Calculating the Child Through Technologies of the ‘Quantified Self’


The concept of the ‘quantified self’ has become the focus of global interest. Less acknowledged is the emergence of a range of technological devices and apps designed specifically for children to track, monitor and analyze data about their health, bodies and well-being. What are the issues raised by these technologies of the quantified self for kids? Emergence of the ‘Quantified Self’ In the last five years, there has been a sharp growth in the popularity of health data collection devices and apps for use in everyday life. The idea of a ‘quantified self’ first emerged through

The Algorithms of Busyness


During the past week, I have been busy. I know this because my phone tells me so. Each night, before I go to bed, I check my schedule for the next day — seeing where I need to be, what time, any student meetings I’ve scheduled, and any notes I’ve made for my classes. That sentence makes it sound like an arduous process, but it’s little more than a swipe on my iPhone’s home screen to see what’s scheduled and a mental calculation about the level of formality my attire will require. Lately, my phone — I

P-Tech Schools: The Remaking of Career, Technical Education


For nearly four decades, economists have been discussing what is generally referred to as skill-biased technical change. That is, the degree to which technological transformations — computerization and automation — privileges high-skill workers over low-skill workers. Schools are under increasing pressure to design classrooms, curricula, and learning experiences that help students develop the kinds of design, engineering, and creative skills that are a better fit for innovation economies. One model of schooling that is gaining increasing attention for developing and spreading these skills is the Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH for short.

Co-inventing the Curriculum


Student empowerment is the strongest connective theme through the 55 posts and interviews I’ve conducted for this blog.  The educators I’ve interviewed all have one characteristic in common: they all enable students to take more control over and responsibility for their own learning. Digital media certainly makes many things easier — wikis and group blogs, skillfully used, can supercharge some kinds of collaborative work that long predate computers and networks. And digital media can make some things possible that were never possible before —  second grade students can blog and receive useful comments from people on

Learning That Connects


A single question — “How are young people changing socially in terms of how they learn and how they civically engage because of digital media?” — launched the John D. and Catherine T.  MacArthur Foundation’s digital media and learning initiative back in 2000. Soon after, the foundation awarded three grants for the formal study, advocacy and practice of connected learning, a 21st century educational approach that takes advantage of today’s abundance of digital information and social connection and makes learning relevant to everyone. Years of study by the Connected Learning Research Network led to the creation of

Productivity and Play in Digital Media and Learning


A new report from the Technology & Social Change Group at the University of Washington’s Information School argues that, in the context of learning, using computers and other communication technologies for play is equally as important as using them for work or other “productive” activities.  The authors of the study state that the usage policies for publicly accessible computers tend to favor “productive” uses — such as looking for work or conducting research — over (supposedly) non-productive ones, like playing games or accessing social networks. However, in their research, they found that it was not easy to

Badges For Learning Series, Part 2: Getting The Full Picture


In my previous post, “My Beef With Badges,” I called on the emerging badging community to stop conflating our aspirations with our achievements, and to start sharing a more accurate picture of the challenges we all face. I also tried to make clear that I have been a part of the very problem I now aim to address. As I’ve been asked in recent weeks to present and engage our community around these ideas, I’ve often expressed my intent to “walk the talk” and share what we’ve been observing where I work, at the American Museum