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Critical Civic Innovation in Action via PhotoVoice

December 8, 2016

In the wake of last month’s election, many Americans of all backgrounds are fearful about the direction in which the U.S. will be heading under President-elect Trump in areas ranging from education and healthcare to immigration and LGBTQ rights. This fear is accompanied by shock among some about the ability of so many of this country’s voters to explicitly or implicitly support xenophobia, racism, and misogyny. But, to many members of underprivileged communities whose histories are marked by oppression and marginalization, shock is the province of the (racially) privileged who are having their vision of America and

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Watchworthy Wednesday: New Report Features Connected Learning in Libraries

December 7, 2016

In their just released research report, “Connected Libraries: Surveying the Current Landscape and Charting a Path to the Future,” scholars from the University of Maryland and University of Washington examine the different types of “connected learning” happening in public libraries across the nation and the challenges that librarians face as facilitators. The report opens with an infographic explanation of connected learning, an educational framework that emphasizes learning experiences that are socially embedded, interest driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Examples of connected learning experiences in libraries are discussed and resources for librarians to use

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Lesson Ideas for Mobile Learning

December 6, 2016

New media educator Howard Rheingold interviews professor Shelly Terrell about her new book, which highlights the power of students’ mobile devices to drive learning in and out of the classroom.

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Practicing the Principles of Connected Learning

December 5, 2016

I’ve met and profiled active contributors for years, but Kevin Hodgson has to be one of the most active co-learners I’ve encountered. He was part of my Twitter personal learning network, but I began to understand how much energy he puts into sharing his knowledge and imagination when we participated in Connected Courses, “a collaborative community of faculty in higher education developing networked, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.” We had a plan, but part of that plan was what I call “co-learning” — we knew that

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Kevin Hodgson on Connected Learning

December 2, 2016

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Exploring 3 Models of Digital Literacy

December 1, 2016

The New Media Consortium, the group behind the annual Horizon reports on the impact of technology on learning, has produced a short report on digital literacy. The report is based on a survey of 450 educators on their perceptions of digital literacy and how it is being implemented in their fields. The recommendations in the report don’t cover a whole lot of new ground — students should be thought of as makers, etc. — but, the project is interesting for its attempt to define digital literacy. As the authors of the report — Bryan Alexander, Samantha

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Hour of Code Demystifies Coding for Students Worldwide

November 30, 2016

The Hour of Code, a global movement to introduce students to the fundamentals of computer science organized by Educator Innovator partner Code.org, takes place next week, December 5-11.

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Virtual Field Trip Delves into Museum Science

November 30, 2016

With a camera that sees infrared light pointed at a centuries-old painting by artist Jan Provost, the original sketch underneath appears. The x-rayed image shows how different the original drawing was from what was ultimately painted. To analyze the minerals in the paint used, scientists use XRF (X-ray fluorescence), a non-destructive analytical technique that determines the elemental composition of materials. Such science and technology can be used to answer all sorts of art history and scientific questions. That was the point of a virtual field trip today behind the scenes at the Detroit Institute of Arts

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IBM, Pearson and the Cognitive Infrastructure of Education

November 28, 2016

The world’s largest edu-business, Pearson, partnered with one of the world’s largest computing companies, IBM, at the end of October 2016 to develop new approaches to education in the “cognitive era.” Their partnership was anticipated earlier in the year when both organizations produced reports about the future trajectories of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence for personalizing learning. I wrote a piece highlighting the key claims of both at the time, and have previously published some articles tracing both Pearson’s interests in big data and IBM’s development of cognitive systems for learning. The announcement of their partnership

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Toward a Pedagogy of Repair and Care

November 24, 2016

Note: This is the introduction to a four-part mini-series that looks at a growing dissonance between the politics that we espouse in our classes and the realities that our students observe in their everyday practices. The impetus for this series emerges from the fact that while in class, the young scholars I work with struggle to engage with politics of care, life, and dignity. They experience in their digital zeitgeist an emerging culture of abrasive, brutal, and abusive language and behavior that negates their intellectual engagements. Beginning with setting up the context in this first post,

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What a Makerspace Can Mean for the Writing Classroom—Takeaways from NWP Annual Meeting

November 23, 2016

Librarian and maker Colleen Graves recaps a lively and learner-driven session on makerspaces and embracing making as teachers of writing at the 2016 NWP Annual Meeting. Session Info In our interactive session for “Makerspace in the Library: What it means for your Classroom,” we really let our participants drive the learning. We started out with […]

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Gratitude Increases Well-being

November 23, 2016

As Americans gather to celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, people around the globe can take part in giving thanks through free online projects that aim to boost well-being and resilience year-round. Crowd-Sourced Gratitude Map Some 23,000 people from 100 countries so far have posted notes about what they’re grateful for on the World Gratitude Map, a crowd-sourcing project founded by Jacqueline Lewis five years ago. It, Lewis said, “encourages users to document and celebrate the good things in life and helps keep their eyes on all that’s good and beautiful and possible in the world.” A few

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Lesson Ideas for Mobile Learning

