March 5, 2018
My college freshmen, all 84, are deep into a study of digital cultures and digital literacies as we head toward Week 4 of our semester. I designed this first-year comp class so we could weave the practices of academic writing — research, citation, revision, editing, etc. — while also working toward, in a nutshell, simply being more awesome at using the web. I am deeply committed to cultivating the democratic potential of an open web, still believing in the possibility that our most marginalized students can be heard and their ideas amplified in ways that traditional distribution
February 26, 2018
“Openly networked” is one of the connected learning principles because learning always has been as much or more of a social than a strictly individual enterprise — and because the age-old human proclivity for operating in social networks has been vastly amplified by digital media and networks. Consider the difference between writing an essay for the teacher and maybe getting a gold star or a good grade, and publishing the same essay online and receiving comments from people around the world. In the old days, student presentations had a critical audience of one. These days, presentations
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February 19, 2018
Setting screen time rules isn’t simple, but Anya Kamenetz’ new book, “The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life,” aims to help parents moderate technology in their children’s lives. Kamenetz, an expert on education and technology, spoke with Mimi Ito, director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, in the first in a series of online conversations and podcasts, featuring books and research that aim to help educators, scholars, parents and technology makers make sense of learning in the digital age. Many parents, Kamenetz said,
February 13, 2018
February 12, 2018
The tyranny of correct answers masks a vital and essential element of learning — the practice of debugging. When you make something, however, especially something that involves code and/or electronic or mechanical components, it is to be expected that your project will not work the first time you turn it on. Coding and making involves a great deal of systematic problem-solving to find and eliminate bugs. There’s nothing like the feeling when the last bug has been squashed and your creation beeps or moves or lights up. This kind of learning isn’t confined to tangible DIY
February 7, 2018
February 5, 2018
This is the third part in a multi-part series about participants in the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities conference. This series features public intellectuals discussing digital literacy issues. Professor Marisa Parham of Amherst College, who has led the Five College Digital Humanities initiative has a long history with digital media. “My earliest experiences with computers and devices mainly stemmed from my grandfather’s obsession with Kaypros in the 1980s. I was 8 or 9 years old. He would take me downtown to ogle what must have been some iteration of the Kaypro II, which for some reason,
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January 29, 2018
Moving the classroom chairs in a circle had radical effects on the way we all looked at our learning: As I told my students, if we transported a warrior from 1,000 years ago to a present-day battlefield, he would die quickly; if we transported a surgeon from 1,000 years ago to a modern operating room, he wouldn’t know what to do; but, if we transported students and a teacher from 1,000 years ago to most contemporary classrooms, everyone would know where to sit, who was in charge, who would speak, and who would remain silent. In
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January 22, 2018
For me, one of the greatest joys of teaching is the chance to learn from other educators: the opportunity to peek under the hood at all the moving parts behind a dynamite lesson plan, a thriving classroom, an effective teacher. When I started teaching history, my more-experienced colleagues were my greatest resources. They recommended discussion questions for starting class, activities for getting my students engaged, and multimedia resources that I never would have found on my own. When I moved to Pittsburgh, I saw some especially effective educators in action through my work on the community
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January 15, 2018
When I reflect on the 10 years I spent teaching at UC Berkeley and Stanford, and look back over the 127 interviews I did with innovators in digital media and learning, “learner agency” was the first thought that came to mind when I asked myself about what still seems important. What I mean by this phrase: students are explicitly addressed as learners (better yet: co-learners); students are allowed to use their own interests and networks to explore issues that matter to them (scaffolded by teachers with the curricular knowledge that will make more sense to students
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January 8, 2018
Teresa Chin works with youth in downtown Oakland, Calif. at Youth Radio — a media production company driven by young people. One thing she works with youth on is the development of first-person commentaries. She wants them to learn how to draw on their life experiences in order to share their perspective on a societal issue with a broad audience. As Teresa explains, “Commentaries are a really powerful tool for civic engagement. Your story is how you can get people to build empathy and understanding.” Here is a video of how Teresa does this as well
January 1, 2018
In her closing keynote at FabLearn a couple years ago, Leah Buechley turned a critical eye on the maker movement. If you don’t know Buechley’s work, she is arguably one of the maker movement’s central players, founding the former High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab and inventing the LilyPad Arduino, among many other contributions. She is a champion of making, which makes her all the more thoughtful in her critiques. Buechley asks us to consider who gets to make and who is represented in the maker movement. I thought about her keynote a lot
December 25, 2017
This is the second part in a multi-part series about participants in the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities conference. This series features public intellectuals discussing digital literacy issues. “Colored Conventions: Bringing Nineteenth-Century Black Organizing to Digital Life” was recently named by the National Endowment for the Humanities one of its “essentials” a collection of 50 works funded by the organization to reshape “what we know about ourselves and our world.” Like Ken Burns’ sprawling documentary on the Civil War or the preservation and publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the NEH lauded “Colored Conventions” for its ground-breaking
December 18, 2017
