Category Archives: Education Issues

Informacy is the New Literacy

As anyone who uses a computer, tablet, smart phone, or VR (virtual reality) device knows, we live in an Information Age unprecedented in human history, in which the sum total of mankind’s knowledge is available with a finger’s touch or click of a mouse – or a question posed to Alexa, Siri, Cortana, et al. This has put tremendous power in the hands of the end user, but as noted by philosophers and statesmen, with great power comes great responsibility. While navigating through this vast and ever-growing trove of data we must be (but all too often aren’t) mindful of the pitfalls and obstacles that litter the virtual pathways and take the steps necessary to avoid them.

At a time when you can search billions of texts in milliseconds, scan over trillions of online images, and map virtually the entire planet’s surface, we need to rethink what it means to be literate and to be a learner. As the very definition of “literacy” is evolving thanks to technology, so too is the skillset required by the literate person. Merely knowing how to read is no longer enough; as our methods of teaching and learning increasingly move from traditional linear modes to the non-linear forms enabled by technology, we must learn anew how to frame questions, interpret results, quickly evaluate and organize masses of information, separate the authentic from the fabricated, and above all understand and nurture our “metacognition.”

Dan Russel, Google’s Űber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness at Google (yes, that’s his official title, but he describes himself as a “cyber-tribal-techno-cognitive-anthropologist”) uses, naturally enough, various Google services and apps as models of tools that may be applied in service of metacognition. Google Search and Google Maps have become ubiquitous, but there are other information weapons in Google’s arsenal. One often overlooked example is the metadata embedded in photographs. Among other parameters metadata can indicate date, time, and location (longitude and latitude) of origin; this data can, in turn, be analyzed to determine the authenticity of a photo, obviously a useful tool at a time when deliberate misinformation constitutes a significant portion of social media posts. Many Google users may also be unaware that Google maintains a Public Data archive, containing a wide array of charts, diagrams, statistics, scientific studies, and other information.

These resources and many (many) others available via Web or app can help the user to develop “informacy,” which Russell considers the updated version of literacy. At its most basic, informacy means a) knowing what the information is, b) knowing where to find it, c) knowing how to verify it, d) knowing how to interact with it, and e) knowing how to apply and/or share it. With expanded and virtual reality technologies developing rapidly, informacy and the skills it requires will become absolutely essential.

Watch Learning in the Age of Google – The Library Channel

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Engaging K-16 Students in Lifelong Learning

“Why does lifelong learning have to start at 25 when we can instill this at an earlier age?” asks Edward Abeyta, Associate Dean, Community Engagement and Pre-College Programs at UC San Diego Extension. Being engaged in learning no matter the educational or career path you choose is vital to obtaining the skills and mindset you need to succeed. Abeyta outlines the programs UC San Diego is driving to engage K-16 students in not only thinking about their futures but building a skillset that can take them there. Hear how communities, industries and universities are working together to pilot programs that prepare students for college and careers.

Watch Career Ready and College Ready: Helping K-16 Students Succeed with Ed Abeyta – Job Won

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

New From the UC Public Policy Channel

Six new programs on the UC Public Policy Channel wrap up a productive year of smart talk from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. From economist Alan Auerbach, a deep dive into the impact of Trump’s tax cuts. From faculty members Elizabeth Linos and Amy Lerman, ideas on how governments can rebuild public trust. From Goldman graduate Annie Campbell Washington, a reflection on her rise to elected office in Oakland. From Jesús Guzmán, life as an undocumented student growing up in California. And finally, from Dean Henry E. Brady, inspiring words to his graduates on being true to their convictions, even when challenged by their institutions, in this stirring 2018 Commencement address. All essential summer viewing for informed citizens preparing to vote in the November midterms.

From Individual to the Nation: The New Tax Plan’s Impact with Alan Auerbach

Making Governments Work with Elizabeth Linos — In the Living Room with Henry E. Brady

The Government’s Reputation Crisis with Amy Lerman — In the Living Room with Henry E. Brady

Serving Oakland with Annie Campbell Washington — In the Living Room with Henry E. Brady

Jesús Guzmán — Featured Student Speaker at the Goldman School of Public Policy Board of Advisors Dinner Spring 2018

Goldman School of Public Policy Commencement 2018

Browse more programs in The UC Public Policy Channel.

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Universities and Cities Working Together to Build Strong Communities

32240As the former president of the University of Pennsylvania, Judith Rodin understands first-hand the power of universities to impact surrounding neighborhoods and communities. In this Helen Edison presentation, Rodin explores their transformative potential.

“Over the last few decades, a host of anchor institutions have breathed new life into communities and they have forged new pathways for economic growth in their cities,” says Rodin.

As she explains when she became president at Penn State, “The blight of the local neighborhood became the plight of the university. Students didn’t feel safe, and parents didn’t feel safe sending them there.” At the time, crime rates had soared, many people lived below the poverty level, businesses closed, and drug dealers moved in. “We knew that we could never have a future as a truly great university in a disintegrating community in an economically weakening city,” says Rodin. “We needed to become a force for strengthening our community.”

Most importantly, she learned that “in the process of transforming the university and its surrounding neighborhoods, we demonstrated just what a powerful impact a university can have when it accepts that its destiny is intertwined with that of its neighbors.”

Learn more about how cities and universities can work together to build a strong and inclusive future. Watch Resilient Cities: A Conversation with Judith Rodin.

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

VR! It’s happening!

8232While the idea of strapping on goggles to virtually visit Ancient Rome or go inside a molecule sounds like the stuff of science fiction, the technology to do just that is becoming more popular and available every day. Yes, there are plenty of obstacles — from cost to teacher training — but using virtual reality as an educational tool offers considerable
benefits. Not only can it boost visual and technology literacy, but it also improves students’ attention and engagement. Learn how this technology has the possibility to transform K-12 education from educators and engineers gathered by Sally Ride Science@UC San Diego.

Click here to watch Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Click here to view more programs from the STEAM Channel.

facebooktwittergoogle_plus