Digi Notes - January/February 2018

Digi Notes is a monthly digital learning newsletter put together by our Director of Digital Learning, Hillary Kolos. Each Digi Notes offers examples of digital learning-focused program examples, articles, and resources.

 Image: Mozilla

Image: Mozilla

Spotlight: Digital Cleanse from Mozilla

Last year, several of us did a Data Detox together to clean up our data trails online. After eights days of detox - we may have all been a little frightened by what we learned - but we also had a better hold on what info websites and apps were collecting about us and an understanding of how we could control it. 

This year, Mozilla is offering a couple guides that help get our digi houses in order. You can find the Data Detox guide here, as well as more info on toys and gadgets that might be tracking us and password management. 

IRL (in real life) Examples

‘Marvel-ous Makers’ Bring Black Panther-Inspired Creations to the Classroom - EdSurge

 Image: EdSurge, Netia McCray

Image: EdSurge, Netia McCray

Educator and maker, Netia McCray, has created a fabulous new web series where she shows how to make items from Black Panther like Queen Ramonda's crown and Nakia's ring blades. 

In this Edsurge interview, she highlights how educators can use Black Panther to engage students in STEM thinking: 

[F]or example, with Queen Ramonda's crown, most kids don't know the actual crown from the film was 3D printed using CAD, or computer-aided design software. They just thought it was like a very talented sculptor or an artist. They never piece together that artist still has to use STEM concepts.

 Image: Mbadika Instructables

Image: Mbadika Instructables

Check out her playlist on YouTube with the different projects - they just might inspire your next class project! 

Black Panther Bonus

Actor Letitia Wright - who plays, Shuri, a young princess and technologist in Black Panther - tells Huffington Post that she hopes her character inspires young women to get into STEM. 

Still hungry for more awesomeness at the intersection of art, tech, and the African diaspora? Attend the Afrotectopia conference at NYU March 10-11: 

Afrotectopia is a new media art, culture, technology festival designed to recognize the contributions of Black artists, designers, technologists and activists; as well as gather people currently working at the intersection of art, design, technology, activism and Blackness.

 Image: Afrotectopia, NYU

Image: Afrotectopia, NYU

Good Stories

Ed Tech and Equity: An Interview with Justin Reich - Henry Jenkins Blog

In the past ten years, the business of developing technology for schools and learning has grown exponentially. Called "EdTech" for short - the industry is being fueled by billions of dollars in investment a year and often promises to make learning more efficient and effective, but there aren't many folks investigating what kind of impact EdTech is really having.  

Two researchers, Justin Reich and Mimi Ito, have a new study out that dispels some of the myths about EdTech - including the myth that it is making schools and learning more equitable. 

One point Reich makes is that technology can be used and perceived very differently depending on someone's cultural perspective and internal bias. He found that:  

[W]hen rich white kids play around with technology, they are treated as hackers, and when poor black and brown kids play around with technology, adults treat them as slackers.

As always, technology (new and old) can be used in good, bad, and neutral ways. Reich and Ito's study helps us balance the promise of technology in schools with the possibility that it is also deepening existing inequities.  

Be Kind, Design - Medium

 Image: @natdudley, Medium

Image: @natdudley, Medium

We have a new program at the Art Center called Design League that's teaching us a lot about how spaces, objects, and technology can be designed in ways that include or exclude people. (For example, Google's Art and Culture app recently struggled to pair people of color with figures in art because it pulled mostly from Euro-centric collections.) 

I came across this thoughtful article that asks designers to be more inclusive in their work so that we can build a world that works for everyone. While it's geared towards designers, I found it helpful in understanding how even small decisions designers make or biases designers have can make a large impact on people's lives.  

Resources

Women's Self Defense IRL and Online

 Image: Amira Dhalla

Image: Amira Dhalla

For generations, women have taken and taught self-defense classes to keep each other safe from physical violence. Now some women are thinking about what self-defense looks like online. 

Amira Dhalla, who works on Mozilla's web literacy efforts, has been running workshops to help women defend themselves from threats both IRL and online. On Dhalla's website, you can find some of the resources she's pulled together that raise awareness of how to stay safe online. 

Nintendo Labo

 Image: Nintendo Labo

Image: Nintendo Labo

Alright, gamer friends - and everyone who likes to have fun - check this out! Nintendo is coming out with a new project for its Switch console called Nintendo Labo. It's a little hard to explain - so definitely watch the video - but basically, they are creating interactive kits made out of cardboard that allow players to experience games in a way that bridges the digital and the physical. So cool!!