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Digital Media as Interactive Textbook

July 25, 2016

Recently, I was a guest on the Meanwhile in the Future podcast on an episode titled “Bot for Teacher,” speaking about digital media and education. While speaking with Rose Evleth, the host, I said something that’s sort of stuck with me in terms of thinking about what the roles of media and communications are in digital media. I do not believe that it can ever replace the classroom space and I worry about all the edtech efforts that are so heavily invested in the attempt to do just that. Loss of other senses and effect on

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Amino One Makes Bioengineering Useful, Easy to Learn

July 21, 2016

A chemistry set was a big part of what first interested me in science, back in the 20th century. Today’s scientist of tomorrow has the opportunity to play and learn with a bioengineering set! Yes, you can safely experiment with genetically altering bacteria to create your own pigments and more. It’s called Amino One from AminoLabs — a “laptop size Personal Bioreactor and Transformation Station” that enables learners to experience safe hands-on bioengineering — and make personally useful products. Personally, as a painter, I can’t wait to engineer bacteria to create my own pigments. Julie Legault, CEO

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Watchworthy Wednesday: How Pokémon Go Promotes Learning Opportunities

July 20, 2016

In barely two weeks, the virtual reality game Pokémon Go has attracted millions of players. Now, educators are pondering whether the game can be used to promote learning. Three blogs — Aside, Discovery Education and EdTech — are nodding indeed. “Harnessing student excitement of this game can easily be used to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities,” writes Discovery Education’s Kathy Schrock. She offers a number of resources educators can use to create lessons. Among her observations: “The journal component of the game automatically records the time and date of the events as they

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Anything but Beautiful and Maidenlike: The Online Civic Engagement of Brazilian Women

July 18, 2016

In 2010, we Brazilians elected our first female president. Dilma Rousseff was re-elected in 2014. Today, she awaits her impeachment trial by the Senate as Vice President Michel Temer assumes her duties. Since Temer took over as interim president in mid-May, he has made unpopular decisions that are impacting the way people react to his new government. During his first days in office, Temer eliminated nine ministries, including the Ministry of Culture. He also put an end to the Union General Control, the institution responsible for overseeing and making transparent the government’s public accounts. And, he replaced all of Rousseff’s

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DML Conference Highlight Reel

July 14, 2016

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The Secret Sauce in Pokémon Go: Big Data

July 14, 2016

Unless you’ve been holed-up in a cave playing Minecraft, you’ve heard about (and possibly even played) the new augmented reality (AR) mobile game sweeping the globe, Pokémon Go. For sure, AR can be exciting and compelling, when properly designed, offering us an experience of co-presence with a virtual character or object. And, it’d be understandable if you attributed Nintendo’s success to its use of the AR camera. But, you’d be wrong. The game’s AR succeeds, in fact, because it turned big data into a game. With Pokémon Go, we are offered the opportunity to pretend our

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Music-making Revolution

July 13, 2016

Today’s stars are born on YouTube, Vine, Instagram and SoundCloud, and people are expressing themselves more than ever through social media using the written word, photographs and video. Musical expression, however, remains massively underserved, according to Craig Swann, co-founder of Looplabs, a cloud-based music studio that offers a free online collaborative production platform that allows anyone to create anywhere with an internet connection. Looplabs’ mission “is to help the world create, share and discover music together,” Swann said. “We’re quickly approaching 100,000 users since launching late last year in public beta. We have top users from 8

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Teaching Debate and Media Literacy in a Polarized Political Climate

July 13, 2016

What impact does this political climate have on teaching debate and media literacy?

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There are No Lessons for Alton or Philando

July 11, 2016

Like many of you, I cried on Wednesday as I watched Alton Sterling’s son cry for his daddy a day after he was murdered by the police of Baton Rouge. I watched that teenage boy and I wept in sadness, anger, and exhaustion. I watched that teenage boy knowing what Roxane Gay wrote later that day: “We have to bear witness and resist numbness and help the children of the black people who lose their lives to police brutality shoulder their unnatural burden.” And, while mainstream media spent the day in a cycle of did-she-or-didn’t-she about

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Is It Time to Rethink Most Everything We Think About ‘Screen Time’?

July 7, 2016

Is “screen time” equivalent to… crossing the road? Necessary but don’t let little ones go unsupervised. Eating a balanced diet? Prioritize things that are “good for you” but you can occasionally sneak in some treats. Smoking? OK to experiment but stop before you do permanent damage. These and other sometimes-apt comparisons have emerged during our research project, Parenting for a Digital Future, where we asked parents how they imagine the role of digital media in their children’s lives — in the present and projected into the future. Part of the Connected Learning Research Network, our study demonstrates

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Looking Back, Learning Forward: Supporting Project- and Problem-Based Learning with Historical Primary Sources

July 7, 2016

How can historical primary sources support learning that is grounded in authentic, open-ended problems of today?

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Watchworthy Wednesday: The Minecraft Effect

July 6, 2016

Minecraft, the Lego-like building video game, is such a massive hit that the New York Times Magazine recently made it the subject of a cover story. What makes the game such a global sensation is its power to encourage an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) — those pesky fields that Americans don’t seem to be able to conquer. U.S. students lag behind 34 other countries in math and behind 26 countries in science, according to a Pew Research Center study. “The game encourages kids to regard logic and if-then statements as fun things

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Connecting Digital Media to Civic Learning

July 4, 2016

Since the printing press, communication media and citizen political engagement have been intertwined. Now that we have a global generation of young people who have printing presses, broadcasting stations, and organizing tools in their pockets, educators see ways to connect young people’s enthusiasm for Tumblr, Snapchat, YouTube with civic learning. I’ve been interested personally in the use of social media to encourage civic engagement among young people since the olden days of 2008, when I contributed a chapter on “Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement” for an MIT Press volume: Civic Life

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