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The idea of the digital native was based on abstraction; when we look in detail at the digital activities of high-school and college students, we see deskilling and consumer training rather than information literacy or technical fluency. Yet that training is still training, and may be adaptable in such a way that it can become a literacy—in, for example, the way militaries have mobilised skill-sets produced through gaming. We too can and should mine the narrow and profit-driven consumer training that emerging adults have undergone for kinds of inquiry and critical engagement for which they may have inadvertently been given tools and training. In this article, we will analyse the structures of Facebook to see what sorts of consumer training it produces, and suggest avenues for the educational expropriation of that training. First, we take an inventory of categories of consumer training, analysing each and identifying exploitable elements within each. Following this, we suggest activities and assessment structures exapting these literacies and habits to educational ends. Many of these structures involve direct employment of Facebook in coursework, but others identify assignments, projects, and approaches which draw upon SNS consumer training but do not themselves employ Facebook.

Original Publication Citation

Rush, L., & Wittkower, D.E. (2014). Exploiting fluencies: Educational expropriation of social networking site consumer training. Digital Culture & Education, 6:1, 13-29.