Einstein, YouTube, and New Media Literacies in the Connected Age


When I started using digital media in my classroom, I began my search for mentors by inspecting Will Richardson’s social bookmarking networks on Diigo, then followed on Twitter some of the people Will paid attention, which led to Web 2.0 learning expert Steve Hargadon. When Hargadon invited me to participate in an online Elluminate session with 100 educators and librarians, it was an opportunity to learn about a subject I’m deeply interested in — the literacy of critical consumption of online information (or, as Hemingway put it more plainly, “Crap Detection“). So I told Steve I’d

Cyberbullying: An International Perspective


A viral video of an Australian boy retaliating against a bully at school has sharply ratcheted up offline and online discussions of cyberbullying. On websites in numerous countries, young and old alike have recounted their own bullying problems and there’s a sense that this is an universal phenomena. In Brazil, it has become increasingly common for kids to suffer from bullying not only in schools, but also on social networking sites. Many aggressive incidents are recorded by cell phones and posted on sites such as Youtube. Online communities are formed to ridicule these bullied students, and

Happiness, Learning, and Technology: Why “Affective” Schools are the New “Effective” Schools


What are the connections between emotional education and digital media and learning? Faced with a global economic recession, civic unrest, and major environmental catastrophe, governments around the world are now obsessed with cheering us all up, especially kids. Measures are being designed to gauge global, national, organizational and individual levels of happiness, and well-being is being put at the heart of public policy. Ensuring children’s happiness now and in the future is therefore becoming an urgent aim for education. The State of Happiness Schools are emotional places. Everyone remembers their school days through the rhythm of

Humans, Technology and the Digital Future


At the top of the must-read list this month is “How the Internet Gets Inside Us,” an article by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnick who offers an insightful overview of the range of opinions found in recent books regarding the shifting relationship between humans and technology. He categorizes books about the Internet into the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers, and the Ever-Wasers. The Never-Betters believe that we’re on the brink of a new utopia, the Better-Nevers think that we were better off without the Internet, and the Ever-Wasers insist that at any moment in modernity something like this

Revolutionary New Technology + Old Teaching Methods = ?


In a recent post on her blog, Duke’s Cathy Davidson responds to a New York Times article on the increasing popularity of iPads in schools, arguing that iPads, or any technology, aren’t a panacea for education.  To support her point, Davidson tells the story of how, when she was a Vice Provost at Duke, she helped create a program that gave iPods to incoming freshman.  However, she points out that these students weren’t simply given the new music player and expected to carry on as if everything were the same — that is, as if they

Designing Learning From “End to End”


When Tim Berners-Lee and a handful of colleagues began developing the World Wide Web, they did so without a blueprint but with something better:  a principle.  What if all the world’s knowledge could easily be transferred between us without going through a central node controlling the shape of that information?  What if my computer could abide by certain kinds of communication protocols, could send out packets of information, and then any other computer in the world set up to understand those protocols could receive it?  What if we all, the human community, could exchange our ideas

Identity, Avatars, Virtual Life – and Advancing Social Equity in the ‘Real’ World


This semester, MIT professor Fox Harrell is teaching an ambitious new course on “Identity Representation” that includes studying identities adopted in computer games and social network sites.  In the course description posted online, Harrell explains that he is more broadly interested in getting students to “look at how humans express multiple identities for different purposes both in the real world and online.”  As the first researcher both in MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Harrell is developing what he calls a “toolkit” for the “Advanced Identity Representation