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Safely Guiding Students on Learning Journey

February 20, 2017

I remember the first year I started teaching. It was exhilarating and confusing and led me to a mini-existential crisis of sorts that I imagine often when you walk into a class with a bunch of faces staring at you who assume you have all the answers and the key to their future. Why else would they be there? I had a conversation with a dear friend and I asked her the point of teaching. She said: “To remember that students don’t know what they don’t know, but that they are in that space to learn

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Engaging Parents in After-School Programs

February 16, 2017

As part of the Leveling Up: Parenting study, a project of the Connected Learning Research Network at the DML Research Hub, I and my fellow researchers wondered: How can we help interest-driven after-school programs better engage with parents? hough we had spent a lot of time in these spaces interviewing and observing students and their families, we realized we hadn’t systematically talked to the educators and administrators in these spaces to get their perspective on what works and what doesn’t. We’ve just finished interviewing educators and administrators at a dozen interest-based after-school enrichment programs in Orange

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Creating Connections Through Music

February 15, 2017

A simple informal invitation brought musician Laura Ritchie and a few of her University of Chichester students to California two years ago to perform and teach a few impromptu music lessons. She returned last year with different students and is back this month with three undergraduate music majors, delivering more formal performances and workshops for students of a high school and an elementary school in Santa Maria as part of their study. “We co-create the entire program, from writing the handbook, to deciding the hand-in dates, and planning the scope of the trip, and it’s different

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Fighting for Critical Civic Education in Dangerous Times

February 13, 2017

The actions that Donald Trump has taken during the first weeks of his presidency have struck many Americans as shockingly antithetical to the values upon which our country was purportedly founded. Posts on Twitter note the terrible irony of refugees and immigrants being detained at our nation’s airports while our Statue of Liberty beckons the world to “give us your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Those outraged at the prospect of religious tests to enter the country ask, “didn’t we already find it self-evident that all men are created equal?” Statue of Liberty to huddled

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Verified and Fake: Identity, Fear and SLAM School

February 9, 2017

The Paradox of Verification A mundane media literacy concept specific to Twitter is the fact that the blue checkmark on individuals’ profiles means that they have been “verified.” Ostensibly, the statements funneled from such accounts could be trusted sources of information. However, as has been noted several years ago, a verified account and person behind it are not always one and the same. While there is a dizzying amount of swift policy change from the new Trump administration that makes me fret for the future of U.S. democracy, the quickly mounted resistance to his efforts have

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Watchworthy Wednesday: About Frederick Douglass

February 8, 2017

Have you seen the Frederick Douglass memes all over social media? They mostly take aim at President Donald J. Trump for his brief comment on the first day of Black History Month this year. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job, that is being recognized more and more, I notice,” Trump said, leading people to speculate whether the president knows who Douglass was.  He's being recognized more and more, so read up on #FrederickDouglass and the amazing job he's done https://t.co/qNZ1Q1mHTW pic.twitter.com/Ri3bgFYqJz — Yale Univ Press (@yalepress) February 1, 2017 Douglass,

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Travel Ban, Muslim Scholars and How to Help

February 6, 2017

Everyone is talking about the impact of the Executive Order from Trump to ban citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The big tragedy is, of course, families who are unable to be reunited. But, universities are also affected, and people are trying to do what they can to express their disagreement with the executive order: Arab students are unable to go back to their campuses. In solidarity, some academics are considering boycotting U.S. conferences. Several institutions are considering moving conferences to other places. For example, Digital Pedagogy Lab is considering creating an event

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Augmented Reality and Learning in Museums

February 2, 2017

When I read Camillia Matuk’s The Learning Affordances of Augmented Reality For Museum Exhibits on Human Health, I knew I wanted to speak with her about AR and learning. Camillia is assistant professor of educational communication and technology at New York University (with a Ph.D. in the learning sciences from Northwestern University, an MSc in biomedical communications from the University of Toronto, and a BSc in biological sciences from the University of Windsor.) She does design-based research investigations to better understand how innovative technologies and learning environments can better support teaching and learning. Q: Camillia, thank

