IT literacy 3.0 • Larry Press • Cal State Dominguez Hills, CIS Department • firstname.lastname@example.org This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Overview • Two-minute history of computer/IT literacy courses for context • IT literacy 3.0 -- skills and concepts for the Internet era • Focus on writing for the Internet • Writing is important • Five types of writing on the Internet • Description and examples of exercises for each
IT Literacy Which skills and concepts are needed for success as a student and after graduation as a professional and a citizen?
Early 60s: time sharing made interactive computing with a command line interface affordable
In the mid 70s, we could afford to port our CLIs to character oriented CRTs
Skills: create content and applications • Concise, often collaborative writing • Image, audio and video creation and editing • Synchronous collaboration using voice and video conferencing, chat and screen sharing • Use social networking and sharing tools – syndication, tagging, reputation, rating, etc. (See links at the end of the presentation for more detail).
Skills: application development • The Internet is the “new spreadsheet” • The spreadsheet made many users into amateur application developers • The Internet has lowered the application development bar much further • One can create ad-hoc applications – a blog, social network, threaded discussion, Web site, database, image or video library, mashup, etc. in a few minutes (See links at the end of the presentation for more detail).
Concepts: networking technology • Accelerating improvement in communication, storage and electronic technology • Data types -- numbers, text, images, audio, and video • Data encoding and compression • Analog versus digital data • Circuit versus packet switching and the rudiments of layered protocols (at least application versus the rest) • Internet connectivity from fixed (home and organization) and mobile and portable locations • Rudiments of wireless technology -- transmission frequency, attenuation, modulation • Client-server and mashup architecture • Software as a service (for users and developers)
Concepts: implications • Implications for individuals • Implications for organizations • Implications for society • The global diffusion of the Internet • Telecommunication policy
Writing is important • 83% of parents of teens feel there is a greater need to write well today than there was 20 years ago. • 86% of teens ages 12-17 believe good writing is important to success in life -- some 56% describe it as essential and another 30% describe it as important. All references in this presentation are available in the PowerPoint file.
Jason Fried’s hiring criteria Jason Fried, founder of 37 Signals, a leading software company speaking on what he looks for in an employee. Writing ability is the most important. • positive outlook • well rounded and flexible • quick learner • trustworthy -- will find a solution to a problem • good writer Writing (34 sec) All five criteria (2m 42sec) Probably the most important thing and probably one of the surprises is you have to work with people who are good writers, Jason Fried, 2005.
Joel Spolsky, well known programmer and author on the importance of writing to a software developer. (15 seconds) Joel Spolsky Being able to write clearly, to write English clearly is more important to developing useful software than almost anything else and that's something you’re more likely to learn in the English department than in the computer science department, Joel Spolsky, 2009.
Types of writing for the Internet • Conversations • Short documents • Collaborative writing – composite documents • Collaborative writing – joint documents, small group (around 2-4 students) • Collaborative writing – joint documents, large group (the entire class). • Collaborative writing – joint documents, very large groups (the general public)
Written conversations, not term papers • 85% of teens ages 12-17 engage at least occasionally in some form of electronic personal communication, which includes text messaging, sending email or instant messages, or posting comments on social networking sites. • 60% of teens do not think of these electronic texts as "writing.“
Student’s reading and writing • I spend 3 1/2 hours a day online. • I will write 42 pages for class this semester ... and over 500 pages of email • I will read 8 books this year ... and 2,300 Web pages and 1,281 FaceBook profiles. Michael Wesch's video Vision of Students Today http://mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg/
Conversational writing • Conversations for action: a request or offer which is subsequently confirmed or dropped • Conversations for clarification: obtaining more information about something said earlier or in a prior conversation • Conversations for possibilities: creating ideas and selecting one or more for future discussion • Conversations for orientation: exchanging information about themselves or a situation (bilateral or unilateral, objective or emotional)
Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth. • Careful listening is needed for effective, responsive conversation. Careful reading is necessary for effective, responsive written conversation. • Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written, Thoreau, Walden, 1854. • Students are defensive – do not believe it when you tell them their writing is unclear or off topic.
