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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November 6, 2017
I’ve written in the past about understanding the Terms of sites you are asking students to use and been interviewed about the implications of social media in classes. This year, one of the things I want to focus on is bringing those two things together. It is important that we don’t just know the terms we are asking our students to work under when we enforce the use of social media or other proprietary digital platforms for course work, it is important we know the implications and the devastating effects these tools and platforms might have
November 1, 2017
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, today celebrated Nov. 1 and 2, is a tradition of honoring ancestors, and more educators are seeking ways to teach about it. Started by the Aztecs some 3,000 years ago, the ritual, which includes honoring deceased loved ones by erecting altars adorned with their pictures and favorite foods, colorful parades and skull face painting, has been spreading throughout the U.S. It’s featured in the movies, museums, schools and cultural centers. And, among the many resources offered to teachers, parents and other educators online, is the Smithsonian Latino
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October 30, 2017
Oct. 30, 2017 Free and open technologies do not democratize education, but strategies to combat educational inequity exist and should be replicated, a new report by digital learning experts recommends. The report —“From Good Intentions to Real Outcomes: Equity by Design in Learning Technologies” — published today proposes following promising
October 30, 2017
Three powerful myths persist in our narratives around education technology. The first is that technology has the capacity to disrupt systems. For all the hope and hype that technologies can enable major organizational changes in educational systems through personalization, unbundling, or information access, but in reality, the reality is that culture domesticates new technologies. New apps, software, and devices are put in the service of existing structures and systems, rather than rearranging them. The most widely adopted education technologies are those that add a little efficiency to existing practices in school systems. The second myth is
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October 30, 2017
The growth of online communication, media, and gaming is driving dramatic changes in how we learn. Responding to these shifts, new forms of technology-enhanced learning and instruction, such as personalized learning, open online courses, educational games and apps, and tools for learning analytics, are garnering significant public attention and private
October 25, 2017
What would happen if games that go beyond simple situational conflict, such as combat and confrontation, instead took on more complex questions about life? Game designer Tracy Fullerton offered her thoughts during her keynote address at the recent Games for Change Festival. “Real life is neither either or, it’s not on or off or versus, it’s not black or white, it’s not any kind of duality no matter how we try to simplify it,” she said. “We all know in our experience that life is filled with grays, with nuance, with layers of perspective and problematising
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October 23, 2017
“Let us move from human-centered design to humanity-centered design.” — From the Copenhagen Letter I’ve been struggling to write this post for a long, long time. Every time I see calls for teaching coding to young people or to girls or to minorities, I get frustrated. First off, the need for everyone to learn code may be inflated, as Audrey Watters has written. As someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, I can assure you that no coding bootcamp is going to produce a person as qualified as someone who has studied computer science at
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October 18, 2017
Why did Rumpelstiltskin want a first-born child? The Brothers Grimm fairytale never gave a reason. A fascinating explanation is revealed in “Rumpelstiltskin and His Husband,” a twist on the classic story written by Eva Nemirovsky for the Twist Fate Challenge, an international art and writing challenge for 13 to 17 year olds that published a book featuring the best entries. “This is a great explanation,” author Sara Ryan said this week in an Educator Innovator webinar on the challenge. “Because he is not allowed to adopt with his husband because of oppressive laws, he needs to
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