2014: A DML Look Back, Forward


For my final post of the year, I thought I would turn the mic around and ask YOU, the ever faithful DML Central reader, what you think about the year in digital media and learning. To get your thoughts flowing, I asked my fellow DML Central columnists to weigh in with their own year-end observations. Please take a moment to review their reflections, then add your own. You know what? Let’s not just look back but forward as well, making some predictions, and then let’s agree to meet back here in a year’s time and see

Let Go of Fear for Connected Learning Success


I want to talk about the one thing that I think is the biggest risk in connected learning: Not Trying. The biggest barrier to meaningful experimentation that I’ve encountered is the fear of an experiment not working or achieving the desired results. In other words, people are afraid of failure. When we take things like negativity bias into account, that makes sense. So, how do we reframe learning experimentation outside of failure that takes into account our fear of failure? I think the most successful shift I’ve seen implemented, and that I’ve made myself when I’m

Genius: Web Annotation, Digital Literacies and Educational Possibilities


The same evening as the non-indictment announcement in the Michael Brown case was announced, I received an email notification from Genius.com about a teacher-driven conversation called “How do I talk to my students about Ferguson?” More than two dozen responses flooded into the forum discussion including video links, news articles, and canonical literature that could guide classroom discussions. Looking at the way this community has emerged around an online tool, I have been intrigued by the digital literacy possibilities of Genius.com and the communities that it is fostering. Originally launched as Rap Genius, the site has

Tinkering and Thinking with Maker Kylie Peppler


Some enthusiasts of digital media in learning and inclusion of making/tinkering as a learning activity — including myself — believe that talking about tinkering while doing it, in person and online, can enhance social contexts for peer learning and for learning thinking skills. Although the contemporary availability of resources such as YouTube and Arduino seems particularly suited to an emphasis on social learning and tinkering-thinking, the pedagogy goes back (at least) to the early 20th century Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. A few key Vygotsky ideas about learning seem particularly applicable to connected learning, whether or not

Computing Brains: Neuroscience, Machine Intelligence and Big Data in the Cognitive Classroom


The human brain has become a major topic in education. The field of educational neuroscience, or neuroeducation, is flourishing. At the same time, a number of initiatives based in computer science departments and major technology companies are also taking the brain seriously. Computer scientists talk of developing new brain-inspired cognitive learning systems, or of developing new theoretical and computational understandings of the brain in order to then build new and more effective forms of machine intelligence. The important aspect of these synchronous developments in neuroscience and brain-based systems is that they are beginning to come together

Striving for New Ways to Learn How to Learn


Much hope, promise, and cash has been invested in technology for the classroom, yet this hype has often set the stage for nothing more than technologically-powered traditional content delivery paradigms masquerading as innovation. The course of magical thinking that continues to celebrate “ed tech” often ends up replicating the same systemic problems that existed before the advent of new tools. Can technology serve as a transformative force for equity and justice? Many of us in the classroom know well that technology is by no means a quick fix for the shortcomings of education today. I have

A Brief History of Web Literacy and its Future Potential


“Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.” — George Orwell Part of history is telling stories. It’s about privileging some type of information over others, forming a narrative that helps us make sense of the world. These overviews are important, as they help us orient ourselves toward the future — in ways that reinforce or question what has gone before. We’re constantly reinterpreting the past to make sense of the present. New technologies and revelations can change the way we view those things we think we knew.