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New Media Literacies for the 21st Century

Howard Rheingold spoke at UC Berkeley Center for Health Leadership about New Media Literacies for the 21st Century. Though he was speaking to health professionals the message can be applied to everyone.

Bring on the Learning Revolution! a TED talk from Sir Ken Robinson

In this video Sir Ken Robinson talks about what is wrong with the education system – namely us.  We push children down the cookie cutter assembly line of education and expect them all to come out the same at the end.  This doesn’t account for passion or individuality.

And we have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education. And it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies.

He offers the suggestion of moving to system that feeds their passion, encourages growth and development.

We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development; all you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.

What does this have to do with Libraries and Transliteracy? It is a wider approach to education and learning.  If you’ve heard me speak about transliteracy you have heard me say our education system is broken and is preparing students for a world that no longer exists.  Sir Ken Robinson is essentially saying the same thing, but with a British accent and much more eloquently :-)

Transcripts are available on

Your Brain on Computers

The New York Times is running an interesting series called “Your Brain on Computers,” which investigates the impact of technology on everyday life. According to the NY Times, the series aims to examine “how a deluge of data can affect the way people think and behave.” So far, the series comprises three articles:

Of interest as well are some of the sidebar information:

As you can probably tell by the headlines, many of these articles paint heavy use of technology as a potential danger. For example, in Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price, Matt Richel writes:

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.

I would imagine most readers of this blog have a more positive experience with technology than presented in these articles. Do the research and anecdotes reflect your experiences with technology?

<update>Steven Pinker, in his article, Mind Over Mass Media also from the New York Times, is not responding directly to the Your Brain on Computers series, but he certainly is addressing very similar issues and presents a seemingly contradictory point of view:

Critics of new media sometimes use science itself to press their case, citing research that shows how “experience can change the brain.” But cognitive neuroscientists roll their eyes at such talk. Yes, every time we learn a fact or skill the wiring of the brain changes; it’s not as if the information is stored in the pancreas. But the existence of neural plasticity does not mean the brain is a blob of clay pounded into shape by experience.

Perhaps it’s safe to say the jury is still out on these issues.


Apology for Unwanted Google Ads on this Blog

Today I got a reminder that I can always learn something new, even about a tool or service I’ve been using for a long time and *think* I know everything about.

I was viewing this blog without being signed into and noticed a Google ad.

Google Ads on Libraries and Transliteracy - NOT cool

I have had multiple blogs with over the years and never seen a Google ad on any of my sites.  I did some investigating and discovered that those ads are placed there by You can pay 29.95 a year to have them turned off.


To say I am unhappy is an understatement. I love for blogs, is it the one I recommend to anyone looking to start a blog or web presence.  I’m not so much unhappy about the ads but the fact that I have been blogging with for FIVE years and had no idea this was happening.  I am angry that I was not better informed, that bloggers have NO control over the ads on their site, that the bloggers that write for LaT do so on their own time and dime because they believe in it. I choose because I thought it was the “best” free option for bloggers, but it is not really free.  Would I have chosen it any way knowing about the ads? Maybe. I don’t know.

I want to be clear that neither I, Bobbi, or any of the other bloggers for Libraries and Transliteracy have anything to do with any of the ads or the links provided in them. I offer a sincere apology to all of our readers.


Bobbi Newman


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