AI literacy refers to the understanding of artificial intelligence and the ability to use and interact with AI technologies effectively. It is essential in today’s world, as AI becomes increasingly integrated into various aspects of daily life. To apply Doug Belshaw’s 8 elements of digital literacies to the concept of AI literacy, we can adapt each element to focus on AI-related skills and understanding:
Cultural: Recognizing how AI technologies impact different cultures and societies, as well as understanding the ethical considerations related to AI deployment. This includes being aware of cultural biases in AI systems and acknowledging the implications of AI on the workforce and social structures.
Cognitive: Developing the mental processes involved in using AI tools, such as understanding the basic principles of AI, machine learning, and data analysis. This encompasses skills like interpreting AI-generated insights, recognizing the limitations of AI systems, and understanding the potential consequences of AI decision-making.
Constructive: Gaining the ability to create, modify, and contribute to AI technologies, including working with AI algorithms, designing AI-based solutions, and understanding the software and hardware components of AI systems.
Communicative: Effectively communicating and collaborating with others regarding AI concepts, tools, and applications. This includes being able to explain AI systems to non-experts, discussing ethical and social implications, and sharing AI-related knowledge with others.
Confident: Becoming comfortable and confident in using AI tools and navigating AI-based systems. This involves having the self-assurance to explore, learn, and adapt to new AI technologies and applications.
Creative: Leveraging AI technologies to express oneself creatively and inventively, such as using AI-generated art, music, or writing tools, and applying AI to develop innovative solutions to problems.
Critical: Critically evaluating AI technologies, algorithms, and their implications on society. This involves understanding issues like fairness, accountability, transparency, and privacy in AI systems, as well as assessing the reliability and limitations of AI-generated outputs.
Civic: Engaging with AI technologies to participate in civic activities and social and political life. This includes using AI for social good, advocating for responsible AI policies, and promoting digital equity in AI access and education.
By incorporating these adapted elements into AI literacy, individuals can develop a comprehensive understanding of AI and its impact on society, as well as the skills necessary to thrive in an AI-driven world.
That’s… not bad? I think this would actually be a decent basis to create a framework for an institution that could end up as a curriculum.
In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, including the current moral panic around AI, it’s becoming increasingly important for educators to not only embrace technology but to actively integrate it into the learning experience. The concept of digital literacies, often mistaken as a mere proficiency in using digital tools, is in fact a multifaceted construct that extends far beyond basic technological skills.
Digital literacies are made up of skillsets, but also mindsets—ways of thinking about the world.
As educators, we must recognise that digital literacies encompass a wide range of abilities, including confidence, creativity, and communication. These skills empower learners to navigate the digital world responsibly, ethically, and with a sense of curiosity. In order to foster a generation of digitally-literate citizens, we must embrace a more holistic approach to teaching and learning.
Imagine the digital world as a vast, interconnected ocean. Digital literacies are the sails, rudder, and compass that guide our learners as they embark on their digital voyage. Without these essential tools, they would drift aimlessly, lost in the overwhelming waves of information.
To achieve this, we can start by incorporating digital literacies across the curriculum, encouraging students to explore, analyse, and create digital content in a meaningful way. We must also emphasise the importance of digital citizenship, teaching learners to respect the online community, engage in healthy online behaviours, and uphold the values of privacy and security.
By nurturing a culture of digital literacies, we are not only preparing our students for the challenges and opportunities of the digital world but also equipping them with the skills to thrive in an ever-changing, interconnected society. Through collaborative efforts and open-mindedness, we can reshape the educational landscape and cultivate a future that embraces the true potential of digital technology.
Remember, digital literacies are not just about using technology – they’re about understanding, adapting, and effectively engaging with the digital world around us. It’s time we take the necessary steps to ensure our learners are prepared for whatever the future holds, setting sail with confidence on their journey through the boundless digital ocean.
I wrote that post at a time when Twitter was proposing to turn its previously “raw” feed into an algorithmically-curated one. It completely spoiled the social network for me, and my use of it has dwindled since 2014. It’s also had nefarious effects, amplifying hate and disinformation — as we’ve seen with countless examples around the world. Our democratic institutions are at stake.
Listening to the latest episode of It’s Not Just In Your Head, a podcast from two mental health professionals exploring how capitalism, I was fascinated by their most recent guest’s insights. Dr. Alfie Bown, a lecturer in Digital Media Culture and Technology at Royal Holloway in London, and author of a number of books, spoke eloquently about gamification in our everyday lives.
Gamification is the strategic attempt to enhance systems, services, organizations, and activities in order to create similar experiences to those experienced when playing games in order to motivate and engage users This is generally accomplished through the application of game-design elements and game principles (dynamics and mechanics) in non-game contexts. (Wikipedia)
What I found particularly interesting was Bown’s inclusion of social media in his tallying-up of everyone who plays “video games” around the world. As he points out, the feedback loops and rewards for certain types of behaviour on social networks certainly mesh with what we’d consider to be video game mechanics.
I’m a gamer, and have been most of my 41 years on this earth. The games I see my kids playing, though, are quite different to the ones I used to play at their age. There’s a very positive angle to this, as they’re a lot more positive and social than many of the ones I played when I was younger. But there’s downsides as well, and that’s what I want to talk about here.
As an example, I’ve played the FIFA football (soccer) game series ever since the very first one came out over 25 years ago. Over the last few iterations, instead of just being a particular team and playing against another player or the computer, it’s possible to create your own ‘Ultimate Team’. Having experimented with this again recently, I was shocked at how little time I ended up actually playing a football game, and how much time I was spending ‘grinding’ — i.e. doing things to unlock or upgrade things.
As Dr. Alfie Bown pointed out in the podcast episode, everything is gamified these days, from work to dating to shopping. It’s like everyone’s competing in a slightly-different ARG. So this post is a marker and a reminder for me that I can choose to gamify my own life, or have it gamified for me.
There are multiple ways to do this. One very simple one that I’ve found to be unreasonably effective is to use Loop Habit Tracker to define habits that I want to build over time. They could be exercise or nutrition-related, or something else entirely. Right now, I’m trying to do each of the following at least twice a week:
Go to the gym
Go for a run
Go on the exercise bike
Each time I succeed, I put a tick in the box under that day and activity, and it strengthens the habit.
Gamification is not something that is good or bad, in and of itself. For me, it’s all to do with whether you’re being controlled or manipulated into acting in a way which is in alignment with your values and goals in life. For example, I’ve found Duolingo useful for language-learning, and it includes a lot of gamification techniques.
As we enter a new year, I’m on a bit of a mission to remove unhelpful gamified elements from my life, and to add in ones which will help me flourish as the human being I want to be.