Doing Innovation: How Millennials Are Navigating Today’s Economy

Thursday, October 08, 2015 Comment Hackathon-600

Millennials live in a world of contradictions. They are the most educated generation in U.S. history and yet they earn less than the previous generation of young workers. They live in the richest economy the world has ever seen and yet stable and meaningful employment remains elusive. This year, the U.S. Census announced that millennials now make up a greater share of the workforce than any other population segment. Millennials are coming of age at a time when many of our notions about work, identity, opportunity, and mobility are undergoing profound change. How are young 20 and 30-somethings navigating these

Taking Control of Your Digital Identity

Monday, October 05, 2015 Comment digital-id

A friend told me I was “going rogue” when I leased a slice of off-campus server to host The Social Media Classroom for my UC Berkeley and Stanford courses. The social affordances for the learning management systems at both institutions did not fulfill my needs for sophisticated forum, blog, wiki, and chat tools in courses about social media that used social media intensively as part of the curriculum. It cost me $50/year for a server that enabled me to install the SMC, MediaWiki, WordPress, and other online publishing platforms. When I taught Digital Journalism at Stanford,

Selfie Pedagogy III: Networked Spaces, Slut Shaming and Putting Selfies in Dialogue with Theory

Thursday, October 01, 2015 Comment Bland

Those looking for a top authority on how to teach effectively with selfies would be wise to put Terri Senft of New York University at the top of any list. Senft founded two influential Facebook groups of international researchers: the Selfies Research Network, which has more than 2,600 members; and a closed group with a smaller cohort, which is dedicated to collaborative teaching experiments with selfies. This group includes Alice Marwick (profiled on DML Central) and Miriam Posner (also profiled on DML Central). In a Skype interview with DML Central, Senft explained that “the impulse for the research group and

A Call for Increased Critical Media Literacy in Schools

Monday, September 28, 2015 Comment ahmed

The racial profiling and racist treatment that followed Ahmed Mohamed’s clock, and the intense media punditry that buzzed and died out in typical fashion highlighted many powerful lessons for young people. And, while I’ve appreciated the ongoing dialogue about racialized perspectives of the maker movement and who gets to be seen as an innovator and who is profiled, the entire exchange: from a viral photo of young Mohamed in handcuffs to a trending hashtag to Obama’s invitation to the White House has been a crucial case study in the need for increased critical media literacy within

My Exploration of Connected Learning as a Framework for Teacher Education

Thursday, September 24, 2015 Comment cl-graphic

I was living in Los Angeles in 2013 when the Los Angeles Unified School District began implementing its ill-fated plan to provide all of its 640,000 students with iPads. I am now living in El Paso, Texas, where the El Paso Independent School District just completed its (admittedly much smoother) roll-out of laptops for all of its 60,000 students. I could likely be telling a similar story regardless of where I lived considering the frenzy across the country to get devices into the hands of students. While I think the goal of providing equitable access to

Cursive Writing and the Importance of Teaching Skills

Monday, September 21, 2015 Comment kareem-trump-letter

For most of the past decade, I have spent a week each summer reading essays by high schoolers in the Advanced Placement program. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend: They are getting easier to read. Not in the sense that the students are better at organizing their ideas or crafting sentences than they have been in previous years, but rather they are literally easier to read. This past year, while reading through my 100th or so essay one day, I realized why: Most of the students aren’t writing in cursive anymore. Of course,

Taking Another Look at the Digital Credentials Landscape

Thursday, September 17, 2015 Comment 05

Recently, I’ve been having some interesting conversations about the digital credentials landscape. On the surface, it’s a bit messy. There are arguments over whether the term “Open Badges” should be used over the more generic “digital badges”; startups are talking about“‘micro-credentials”; and in my own work consulting with City & Guilds (an awarding body in the UK), we’ve been talking about “professional digital credentials.” In this post, I want to spend a little time teasing out the differences between the various terms and explaining why I think the diagram at the top of the post might help

Feeling Machines: The Psychopedagogies of Emotion-maximizing Media

Monday, September 14, 2015 Comment emotion

It is now possible to measure and manage emotions through mobile apps and other digital devices. As part of my current research exploring the expert practices and knowledge base of the emerging field of “educational data science,” I have been gathering examples of educational technologies that are designed to both monitor learners’ emotions through data mining techniques, and also to manipulate their feelings. I term these “psychopedagogies” of emotional maximization that are based on insights from the psychological sciences and delivered through digital media. They are also part of a wider trend in the digital control

Selfie Pedagogy II: Internet Identity and Selfie Practices

Thursday, September 10, 2015 Comment instagram-collage-600

As part of a series of blog postings exploring teaching and learning with selfies, it was logical to go next to Alice E. Marwick, Fordham professor and author of “Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age.” After all, Marwick was the one who published the Selfie Course online to make its open access materials available to other educators. As Marwick explained, “my big research interest is identity and the Internet in very broad terms, people’s self presentation and self expression, and how it changes when they have access to the very large

Teaching Social Studies Through Participatory Citizenship

Monday, September 07, 2015 Comment project-citizen

If you’ve encountered the critical pedagogy of Paolo Freire and have only encountered it in theory, meet Shannon White, who teaches social studies “through a social justice and community-oriented lens, fostering deep critical thinking that challenges the status quo and engages students in as many authentic experiences as possible.” She uses YouTube playlists, hashtag galleries and donorschoose to fund and document her programs. If you are interested in educators who use digital media and networks to connect students with the real world, consider Ms. White. I first heard about Shannon White from Don Wettrick, an extraordinary

