I had a phone conversation this afternoon with Audrey Watters of hackeducation.com, a self-described “technology journalist, freelance writer, ed-tech advocate, recovering academic, rabble-rouser, and single mom” . Badass, right?
Here are some of my rough notes from our discussion:
On what “web literacy” means to Audrey:
- Having the skills to find knowledge.
- Knowing how things work under the hood.
- Some basic understanding of the pieces and what they can and can’t do.
On what “essential” skills are:
- Analogy: If you teach someone to read enough that they can read comic books, are they “literate”, or do they need to be able to read the classics?
- Hard problem.
Audrey’s history with technology:
- Taught self HTML, CSS, etc.
- Having trouble making the next leap (coding). Find good teachers, and a comfortable environment, is hard.
- Learned HTML w/ a project in mind. Not a project in mind when learning how to code. “Maybe the path would be clearer if I had something.”
- “I don’t need to be able to repair my car, but I should be able to point to a radiator and say why it matters.” <– love this
- Knowledge of “view source” button
- Create a link, image
- Very simple.
- Knowing there is something behind what you see.
- A grasp of how pieces fit together
How would you evaluate how far down the rabbit hole is right?
- Probably age-based and interest-based. Different for kids, different for fashion college students, different for everyone.
What’s wrong with the education right now?
- Traditional CS education environment is newbie-hostile
- Many people arrive at CS 101 already knowing a lot, and want to show off how much they know
- Not a safe environment for learning
How would you measure web literacy success?
- A decline in exploitation of ignorance: phishing, malware, etc.
Audrey said a lot of other really smart things, but I learned that my note taking skills are not up to par. Apparently my hand is not used to writing quickly anymore. 😉