Using Tangible Technologies for Next-Generation Learning


Andrew Manches is a 2011-2012 Fellow at the London Knowledge Lab looking at how new forms of technology can support and help young children explore different number concepts. His work builds from his PhD at the University of Nottingham, which evaluated whether technology called tangibles, technology that is embedded inside physical learning materials, represented a great new potential for children in the early years (ages four to eight). Manches was one of 12 participants at the DML Research Associate Summer Institute 2011 hosted by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. According to his thesis, understanding the potential

Recommended Resources: Digital Citizenship, New Media Literacies, Games and Learning


Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World is nearly 500 pages of workshops and lessons plans dedicated to teaching youth ethics for a digital age.  Produced through a unique collaboration of Harvard’s GoodPlay Project and Project New Media Literacies, it is all free online, as one giant download or as separate files.  We were delighted to see it released, as Global Kids youth leaders played a role advising on various aspects of the project (such as through our Media Masters program, which tested some of the early curriculum).  For those interested in the

Connecting the K-12 Classroom to the 21st Century


Justin Reich is a fifth year doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education studying the ways in which social media support the development of 21st century skills when used in K-12 settings. This past August, he was among a cohort of junior scholars who participated in the DML Research Associate Summer Institute, a week-long program funded by the DML Research Hub designed to support advanced graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are conducting research in the emerging field of digital media and learning. Reich is co-director of EdTechTeacher, a professional development firm dedicated to helping

Teaching Publishing as a 21st Century Literacy


For years, a common method for teaching writing in elementary and secondary school was the five paragraph essay. Lately this style of essay has fallen out of favor, for a variety of reasons. However, one of the most compelling reasons to avoid teaching the five paragraph essay is that it is a form of writing that isn’t really found out in the wild. That is, you don’t often see these essays outside of the classroom in magazines or newspapers or other public writing venues. It was really the creation of the academy that had very little

No Child Left Behind: The Economic Motive of National Education Policy


I’ve often thought about how our national educational policy of No Child Left Behind, passed in 2002, reinforces and connects to the increasing income disparity in the United States.  Some of the economic implications of NCLB are obvious, such as the privatizing of the multi-million dollar standardized testing industry or the threat that, if a public school is still failing (as measured by those end-of-grade tests) in 2014, it will either be shut down or privatized.  Even with President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s temporary “reprieve” from this frightening deadline, announced this summer, NCLB

Role-Playing Racial History through Digital Games


Teaching historical empathy through gaming is an important area in digital media and learning, but collaborations between university professors and game designers aren’t always easy.  Nonetheless, UC San Diego Theater and Dance Professor Emily Roxworthy, who leads a National Endowment for the Humanities funded project about Japanese American  internment camps in the American South during World War II that also used resources from the San Diego Supercomputing Center to bring the action to life, argues that the challenges are well worth the rewards. In the prototype level of Drama in the Delta that is currently available,

How Age Restrictions Complicate Digital Media & Learning


Digital media and learning scholars have long understood the importance of access when it comes to digital technologies.  Whether we’re talking about the digital divide or the participation gap, we all recognize that access is the first step.  Once we can assume access, we can talk about skills and digital literacy.  But access is still key. So what happens when children are systematically excluded from accessing digital media environments?  This, in many ways, is the conundrum resulting from how the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has been implemented by many general-purpose communication platforms and social