Digital Humanities and Selfie Culture, Part 1

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


The Power of Decentralization in the MOOC

Thursday, July 30, 2015 Comment rhino-600.jpg

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of four blogs on digital technology. Nishant Shah’s Annotation: In the last entry, I had suggested that instead of connectedness, what we really need to think about, in connected and digital learning, is the idea of distributedness. I had argued that the role of technology in MOOC environments is that of consolidation, and it is the act of consolidation that allows for the distributedness of learners, teachers, and resources to be sustained. Building upon this conversation, my colleague Mariam Haydeyan at the Leuphana Digital School, uses the


Advancing New Forms of Scholarship in Writing

Monday, July 27, 2015 Comment game-banner-600.jpg

I continue to think a great deal about how new media has grown the possibilities of our collective academic work. As the director of a Masters in Writing Studies Program at Kean University, I often reckon with how our traditional forms of scholarship are merely one reference point when considering how to produce and create new knowledge. As a result, I have for some time been a proponent of a more expansive sense of what writing might entail in the 21st century, and I have often spoken about “Writing-as-Making.” The digitized and computational environments of our


The Role of Technology in Digital Learning

Thursday, July 23, 2015 Comment fox-600.jpg

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of four blogs on digital learning. In their accidental and ironic hit Youtube song, “What does the Fox say?”, the Norwegian band Ylvis, who first produced it as an “anti-hit” production, takes up a school-book primer describing all the different noises that animals make, and make a critical intervention in this taxonomy of school-room sounds: But, there’s one sound that no one knows, what does the fox say? The viral hit song has been adopted by many different user-movements, who have used it to draw attention to


Book Lacks Digital Reading Details

Monday, July 20, 2015 Comment sub-readers-600.jpg

The goal of “Words Onscreen,” Naomi S. Baron’s new book, is to account for the ways that “digital reading is reshaping our understanding of what it means to read” (p. xii). Baron argues that “digital reading is fine for many short pieces or for light content we don’t intend to analyze or reread,” but it “is less well suited for many longer works or even for short ones requiring serious thought” (p. xii). While Baron largely does an excellent job surveying the changes that new technologies have introduced to our reading habits — her demonstration of


Seeking the Next Steve Jobs

Thursday, July 16, 2015 Comment jobs-600.jpg

Most practitioners and education researchers argue that digital divides are still the biggest obstacle to ensuring that diverse populations of youth have a shot at becoming the next Steve Jobs. Among these divides are gaps in students’ digital skills. For example, studies find that teachers do not equally teach the same digital skills in Internet use, online collaboration, and digital production. But school technology rollouts in recent history suggest it’s more than just about skills. When in 2013, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) signed a $30 million deal with Apple to buy iPads for its


Setting an Agile School Rhythm

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When I moved out of the classroom a few years ago, one of the things I missed immediately was the imposed rhythm of the school year. There’s something inherently useful about knowing everyone’s on the same page. Staff and students alike know what’s coming next, with peaks and troughs of activity evident through a glance at the calendar. Over recent years there have been moves which, for better or worse, could alter this imposed rhythm. An increased focus on personalisation, more opportunities for blended/flipped learning, and concerns about student regression after the long summer break, mean


A Call for Algorithmic Studies

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Digital technology and its modes of production, representation, distribution, and circulation remodel the conditions of possibility: the definition of Being, the structuring of the Social, the instrumentalization of the Political, the animation of the Cultural. They re-tool — and in many ways manufacture anew — the very nature of life itself. Even Bruno Latour and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, among others, comment on the growing indistinguishability between humanity and animality, a binary which the technological unhinges. Digital technologies create this third condition with the human and the animal in its developing sensorial capacities and evolutionary “smartness”; in its taction to our flesh and fusion with our skin


Open Networked News Curriculum

Monday, July 06, 2015 Comment news-600.jpg

Newsactivist was born when Gabriel Flacks, instructor and chair of the Humanities Program at Saint-Lambert Champlain Regional College in Montreal, started looking for ways that students could write about the news in a networked way. “It started as an extracurricular local group,” recalls Flacks, “then expanded to sharing with other students in other parts of the world. Within a year, the idea became a curriculum.” Working with a collaborative teaching partner, Dr. Eric Kaldor, assistant professor of sociology at The College at Brockport, Statue University of New York, Flacks and his partner started with 140 students


Eating Robots: Data Diets and Hungry Algorithms

Thursday, July 02, 2015 Comment RobotRAM-600.jpg

What do robots eat? Contemporary digital data analytics systems feed on a diet of data produced through human activity. Through this feeding, robotic machines receive the informational nutrition required for their own development: to become smarter, more aware of their environment, more responsive and adaptive in their interactions with people. By eating human data, robots are learning.  Feeding Societies The claim that we now live in a consumer society has become commonplace in academic research. People have become voracious consumers, but also, through their participation in social media environments, present themselves as desirable commodities for the


How to Teach Self-Directed Digital Media

Monday, June 29, 2015 Comment newmedia-600.jpg

The digital world has many moving parts, and bringing it into the classroom can seem overwhelming, both for the instructor, and the student. Once it gets broken  down to the pieces that are relevant to the learning outcomes, however, it becomes a bit more manageable, at least from a planning standpoint, for the instructor. For the student, without the proper framework for success, it can still seem pretty overwhelming. Most students are in multiple classes where there is little to no overlap between instructors. Teaching styles, material, technology, and subject are all disjointed. When a digital


How a Digital Pen is Turning a Museum into a Library

Thursday, June 25, 2015 Comment pen-banner.jpg

Right now, in New York City, a digital pen is turning a museum into a library — a 21st century library, that is. And, its potential impact across civic and cultural spaces offers considerable lessons for those interested in participatory and digital learning and the future of museums. If, like me, you work in a museum you’ve probably already guessed what I am talking about, as it’s all the buzz: the newly renovated Cooper-Hewitt’s Pen. The Cooper-Hewitt is the Smithsonian’s design museum located in NYC within the stately Andrew Carnegie Mansion. After a six-year renovation project,