Reality, the Game: Interview with Interactive Expert Jeff Watson


When I read Henry Jenkins’ description of the Pokemon-like card game he played with entering students at USC’s interdisciplinary Cinema School, I realized that the project Tracy Fullerton had described in September, 2011, had come to pass. Don’t think “gamification of education.” Think “turning a social icebreaker into transdisciplinary collaboration among former strangers.” Jenkins described his own encounter with the game: A few weeks ago, I was sent a pack of collector’s cards — with my picture on them! — and asked to show up in the courtyard outside the USC Cinematic Arts facilities so that

Techno-euphoria


When it comes to youth, technology and literacy, the warring lines seem to have been drawn and the voices on both the sides are strident, if not loud. There are those who insist that with the digital native in the classroom, we have to reconceptualize our idea of what the education system is, forwarding a hypothesis that the entire system of literate learning was designed with a particular student in mind and must be amended to accommodate the ‘new’ kind of student. Techno-utopians often insist that it is the student who defines the learning environment and

Teaching Teachers, Honoring Learners: Interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach


As digital media and networks make possible more networked and collaborative pedagogies, who teaches the teachers how to take advantage of the opportunities (and avoid the pitfalls) that new technologies afford? I have recounted previously on this blog how I discovered Will Richardson’s book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, when I started combining my own classroom teaching with social media. Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, a former classroom teacher, charter school principal, district administrator, technology coach, and university instructor, teamed up to found the Powerful Learning Practice Network to not only enable,

From Conversation to Collection


Recently I had the opportunity to attend a symposium on the digital humanities hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Media research group. The occasion was the publication of “Debates in the Digital Humanities,” a collection addressing the changing nature of this emerging field. A number of contributors to the collection attended the symposium and shared some really exciting research, but what jumped out at me was a conversation between Matt Gold, the editor of the collection, and Doug Armato, the book’s publisher. The two shared with the session the process that went into publishing the

Methods for Shaping Society


What do research methods do? Research methods are routinely understood as objective techniques for getting to know the world. Yet they may be more influential and socially significant than this, particularly as more digital methods are being developed and deployed. So what, too, do digital methods do? And why is this important for researching digital media and learning? In the field of digital media and learning, we use an array of social scientific methods in order to get to know as much as we can about learning situated in contexts that are increasingly understood to be

A Collaborative Guide to Best Digital Learning Practices for K-12


Below you will find a collaboratively written document produced in Bangkok, Thailand, at the March 28-31 teacher’s meeting of EARCOS, the East Asia Regional Council of Schools.  EARCOS is an organization of 130 primary and secondary schools that primarily use English as the language of instruction.  These include AP and IB schools and a number of other private schools.  We produced the document below on a public Google doc at a workshop, which I structured on the model of an “innovation challenge” of the kind that web developers use to bring together communities to complete a

Very Worthy Reads


In a new report from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, “Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality,” the authors set out to “map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities.” Their key findings: 1. Search shapes the quality of information that youth experience online.2. Youth use cues and heuristics

The Ethics and Responsibilities of the 21st Century Classroom: Part One


When I think about the “ethics and responsibilities of the 21st century classroom,” I think not only about our ethical responsibilities toward students but about our ethical responsibilities toward teachers.  I am very concerned that the drop-out rate of K-12 teachers is even higher than the drop-out rate of K-12 students in the U.S. and in many other countries around the world.  As I’ve gone around the U.S. and abroad talking with teachers, I’ve seen over and over how beleaguered they are: by (a) too many rules, (b) too many constantly-changing systems and theories, by (c)