Wednesday, 28 September 2016

How to Thrive Online

I watched this (50 minute long) video of Howard Rheingold, cyberculture expert and academic, on How to Thrive Online.  He is the author of the book Net Smart which outlines 5 literacies that we need to not just survive, but to thrive online.  While not specifically directed to young learners, it does very much reflect the literacies that we all need online and so I think outlines the critical literacies that we need to continually teach our learners.
He calls these literacies  - attention, crap detection, participation, collaboration and network smarts.
Attention refers to the fact that digital technologies  are distracting but Rheingold claims that we can train ourselves to overcome distractions by attention to filtering what is useful and what is not.  He quotes Clay Shirky as saying there is no such thing as information overload - it is filter failure. History has taught us this has happened before when books first arrived on the scene.  We learned to cope with this overload by bringing in alphabetisation, indexes, subject headings, taxonomies, reference books, encyclopaedias, authors, critics, and editors.  So now we need to bring in new strategies to help us filter, and make conscious decisions to use them.
Crap detection is the next literacy (critical consumption is the polite term).  This teaches us how to recognise hoaxes and incorrect information.  We need to learn how to "search to learn", validate online sites by looking for authors, triangulate any information, seek multiple viewpoints (if no-one annoys you, you are in an echo-chamber).  Our learners find it hard to be critical consumers without learning those skills - this is where they need support to discard and bullying incidents, distinguish between what is real and what is opinion and grow all of the attributes of self worth as they do in real life.
Participation is about building your own online presence as a leader and he refers to Ross Mayfield's Power of Participation graph.

Collaboration is working together on a common purpose - build your community around this, and build networks rather than groups.  Groups are tightly knot whereas networks are a lot looser.  Use collaborative intelligence to work as a powerful group.  For example crowdsourcing how to solve a problem.   I am reminded of Alec Couros at ISTE talking about learner-led activism.  He gave us guidelines in how to find a good cause to support and lead on social media.
Finally the power of Network Smarts - be aware of the information that you post online, the person that you paint, the picture that you want others to see.  Our networks are in our pockets, and we should build on our social capital, our network capital.  We are more likely to get back if we contribute positively.
My question to you all is - are you thriving online?  Can you give me some examples of how your answer is illustrated?
Talks At Google. (2012, May 02). Howard Rheingold: "Net Smart: How to Thrive Online" | Talks at Google. Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment