This is the first of three shows (#292 April 11, #294 April 25, #295 May 2) in which we are talking about Howard Rheingold’s new book, Net Smart, How to Thrive Online. Howard joins us on Wednesday, May 2.
Joining Paul Allison, Monika Hardy, and Chris Sloan on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers are Alice Barr, Nancy Sharoff, Vinnie Vrotny, Valerie Burton, Sarah Rolle, Scott Lockman, and Andrea Zellner.
On this episode we mainly talk about the introduction to Howard’s book and a syllabus for a social media literacies course on the high school level that he has compiled from his college-level syllabus.
Syllabus: Social Media Literacies, High School Level, Seed Version Compiled By Howard Rheingold
As an instructor of undergraduate and graduate students at University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, I created a syllabus for the benefit of other college/university level instructors. I created a copy of the original syllabus for modification to use with high school students (probably juniors or seniors). I will rely on actual high school teachers to help me modify this source document. Please feel free to use, modify, and share this syllabus in your own way. Reorder the modules, add or subtract required or recommended texts and learning activities. Use your own assessment methods. If you wish to help improve this seed document, contact email@example.com and I will add you as a commenter and/or editor.
This syllabus is based on my 2012 book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, as a textbook. I set out to write the book as an educational instrument. As I explain in the introductory chapter, (which is downloadable free of charge), I have concluded, after thirty years as an online participant, observer, and teacher, that social media literacies are a critical uncertainty in the issue of whether digital media improve or erode human individual capacities and collective culture. Just as in the eras following the invention of the alphabet and printing press, literate populations become the driving force that shape new media. What we know now matters in shaping the ways people will use and misuse social media for decades to come.
The 21st century depends on a critical mass of people who understand basic scientific literacy, media literacy, information literacy, in addition to the literacies I cover in my book and in this syllabus. I use “literacy” in the sense of a skill that includes not only the individual ability to decode and encode in a medium, but also the social ability to use the medium effectively in concert with others. I didn’t write the book as a syllabus, but as a logical ordering of the five social media literacies of attention, crap detection, participation, collaboration, and network awareness: attention is the starting place for all media use; crap detection is necessary for effective participation; knowledge of individual participation is by its nature enmeshed with collaborative communications that take place through networked publics. When composing the syllabus, I duplicated much of this progression, but chose texts that can offer analytic tools, explanatory frameworks, and competing perspectives — the basic building blocks for teachers to use. For high school communities, “Critical consumption online” or “critical consumption of social media” could substitute for “crap detection” as a label. The methods are identical, although many resources most appropriate for high school students must exist to replace texts in the original, college-level version.
Here are a couple of moments from Teachers Teaching Teachers #294
where we think about Crap Detection in light of KONY 2012. The entire show is there as well.