Dealing with trauma
TL;DR #187 – 3/2/2019
Hi all, welcome to TL;DR. My name is Ian O’Byrne. I research, teach, & write about technology in our lives. I try to synthesize what happened this week in tech…so you can be the expert as well.
I posted a couple of other things this week:
- Screens On, Screens Off, Screens On The side – A quick post discussing my recent framing of tech and screen use in our home.
- Virtual Field Trips: Interactive, web-based learning experiences through time, place, & space – A quick video lecture focusing on possibilities for interactive video field trips using digital tools.
Kevin Smith is an American filmmaker, actor, comedian, author, and podcaster. He has directed (and starred in) some of my favorite movies of my youth.
Thanks to the YouTube algorithms, I found out that he also recently suffered a massive heart attack caused by a blockage of the left anterior descending artery. I’ve lost some important people in my life through heart disease (and cancer) so this caught my attention.
Thankfully, Kevin is alive, but this video has me thinking a bit more about the food that my Wife and I consume…and have in the house. We’re thinking about eliminating all dairy and gluten from our consumption at home. The kids can still eat whatever they’ll eat.
What are your thoughts about diet?
The portal from the National Online Safety organization shares their most up to date guides for social media apps and platforms.
Please note, the content at the link above has a content warning. The story contains discussion of serious mental health issues and racism.
Here in TL;DR, I’ve often taken Facebook, YouTube, and other organizations to task for identifying or developing algorithms to solve problems associated with content monitoring. But, I also don’t think about the challenges with having humans work through these same materials.
This post is making me think much more seriously about the challenges with policing these spaces.
Post from Brian Resnick in Vox addressing one simple phenomenon. Teen anxiety, depression, and suicide are all on the rise. Blaming these on screentime, technology, and devices may be a cop-out.
We’re not sure what is driving these trends, but it’s problematic (lazy) to lump everything into one catchall topic known as “screentime.”
“Screen time isn’t a thing; it’s 100 things,” Florence Breslin, a scientist with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, says. “It’s social media, it’s video games. it’s research, it’s reading.” Those categories can even be refined further. Playing an online cooperative game with friends is a different experience than playing a solitary game, for example. And researcher ought to expect, or wonder, if those different applications yield different effects in the mind.
J-PAL North America recently released a new publication summarizing 126 rigorous evaluations of different uses of education technology. Drawing primarily from research in developed countries, the publication looks at randomized evaluations and regression discontinuity designs across four broad categories: (1) access to technology, (2) computer-assisted learning or educational software, (3) technology-enabled nudges in education, and (4) online learning.
The results point to four interesting areas:
- Computer access doesn’t improve K-12 academic outcomes, but does improve computer proficiency;
- Computer assisted learning have shown enormous promise in improving learning outcomes…especially in math;
- Technology-based nudges (e.g., text message reminders) can have meaningful achievement-related outcomes, often at low costs;
- Online courses are increasing, but limited evidence suggests that online-only courses lower student achievement as related to face-to-face courses.
Last week in TL;DR, I indicated that Russia was in the process of testing barriers to their connection to the Internet. I asked the question why they would want to test out these implements.
Apparently the United States military went on the offensive during the 2018 midterm elections, knocking out the internet at a Russian “troll factory” that was trying to spread misinformation online to interfere in the US elections.
Much more to think about and unpack in this area. Of worth noting at the end of the piece, as one US official told the Post, “It’s not escalatory. In fact, we’re finally in the game.”
Keto diets have been quite the rage over the last couple of years. I’m still researching this low carb diet plan since I first heard about it on the Tim Ferriss Show. I’ve been really interested in it in light of recent research suggesting it may be an adjuvant therapy in cancer treatments.
People who do a job that claims to be creative have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative. For people like me, solitude is a victory.
TL;DR is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Please subscribe to make sure this comes to your inbox each week. You can review archives of the newsletter here.