From Changing Education Systems to Changing Society


Whether stated explicitly or not, a core proposition of DML is that there are deep consequences to the ways that young people are learning both in and out of school and using digital technology with peers, in affinity groups, as they develop interests and expertise. In the context of the U.S., digital media and learning (DML) offers challenges to the school curriculum and significantly to the organization of the out-of-school, community-based non-formal learning sector. But, what could it mean in other places around the world? I recently visited TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies, in Yerevan, the capital

Amplifying the Teacher Perspective on Connected Learning


This is my second post in a series exploring my journey to develop and teach a graduate “Multimodal Literacies” course for pre-service and in-service teachers based on the connected learning framework. (Here are my first and second posts in the series, as well as my original inspiration.)    And, we’re off! In the blink of an eye, the first five weeks of my graduate course focusing on “New & Multimodal Literacies” with pre-service and in-service teachers have flown by. My six committed students and I have been engaged in an exploration of Connected Learning and its applications to

Love and Animation as Missing Ingredients: A Discussion With Marjorie Faulstich Orellana


Books. Laptops. Construction paper. Text books. Desks. Bells. Backpacks. Pens. Smart board styluses. White boards. LCD projectors. Hall passes. The list goes on. The spaces of learning — whether we are discussing classrooms, libraries, extracurricular clubs — are full of a lot of tangible stuff. However, if we want to improve learning, the gaze of educators needs to look beyond the materiality of classrooms and closer at the individuals within these spaces. We need to consider how the relationships between participants in learning spaces captivate and thrill. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Marjorie Faulstich Orellana,

Lessons Learned During Summer Minecraft Camp


We partnered with Connected Camps and Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative (BBK) last summer to run a four-week affiliate camp for underprivileged kids in the city of Richmond, California. Richmond’s residents are predominantly low-income Black or Latino families, and a recent study by the Richmond Public Library and BBK found that computer and Internet access in this community was far below the national average. With the generous assistance of the City of Richmond’s IT staff, we hosted the camp in Richmond’s City Hall IT Training Room, a basement room with 28 workstations. These computers were connected

The Possibilities of Badges and Blockchain


In March 2015, I wrote “Peering Deep into the Future of Educational Credentialing” for DML Central. In it, I explored the potential for the blockchain technology (best known for underpinning Bitcoin) to add an extra layer of trust and verification to Open Badges. Now, a year later, we’re a lot closer to that reality than I originally envisioned. The diffusion of innovation has moved so quickly that even government ministers are excited about the possibilities afforded by the blockchain. Let’s back up a bit first. The great thing about the Open Badges Infrastructure is that it’s

Annotation, Rap Genius and Education


Annotation educator Jeremy Dean came to me through my serendipity amplifier: Twitter. I watch some people think aloud in public and some people attend to my public online musings; when I think out loud in perceiving range of the right publics, the serendipities start amplifying. One of my Rheingold U students asked me via an open tweet whether I still use Diigo for social bookmarking; I replied that I also liked Diigo as a way to have conversations with learners about online texts through highlights and comment threads. I had not known Dr. Dean, but he

Making Learning Matter in the Digital Classroom


In a recent blog post, I discussed the noteworthy success of a web-based course launched by a research university in a high-profile initiative that emphasized online access as much as digital education. As I pointed out, student evaluations are almost never universally positive about large courses, particularly required courses with many drafts due for projects that can feel like “busy work” to skeptical undergraduates. I interviewed the course instructor, Alexandra Sartor, in this blog post and wanted to follow up with the instructional designer, Ava Arndt, as well. A disclaimer is probably in order here, since

Online Literacy and the College Learner: Transfer Research and Technology


Recently, I wrote a post for DML Central about an online course that’s receiving unusually high course evaluations and is being offered by the Culture, Art, and Technology program at UC San Diego. It’s a course in which online literacy is both the form and the content of the assigned curriculum. The instructor, Alexandra Sartor, took time out from teaching for an interview with DML Central to talk about her experiences, teaching the course. She laughed about the fact that her ultimate achievement was probably having “almost no comments about the form of the course.” Despite the digital focus