-handedly forced us into a global pandemic. As I sit here writing this letter, I think about how uncomfortable and complex you have made our lives. Without warning, you’ve challenged me and others to juggle unfamiliar levels of uncertainty. Challenging me and others with ambiguity and disquiet with no warnings.
You have no regard for who each one of us is. The intensity of your presence is felt by me, family, friends,colleagues, everyone. What scares me is your silence. Your unpredictability. That tenacious, invisible presence. I hear so much about you daily. I try to make sense of the absurd, and the fear: conspiracies, manipulations, divisions. I’m not sure what is what anymore.
You have left me confused and I am doing my best to navigate your presence. With hesitation, I keep looking at my social media feeds to help me understand the latest post about you. But the curated content makes me unsure of what is true, and what is a lie. Apparently the lie is true, but then I am told the truth is a lie. It’s so hard to wrap my head around it
I have shed many tears -more than I care to admit. It is the death, the pain, the relentless suffering you cause that hurts most. As you continue to show up unabated,I am humbled by all who care day and night, unselfishly, for those who have succumbed to you. The numbers are an uncomfortable, exponential statistic. Our arrogance with time and the little remorse you share in the limbo of the day. You are harsh!
You came right into my school without asking. You fell on us all, in the city, in the country, and you scared us into a lock down. My class and I avoided you the best we could with social distancing, disinfectants and curfews. My class flipped to emergency learning, tried working online, then moved to a hybrid. I looked up and suddenly we were all in each others’ homes, living rooms, and kitchens. I spent hours, coffee mug in hand, late at night, adjusting, redesigning my lessons. I would get memos from the building Principal saying it wasn’t enough, her expectations constantly changing as a disgruntled Board Member breathed down her inbox. I taught my class about “Zoom Fatigue” synchronously and asynchronously, and still a parent emailed me in ALL CAPS about learning loss.
Even though you kept coming back in waves, I did find a sliver of time to pause. It was a minute. I looked around. I could hear the sighs of my colleagues,and suddenly the invisible became visible. Why do we have 16 tests for this grade? Should I even do this online? Flipgrid or padlet? I recognized that well being is about more than a bottle of wine with Netflix. I saw friends anxious, alone, and sad trying to connect to something real, something tangible. . My credit card spent more time online than in my wallet. Constant change, in all shapes and forms, is the new normal. Everyday, I got creative and convinced myself to be positive and hopeful. I threw away my old box of lessons and leaned on my PLN for inspiration in breakout rooms. I took another pause, found more time to listen and learn. My class raised their hands and whispered through their masks “voice and choice.” I played with the idea, it felt right – why would I go back to the past?
I’m not sure what your plans are now, or how much longer you’ll be around. But I will turn the page, because I know looking back makes little sense. I will start at zero and forget the past as much as I can. So much I have learned, so much I can do better at, so much is far more important than I ever imagined. You gave me a moment to think about balance, respect, dignity, community. Okay I get it, this is not your last visit. I will not ignore things anymore: the hurricanes, the droughts, and floods. I am not going to ask you for details, or even predict the best next step. I realise where we are, and where I need to go.
I am not sure why I am even writing all this to you, but in the unexpected manner your visit fell on us all, I realise now we cannot continue the way we have been. This is clear to me and I understand this.We don’t have a choice. So now, as I finish this letter, it is up to me to step up and reimagine tomorrow anew.
Well-being has been an important part of our respective experience living and juggling the uncertainty of managing the Global Pandemic COVID19. The pandemic has for many created new stresses as part of the day, that are ambiguous, at times volatile with uncertainty. Carlos Davidovich and I explore the creative challenges of living during the COVID pandemic and how we each manage the challenges of the pandemic differently. Carlos shares his expertise on Neuro-management on known understandings of how the brain works and how we might consider understanding Well-being in this context. This recording is with video as we both prepare for a live session April 1, 2021 to support colleague and friend Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini who hosts monthly the International School of Luxembourg Virtual Learning Lofts (#ISLLoft) which I have the privileged to co-facilitate with Nancy sometimes.
