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Rescuing Student Participation Through Digital Platforms

April 20, 2017

Like many of my colleagues who think carefully about digital literacy and pedagogies, I began seriously considering the use of social media platforms in educational settings — sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr — around 2008. Despite nearly a decade of innovative uses of digital platforms in educational settings, the use of these platforms and spaces continues to be trivialized by the public and teachers alike, with cries echoing about attention spans and nostalgia for the loss of face-to-face interaction, which seem more “real.” But, to continue to dismiss digital platforms, particularly those focused on social

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Watchworthy Wednesday: How AI Will Transform Medical Practice

April 19, 2017

Armed with reams of data, a patient’s father convinced Dr. Anthony C. Chang, his daughter’s pediatric cardiologist, to proceed with her surgery. “A data scientist, the father of one of my congenital heart defect patients, really wanted to give me more data than we typically get so he tabulated the pulse oximetry readings on his daughter and plotted it out for me and convinced me that we needed to push ahead with surgery,” Chang said. The chief intelligence and innovation officer and medical director of the Heart Failure Program at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC),

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Critical Literacy, Civic Engagement and Connected Learning in the Classroom

April 17, 2017

I am on a personal crusade to make civic education the responsibility of every teacher regardless of subject area, despite the fact that it is consistently assumed to be the concern of social studies teachers alone. I believe that the way to accomplish this paradigm shift is to move away from a focus on discrete civic learning opportunities that engage students in particular projects geared only toward formal politics and instead turn toward the idea that what takes place in classrooms on an everyday basis — what we study, how we talk to each other, what we

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Share your knowledge at DML2017

April 14, 2017

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Turning Bullies Into Leaders Through Writing

April 13, 2017

When their writing is read and praised by others, “bullies become class leaders — they want attention, acknowledgement, appreciation. In this case, appreciation of creative risk.” Journalist-turned educator Geoffrey Gevalt is speaking of the Young Writers Project, an online writing magazine and community by and for more than 3,000 young people: “This site is a community that provides peer, mentor and professional support through reactions to individual posts, projects (youth-led, artist-supported initiatives) and, formal learning Playlists — offered for a small fee (or free if you can’t afford it.) This community has only one rule — RESPECT

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Watchworthy Wednesday: UCI Dreamers Take a Stand, Help Each Other

April 12, 2017

As a junior computer science major at the University of California, Irvine, he felt “hopeless” watching fellow classmates landing scholarships, federal financial aid and paid internships. “I could not do the same things due to my status,” the student noted. Undocumented students are not eligible for most scholarships because they require U.S. citizenship or residency status. But, thanks to a fundraising effort, created and organized by UCI’s undocumented students themselves, they are raising money and awareness to help each other get through school successfully. With the support of the campus community and generous donors, the students

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Diversity Makes Design Sense

April 10, 2017

The 2017 NCES report “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering” notes that the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities (WMPD) in science and engineering fields does not match their proportion of the population. While the report provides many reasons to be optimistic. For more than two decades, women have earned about half the bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, although they overrepresented in some fields (70% of psychology degrees) and underrepresented in others (women are only 18% of computer science degree-holders). It also shows that we have some ways to

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Screen Time for Kids: Getting the Balance Right

April 6, 2017

From digital homework platforms to extended video chats with friends, from remote working to family WhatsApp groups, there are infinite ways that digital media are becoming integrated into both children’s and parents’ lives. Despite parents reporting how they benefit in their personal, professional and parenting lives from digital media, it is remarkable that so many in this generation of parents are still anxiously watching the “screen time” clock. “Screen time” is not “good” or “bad” in and of itself, but is rather a shorthand (though fairly out-dated) way of talking about millions of different ways of

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Watchworthy Wednesday: How You Could Win $250,000 for Being Disobedient

April 5, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words — “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” — open MIT’s Media Lab video, inviting nominations for its Rewarding Disobedience Award. The award, which comes with a no-strings-attached $250,000 cash prize, will go to a living individual or group engaged in “an extraordinary example of disobedience for the benefit of society.” From the award description: The MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award seeks to highlight effective, responsible, ethical disobedience across disciplines, and around the world. Disobedience Award objectives are to build awareness and support of disobedience-robust work being done, and

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Coding for What?

April 3, 2017

The most recent series of the popular conspiracy drama “Homeland” features a shadow intelligence agency dedicated to producing and circulating fake news and computational propaganda via fake social media user accounts. Run by a TV shock-jock whose authority seems to surpass that even of the CIA, and who bears obvious resemblance to Steve Bannon, the agency is primarily staffed by young coders and programmers, who have been tasked with waging a secret information war against an incoming President-elect. This part of the plot of “Homeland” dramatizes quite well troubling current events whereby computer coding is now understood

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Introducing UCI’s Connected Learning Lab

March 30, 2017

Spring is a fitting season to announce the launch of our new Connected Learning Lab (CLL) at UC Irvine, an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to studying and mobilizing learning technologies in equitable, innovative, and learner-centered ways. I am humbled to serve as the founding director, and to be working with our founding faculty, Richard Arum, David Theo Goldberg, Bill Maurer, Kurt Squire, and Constance Steinkuehler. I am looking forward to expanding our ranks with more faculty, postdocs, students, and community members as we get our efforts off the ground. The founding of CLL is motivated by

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Google Scientist Tells How Tech Affects Learning

