The Next Billion: A New Digital Generation

Youg Digital Natives Generation

Here is a very interesting and amazing example/insight shared by Re/code on the new digital generation – with tons of potential and digital literacy – that emerges fom the Information and Knowledge Society that is prophesied as well as discussed by the spanish sociologist Manuel Castells and Deborah Lupton, without forgetting the analysis of this new tech and social paradigm made by Vandana Shiva.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado

One billion more people will be connected to the Internet in five short years than are connected today, creating a global digital middle class and lifting millions out of poverty worldwide. This is no wild guess — it’s insight drawn from Cisco’s 10th annual visual networking index. This index measures and predicts global Internet data traffic growth annually. This may very well be the swiftest uptake in technology in the history of the world.

And as more people join this digital community, 10 billion new things — digital devices like smartphones, tablets, watches and sensors — will be connected to the Internet, creating a radical shift in how we connect to each other and the world around us. Of the new devices, almost half will be things in our connected homes that will improve our comfort and safety, and some of the fastest-growing will be wearables that can improve our health and well-being, and cars that talk to each other and to us.

The massive uptake in broadband and new devices, staggering by themselves, forecasts unprecedented digital and social upheaval down the road. Business leaders and policymakers alike must come to grips with the changing demography of this new digital class and prepare now to meet the challenge.

Who are this next billion of unconnected being connected for the first time? No surprise, it’s largely not people in countries with a well-developed Internet such as the United States or Western Europe or Japan. In these countries, Internet adoption is maxing out, and compound growth rates are 1 percent or less.

Rather, the next digital generation is coming from emerging economies in the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and emerging Asia, including India, where compound growth rates are 8 percent to 10 percent. In most cases, Internet access won’t come from fixed wireline connections, but instead will come through mobile phones and other wireless devices.

These new digital citizens will have many of the same wants and desires that we all have: Better education and health care, more responsive and effective governments, and new economic opportunities and jobs.

These new digital citizens will have many of the same wants and desires that we all have: Better education for their children, with access to the world’s libraries and science experiments at their fingertips. Better health care made possible by connecting to providers far away. More responsive and effective governments. And new economic opportunities and jobs.

Just as many of us do today, this new connected generation will grow to appreciate the beauty of high-def video, whether it be to share videos over social media, have a real-time chat, or watch their favorite TV show, movie or sporting event. This is why projections for Internet data traffic shoot through the roof, with 80 percent of all global traffic being video. A billion more people watching hundreds of hours more of high-def and 4K will inevitably lead to huge surges of traffic — tripling Internet data traffic over the next five years, when it will reach a record two zettabytes.

The social implications, too, are profound. Internet access means a pathway out of poverty. For those of an entrepreneurial nature, it could mean access to microfunding and new customers. For others, it opens the door to jobs and training in the information technology world. It won’t happen overnight, but research shows that adopting and using the Internet increases one’s standard of living.

Meanwhile, the adoption of devices will grow in both developed and developing economies. We all love our smartphones, tablets and, for many of us, Fitbits and Apple Watches. This love affair will only continue to grow … everywhere.

So, too, will connections that take the human element out of the picture — so-calledmachine-to-machine communications. This offers great hope for real-time decision-making based on large amounts of data — such as to manage a smart grid, reduce leaks in an oil pipeline, or help us drive our cars.

It is imperative that policymakers ensure that there is adequate broadband infrastructure — both wired and wireless — that there is a basic level of fairness on the Internet, and that new business models and specialized services be allowed to flourish.

As all this happens, it is imperative that policymakers ensure that there is adequate broadband infrastructure — both wired and wireless — that there is a basic level of fairness on the Internet, and that new business models and specialized services be allowed to flourish.

In this world, privacy and security are fundamental. They are essential to the trust necessary to support the Internet of Everything. There must be transparency about how our data is used, and security must be designed into products.

The opportunities for this new generation are immense, but so too are the challenges. The bottom line is this: The world is going digital, and there’s no turning back.

How To Get Everyone on a Bike

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Originally posted on TIME:

Do you want to go on a bike ride?

A simple question with what might seem like a simple answer, especially as spring weather begins to waft across the country.

Dig a little deeper, and it gets more complicated. Your decision to ride a bike is likely informed not just by the temperature and your energy level – but also by your gender, and the influence of a burgeoning movement that’s transforming streets across America.