November 21, 2016

I knew that I had to talk with Shelly Sanchez Terrell again when I learned through the tweetvine that she had a new book out about mobile learning (Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones, and BYOT). Six years ago, my interview with and blog post about Terrell’s netweaving turned out to be a useful resource when I sought to explain to educators the value and how-to of personal learning networks. She’s a teacher who teaches teachers. She’s taught in more than 20 countries! She’s currently adjunct professor At Alamo Community

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The Importance of Imagination, Part 1

November 17, 2016

On the morning after election day, I tweeted: Slept 2 hrs. My 1st act of love & creative imagination 2day: starting my kids day off w/courage, honesty & belief in goodness. Deep breath. — Mia Zamora (@MiaZamoraPhD) November 9, 2016 Shocked, exhausted, and profoundly heartbroken, I knew to meet the day with the universal mandate for good parenting: to serve as my children’s best example. I took similar steps to support and listen to my students. Soon thereafter, I came to realize I was experiencing a form of grief. A sense of loss shared by so

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Letters for the 45th President

November 16, 2016

Gun control, immigration, education, abortion and police brutality are among the top issues that young people care about and want President-elect Donald J. Trump to care about, too. As part of the Letters to the Next President 2.0 project, students, ranging in age from 13 to 18, from across the country wrote letters expressing their views on myriad issues. Nearly 12,000 letters were penned online. The following are  a few excerpts: “Gun violence across America has been getting progressively worse, and something needs to be done in attempt to resolve this crisis. Given the violent world we live

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4 Lessons from the Election for Educational Researchers

November 14, 2016

I get that there are going to be a lot of think pieces about what this means and what we need to do (I posted immediate repercussions of the election for teachers Tuesday night as well). I see your posts on social media, I hear your podcasts, I’m following your hashtag. We are coping and the words that are pouring forth are necessary. The statements of disgust, fear, and anguish are necessary right now as are those of action, determination, and hope. Keep doing that. On top of these, I am working my way through building

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Here’s Why You Should Step into the Future with Facing History

November 10, 2016

This Sunday and Monday, Join our partner Facing History for Face the Future, a global virtual game about what the future of empathy might look like, and how that impacts our choices today. Read more from Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and Director of Games Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, about why you should care about imagining the future.

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Language, Gaming and Possibilities

November 10, 2016

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with game designer Kathryn Hymes about language, agency, and world building. As one half of the gaming company Thorny Games (with Hakan Seyalioglu), Kathryn is currently running a Kickstarter for a tabletop roleplaying game, Dialect, a game that encourages players to create a new culture and its language and — over time — imagine how the language gradually dies. Possibilities of Gaming In looking at Dialect, I am particularly interested in how the flexibility of gaming allows players to move beyond traditional assumptions of what games can be and

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Watchworthy Wednesday: iCivics Game Delivers Lessons on U.S. Presidency

November 9, 2016

As Donald Trump was declared president elect early this morning, the website iCivics debuted a new edition of Executive Command, an animated educational game aimed at teaching kids all about the role of the president. The game has players take on the role and select an agenda for the country. They learn what it takes to accomplish their goals while facing the challenges and responsibilities that appear along the way. “We don’t learn civics and how to be involved as a citizen, genetically. We have to learn it, every generation,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says in a

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DOI Finds Open Access Research

November 7, 2016

One of the best things to come out of Open Access Week was the oaDOI tool by Impactstory. If you are unfamiliar with the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system, it provides a unique identifier for published works, one that operates as a persistent link to those works. Using this identifier, researchers can search for the work in question using just the DOI by adding “doi.org/” to the front of it. While the DOI system is great, when you search for a research article using its DOI, you typically are pointed to the publisher’s’ version of the

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9 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Educational Games

November 3, 2016

I’ve been teaching educational game design for a few semesters now as part of a module of a Creative Thinking and Problem Solving liberal arts course at my institution. I started out as a novice to the whole idea of game design, but I knew a lot about education. From teaching the course several times, I’ve learned a lot about how to teach it (and how not to), but I’ve also learned a lot from observing my students make mistakes when designing educational games. And, I make these mistakes sometimes when attempting to design a game.

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Watchworthy Wednesday: How to Make Digital Civic Change

November 2, 2016

The Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network has debuted a new website, featuring its “Action Frame” — 10 questions designed to guide young people on how to make civic change in this digital age. From the website: Sixties activists insisted the personal is political. Change-makers in the digital age get that idea, and one-up it with another rallying cry: the political is social and cultural. Your platforms and digital strategies need to make this principle count, so that you, your peers, and your audiences engage each other, and the allies you all want, in high-quality, equitable,

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The Importance of Working ‘Open’ in Education

October 31, 2016

Is working “open” the binary opposite of “closed” ways of working? Could it be that it’s as simple as flicking some kind of switch for your organisation or institution to begin embracing open working practices? Matt Thompson, a former colleague at Mozilla, doesn’t think so. Building on a post he wrote five years ago entitled simply “How to work open,” Matt has recently encouraged us to start small — using the metaphor of a dimmer switch to explain his point. Another metaphor we might want to use is of an elevator, as Bryan Mathers has used

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