Reflection: Soliya First Session

Last Tuesday, the first session of Soliya kicked off, in the beginning of the session I did not know what to expect. However, after talking with the other members I felt more comfortable and the discussions kicked off.

We started by introducing ourselves, which was really interesting because I had the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds. Unfortunately, a couple of times throughout the session it was boring because nobody was talking.


Dissecting the Digital Divide

It is very interesting how Mark Warschauer starts by defining the term digital divide. First, I thought it meant simply that throughout the world people do not have the same equal access to the internet. However, in the beginning of the article, the author clearly illustrates the complexity of the term, pointing out that it is not black and white and the importance of the internet to different people in their daily lives.

+ I really liked the fact that the author pointed out the key features that scholars agree on regarding literacy and how these features are similar to online access.

The author explains the many reforms the ministry of education put forward in the early 2000s to introduce technology in schools around the country. However, these reforms were not developed properly. In order to do so, the Ministry of Education should first acknowledge the problems in the educational system and based on that find solutions and reforms to increase the quality of education. The reality was that they blindly introduced computers, etc for the mere fact of following Western countries and “try” to decrease the gap between the elite and the poor.

+ The solution to Egypt’s education problems are mentioned in the article as follows: “a mobilization of social forces to work for an improved and equitable educational system.”
I did not quite understand how a mobilization of social forces can do that? What are those social forces?

Exploration of Self: biases and political views

I. Binna Kandola’s video:

+ The importance of names in regard to our identities.
+ We are all Biased. Recognition that people know that they are biased. People who say they are not biased are the most bias.
+ The experiment: 80% of people didn’t realize it was the same person. They only noticed with a change of gender or color.
+ Make your mind of a candidate in only 2 minutes.
+ How you can impact people by what you tell them (experiment of women parking)
+ We don’t like random we like to understand everything.
+ two sources of bias: 1. We notice differences 2. The way we interpret the world around us.

II. IAT Tests

+ Race Test:

I did not like at all the test it was very long and the result I found is that I prefer black people over white people. However, I do not have a preference.

+ Guns test:

I believe that in the US there must be a regulation on guns or a more extreme regulation of making guns illegal. However, the result of my test is that there were not enough trials to determine a result.

+ Arab-Muslim Test:

I really don’t understand the goal of these tests! The result I got for this test is that there were not enough trials to determine a result.

III. The political compass.

I believe that I am neutral politically. In French politics, for example, I lean towards the center.

As shown below, my political compass is similar to my political leaning stated above. However, I thought I was more leaning to the right.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 6.54.33 PM.png


Prototype of Digital Narrative Game

My goal of my digital narrative game is to educate users the basics of horseriding.

My idea in mind is that when the user starts the game they are in front of a horse.

The user can press on any part of the horse (the bridle, the saddle, ..) and see the function of each.

There would also be a button where the user would ride on the horse and see, hear the different gaits of a horse.

Afterwards, the user can choose which discipline he prefer doing (show jumping, dressage, vaulting, racing ..) and learn the rules of each game.


Digital Narrative Games

First Game: BBC Syrian Refugees

+ Feeling while playing the game:
In the beginning of the game, I felt that it was really inappropriate to be creating a game out of the Syrian Crisis, which is one of the biggest crisis of our time. However, at the end of “journey” – “game” I felt (a fraction) of the complexity that Syrians feel on a daily basis.

+ What I learned: I learned that Syrian are faced with tremendous hopelessness and that it is very hard to be able to be sain and take right decisions while at the same time protect their selves and their loved ones.

+ Suggestion for improving the game: Changing the name of the game “Syrian: Choose Your Own Escape Route” I felt it was inappropriate. Maybe naming it: The Syrian Crossing to Safety”

Second Game: Spent

+ Feeling while playing the game: Like the game above it really puts you in the shoes of the person living in these harsh conditions and the difficult choices they must take.

+ What I learned: That it’s easy to say that its the fault of the poor that they are poor. However, the game shows you the difficult choices they have to take and how unlucky they are even when taking the right choices.

+ Suggestion for improving the game: It would be interesting to make the same game but focused on the Egypt rather than the United States.

Third Game: There’s A Party Going On …

+ Feeling while playing the game: I felt that the game was made for freshmen or younger people because the I already knew information mentioned in the game.

+ What I learned: I just learned the figures of alcoholism in the United States.

+ Suggestion for improving the game: Rather than slides using the same model as the Spent game.

Fourth Game: The Voter Suppression Trail

+ Feeling while playing the game: I did not feel that I was put in the shoes of the people affected as the games above.

+ What I learned: I learned that votes are held during working days and many employers are not flexible letting their employees stand in line for a long time to vote.

+ Suggestion for improving the game: Making it a bit longer with more information to better understand all angles of the issue.