March 29, 2017

When his daughter was studying linguistics, Daniel M. Russell observed her reading a book on Turkish grammar while connected to her earbuds, listening to Turkish news on an online app. “She was multiple coding,” he explained Tuesday to a group of UC Irvine computer scientists. Russell, a senior research scientist at Google, said that as technology rapidly changes, “it’s tied to our ways of thinking. It affects us in the way we think, the way we frame and the way we reason. And, how we learn is highly dependent upon the technology we bring into the

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What Teachers Can Learn from Students

March 27, 2017

I remember being a college student. The problem with being a professor who remembers being a college student, is that we’re probably misremembering, or our experience is different from those of our current students. Last week, I got to experience being in students’ shoes a little more than usual, and I found the experience particularly enlightening. I felt that being in closer or more intense contact with students for a couple of days and experiencing their lives helped me empathize with them more. This is very different from teaching them, because when I teach them, I

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Avoiding ‘Dark Pits of Yuck’: Connected Learning for Military Spouses

March 23, 2017

“We moved nine times in 14 years…It wore me down. Anything I started and developed on my own got taken away.” — Joanna McGuffey, founder and CEO of Unconventional Works I met Joanna in 2015 at Nucleus CoShare, a coworking office in Dayton, Ohio that serendipitously opened not long after we both moved there to accompany our service member spouses at their new duty locations. She was a seasoned Air Force spouse, having moved nine times in 14 years and I was brand new. Joanna told me that she joined the coworking office because she was “in

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Watchworthy Wednesday: Meet 10 Women Championing Connected Learning

March 22, 2017

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, let’s turn our attention to 10 women scholars making their mark as champions of connected learning. (Connected learning calls for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven and oriented toward educational, economic or political opportunity. It is based on evidence that the most resilient, adaptive and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support.) As connected learning advocates, these 10 scholars, among a number of others worldwide, argue that new media broadens access to opportunity and meaningful learning experiences that can happen anytime, anywhere.

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Making Science: When Does Spaghetti Become a Light Ray?

March 20, 2017

For the past few years, we have been fortunate to work together in a scientific inquiry class. Bringing together science faculty and composition faculty makes for some lively conversations about the teaching of writing. The course is offered to future elementary school teachers who are typically non-science majors. We recently co-wrote with Irene Salter Composing Science: A Facilitator’s Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom (TCPress 2016), which describes our work with these future teachers and our practices for teaching writing in science. The book lays out how we engage students in practices that mirror the

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The Power of Digital Writing and Connected Learning

March 16, 2017

“Sharing power in a system rooted in not sharing power is a pretty tough go,” was the first thing Terry Elliott said when I asked him about his longstanding work in student empowerment — from unschooling his own, now grown, children, to encouraging high school students to blog about a real local issue (bus safety) way back in 2002. These days, in addition to the systemic obstacles to real student empowerment, Elliott faces the challenge of teaching writing to students who, for one reason or another, have difficulty writing. He starts by asking students to “think

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Watchworthy Wednesday: The Importance of Media Literacy in Partisan Times

March 15, 2017

“It’s crucial that we cultivate students’ ability to judge the credibility of online political content and build their commitment to carefully assessing such content.” — Joseph Kahne and Benjamin Bowyer Taken from research by Joseph Kahne, the Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Chair in educational policy and politics at UC Riverside, chair of the MacArthur Foundation Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) Research Network and director of the Civic Engagement Research Group, and Benjamin Bowyer, political science lecturer at Santa Clara University, the infographic above points to the importance of media literacy today as partisanship is dramatically

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Badges, Proof and Pathways

March 13, 2017

How do you prove what you know and can do these days? Sure, you can show someone your CV, résumé or LinkedIn profile, but what does that prove? Isn’t that just a bunch of claims you’ve got about the stuff you can do? Where’s the evidence? What can you point to in order to say: “This is me. This is who I am. This is my value to the world?” Sometimes, it’s quick and easy to show that you’ve got the skills that are required. A quick on-the-spot check proves that you can build the wall,

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Summer Online Minecraft Camps Begin June 26

March 12, 2017

Igniting a passion for technology is the goal of Connected Camps’ online summer camps in coding, game design, architecture, engineering, and survival mode in Minecraft. The weeklong virtual camps, priced from $69 to $99, commence June 26. There are 30 online camps to choose from, including girls-only options. “We offer

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Online Tools That Foster Civic Engagement

March 9, 2017

As my colleague, Antero Garcia, explained in a DML Central post last month, we are working together to produce a web series that provides educators with tools and tips to support civically-engaged pedagogy in their classrooms and beyond. Sponsored by the Studies of Literacy and Multimedia (SLAM) Assembly within the National Council of Teachers of English, SLAM School aims to offer demonstrations of useful strategies in 30 minutes or less. A few weeks ago, I led a class on how (and why) to interact with your elected representatives. I want to share some of what I

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Watchworthy Wednesday: New Book Focuses on Teacher Leadership and Connected Learning

March 8, 2017

Kira J. Baker-Doyle’s new book, “Transformative Teachers: Teacher Leadership and Learning in a Connected World” (Harvard Education Press) offers insight on the pulse of teaching and teacher leadership today. In the first chapter, she introduces readers to Samuel Reed III, a public middle school teacher in Philadelphia who she says “helped to initiate a change in my understanding of transformative teacher learning and leadership in the digital age.” He writes for the Public School Notebook blog “about his work in the field and the classroom, often advocating the idea of ‘flipping the script,’ challenging others to

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