Educating Educators: Q&A With Connected Learning Advocate Kira Baker-Doyle


Kira J. Baker-Doyle, assistant professor of education at Arcadia University, and her colleagues designed Arcadia’s Connected Learning Certificate program so educators of all levels, from Kindergarten through graduate school, could build a network and teach and learn from each other. The program launched this fall and it’s driven by students who propose and select the content and topics of discussion. “The program embodies connected learning,” Baker-Doyle said. Connected learning is an educational approach designed for our ever-changing world. It leverages the advances of the digital age to make that dream a reality — connecting academics to

Circuit Stickers, Notebook Hacking and Learning as Debugging


I’ve been writing for 45 years, and have always owned more physical notebooks than I need at any one time, and I’m an enthusiastic novice at electronics, so several of my antennae tingled vigorously when I first came across the term “circuit stickers” — peel-and-stick circuitry and components that are flat enough to make paper pages blink and boop. We’re used to thinking of words as, well, dead — they signify but (in most cases) don’t perform. Documents didn’t connect with each other through clickable links before the Web, either. Why NOT compose writing with light

IndieCade, Part 3: Learning from Virtual Reality


Oculus Rift made headlines this year with a development kit for its affordable virtual reality head-mounted display, which comes equipped with sophisticated software that prevents the “simulator sickness” that was so common on earlier models. The Oculus technology was considered valuable enough to merit a $2 billion acquisition by Facebook, and it soon became the talk of many game festivals, including the independent games festival IndieCade, where it was featured in the ticking clock bomb defusion game “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.” But, the big winner for VR technologies at IndieCade this year was Nonny de la

Writing in Libraries: Processes and Pathways to Inquiry and Learning


Earlier this year, I wrote about the possibilities for libraries that embrace writing as the literacy of the masses and how libraries might function as more powerful sponsors of literacy if they were to be more inclusive of writing literacies. During the last year, my colleague Jennifer Lund and I have been collaborating with our faculty at Norcross High to explore the use of written conversation strategies with students as a starting point for inquiry and participatory learning. Inspired by a December 2013 Harvey Daniels workshop sponsored by our school district on written conversation strategies, Jennifer

IndieCade, Part 2: Anxieties About GamerGate


The so-called “GamerGate” controversy about the independent games movement, which has finally reached the pages of the New York Times, has become the big story this fall. I have provided a wrap-up of some of the issues in a blog posting for those who can use a #GamerGate 101. Every celebrity from Joss Whedon to Adam Savage seems to have weighed in with an opinion. There also have been more interesting responses from within the independent games movement, including from Polygon’s Christopher Grant and from Frank Lantz, director of the NYU Game Center.    Because hostilities to the

The Technophobe’s Dilemma: Nicholas Carr’s ‘The Glass Cage’


Nicholas Carr is well-known for his work critiquing emerging technologies, particularly his argument that “Google is making us stupid.” In his new book, “The Glass Cage: Automation and Us” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014), he works in the same vein, taking on automation, or “the use of computers and software to do things we used to do ourselves.” Unfortunately, as with his argument against Google, in this book, Carr works too hard to demonize automation technologies, stretching examples and not working through the logic of his arguments. The end result is disappointing. Carr’s genuine insights

IndieCade, Part 1: Dungeons & Dragons Turns 40


When I was in middle school, there was a group of boys who played war games in the science teacher’s room. I was always envious of them, because it looked like fun, but it seemed to be an all-male enclave where I — as a girl — could never intrude. They played games like “Risk” and “Diplomacy” under the supervision of one of the school’s custodian.  The game play with the janitor seemed to exist in a kind of administrative limbo on school property — tolerated but not endorsed in the way that the computer club, run by

Embracing Possibility: Lessons from Mozfest 2014


Two weekends ago, I had the opportunity to help co-“wrangle” a floor for the 2014 Mozilla Festival, better known as Mozfest. Emphasizing the space’s festival-like ethos (as opposed to typical conference drudgery), Mozfest spills into hallways, walls, and, of course, the web with its bend toward productivity. Described as a “a hands-on festival dedicated to forging the future of this open, global web,” Mozfest brings together a global audience to spend a weekend making stuff. As co-wranglers (with an unequivocally great team of Christina Cantrill, Paul Oh, Jane Park, and Chad Sansing, our role was to