Every month as the Head of Education and Media Technology @ ISL, the IT Library team hosts virtual digital life series focused on an aspect of digital life that we all juggle at work and home. These digital life series facilitated by the librarians, digital learning coaches or myself. In this session I unpack some of the research regarding online learning and how schools are engaging with this.
I am here sharing from a series by the IT Library Department colleagues called Digital Life a series for parents. This a concept managed and hosted by colleague Nancy and the Communications team. This session we explore and focus on screen time and some of the dilemmas we all juggle both parents, student and staff. All credit, resources, and inspiration goes to https://tacticaltech.org/#/ and https://datadetoxkit.org/en/home who over the last couple years have been an outstanding resource, and guide for a lot of the work I get to facilitate with colleagues at school. In this session I share what are the different types of screen times and some ideas on exploring strategies to consider.
With the unprecedented experience of COVID19 that we all have juggled over the last months, and the complexities we all are living with today, our days have been intense. As part of the Pearl of Wisdom protocol of the Principal Training Center, I, as a trainer at the PTC reflected on my own experience as an education leader working and facilitating with digital literacy and fluency in an international school setting and navigating the dynamics of the COVID19 pandemic. A 20 minute share out.
On May 25th 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into full swing in the European Union as law, focused on individual privacy and access/use of personal information of European Union citizens. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new set of rules governing the privacy and security of personal data laid down by the European Commission which impacts all European Union’s (EU) organization both commercial and non commercial (non-profit) and foreign companies and organizations which handle European Union citizens personal data. The objective of bringing this regulation into law across the EU is in reaction to significant changes with the digitization of information and the growing power of algorithms used by large corporations in analysing and using personal data for commercial use. The General Data Protection Regulation has been designed to give a greater level of control to EU citizens over how their data is processed and used by companies and organizations.
For European International Schools GDPR is an important regulation that schools are working to become complaint. The GDPR requires European International Schools to ensure that all schoolwide processes, producers, and policies with personal data of staff, faculty, parents and students are complaint with the GDPR regulation.
Local government authorities enforcing the GDPR could potentially give out fines if organization do not comply to the GDPR.
There are three areas that European International Schools have to focus on for the GDPR :Governance ⅓, Data Protection ⅓ and Cyber Security ⅓. Schools need to show that they are working toward compliance in all three areas and ensure that any personal data they process is handled and stored securely. The focus is on mitigating the risk of personal data not being properly safeguarded. The GDPR extends to those organizations, companies, and services which European International Schools use for different services or resources in and outside of school Under the GDPR schools will be responsible to ensure these organization which might be accessing community members personal data are complaint with GDPR.
There is no doubt this new regulation brings about a lot work forEuropean International Schools as they review, and analysis their current status and enhance procedures, process and policies to be compliant with the GDPR.
This summer as many European International Schools realized the importance of this new regulation and in tandem understanding the extensive work needed to be done the International School of Brussels created a GDPR International Schools working group in an effort to share expertise and resource. In this GDPR working group over 45+ European International Schools are currently sharing and collaborating both virtually and in person. There have been two meetings hosted by the International School of Brussels on their campus in Brussels this fall and spring. 45+ European International Schools came together with representatives from school Leadership teams, IT Departments, and Administrators to work to support each other. In tandem the Brussels GDPR International Schools working group has been supported by 9ine consulting https://www.9ine.uk.com/ who are working with quite a few European International schools as consultants/experts on GDPR compliance in a school setting.
It is evident that working towards General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is very time consuming workflow, and the process requires whole school communities to consider enhancing or implementing new process, procedures and policies related to personal data used on and off campus. This workflow is requiring schools to look at all the daily process and procedures we often take for granted where personal data is being used, access and shared. One actually does not realize the magnitude of ways we work with school community members personal data in and out of school. This process is bringing this to light for many schools.