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Awards Available for Scholars to Study Connected Learning Data

February 1, 2017

Digital media and learning scholars interested in analyzing connected learning data are being invited to apply for awards from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and UC Irvine. The data comes from the Connecting Youth: Digital Learning Research Project, led by Richard Arum, dean of UCI’s School of Education, and postdoctoral scholar Kiley Larson. They gathered data on nontraditional educational practices employed by innovative schools, museums, libraries and community centers. “The project focused on studying a set of educational innovations that integrated digital media with progressive pedagogy,” Arum said. “Given the extent to which formal

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Emotional Computing in Education

January 30, 2017

Psychology has long played a role in education by providing the surveys and questionnaires required to monitor students’ attitudes, dispositions and habits of mind. Today, psychology is coming to play an increasingly prevalent role in schools through intertwined developments in digital technology and education policy. New technologies of emotional computing and big data-driven “psycho-informatics” are being developed to conduct new forms of mood-monitoring and psychological experimentation within the classroom, supported by policy agendas that emphasize the social and emotional aspects of schooling. Psycho-policy A significant emerging area of education policy development focuses on the measurement and

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Hive project

Digital Media and Learning Data Training Award Call for Applications

January 26, 2017

Submission Deadline: February 27, 2017 The Digital Media and Learning (DML) Research Hub, in partnership with UCI’s School of Education, invites advanced graduate students and early career scholars conducting research in the field of digital media and learning to submit applications for the Digital Media and Learning (DML) Data Training

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Call for Diversity in Ed Tech Design

January 26, 2017

In late December, I attended an educational technology conference hosted at New York University. Rather than highlighting current research, the goal of the conference was to explore the future of the ed tech landscape through company pitches and think tank panels that focused on different areas of ed tech innovation. While the ed tech landscape isn’t known for its diversity, I was stunned at the lack of diversity in each session I went to. I was also dismayed as I heard the different people pitching and the think tanks discuss their imagined college student.  The student

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Watchworthy Wednesday: New Book Questions Tech Assumptions

January 25, 2017

“Giving voice to the voiceless” is a familiar phrase, says Meryl Alper, author of “Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability, and Inequality” (MIT Press, 2017). “It has Biblical origins, is foundational to journalism, and often describes technologies like civic media and open data,” she notes. “But, I’m looking at voice not just metaphorically (as self-expression and agency), but also alongside the more literal sense (oral vocalization). The popular press, as well as tech companies like Apple and Microsoft, have historically used the phrase to characterize non-speaking and minimally speaking individuals with disabilities (and youth in particular) as

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Using Escape Rooms to Gamify Learning

January 23, 2017

Escape Rooms first came to America in 2012-2013 from Asia and Europe, quickly spreading across the country. As defined by Professor Scott Nicholson, “escape rooms are live action team based games where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to accomplish a specific goal (usually escaping from the room) in a limited amount of time.” It should come as little surprise, but before long, innovative educators were adapting the escape room format for a wide-range of content. Last year, at Minefaire, I met Adam Bellow. Adam was honored

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The Importance of Imagination: An Invitation

January 19, 2017

Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times recently quoted President Obama as he reflected on his Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books. “At a time,” Obama says, “when so much of our politics is trying to manage this clash of cultures brought about by globalization and technology and migration, the role of stories to unify — as opposed to divide, to engage rather than to marginalize — is more important than ever.” In today’s polarized environment, where the internet has let people increasingly retreat to their own silos (talking only to like-minded folks, who

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Podcast Examines Human Rights Data Analysis

January 18, 2017

“Data is always lying to you… but, we can fix it, sometimes, maybe.” That’s how Patrick Ball, director of research for the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, opens his podcast, “Understanding Patterns of Mass Violence with Data and Statistics.” Published earlier this month, the podcast is part of Databites, a speaker series by Data & Society, a research institute in New York City that focuses on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development. The idea that observable data are the same as patterns of behavior is a “naïve model,” Ball says, adding that

