July 27, 2017
Two years ago, Connected Camps and Institute of Play launched Minecraft Summer of Learning, piloting a new model for in-game virtual summer camps. We’ve served over two thousand families since then, and are mid-way through summer 3.0. This year’s camps reflect a ton of learning and iteration, but what has stayed constant is our focus on relationships. Through our summer camps, kids are developing close relationships around shared interests, and are able to stay connected with our community year-round. Deep and Close Friendships As I wrote back when we were about to launch, the engine for
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July 26, 2017
At it’s core, connected learning is about educational equity, and Code.org, which runs Hour of Code, is a shining example. The nonprofit organization recently announced the results of a new survey of the young people it serves. And, the news is good: underrepresented minorities make up 48 percent of Code.org’s students in their courses and girls make up 45 percent. Code.org, designs its courses with equity in mind. This month, it released a new free computer science course for 7th- through 9th-graders. Called “CS Discoveries,” the year-long course compliments Code.org’s existing courses, “CS Fundamental” (for primary
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July 24, 2017
A couple of years ago, I worked in the summer to build Connected Courses with some amazing colleagues. I dabbled in the work of connected learning prior to this invitation, but this was my first real attempt to put the principles into practice. Our goal with Connected Courses was, and remains, to support faculty who are “developing online, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.” At some point in the middle of our week of building, Mimi Ito made a comment, an aside, that stuck with me.
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July 19, 2017
In our last script published here, we approached our Networked Narratives course (@NetNarr) in an emergent fashion. This next installment considers how students explore digital identity via a number of role-play activities, influenced by a few outside mystery characters. Designing for Emergence, The Screenplay, Part 2 Act 2: Scene 1 (A slow dissolve into a view over Alan’s shoulder in a video call with Mia. It’s the summer of 2017, and he sees the bright light coming through the window behind her in New Jersey. Likewise, the warm Arizona light coming in his window lights up
July 17, 2017
I recently received a gift package from Alan Levine, a friend from Arizona. Two of my favorite items from the package are ones that I think are sort of gifts for my daughter, but really intended for me. These two items, I felt, give nods to digital citizenship. The first is “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type.” As is clear from the title, it’s a book about cows that type. Not only do they type, but they use their typing to communicate with the farmer, to make demands. When he doesn’t respond, their demands turn to
July 12, 2017
It’s here! The schedule for this year’s Digital Media and Learning Conference has been released. Among the highlights: The keynote address by danah boyd, founder and president of Data & Society, a research institute focused on understanding the role of data-driven technologies in society. She also is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a Visiting Professor at ITP at New York University. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, society and policy. She presently is examining questions related to bias in “big data” and artificial intelligence, how people negotiate privacy and publicity, and the social
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July 10, 2017
Over the last couple of years, increasing numbers of journalists and researchers have begun to focus on Silicon Valley as the epicenter of education reform. Silicon Valley companies, entrepreneurs, engineers and venture capitalists have embarked on ambitious efforts to innovate in education, from creating apps and platforms to establishing completely new schools. Recently, for example, the Financial Times magazine ran a piece on “Silicon Valley’s classrooms of the future.” “Having disrupted the world,” it claimed, “the tech community now wants to prepare children for their new place in it. Leading venture capitalist Marc Andreessen predicts a
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July 5, 2017
As the Digital Media and Learning Conference panel discussions and featured talks are being finalized and keynote addresses are getting polished, here’s a glimpse of the 10 pre-conference workshops being offered this year. Taking place Oct. 4, the day before the two-day main conference at the University of California, Irvine, the workshops offer deep dives into hands-on activities, mini-courses and working sessions with top experts in the digital media and connected learning field. Topics range from courses in media making, learning analytics, program evaluation and game design to tackling problems in research and practice. The workshops: “Games
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July 3, 2017
Wouldn’t it be great if someone could find, convene, and facilitate educators and futurists to map the ideal future of education, then grow a global community of educators who could bring the ideals of that map into the realities of educational institutions? Someone already has started this process, and he is indeed both an educator and futurist — in Moscow. Pavel Luksha’s Global Education Futures effort started in Russia and is now active on every continent except Antarctica. We’ve walked and talked in my (geographic) neighborhood several times, and Professor Luksha and his family joined me
July 3, 2017
June 28, 2017
The need for libraries and librarians is greater now more than ever before, Hillary Rodham Clinton told librarians Tuesday at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference. “You have to be on the front line in one of the most important fights we have ever faced in the history of our country — the fight to defend truth and reason, evidence and facts,” she said. The former U.S. secretary of state told thousands of ALA Conferencegoers that librarians can spark “someone’s love of learning,” and they are “standing up for freedom to read, to learn.” Her
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June 27, 2017
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June 26, 2017
Educators have long been responsible for supporting the growth and development of all young people. The job of designing engaging lessons, promoting respectful discussion, creating an inclusive classroom, and preparing youth for life in democratic society is never an easy one. We expect educators to perform these and countless other feats on a daily basis. And, this particular political moment is especially challenging. Characterized by record-high indicators of polarization and ideological discord among our major political parties, this political moment has made educators’ routine job duties remarkably challenging and ever-important. What follows is a brief overview
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June 21, 2017
As Wonder Woman continues to dominate the big screen, girls all over the world are watching her on computer screens as they learn a 21st century superpower — coding. “Wonder Woman’s strength is more relevant today than ever, especially in the technology space, since girls are less likely than boys to be encouraged to pursue computer science and only 22 percent of gaming developers are women,” Google Play’s Mathilde Cohen Solal wrote in a blog post. Made with Code, Google’s initiative to champion the next generation of female leaders and inspire them to see coding as a
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June 19, 2017
More than enough books, TED Talks, and blog posts have described the potential of storytelling. Stories often enhance our endeavors, whether in business communication or in learning, in political rhetoric or in our overall understanding of the world. The emphasis on the special essence of the story suggests an existence of a certain kind of magic. Could a story work like an elixir? For us, this notion of the magic in stories paved the way for our “digital alchemy” effort co-teaching Networked Narratives — a 2017 open course based on a digital storytelling class at Kean
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June 14, 2017
Reimagining Leonardo da Vinci for the 21st century is how people will be able to cultivate “a new way of knowing” and learning in the next 80 years of rapid and constant technological advances, according to John Seely Brown, former director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and the author of “A New Culture of Learning” and “The Social Life of Information.” “I think the unique power of the human imagination comes in part from its ability to integrate opposing qualities, like emotion and reason, curiosity and certainty,” he said during his keynote address at the
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June 12, 2017
The number of Americans willing to serve as volunteer mentors has remained remarkably stable over the past decade — between 2 million and 2.5 million, or around 1% of the adult population (Raposa et al., 2016). If we assume that some of this is group mentoring, we can roughly estimate that about 3.5 million (7%) of the 45.7 million American youth between the ages of 6 and 17 receive volunteer mentoring each year. Even if this percentage somehow doubled, we’d still be around 2% of adults. These trends have interesting implications. First, we should continue to identify training
June 7, 2017
The importance of mentors, equity in education and how art helps us see the world differently, were the topics of the first three “Learning Innovation Conversation” series, hosted by the ExCITe (Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies) Center at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The point of the conversations, according to ExCITe’s mission statement, is to encourage an exchange of knowledge and ideas that lead to new connections, inspirations, and collaborations. “The ExCITe Center is a core component of Drexel University’s strategic plan for research innovation, pursuing a unique mission of constructive disruption of traditional aspects of the Academy:
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