Where We Stand: A Decade of Digital Media and Learning

Thursday, September 03, 2015 Comment museum-barry

This October will mark nine years since the official launch of the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, at an event held right down the hall from my desk at the American Museum of Natural History (yes, we offer a lovely room you too can rent out). At the time, I didn’t work at the museum, but the path that eventually lead me here was very much paved by the innovations in digital learning advanced by the foundation in the years that followed. And, I suspect that journeys like mine, which benefitted immeasurably from the

Selfie Pedagogy I: The Digital Humanities and Selfie Culture

Monday, August 31, 2015 Comment selfie-losh-1

Although The New York Times recently profiled the burgeoning development of “selfie scholarship,” the examination of the selfie genre in higher education is actually neither as new nor as radical as it seems. However, attention to selfie scholarship has been accelerated since hundreds of scholars joined a Facebook group founded by Theresa Senft of New York University to share bibliographies, curate specific selfie images, and disseminate new work. A select group began working on selfie pedagogy to launch The Selfie Course, including Fulbright scholar Radhika Gajjala, who was the subject of a profile piece on DML Central last

Making Upstanders in Today’s World

Thursday, August 27, 2015 Comment upstanders-600

Oppression happens. So, what can students do? How can young people become upstanders (people who stand up for social justice and equality) in their communities? In the fourth of a four-part Connected Learning TV and Facing History and Ourselves webinar series, activists and educators tackled those questions. The webinar speakers — Mary Hendra, who leads the Los Angeles program team for Facing History and Ourselves; Jon Lego, who teaches at Animo Jackie Robinson High School in Los Angeles; Emily Weisberg, a program associate for Facing History and Ourselves; Andrew Slack, co-founder of the Harry Potter Alliance; Milton Reynolds, a senior program

Software and Digital Data in Education

Monday, August 24, 2015 Comment Coding Learning cover.jpg

For the last two years, a group of colleagues from across the universities of Stirling, Edinburgh and Bristol have been working with me on a seminar series exploring how code acts in education. As the project comes to an end, we have produced a free, open access e-book: “Coding/Learning: software and digital data in education.” The seminar series was designed to address two particular matters of concern: first, the extent to which learning processes, practices and spaces are increasingly mediated and shaped through code; and, second, the emergence of a movement based on the idea of

Defining Digital Media Across Disciplines

Thursday, August 20, 2015 Comment board.jpg

After my last post on designing a course into digital media, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection and work trying to figure out best practices and approaches for defining digital media across disciplines. This project is the primary function of my new position as the associate director for Digital Learning Projects at LaGuardia Community College’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Recently, a digital competency was added as a requirement for all students. I am very excited that this is happening, and that I get to be a part of it, but it leaves a big

The Value of Social Media and Counternarratives

Monday, August 17, 2015 Comment blacklivesmatter-600.jpg

As I write these words, St. Louis County has just declared a state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of protests marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. When word began to spread that night that protests were taking a violent turn, I did not immediately turn to The New York Times, CNN, or any other traditional news source to learn more about what was happening. Instead, I turned to Twitter. There, I found first-hand reports from people on the scene in Ferguson about what

Enhancing Connected, Distributed Learning

Thursday, August 13, 2015 Comment leuphana-600.jpg

This is the last of the four-part series that draws from our experiences of completing a Mentored MOOC called “Managing the Arts” with the Goethe Institute at the Leuphana Digital School this spring. In the first part, I argued that distributed learning might conceptually help us better than connected learning, as it shows the seams, and promises not connectivity but consolidation as the role of technologies of online learning. My colleague Mariam Haydeyan detailed the idea of a distributed learner and her fragmented learning processes that become consolidated when we imagine the learner not just as an individual

Make ‘Em All Geniuses: Redefining Schools, Possibilities, Equity

Monday, August 10, 2015 Comment child-brain.jpg

Not to brag or anything, but I figured out how to solve the academic achievement “problem” plaguing the U.S. today: just treat all of our children like geniuses. Maybe I should elaborate: As part of my summer reading, I enjoyed Denise Shekerjian’s “Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born.” Twenty-five years old at this point, Shekerjian’s work profiled more than forty winners of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as the “genius award.” In case the fellowship is new to you, a few pieces of key information: fellows are chosen through a nomination process kept confidential from

Rethinking the Educator’s Role Toward Distributed Teaching

Thursday, August 06, 2015 Comment Philo_mediev.jpg

Editor’s note: This blog is the third in a series of four on digital learning. In our day-to-day work, we come across a vast range of blog entries, papers, presentations, videos, posts and tweets about digital education, in which different aspects of online learning and teaching are depicted, experiences made are reflected upon and new concepts and approaches are presented. Reading through these, we cannot help but be reminded of the picture showing a typical teaching scenario of the Dark Ages: a teacher being surrounded by a group of learners, listening to him and learning from him.

Learning English Through Digital Media

Monday, August 03, 2015 Comment cohen-teaching.jpg

Dr. Deborah Cohen, associate professor in the Global Education Innovation Center at Gyeongju University in  South Korea, uses three digital media-based practices to encourage her students: YouTube videos such as the inspirational “Never, Ever Give Up” as “digital media artifacts” for teaching English as a second language. In her classes on “Social Media for Social Change,” she assigns her students to follow, analyze, and discuss social media campaigns in political campaigns as they progress. The third practice is “digital storytelling and life writing through digital stories.” Dr. Cohen started out in South Korea almost five years