It’s a movement led in large part by an emerging community of female transportation planners – many of whom have marshaled research that illuminates realities like the biking gender gap (there’s one woman for every three men riding a bike in the U.S.) and America’s dangerous roads to make the case for a radical change in how we think about getting from here to there.

For decades, planners designed streets, and our transportation systems, in…

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When You Lose Weight, Where Does it Go? The Answer May Surprise You

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Originally posted on Mitch Kirby:

Recently, I was sitting and thinking about all of the diet and exercise suggestions that constantly bombard us from all sides. While trying to determine which techniques would likely yield the largest benefits, I decided to start from the beginning and attempted to answer a seemingly simple question: When we lose weight, where does the weight go? When the fat from our waistline disappears, what happens to it? Answering this question was actually way more difficult than I imagined at the start, and forced me to think back to my time as a molecular biology major in order to answer the question effectively.

After uncovering the answer for myself, I asked others to think about the question to see if the solution was more obvious to them than it was to me. Shockingly, even many physicians I asked were unable to answer this question accurately and completely. Below are the most popular answers…

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5 Tech Skills That Will Help Any Career

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Originally posted on TIME:

The Muse logo

Almost every single job out there involves being online in some capacity. That means that, at some point in your career—this year or 30 years from now—you’ll likely have to access the back end of a company site, a blog, or an email marketing service.

Did that sentence scare you?

Don’t worry, it’s not as hard or as complicated as it sounds. Especially once you master a few of the basic building blocks. No, you won’t magically transform into Steve Jobs or Marissa Mayer overnight, but you can gain enough knowledge to talk credibly about website development and design. And that new knowledge might impress your current boss or a future hiring manager.

So, skip the Facebook stalking for a while and spend that time boosting your digital know-how instead. Here are five basics you can get started on right now.

1. Image Editing

Photos aren’t just for selfies and…

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How to Optimize Your Daily Schedule

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Originally posted on TIME:

We know how most people spend their time. What can research tell us about the best way to spend our time?

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5 Tips for Classroom Management with Mobile Devices

Originally posted on Indiana Jen:

This is reblogged from the original post at Edudemic and is the premise of presentation I will be leading in November at Miami Device.

When adopting technology in the classroom, one of the key concerns for teachers and administrators is classroom management. I am often asked if there is a way to “lock down an iPad screen” or “ensure students cannot go to inappropriate websites” (e.g. Social Media). In other words, how do we keep students on task and ensure that they are not distracted by the novelty of gadgets or communicating with friends via texting or social media? Often, teachers will take up devices (such as mobile phones) to avoid the issue of students texting or checking Facebook on their phones (eliminating access to a powerful, pocket computer in the process).

Classroom management is a challenging skill which I consistently strive to improve on a regular basis…

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What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?

Nick Bostrom asks big questions: What should we do, as individuals and as a species, to optimize our long-term prospects? Will humanity’s technological advancements ultimately destroy us?
Artificial intelligence is getting smarter by leaps and bounds — within this century, research suggests, a computer AI could be as “smart” as a human being. And then, says Nick Bostrom, it will overtake us: “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make.” A philosopher and technologist, Bostrom asks us to think hard about the world we’re building right now, driven by thinking machines. Will our smart machines help to preserve humanity and our values — or will they have values of their own?

A ingenious and brilliant insight on the human condition and technology by Nick Bostrom, very interesting and frighting at the same time.

Coding in the Classroom

One need not look to superstars such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to justify reasons for using code and programming logic in the classroom. There’s plenty of literature that illustrates its positive learning outcomes. Coding in the classroom is linked to improved problem solving and analytical reasoning, and students who develop a mastery of coding have a “natural ability and drive to construct, hypothesize, explore, experiment, evaluate, and draw conclusions.”

But there are other compelling reasons for integrating code in the classroom.

Reasons to Teach Coding

1. Coding is a new type of literacy.

Wired Magazine reported that reading and writing code is the new literacy. Those students who master it are better prepared for a technical revolution that spans cultures and language boundaries. That’s because coding isn’t just a language. It’s a way of thinking about problem solving.

