It’s the Learning, Not the Technology – Jessica K. Parker


Without a doubt, your 15-year-old daughter can text one-handed while holding her phone under her desk. Your 11-year-old brother leads his own World of Warcraft guild. Your fellow college students are Googling you during the first class you have together. And if you are the professor, you know that your lectures are now competing against the entire Web for your students’ attention. Without a doubt, today’s youth are tech-savvy. That doesn’t mean, however, that their proficiencies automatically grow into literacies, that they appreciate the lasting social implications of an inappropriate photo on Facebook, know how to

Lessons From Sweden


This month I had the pleasure to spend time in Sweden, hosted by Patrik Svensson, Director of the HUMlab at Umea University in northern Sweden, and then with Göran Blomqvist, CEO of Riksbankens Jubileumsfond as well as Arne Jarrick, a prominent historian as well as the Secretary General for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Swedish Research Council.  It was a fascinating trip but it was especially exciting to talk with these leaders in the world of academe and philanthropy about digital media and learning.  Most interesting to the DMLcentral community were discussions about the

Crowdsourcing Scholarship


A few weeks ago, just before the 2010 THATCAMP, a well-known technology and humanities “unconference,” got underway at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, the center’s director, Dan Cohen, and his colleague and co-director, Tom Scheinfeldt, made a radical proposal.  In a blog posting called “One Week, One Book: Hacking the Academy,” Cohen proposed that conference participants and others following the discussion on Twitter and in the academic blogosphere should assemble a book about digital media and higher education.  The mandate was to do the project quickly – in only one

Rethinking the Human Subjects Process


Get a group of social scientists together to talk about prospective research and it won’t take long before the conversation turns to the question of human subjects board approval. Most researchers have a war story, and all have an opinion of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the committee in US universities that must approve any planned investigation to make certain that the subjects of the research are protected. Before too long, someone will suggest doing away with the IRB, or avoiding human subjects altogether. Research in the field of Digital Media and Learning (DML) tends to

How COPPA Fails Parents, Educators, Youth


Ever wonder why youth have to be over 13 to create an account on Facebook or Gmail or Skype? It has nothing to do with safety.  In 1998, the U.S. Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) with the best of intentions.  They wanted to make certain that corporations could not collect or sell data about children under the age of 13 without parental permission, so they created a requirement to check age and get parental permission for those under 13. Most companies took one look at COPPA and decided that the process of

A professor with unconventional methods, message


Digital media and learning initiatives often talk in utopian terms about a “future without books,” but don’t say that to New School faculty member Trebor Scholz.  Scholz, who teaches in the Department of Culture and Media, has had great success with making a book the final project turned in by students at the end of his new media courses.  Instead of merely offering a traditional final exam, he asks students to submit print-on-demand publications that consist of at least 10,000 words and display real production values, even in large lecture classes. According to Scholz, students appreciate

Privacy and social media sites: a growing, global concern


Raquel Recuero, a Brazilian professor, is an Internet culture researcher in South America. Wherever social networking sites have reached the mainstream, privacy seems to have become a more common worry for users. Brazilians, in general, have not thought much about social network privacy, but that is definitely changing. In the beginning of the social media phenomenon in Brazil, when Orkut started catching on (Orkut was the first SNS to grow significantly in the country), users shared almost everything. Social browsing (navigating through other people’s profiles) became the most common activity and finding new (and old) friends

It’s an amazing time to be a learner – Will Richardson


Your personal learning network is not just a network of people you learn from. A “pln,” as enthusiasts call them, is a network of people who are learning together. I was given this essential lore – and truth be told, much of what I know about social media in education – by Will Richardson. The reciprocal nature of learning networks is only the latest useful insight Richardson has given me and the rest of his network. In part, this blog post and interview is a form of reciprocation: you know you have succeeded as an educator