D.I.Y.U.: An Experiment


Rheingold U, my current experiment in cultivating wholly online, multimedia, unaccredited, for-not-much-pay learning communities, grew out of a desire to follow the fun and act on impulse. When I impulsively tweeted  a couple of weeks ago, “Anyone willing to pay $100 for five-week Intro to Mind Amplifiers course?” I was long-practiced in the art of riding the waves of personal impulse. In fact, the most productive learning trails I’ve followed or blazed in life started with singular impulses that fulfill life-long interests but were triggered by superficial, even accidental proximate causes. I started thinking about computers

Young Black Males, Learning, and Video Games


A recent report on educational achievement among young black males describes a “national catastrophe” in primary, secondary, and higher education that is reinforced by policy failures and funding shortfalls. “A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools” uses data largely from the U.S. Department of Education to paint a grim picture of an achievement gap between black and white students, reinforcing the message of recent books like Pedro Noguera’s The Trouble with Black Boys: Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education. While the Obama

On Parenting, Media, Education and Phobias


Modern cinema can teach us how youth and media are widely understood in our cultures. Cinema, like works of literature and visual art, can represent and diagnose our widespread fears and fantasies about young people and about how we, as cultures, bring them up. Back 150 years ago, for example, Charles Kingsley’s moral fable The Water-Babies challenged child labor. Today, the journal “International Research in Children’s Literature” publishes scholarly analyses of how children’s literature can both help in children’s growing up and impose on them social and moral codes from the dominant culture. Similarly, analyzing the

Wikipedia: Information Source and Knowledge Community


One of the challenges facing the digital media and learning community—in fact, all educators—is the rapid pace of technological development that makes necessary the constant evaluation and investigation of new information and communication technologies. As a writing researcher, I am fascinated by the way in which knowledge communities shape writing, and these knowledge communities are often effective means of orienting students to new information sources. One of the most fascinating of these communities is Wikipedia, and Colleen A. Reilly of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, has just written an interesting new article on how students

Wikirriculum: Curriculum in the Digital Age


Developing a school curriculum is a complex act of creative design. Add networked participatory media to the mix and curriculum design gets even more complicated. So, from the perspective of digital media and learning research, what kind of approaches to curriculum design should we be developing? A group of researchers and curriculum developers recently undertook some initial work on “curriculum innovation” as part of the DML working groups program. We were looking for the newest developments in curriculum design, situating what we found in a wider context of social, communications and curriculum theory, and just put

Digital Divides, Blog Bans, Games That Cause Change


Global Kids points us to important new resources in the digital media and learning field each month. “It’s how you play the game” (article): Followers of games and education are familiar with the opening last year in New York City of Quest to Learn (Q2L), the new 6-12 school. What is lesser known is the Ein Hayam Experimental School in Haifa, Israel, whose games-based pedagogy within this working class community of both Jews and Arabs is now five years old. While this past fall’s New York Times profile of Q2L highlights the high energy of the