2. Coding is a tool to improve educational equity.

Coding in the classroom is a means of bridging the digital divide. That means more than granting technological access — it’s a way for all students to use technology for creative engagement. Without coding in the classroom, many students in lower socioeconomic communities will miss the opportunities it affords. In fact, Holfeld et al (2008) found that schools in poorer neighborhoods restricted computer use to rote learning rather than using technology for creative engagement. Discouraging a more creative use of technology in the schools creates a butterfly effect. In Washington State, where 93 percent of high schools don’t offer AP computer science, a 2012 study found that out of 1,200 AP computer science students, just 48 were black or Hispanic. By making computer science a required course for high school, especially in lower socioeconomic schools, educational equity and opportunities improve.

3. Coding offers inclusion.

Temple Grandin, author and professor at Colorado State University and an autistic adult, said, “Without the gifts of autism, there would probably be no NASA or IT industry.” Non-profits such as nonPareil are acting on those talents. Created by two parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the organization actively recruits high school students with ASD, trains them in software development, and then places them in IT jobs. The environment, a cross between a school and a company, is a natural segue between high school and the adult workplace.

Knowing there are programs for kids with ASD is good news for parents who shoulder the responsibility. Of those children with ASD who do enter the workforce, nearly 80 percent will be unemployed or underemployed. By teaching coding to students with developmental disabilities, teachers aren’t merely harnessing and developing innate talents. They’re better preparing these kids, making them more marketable and employable in a high-tech economy.

4. Coding can improve neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity, a term that essentially means the brain can change, has assumed a pop-culture status, and any activity linked to it takes on a magical, brain-promoting aspect. While not all activities genuinely classify, in the case of foreign language acquisition, there is evidence. Researchers in Sweden observed visible brain changes in those children and teens who learned a foreign language. Over a three-month period, the brain structure in those who acquired a second language grew, specifically in the hippocampal area (which is involved in learning new material and spatial navigation), and in three areas in the cerebral cortex. Students who “had better language skills than other students, who put in more effort in learning, experienced greater growth.” In another study, Mechelli found that children who acquired a second or third language, even a computer language, showed functional changes in the inferior parietal cortex.

5. Coding improves STEM proficiencies.

Analysts suggest that by 2020, there are expected to be one million more computing jobs than students in the U.S., which could leave an untapped market of $500 billion. Currently, the U.S. is ill prepared to fill these jobs. In one international study across 65 countries, the U.S. ranked 23rd or 24th in most subjects and 27th in math and science. Girls were particularly at a deficit. Forbes Magazine reported, “Women hold nearly half of all jobs in the U.S., but less than 25 percent of all STEM jobs.” By making coding a classroom requirement, educators are better equipping students for this market.

Despite the documented benefits, coding in the classroom is offered in only a smattering of U.S. schools. Less than ten percent offer AP computer science, and students who have access aren’t necessarily being encouraged to pursue programming.

Why the Lack of Emphasis?

Teacher Shortages

Hadi Partovi, founder of, cites lack of trained teachers as the biggest obstacle to getting computer science into the classroom, and software developers have little motivation to shift from the private sector into education. Why teach if the corporate world is far more lucrative? Partovi feels that policy makers and private funders must come together and fund training for teachers in computer science. In the interim, TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is placing computer scientists in high school classrooms across the country. Their goal is two-fold:

  1. Get computer science education to the students.
  2. Educate teachers in code literacy to make them technically proficient to teach coding.


A report by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows a bias in how teachers perceive abilities of male and female students when it comes to STEM subjects. Researchers found that “when teachers knew the children’s names and identities, they graded the girls lower in math than the outside grader, while scoring the boys higher.” The trend had long-term ramifications. Those girls tracked in the study were less likely to sign up for advanced math, science, and technology courses in high school.

Other Priorities

If computer science isn’t a requirement, why bother changing policies? Currently, 15 states allow computer science courses to count toward high school graduation. Private schools have an easier time implementing curricular changes. The problem is in federally funded schools. With tight budgets, public schools are mired in layers of decision making that makes it hard to change curriculum. The key, with the help of corporate sponsors, is to help policy makers see that computer science merits the same weight as math and science prerequisites.

Educators and parents who agree should write to their state’s department of education, and get involved with non-profit organizations such as and companies such as Microsoft who are working to improve digital literacy in the schools. For digital initiatives with the developmentally disabled, nonPareil can partner with schools, and organizations such as TEALS can expose students and teachers to the opportunities that coding in the classroom provides.

Is coding part of your school’s curriculum? Please talk about it in the comments below.