📑 What should ‘digital literacy’ look like in an age of algorithms and AI?

Bookmarked What should ‘digital literacy’ look like in an age of algorithms and AI? Neil Selwyn – DigiGen (DigiGen)

Algorithmic literacy is a complex and opaque area, where even computer scientists and software developers responsible for developing these systems can be unsure how they actually work. So, this is an area of education that requires adults and young people accepting that they all have lots to learn, and then being comfortable learning about it together.

Neil Selwyn argues that we need to reframe our discussion of digital literacies to focus on algorithmic literacy.

As such, this calls for rethinking what might have been previously talked about as ‘digital literacy’ as a form of ‘algorithmic literacy’. Some components of this might include:

  • recognising when data-driven automated systems are being used;
  • having a basic understanding of how these data-driven automated systems work – what Tania Bucher describes as an ‘algorithmic imaginary’;
  • knowing how to work with algorithmic systems – for example, writing with a natural language processing tool so that it helps (rather than hinders) your creativity;
  • knowing how to work around algorithmic systems – for example, using obfuscation tactics to avoid dataveillance;
  • recognising when human input and outsight is required – for example, knowing when to override an automated decision, or push back against algorithmic bias and automated discrimination.

Personally, this is what I like about Doug Belshaw’s eight elements, it provides framework to continually review the skillset and mindset associated with digital literacies.

In regards to what engaging with artificial intelligence in the classroom, Jackie Gerstein has shared some activities that she has done with her students:

Students explore the following Generative AI technologies:

2 responses on “📑 What should ‘digital literacy’ look like in an age of algorithms and AI?”

  1. Hi Aaron, and thanks for mentioning my work! I’d see what’s being suggested here in terms of ‘algorithmic literacy’ as absolutely fitting in with the eight elements. I don’t think we need to define a new literacy every time Big Tech make a move. Otherwise people will be talking about ‘web3 literacy’!

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