I am reading danah boyds’ It’s Complicated – the social lives of networked teens (here). Chapter Seven is really good – boyd addresses literacy and asks are today’s youth digital natives?
This is a theme I have raised a number of times on eLearningIsland.
Those of us involved in education and the digital space know that sinking feeling when lectured at by experts on the primacy of the teenage-native, when we experience otherwise in our classrooms.
boyd quotes Tarleton Gillespie on the politics to alogrithms (p. 185) and argues that we all, no matter what age or level of technical experience, need a deeper understanding of what drives the Internet, especially in the way search is organised through algorithms developed by engineers in Google, Bing or whatever search-engine we choose.
Digital-residence requires critical thinking, not falling into a filter-trap of results “suited” to our needs.
I cited previously ‘Power on’: Googlecracy, privatisation and the standardisation of sources (Souto-Otero and Beneito-Montagut 2013).
While Souto-Otero and Beneito-Montagut are particularly concerned about the search engine, Google Scholar, their thoughts are valid for any such application. I was taken by this thought….
…the manner search engines operate, classify and hierarchically display hits is crucial because ‘hits’ are potential meaning constructors,the bricks we employ for our thought. They provide the sources for intellectual elaboration, shape what users read… (p 482 my emphasis).
boyd is presenting a challenge to all of us who love what the Internet brings into our lives to encourage a critical, skeptical and thoughtful approach to what we do online. She concludes Chapter Seven
Both adults and youth need to develop media literacy and technological skills to be active participants in our information society. Learning is a lifelong process.
boyd, danah. 2014. It’s Complicated – the social lives of networked teens. New Haven and London: Yale.