Mockingbirds and Thing Explaining: Knowledge Shared and Consumed in Today’s Classrooms


Let’s talk about how knowledge is valued and dispersed in schools today: last week, two stories percolated in online media that related to the kinds of texts that students will encounter while in schools. First, notable web comic author and best-selling author Randall Munroe’s work will be excerpted in forthcoming textbooks for high school students. As the author of the recent “Thing Explainer,” Munroe’s simplistic illustrations function exactly as their title implies; using basic vocabulary and clear line art, Munroe’s book explains things. From a submarine (i.e. “Boat that goes under the sea”) to the Large

Speaking for the Oregon Trail Generation: Meet the Center for Solutions to Online Violence Team


Moya Bailey brings her enthusiasm for transforming the digital humanities and her interest in asking critical questions about basic conditions for digital community engagement to her position at Northeastern University. Bailey has been an integral member of the #transformdh hashtag campaign to promote digital inclusion efforts to prioritize born-digital materials and complicate the potential meanings of “access” to technology.  As a core team member of the newly founded Center for Solutions to Online Violence, which received start-up funding from the recent DML Trust Challenge, she has been seeking innovative approaches to combatting the online sexism and racism that terrorizes

Reading as a Social Act


It’s commonly acknowledged that writing is a social act. What does it mean to write online? When we write in the digital age, we are writing to share and to connect. But, what about the act of reading? I open this reflection by quoting myself from a prior DML post: These days, the role of the reader is much like the role of the learner (in a 21st century digitized context). I see a kind of inherent transformation in both of these roles. Reading used to be a more solitary act, bound to a private and

Exploring Virtual Reality in Education


When looking at the state of digital media and learning today, virtual reality (VR) is barely a blip in many of the broader conversations. Much of the work being done focuses on peer-to-peer learning and practices of social pedagogy, which are in many ways, the opposite of the current state of VR. About 20 years ago, VR in education had something of a research heyday. A search on Google scholar turns up thousands of results between 1991-1999. While the research never slowed, the technology never became accessible enough for virtual reality to become mainstream.That is changing

Preparing Museums to Lead Future Learning


How do museums prepare for the arrival of the future, positioning themselves to be leaders in the learning ecology of tomorrow? To find out I spoke with one person who keeps an eye on that horizon — Elizabeth Merritt — from the Center for the Future of Museums. We spoke about augmented reality, digital badges and how museums can become a transformative force in education. Welcome, Elizabeth. Please introduce yourself. I’m Elizabeth Merritt, vice president for strategic foresight and founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums at the American Alliance of Museums. That’s

ClassDojo and the Measurement and Management of Growth Mindsets


ClassDojo is one of the most successful educational technologies in history. Originally developed as part of a Silicon Valley ed-tech accelerator program, it is highly illustrative of how the entrepreneurial culture and politics of high-tech innovation is now infusing the field of education. Through successful products like ClassDojo, Silicon Valley is seeking to radically disrupt education, and in the process to popularize new psychological theories of behaviour modification that align with emerging governmental agendas around the “non-academic” measurement of school performance. Changing Behaviours ClassDojo is a free mobile app that allows teachers to award “positive behaviour”

The Power of Community Open Online Courses


When MOOCs came along, and were swiftly adopted as the latest venture-funded startup fad, many who didn’t receive so much publicity back then started thinking of possibilities other than massive courses or strictly commercial open courses. Peter Shukie, lecturer at Community College, Blackburn, UK, and doctoral student at Lancaster University, started experimenting with “COOCs” — Community Open Online Courses. “The idea came from my experiences in adult literacy and community education, especially around students and teachers who seemed to be excluded — while at the same time being courted — by moves toward a technology-inspired learning ecology. At the

New for DML2016: Geek Out Day Features Hands-on Workshops


On behalf of all of us at the DML Research Hub, I’m using this blog as an open invitation to our 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, taking place Oct. 5-7 at UC Irvine. New this year: “Geek Out Day,” Oct. 5, featuring three- and six-hour workshops on such topics as civic engagement, designing online courses, digital storytelling, learning analytics, using Minecraft to teach academics and building youth social capital. Experts in their field will lead the nine workshops and participants should expect to fully immerse themselves. In fact, space is limited so seats are