Working Paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago: “Local governments spend over 12 billion dollars annually funding the operation of 15,000 public libraries in the United States. This funding supports widespread library use: more than 50% of Americans visit public libraries each year. But despite extensive public investment in libraries, surprisingly little research quantities the effects of public libraries on communities and children. We use data on the near-universe of U.S. public libraries to study the effects of capital spending shocks on library resources, patron usage, student achievement, and local housing prices. We use a dynamic difference-in-difference approach to show that library capital investment increases children’s attendance at library events by 18%, children’s checkouts of items by 21%, and total library visits by 21%. Increases in library use translate into improved children’s test scores in nearby school districts: a $1,000 or greater per-student capital investment in local public libraries increases reading test scores by 0.02 standard deviations and has no effects on math test scores. Housing prices do not change after a sharp increase in public library capital investment, suggesting that residents internalize the increased cost and improved quality of their public libraries….(More)”.
GovTech article: “While New York is not the first state to propose data privacy legislation, it is the first to propose a data privacy bill that would implement a tax on big tech companies that benefit from the sale of New Yorkers’ consumer data.
Known as the Data Economy Labor Compensation and Accountability Act, the bill looks to enact a 2 percent tax on annual receipts earned off New York residents’ data. This tax and other rules and regulations aimed at safeguarding citizens’ data will be enforced by a newly created Office of Consumer Data Protection outlined in the bill.
The office would require all data controllers and processors to register annually in order to meet state compliance requirements. Failure to do so, the bill states, would result in fines.
As for the tax, all funds will be put toward improving education and closing the digital divide.
“The revenue from the tax will be put towards digital literacy, workforce redevelopment, STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), K-12 education, workforce reskilling and retraining,” said Sen. Andrew Gounardes, D-22.
As for why the bill is being proposed now, Gounardes said, “Every day, big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google capitalize on the unpaid labor of billions of people to create their products and services through targeted advertising and artificial intelligence.”…(More)”
Article by Ben Castleman: “I like to think of it as my Mark Zuckerberg moment: I was a graduate student and it was a sweltering summer evening in Cambridge. Text messages were slated to go out to recent high school graduates in Massachusetts and Texas. Knowing that thousands of phones would soon start chirping and vibrating with information about college, I refreshed my screen every 30 seconds, waiting to see engagement statistics on how students would respond. Within a few minutes there were dozens of new responses from students wanting to connect with an advisor to discuss their college plans.
We’re approaching the tenth anniversary of that first text-based advising campaign to reduce summer melt—when students have been accepted to and plan to attend college upon graduating high school, but do not start college in the fall. The now-ubiquity of businesses sending texts makes it hard to remember how innovative texting as a channel was; back in the early 2010s, text was primarily used for social and conversational communication. Maybe the occasional doctor’s office or airline would send a text reminder, but SMS was not broadly used as a channel by schools or colleges.
Those novel text nudges appeared successful. Results from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that I conducted with Lindsay Page showed that students who received the texts reminding them of pre-enrollment tasks and connecting them with advisors enrolled in college at higher rates. We had the opportunity to replicate our summer melt work two summers later in additional cities and with engagement from the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences team and found similar impacts.
This evidence emerged as the Obama administration made higher ed policy a greater focus in the second term, with a particular emphasis on expanding college opportunity for underrepresented students. Similar text campaigns expanded rapidly and broadly—most notably former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Up Next campaign—in part because they check numerous boxes for policymakers and funders: Texts are inexpensive to send; text campaigns are relatively easy to implement; and there was evidence of their effectiveness at expanding college access….(More)”.
Paper by Archita Misra (PARIS21): “The COVID-19 crisis presents a monumental opportunity to engender a widespread data culture in our societies. Since early 2020, the emergence of popular data sites like Worldometer2 have promoted interest and attention in data-driven tracking of the pandemic. “R values”, “flattening the curve” and “exponential increase” have seeped into everyday lexicon. Social media and news outlets have filled the public consciousness with trends, rankings and graphs throughout multiple waves of COVID-19.
Yet, the crisis also reveals a critical lack of data literacy amongst citizens in many parts of the world. The lack of a data literate culture predates the pandemic. The supply of statistics and information has significantly outpaced the ability of lay citizens to make informed choices about their lives in the digital data age.
Today’s fragmented datafied information landscape is also susceptible to the pitfalls of misinformation, post-truth politics and societal polarisation – all of which demand a critical thinking lens towards data. There is an urgent need to develop data literacy at the level of citizens, organisations and society – such that all actors are empowered to navigate the complexity of modern data ecosystems.
The paper identifies three key take-aways. It is crucial to
- forge a common language around data literacy
- adopt a demand-driven approach and participatory approach to doing data literacy
- move from ad-hoc programming towards sustained policy, investment and impact…(More)”.
OPSI Case Study: “The Kansas vision for the early childhood system is: All children will have their basic needs met and have equitable access to quality early childhood care and educational opportunities, so they are prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. In 2019, the State of Kansas received a large federal grant (the Preschool Development Grant) to conduct a needs assessment and craft a strategic plan for the early childhood system where all children can thrive. The grant leadership team of state agencies utilized this opportunity to harness the power of Our Tomorrows’ innovative Community Sensemaking Approach to map families’ lived experiences and create policies and programming adaptive to families’ needs.
In this context, Our Tomorrows set out to achieve three goals:
1. Gather stories about thriving and surviving from families across Kansas utilizing a complexity-informed narrative research approach called SenseMaker.
2. Make sense of patterns that emerged from the stories through Community Sensemaking Workshops with stakeholders at various levels of the system.