Fifth Game: Activate

+What I learned and the feeling while playing the game: I felt that the game shows you in a way that by volunteering in whichever movement you can grow the movement, help out your community, as well as, make a change in the world.

+ Suggestion for improving the game: Making a little bit shorter and fewer objectives as it is time-consuming.

Reflection on the five games:

While playing these games I felt that some games were more interesting and educational like the Syrian Refugee journey, split, and activate. However, the voter suppression trail and there’s a party going on were not as interesting. Also, the quality of design and developing of Spent was the best, on the other hand, the worst in terms of quality and design was there’s a party going on …

Exploring Digital Literacies

1. Digital Confidence Profile:
My Digital Profile
My Digital Confidence Profile is a reflection of myself. I am proud that my strengths in digital literacies are in finding and using information, as well as, being able to be safe while using the internet and protecting my data on social media platforms.
The areas of improvement where I am interested in developing throughout this course are in creating and innovating, as well as, communicating and collaborating.

2.  Digital Literacies for Online Learning:

a. Wikipedia definition of Digital Literacies: The definition on Wikipedia is not simple and clear, however, I appreciated that they stated the definition of Digital Literacies by Paul Gilster.

b. #diglit on Twitter: I really liked this post by “Lara Lang”, she posted a photo of the basic terms of the internet to Year 4 students.

c. Definitions of Digital Literacies.
The definition on the Library of the University of Illinois.
The definition on Education Week.

d. Definition of Digital Skills:
The definition of digital skills on Rewired for Technology.

e. Definition of Digital Fluency:
The definition of digital fluency on Core Blog.

f. Differences and relations between digital literacy, fluency, and skills:
In my point of view, a person that is digitally literate will be able to do any digital task, however, a digitally fluent person will be able to do any digital task, as well as, achieving an outcome that meets their initial intention (Source). On the other hand, digital skills are simply the tools to be able to do any of the above.

g. POMO Article: The POMO Article doesn’t seem as a reliable source, because of the way it is written and we don’t know who the author is and their background in the field.

h. Rating of the Academic quality of the definitions found: Average!

+ What did you discover?
I didn’t realize the importance of digital literacies, skills, and fluency in our digitalized world. I may have taken for granted the fact that I am comfortable in these three fields.
For me, digital literacy simply means to be able to use the internet and digital platforms to achieve tasks online.

1) The most important elements of digital literacies, given the Egyptian context, are constructive, communicative, and civic. As Egypt is a developing country the digital world brings a lot of resources to young Egyptians as a way to communicate, learn to be civic, as well as, building information that is not taught nor in school nor in Egyptian society.
2) I annotated a critique I had about one of the elements of digital literacies. I believe that the last element, which is confidence must also take into consideration the importance of mutual respect in digital literacies. It is not because we are behind a screen that we become disrespectful.

3. Stations:

+ Online Security: I was shocked that a number of Web Attacks in 2015 were 1 million on a daily basis. I also liked the part where they teach you to better manage your passwords and how to protect yourself from a malware. Also, I did not know that there were terms as malware and phishing.

+ Podcasts: I thought that podcasts were only used for music. A couple of years ago, I used to listen to 1 hour long podcasts of house music. I didn’t know that podcasts were for education (the example of podcasts from the University of Oxford). I also learned about the different platforms of podcasts.

Reflection on Soliya Readings

The three readings discuss the different obstacles that people affront in intercultural communication, the different stages of intercultural sensitivity, and suggestions when communicating with people from different cultures.

What I found really interesting in the first reading is that the six “obstacles” discussed are present when discussing with people from different cultures, however, I never really felt it visible or in a way disturbed me. Of course, the language barrier is a big obstacle when communicating with some from a different culture. On the other hand, I never personally tend to “evaluate” or judge people because they’re from different cultures, on the contrary, I try to grab it as an opportunity as I try to discover how they view the world and maybe exchange similarity and differences between our cultures. To be honest, in my own experience I don’t really agree with the author in his first obstacle of assumption of similarities. Of course, as he stated in his examples of international students that just arrived in the United States and interpret the smiles of Americans in the street as smiles of people in their own country. However, here I believe that the people he questioned did not talk or learn about the American culture before their arrival. Another point I also want to mention is that I believe that even if we as human beings are raised in completely different cultures there are similarities that can be found between a female teenager in China and a female teenager in the Arab world. Maybe it’s naïve or utopic but I believe that we are more similar than different.

The other two reading are so interesting as they first put forward a kind of labeling of how individuals feel about their cultures and different cultures. I believe that it’s a spectrum that can help people visualize where they are and how they can learn to become more open to new cultures with the help of the third reading that suggest many different ways in becoming a more respectful and open individual when communicating and interacting with people from completely different cultures.