Assessment: Turning a Blunt Instrument Into a Powerful Learning Tool


It’s ironic that assessment in schools is most often “something adults do to students,” as Rick Stiggins puts it, because all humans are highly evolved for learning, and self-assessment is a powerful tool all learners use. Whether you are trying to master a recipe, solve an equation, improve your golf swing, you continually ask yourself questions such as “Have I learned to do what I need to do?” “What did I do wrong?” “How do I improve?” and, most importantly, “How did I learn that?” All, assessment. Wouldn’t it be great if schools didn’t turn a

Learning and the Emerging Science of Behavior Change, aka ‘Nudging’


The language of learning today is full of references to “softness” and “openness.” Software, soft skills, soft performance, and the softening up of school knowledge go hand-in-hand with open source, open access and open educational resources in much current thinking about networked learning. How might this softening and opening up of the language of networked learning influence how learners think, perceive, feel and act? The emerging field of behaviour change theory suggests new ways in which networked technologies might be used as a form of pedagogical persuasion to influence and shape learners’ behavior, even at the

Connected Learning: The Power of Curiosity


We commissioned filmmaker Nic Askew to make a series of six films that captures the spirit of connected learning, a new approach to learning that is anchored in research, robust theories of learning, and the best of traditional standards, but also taps into the rich new world of information, knowledge, and online collaboration available to youth and learners. This film examines the critical role of curiosity and engagement for today’s youth and in connected learning, the outcome of a six-year research effort supported by the MacArthur Foundation into how learning, education, and schooling could be reimagined

The Social Relevance of Public Writing


I want to talk about the nature of writing in today’s age of participatory media. In particular, I want to talk about how writing within my classroom has helped foster community amongst the students. In fact, the subtitle of this post could be, “How Wearing a Tie to Class Spurred Community Building.” For one of my undergraduate composition courses, my students and I meet three times a week in a small computer lab with LCD projections on all four walls, a smart tablet for the instructor and a document camera for displaying anything that might not

Contextualizing Big Data and Lessons for DML


Recently I had the opportunity to go to the Internet Research 13.0 (IR13) conference hosted by the University of Salford. One popular theme of the conference was the increasingly important role that big data is playing in Internet research. As more and more people use social media sites the amount of data they generate is growing exponentially. Consequently, as researchers seek to learn more about what people do online, they are increasingly turning to this data (when they can get access to it) to make sense of the ways that the Web is continually influencing culture

Connected Learning: The Experience of Education Reimagined


We commissioned filmmaker Nic Askew to make a series of short films about connected learning, a new approach to learning he called “courageous” and “transformational.” This film introduces the story of connected learning, the outcome of a six-year research effort supported by the MacArthur Foundation into how learning, education, and schooling could be reimagined for a networked world. The film asks:‘Might the information age have presented us with the opportunity for a fundamental reimagining of the way we educate our children?’ ‘How might education come to life if children were to possess a burning need to