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Netprov: Storytelling as Performing Art

January 16, 2017

I’m no longer surprised when new media trends turn out to be rooted in decades-old practices. Netprov — networked, improvised storytelling in available media — is a “new” media form that actually goes back to the early days of computer-mediated communication (decades before the term “social media” emerged). Improvised storytelling online was one of my early joys when I discovered text-only conversations on BBSs, Usenet, MUDs, Compuserve, The Source and the WELL in the early 1980s. At that time, I called the practice “writing as a performing art.” A comment thread sometimes started out as or turned into

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Mark Marino and Rob Wittig on Netprov

January 16, 2017

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Did Media Literacy Backfire?

January 12, 2017

Anxious about the widespread consumption and spread of propaganda and fake news during this year’s election cycle, many progressives are calling for an increased commitment to media literacy programs. Others are clamoring for solutions that focus on expert fact-checking and labeling. Both of these approaches are likely to fail —  not because they are bad ideas, but because they fail to take into consideration the cultural context of information consumption that we’ve created over the last 30 years. The problem on our hands is a lot bigger than most folks appreciate. What Are Your Sources? I remember a

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Incarcerated Parents Connect With Kids Through Reading

January 11, 2017

“If you stare at a painting and do not see yourself there, paint your own portrait.” — Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, “Giant Steps to Change the World” At her neighborhood library in Philadelphia recently, an 8-year-old girl enthusiastically sang a couple songs, danced, shared jokes, discussed her birthday wishes and read several books with her incarcerated mom via video conference. The hour-long encounter, made possible by the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Stories Alive program, was the second for the mother and daughter. “She was so excited to see her mother again,” said Titus Moolathara,

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Semi-automated Luxury Parenting

January 9, 2017

The toy company Mattel recently announced a wi-fi speaker-based voice assistant for children. Known as Aristotle, the toddler-proof alternative to Google Home or Amazon Echo is planned for launch this summer. Designed to live in the child’s bedroom, Aristotle can answer children’s questions and act as a “smart baby monitor,” but it also has sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence capacities to augment and automate the complex task of parenting. Is this just a helpful gadget for family life, or a sign of a new kind of AI nanny state where smart systems will be performing

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How Brazilians Practice Crap Detection

January 5, 2017

Howard Rheingold says in “Net Smart” (2012) that we all should practice media literacies while online, especially when using social media. With all the issues involving fake news, it seems that critical thinking as a digital literacy is most important. The so-called “crap detection” gets each day harder to use properly when there so much misinformation available. As the rest of the world, Brazil has faced it during the last year, mostly after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in August. Soon after, as Michel Temer became president, social media posts for and against his policies exploded. Brazilians started

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Watchworthy Wednesday: What Does Miami Sound Like?

January 4, 2017

For 100 days, Jan. 31-May 12, residents of Miami can contribute their own sound and video clips to the New World Symphony (NWS), America’s Orchestral Academy, as part of Project 305. The project will use selected submissions to compose an orchestral work and accompanying video that will be performed by the NWS on Oct. 21 at the New World Center. Through a partnership between NWS, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and MIT Media Lab, the project is modeled after the collaborative City Symphonies created throughout the world by innovative and influential composer, inventor and educator Tod Machover. His Detroit

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Fake News: Not Your Main Problem

January 2, 2017

This headline may sound shocking, but I truly understand the urgent need to develop digital literacies in response to the fake news phenomenon. But, let me tell you, I live in Egypt, where “fake” news has been the norm for years. Orwell’s got nothing on us. A couple weeks ago, I tweeted this (and this post expands on that): Everyone's all about the fake news (which is important to tackle critically) but who's talking about preparing youth for the REAL news? — ℳąhą Bąℓi مها بالي (@Bali_Maha) December 14, 2016 I agree with Kris Shaffer, Mike Caulfield,

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