Below are good resources to support a further understanding of the GDPR
GDPR International Schools work group (a Google group started by the International School of Brussels)
Official EU Home page of the GDPR: https://www.eugdpr.org/
Preparing for GDPR in schools:
9ine Consulting Blog: http://www.9ine.uk.com/newsblog/topic/gdpr
Introduction to General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5WJOncaHt4
A Summary of EU General Data Protection: https://www.dataiq.co.uk/blog/summary-eu-general-data-protection-regulation
Burgess, Matt. “What Is GDPR? WIRED Explains What You Need to Know.” WIRED, WIRED UK, 6 Feb. 2018, http://www.wired.co.uk/article/what-is-gdpr-uk-eu-legislation-compliance-summary-fines-2018.
Consulting, 9ine. “9ine Consulting | Blog – 9ine Consulting | GDPR.” 9ine, http://www.9ine.uk.com/newsblog/topic/gdpr.
“Home Page of EU GDPR.” EU GDPR Portal, http://www.eugdpr.org/.
“Introduction to General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR).” YouTube, YouTube, 22 Apr. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5WJOncaHt4.
https://www.5874.co.uk, 5874 Design -. “Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – 10 Steps for Schools.” Harrison Clark Rickerbys, http://www.hcrlaw.com/preparing-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr-10-steps-schools/.
As the first days of 2018 arrive, any reflections on last year seem to contain an uncomfortable rawness because of the events continuously populating our devices – the immediacy, brutality and complexity of a world fueled by- “FakeNews?”, each one of us trying to construct a context in the “Filter Bubble” choreographed by algorithms from which we build a sense of the world we live in.
As International School educators, we straddle between the walled garden of “school” and the outside “world”. The reality is that we are surrounded by constant change and ambiguity. But there is a gap between the accelerated rate of change and our capacity to adapt to it. For some, the gap is wide. For others, the gap stays the same, and for a few, the gap is narrowing. How we interpret and engage with the gap and our own capacity to keep up influences many of our feelings and emotions. These in turn fuel the perceptions, opinions and behaviors with which we express ourselves.
International Schools have to juggle the fine line between ensuring students and parents are pleased and ensuring that they feel safe, challenged and cared for. In the unique world of International Schools, a percentage of parents come from a comfortable socio- economic environment. Often times, their education is a contributing factor to their current positions. This education provided the opportunities for their successes and their economic prosperity. Living with this becomes a strong marker in what International School parents believe their children should get from an education and an International School. This pedagogic reference point in many cases 25+ years old. The world was a very very different place then. However we try as schools to innovate, change and adapt, we do this with a level of caution and reservation. At the end of the day, the invisible mandate between parents and international schools, is “provide my child with stability, continuity, what I remember from my school days and more certainty then I have in my life today“.
As educators, we fall into a similar narrative. We have a desire for of stability, continuity, and more certainty than in the outside world we interact with. We do innovate and change in our schools, but the presence of the invisible mandate between our parents and schools influences the level by which we break the status quo.
Today the level of stability, continuity, and certainty that we were once used to has eroded. Uncertainty, ambiguity and volatility are an unavoidable part of the day. The complexity of this change permeates into everyone’s lives, and often not by choice.
2018, is an opportunity to embrace the world’s uncertainty, ambiguity and volatility, not as something eroding our past and challenging our present, but as an opportunity to re-frame the possibilities in front of us as a unique and rich learning journey. We have a responsibility to take this on in our roles as mentors, facilitators and educators. We bring a wisdom, resilience and care that has served us well and can continue to serve us today. Many of our students will one day be International School parents or educators who look back at their education as a point of reference for their own success. The measures will be different. We live in a world where uncertainty, ambiguity and volatility are part of our lives. We should not depend on reference points from our past to give us stability, continuity and certainty. The gap for many will still get bigger and more uncomfortable. But hopefully, in 2018, we can work to bridge that gap as well.