What do Google, Open Source Software and Digital Literacies have in Common?


Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, hit the headlines recently with an attack on the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) curriculum in UK schools. It “focuses on teaching how to use software,” he said to the audience gathered for the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, “but gives no insight into how it’s made.” According to Schmidt that equates to “just throwing away your great computing heritage.” The link to the BBC News article containing Schmidt’s comments quickly did the rounds in the educational technology and elearning social media circles of which I am part.

“Digital Is” Website Accelerates Teacher-to-Teacher Learning and Collaboration


Over the course of four days earlier this summer at a lush retreat in Seattle, I had the opportunity to write and engage with some of the most exciting teachers I’ve been able to interact with in my career. Aside from the fact that I spent most of the day typing up notes on my iPad, the lush environment was a perfect retreat for allowing me to reflect thoughtfully on what practices had contributed most to my students’ writing practices over the past year. And the best thing about this opportunity to write while being surrounded

Recommended Reads (August): Youth Culture, Games & Learning, Teaching 2.0


The latest fascinating report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, “Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age,” offers one of the first large-scale studies to explore ideas parents have about their young children’s use and access of media. A review on the web site for the New America Foundation, “Parental Worries, Or the Lack Thereof, About Digital Media,” does an excellent job covering the key findings and putting them in context. “It’s encouraging to see these robust conversations among early childhood experts about the roles that families and educators are playing as they guide their

Life Narratives in Social Media


The stories we tell about ourselves are immensely powerful. In a digital age, how do we use social media to construct and tell these stories? How we explain who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going constitute important narratives that drive decisions we make about our futures and our ways of being in the world. These narratives are also crucially bound up with what we learn and how we learn it. According to Ivor Goodson, learning that ‘sticks’ is learning that has meaning in the context of our life narratives; it

Turning Fifth Graders into Game Designers and Mobile Learners


Take 40 precocious fifth graders, a box full of iPhones, and a group of game designers and educators, stir, and release onto the busy streets of New York City. What may sound like chaos is actually Mobile Quest, a mobile game design camp in its third year. The camp is hosted by Institute of Play at the New York City public school it co-designed and developed, Quest to Learn, and supported by the New Learning Institute, a program operated by the Pearson Foundation.    A highlight of the week is the trip out to High Line Park,

Youth Learn ‘Design Thinking’ at Digital-Age Summer Camp


Peals of laughter ring across the room as teens watch other teens maneuver to avoid being hit on the head. There are no bullies here – actually, game designer Kaho Abe is presenting a video clip of a game she created where the goal is to avoid being hit on the head while staying within a designated circle. The game is intended to inspire thought about design constraints, and it appears to be working as students raise their hands to inquire about how difficult it is to stay within a ten-foot diameter, and wonder aloud about

Wanted (And Needed): ‘Radical’ Collaborations


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. This insight from Anne Frank is evidenced today all across the world in education and many other domains. People are doing amazing things. Start ups, reforms, revolutions. It’s good news. It’s happening everywhere. And it all fits together, whether we see the connections today or not. Pointillism. Perpetual beta. If you’re not feeling it, if you’re wondering if you’re a part of education’s big picture…we’re thinking, more than anything, you need to know that you are – assuming you