This is the first part in a multi-part series about participants in the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities conference. This series features public intellectuals in the academy discussing digital literacy issues. I first met Marcia Chatelain at the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities Conference, where she gave an inspiring talk about how her work on The Ferguson Syllabus was connected to her own past at a variety of academic institutions, including the University of Missouri, Georgetown University, and William and Mary. In introducing a syllabus that provided background materials for understanding police violence against unarmed civilians
December 11, 2017
One of the reasons I was very excited to join a community college is because there is a gap in how we think about bringing digital media and technology into learning. While there is a lot of research on K-12 and higher education in general, there isn’t as much research on students who are at risk of failing to continue their education at community colleges. These years are a unique opportunity when it is imperative that people in a position to do so work to close the various achievement gaps. The one people are most familiar
December 4, 2017
As a professor at a public, land-grant institution, I consider it my sacred responsibility to produce and share knowledge that directly benefits the communities I have the honor to serve. As a professor of education, I am particularly committed to supporting young people, teachers, and all who champion learning. Because of these commitments, few things frustrate me more than the academic publishing system that places many of the articles I write about literacy and civic engagement behind firewalls, available only to those with access to institutional databases. The people with whom I hope to communicate through
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November 29, 2017
The new Connected Learning Summit (CLS), to be held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab Aug. 1-3, will be all about revolutionizing how kids learn, and those interested in progressive and inclusive education are invited to be part of it. The mission of the CLS: fuel a growing movement of innovators harnessing the power of emerging technology to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning. With a unique focus on cross-sector connections and progressive and catalytic innovation, the event brings together leading researchers, educators and developers. The summit will include a mix of
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November 28, 2017
Nov. 28, 2017 Organizers of the Digital Media and Learning (DML) Conference, the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference and Sandbox Summit have joined forces and announced the creation of a new annual event — the Connected Learning Summit — that will debut next summer at the MIT Media Lab. “I’m excited about
November 27, 2017
One of the unfortunate side effects of the 2007-8 global economic crash has been our decade-long slide into intolerance of the unfamiliar and unknown. Rival groups trade blows over their proposed solutions to economic problems, which inevitably spill over into increased polarisation in other politically-charged areas, such as education. To my dismay, over the past five years in particular, I’ve seen an unhelpful and unhealthy bifurcation in educational discourse into “traditional” and “progressive” camps. Proponents of each approach never fully explain their position, instead defining it as the opposite of whatever “outrageous” statement has been made
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November 22, 2017
Teacher educators interested in empowering future teachers to teach for social justice are being invited to apply to the Transformative Teacher-Educator Program (TTEP). “I developed the fellowship to provide a space and opportunity for teacher educators to come together to really think about how we need to change teacher education to better empower future teachers to teach for social justice,” said Kira Baker-Doyle, the Rosemary and Walter Blankley associate professor of education at Arcadia University, TTEP director and author of “Transformative Teachers: Teacher Leadership and Learning in a Connected World” and “The Networked Teacher: How New
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November 20, 2017
Earlier this year, I began to detect a growing interest in the idea that “neurotechnologies” such as brain-scanners and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) could be applied in education. A new field of “ed-neurotech,” I wrote, seemed to be emerging as part of a wider “neurotechnology revolution.” Ed-neurotech brings together educational technology development with aspects of educational neuroscience to monitor students through neural data. Some new developments suggest “neurofeedback learning” software might be used to train the brain, “neurostimulators” might improve cognition, or that “neuro-adaptive” software could be used to enhance personalized education. Students’ neural information and brainwaves
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November 15, 2017
A University of California, Irvine undergrad, whose mother died two years ago leaving her to care for her grandfather and younger brother, was lucky when she could afford a meal for herself. The transfer student, commuting from L.A. five days a week and working 10-15 hours per week, “was rarely eating one meal per day because she would use any funds she had to feed her grandfather and brother first. In addition, she has a medical condition (post-concussion syndrome), and her lack of appropriate nutrition was making it worse because she was always fatigued and feeling
November 13, 2017
Social-emotional learning has become a significant education policy priority and a key focus for education technology development and investment. The core idea behind social-emotional learning (SEL) approaches is that the “non-cognitive” aspects of learning are fundamentally linked to academic progress. Improving SEL skills is, therefore, seen as an important prerequisite for raising attainment. This simple idea has now begun to catalyze an outpouring of policy lobbying, ed-tech developments, and, importantly, new models of financial investment and profit-making. SEL, in other words, is being sold as a policy solution to long-standing educational problems, a potentially lucrative ed-tech
November 8, 2017
Digital citizenship, according to Common Sense Media, is “a way of thinking critically online, being safe with your information and who you connect with and acting responsibly in how you communicate and behave.” As part of Digital Citizenship Week, which took place the third week of October in California, the nonprofit organization created a guide for educators for promoting digital citizenship. The 35-page guide, “Digital Citizenship and Social and Emotional Learning,” aims to help educators connect challenging digital dilemmas to social and emotional skills through discussion questions, lessons and digital tools that build students’ character. From the guide: A key
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