“Game Changer” Competition


Take a few minutes and help influence the next generation of games. The 2010 game design competition sponsored by HASTAC and the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning program is looking for help in deciding which games and designers deserve to advance. The narratives in this year’s proposals are innovative, fun, gripping and timely, including: finding a missing genius scientist, repelling invaders of human consciousness, rescuing victims of a killer earthquake, and the proper care and feeding of aliens. They all feature provocative characters, including: “Sackboy,” a Geico-like lizard named “Sal,” an invisible time traveling professor

Public by Default, Private when Necessary


With Facebook systematically dismantling its revered privacy infrastructure, I think it’s important to drill down on the issue of privacy as it relates to teens. There’s an assumption that teens don’t care about privacy but this is completely inaccurate. Teens care deeply about privacy, but their conceptualization of what this means may not make sense in a setting where privacy settings are a binary.  What teens care about is the ability to control information as it flows and to have the information necessary to adjust to a situation when information flows too far or in unexpected

eBooks and Learning


Now that the ebook industry has set its sights on the textbook and educational markets, it’s especially important for educators to shape discussion of the benefits and potential impact of ereaders. Rather than bemoan the loss of wood pulp and glue that make up current texts, we are better served by asking how these physical objects serve learning, and what is lost (or gained) by replacing them with electronic texts. One doesn’t have to abandon a love for print books to appreciate the unique affordances of new technologies. For example: how many would prefer poring through

Educating for the Future, Not the Past


Historian Robert Darnton has argued that we are currently in the fourth great Information Age in all human history.  The first information revolution came with the development of writing in 4000 B.C. Mesopotamia.  The second was facilitated by the invention of movable type (in 10th Century China and 15th Century Europe).  The third was marked by the advent of mass printing (presses, cheap ink and paper, mass distribution systems, and mass literacy) in late 18th Century Europe and America. The current Information Age is the fourth such era, marked by the development of the Internet and,

An Emerging Theory: Things Rule


The international conference on Digital Arts and Culture is often a place for previewing coming theoretical trends in digital scholarship.  Long before the formation of separate conferences for the Electronic Literature Organization and the Digital Games Research Association, DAC was at the forefront of interactive literature and game studies.  This year’s DAC conference, “After Media: Embodiment and Context,” included a prominent “Interdisciplinary Pedagogy” theme led by digital artist Cynthia Beth Rubin that tried to make connections between the cutting-edge, sophisticated theory that the conference represented and the more mundane practical challenges posed by instructional technology and

Global Kids: Recommended Reading…Viewing…Listening


Global Kids’ New York City-based programs address the urgent need for young people to possess leadership skills and an understanding of complex global issues to succeed in the 21st century workplace and participate in the democratic process. Now in its ninth year, Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program (OLP) integrates a youth development approach and international and public policy issues into youth media programs that build digital literacy, foster substantive online dialogues, develop resources for educators, and promote civic participation. To keep the work connected to emerging research and practice, OLP staff feed their voracious appetite reading