3. Take action and ennoble bottom-up change through Community Action Labs.
From a complexity perspective, these goals translate to developing a ‘human sensor network,’ embedding citizen feedback loops and sensemaking processes into governance, and complexity-informed intervention via portfolios of safe-to-fail probes….(More)“
Mike Snider at USA Today: “Some of the newest video games in development aren’t really games at all, but experiences that seek to build empathy for others.
Among the five such projects getting funding grants and support from 3D software engine maker Unity is “Our America,” in which the player takes the role of a Black man who is driving with his son when their car is pulled over by a police officer.
The father worries about getting his car registration from the glove compartment because the officer “might think it’s a gun or something,” the character says in the trailer.
On the project’s website, the developers describe “Our America” as “an autobiographical VR Experience” in which “the audience must make quick decisions, answer questions – but any wrong move is the difference between life and death.”…
The other Unity for Humanity winners include:
- Ahi Kā Rangers: An ecological mobile game with development led by Māori creators.
- Dot’s Home: A game that explores historical housing injustices faced by Black and brown home buyers.
- Future Aleppo: A VR experience for children to rebuild homes and cities destroyed by war.
- Samudra: A children’s environmental puzzle game that takes the player across a polluted sea to learn about pollution and plastic waste.
While “Our America” may serve best as a VR experience, other projects such as “Dot’s Home” may be available on mobile devices to expand its accessibility….(More)”.
“A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks” by Jonathan Schwabish: “Now more than ever, content must be visual if it is to travel far. Readers everywhere are overwhelmed with a flow of data, news, and text. Visuals can cut through the noise and make it easier for readers to recognize and recall information. Yet many researchers were never taught how to present their work visually.
This book details essential strategies to create more effective data visualizations. Jonathan Schwabish walks readers through the steps of creating better graphs and how to move beyond simple line, bar, and pie charts. Through more than five hundred examples, he demonstrates the do’s and don’ts of data visualization, the principles of visual perception, and how to make subjective style decisions around a chart’s design. Schwabish surveys more than eighty visualization types, from histograms to horizon charts, ridgeline plots to choropleth maps, and explains how each has its place in the visual toolkit. It might seem intimidating, but everyone can learn how to create compelling, effective data visualizations. This book will guide you as you define your audience and goals, choose the graph that best fits for your data, and clearly communicate your message….(More)”.
Memo by the Center for Democracy and Technology: “As schools respond to COVID-19 on their campuses, some have shared student information with state and local health agencies, often to aid in contact tracing or to provide services to students. Federal and state student privacy laws, however, do not necessarily permit that sharing, and schools should seek to protect both student health and student privacy.
How Are Schools Sharing COVID-Related Student Data?
When it comes to sharing student data, schools’ practices vary widely. For example, the New York City Department of Education provides a consent form for sharing COVID-related student data. Other schools do not have consent forms, but instead, share COVID-related data as required by local or state health agencies. For instance, Orange County Public Schools in Florida assists the local health agency in contact tracing by collecting information such as students’ names and dates of birth. Some districts, such as the Dallas Independent School District in Texas, report positive cases to the county, but do not publicly specify what information is reported. Many schools, however, do not publicly disclose their collection and sharing of COVID-related student data….(More)”
Book by on “How Tech Companies Are Profiling Us from before Birth…Our families are being turned into data, as the digital traces we leave are shared, sold, and commodified. Children are datafied even before birth, with pregnancy apps and social media postings, and then tracked through childhood with learning apps, smart home devices, and medical records. In Child Data Citizen, Veronica Barassi examines the construction of children into data subjects, describing how their personal information is collected, archived, sold, and aggregated into unique profiles that can follow them across a lifetime. Children today are the very first generation of citizens to be datafied from before birth, and Barassi points to critical implications for our democratic futures.
Barassi draws on a three-year research project with parents in London and Los Angeles, which included the collection of fifty in-depth interviews, a digital ethnography of “sharenting” activities on social media by eight families over the course of eight months, and a two-year exploration of the datafication of her own family. She complements her ethnographic findings with a platform analysis of four social media platforms, ten health tracking apps, four home hubs, and four educational platforms, investigating the privacy policies, business models, and patent applications that enable the mining of children’s data. Barassi considers the implications of building a society where data traces are made to speak for and about citizens across a lifetime. What should we do when we realize that the narratives that algorithms construct about individuals are inaccurate and biased?…(More)”.
Report by UNICEF and United Nations University (UNU-EGOV): “Digital technologies continue to change the dynamics of our economies and societies and, in so doing, have the potential to alter the character of modern government permanently. The ‘digital revolution’ has come with the promise of improved governance and more inclusive and responsive service delivery and there are now many public websites, digital platforms and applications through which governments inform and assist citizens using information and communication technologies (ICT).
A central tenet of the transition to e-government is the digitization of public health, education, social and identity management services offered by national and local governments. Digitization in these areas is undertaken to expand service access to the public and, in particular, to traditionally underserved groups. The 2020 United Nations E-Government Development Index finds that 80 per cent of 193 United Nations (UN) Member States now offer some digital content or online services for youth, women, older people, persons with disabilities, migrants and/or those living in poverty.
While these services are increasingly common in the 21st century, they have become essential during the global COVID-19 pandemic — not least, for children and families. Amidst the digital transformation of government, technology has an increasing impact on a child’s ability to enjoy the benefits of public health care, education and welfare initiatives, and the COVID-19 pandemic has now brought the potential — and challenges — of digital services for children to the fore of policy planning discussions. As a result of school closures in over 190 countries and the suspension of many vital face-to-face services, more than two-thirds of countries have introduced a national online learning platform for children during the pandemic, leading to a re-examination of the efficacy of these services for continuity of learning.
Despite this, there is surprisingly little systematic exploration of the discourse and practices that ensure that
e-government services can advance and protect the rights of children and young people…(More)”.