Using Social Media to Build Lipton’s Research Database: Weekly Updates for 2011-05-15

Digitally Mediated Surveillance

Cyber-Surveillance in Everyday Life: Draft Program
An International Workshop
May 12-15, 2011
Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto


A Call for Surveillance Literacy

Mark Lipton, University of Guelph

Position Statement: I claim little expertise in cyber-surveillance. My area of research is in media literacy education. However, I contend there can be no media reform without media literacy education. Some of the greatest areas of need for media reform are in the works to be addressed at this workshop. That is why I am so interested in attending. Not to lurk–as I attend with a mind of taking what I learn back to my communities of teachers. Teachers are some of the most important gatekeepers when it comes to ICT integration. Regardless of broadband access rate, as one commentator describes, the cyberdivide among school is perhaps more important than any other digital divide (Trend 2009). According to some research studies (e.g.  Flynt and Morton 2009), almost half of freshly minted teachers leave the profession within the first five years due to a lack of resources and support. In my outreach with Elementary and Secondary teachers, I’ve learned that many of them don’t understand the intricacies of what’s at stake when talking about privacy online. There’s an understanding that there is a changing nature of “privacy” in the minds of their students, yet many teachers do not consider, for example, their own Facebook privacy settings. The relationship between “online privacy” and “cyber-surveillance” must be made more explicit in the minds of the general public. Thus, I include elements about “privacy literacy” in my media literacy education workshops to address the changing nature of ICTs. By talking with teachers, my research has identified some “ways into” the promotion of a “surveillance” literacy. For example, perhaps the most useful finding in the research in media education calls for the application of today’s technological tools in ways that understand the pedagogical and curricular differences of ICT education; teaching “about” and “through” ICTs has demonstrated a higher degree of effectiveness in terms of essential and technical skill acquisition as well as critical understanding.