Sociality Is Learning


As adults, we take social skills for granted… until we encounter someone who lacks them.  Helping children develop social skills is viewed as a reasonable educational endeavor in elementary school, but by high school, educators switch to more “serious” subjects. Yet, youth aren’t done learning about the social world. Conversely, they are more driven to understand people and sociality during their tween and teen years than as small children.  Perhaps it’s precisely their passion for learning sociality that devalues this as learning in the eyes of adults. For, if youth LIKE the subject matter, it must

When Is an Art Museum a Workshop? A Field Report from Korea


Earlier this month, I participated in the Digital Natives Workshop hosted by KAIST, the MIT of Korea, and attended by researchers from the U.S. and across the Pacific Rim. My talk on adolescence and the science of attention (entitled “The Kids Are All Right”) has been recorded along with the other presentations and posted on Google Wave by Dave Sonntag, one of the organizers. I also live-blogged at www.hastac.org. After the workshop, we took the three-hour bus trip from Daejeon to Seoul where we had a field day at the Samsung D’Light interactive showcase and then,

$2 Million Competition Seeks Ideas to Transform Learning


Today, in conjunction with an announcement by President Obama calling for new efforts to reimagine and improve education in science and math, we are announcing a $2 million open competition supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for ideas to transform learning using digital media. The competition seeks designers, inventors, entrepreneurs, researchers, and others to build digital media experiences – the learning labs of the 21st Century – that help young people interact, share, build, tinker, and explore in new and innovative ways. Supported by a grant to the University of California Humanities

Getting into College? There’s a Game for That.


While One Laptop per Child and other programs to address the digital divide are important, I have come to believe it is counterproductive to couple discussions of the transformative potential of digital media in learning too closely with discussions about institutional and cultural problems plaguing public education (failing schools, illiterate graduates, students who start school with inadequate vocabularies and little home support for studying, for example). The main problem is that systemic problems can’t be fixed by technology alone, and popular narratives about computers in schools are fraught with magical thinking and moral panics. Computers won’t

Empowering Youth-directed Learning in a Digital Age


Tashawna is a high school senior in Brooklyn, NY. In the morning she leaves home for school listening to MP3s, texting her friends about meeting up after school at Global Kids, where she participates in a theater program, or FIERCE, the community center for LGBT youth. On the weekend she’ll go to church and, on any given day, visit MySpace and Facebook as often as she can. While she misses television and movies, she says she just can’t find the time. This describes what I call Tashawna’s distributed learning network, the most important places in her

Esther Wojcicki’s H.S. Journalism Learning Community


I learned about Esther Wojcicki’s high school journalism program and learning community from my personal learning network – the people I sought out on Twitter because they seemed to know something about the topics that interest me, including digital journalism and digital media and learning. When I want to learn about a topic, I look for people who know what they are talking about, find out who THEY pay attention to, add them to my RSS or Twitter network, subtract them if I’m not learning what I want to learn, follow the links they provide and

Crowdsourcing Authority in the Classroom


“A wacko holding forth on a soapbox.  If Ms. Davidson just wants to yammer and lead discussions, she should resign her position and head for a park or subway platform, and pass a hat for donations.” That is an example of some of the negative comments I received when I wrote a blog on grading in my “Cat in the Stack” column on a website for the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory( HASTAC). I titled the post How To Crowdsource Grading and its premise grew out of a course I taught last year at