Exercises for conversational writing • Find examples of each in their own writing. This will reify the types of conversation and the need to be specific and follow up on commitments. • Reply to a statement after carefully reading and summarizing it.
Conversation assignment The following was posted on a discussion list: Subject: Re: Another reason I don't like the 'cloud' idea This isn't just a problem with Kindle, but also with Google Docs and web services of all kinds … • Read carefully: • In one or two sentences, what is the main point the author is making? • Is there something you disagree with in the message? • Is there something you agree with? • Then reply and categorize your reply: • Compose a reply quoting specific passages from the post. • Which conversation type was your reply?
Students are not proficient writers of short documents • About one-third of America’s eighth-grade students, and about one in four high school seniors, are proficient writers, according to results of a nationwide test released on Thursday (NY Times, 4/3/08). • Based on National Center for Educational Statistics, The Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2007. Data and report available online. • Sample writing assignment: explain what a backpack is to an incoming, foreign 8th grader.
Distribution of page-stay times 59,573 page views by 25 users with average age of 30.5 and 8 years Web experience. Even for first time visits to a site, half of the times were 12 seconds or less.
How do people read short documents on the Internet? Answer: quickly and superficially, starting in the upper left hand corner.
View time versus number of words How many words can you read in 100 seconds? Readers scan Web pages.
Being concise is not easy I would not have made this so long except that I do not have the leisure to make it shorter, Pascal, letter, 1656.
Blog writing tips • Picture your reader, their background, and interest in your topic. • Write a clear, meaningful title that will help the user decide if the post is relevant (see The world’s best headlines). • Work typical search terms into the title or first sentence. • Begin with a short summary of your conclusions – what will users find in this post and how it is relevant to them? • Keep the post short – use links for detail. • Stay above the scroll if possible. • Be sure a sentence or bullet point with a link gives an accurate picture of what it leads to – don’t waste the reader’s time. • Write the post early then let it cool off and read it aloud. • Include an image, table, or list to make it visually interesting and focus on key information.
Exercise – blog post Assign a web site or document and have students write a blog post describing it. Alternatively, have them select their own document or site that is either relevant to the class or to students in general. • Put all of the posts on a common blog. • Have student pairs criticize their posts using the list of tips in the previous slide. • Post a comment on another person’s post. • Have students vote on the best post to award extra credit.
Sample exercises using a wiki Ask each student to briefly: • Give a profile with their name, major, etc. • Describe the best class they have taken in school. • Talk about a hobby. • Suggest a test question for the class. • Describe a Web site or other Internet resource that is valuable for this class. Etc. – these are easily created.
Exercise goal This simple assignment gives one the chance to introduce Wiki concepts and mechanics. Students should include an internal and an external hyperlink and a comment on their post. The instructor can review the document history feature, noting that it explicitly exposes participation.
How to begin? • One student writes the outline (perhaps just a list of points to be made), then others discuss and revise it, then they each draft a section. • Group brainstorms the outline, then they each draft a section. • After the first draft is complete, they each revisit and improve it.
Revising and improving, from simple to complex • Fix typos and spelling errors • Fix grammatical errors • Add a detail, reference or link • Rewrite awkward or ambiguous sentences • Add a clarifying example • Add the draft of a new sub topic • Reorganize or rearrange the document
Collaborative editing • Remember, the goal is to improve the evolving document after each edit. • As an example, check the evolution of the Wikipedia articles on the Mumbai massacre or the heavy metal umlaut. • Debate controversy and explain changes in the comments section.
Exercises Co-authoring exercises for the entire class include things like: • What were the key points in today’s class? • How does today’s class fit into the course organization? • What did you not understand in today’s class? • What would be a good question for the final? • What is your answer to a given short answer question? Be sure to explain your answer. • What is your answer to a given essay exam question?