Critical Civic Innovation in Action via PhotoVoice

Thursday, December 08, 2016 Comment tweet

In the wake of last month’s election, many Americans of all backgrounds are fearful about the direction in which the U.S. will be heading under President-elect Trump in areas ranging from education and healthcare to immigration and LGBTQ rights. This fear is accompanied by shock among some about the ability of so many of this country’s voters to explicitly or implicitly support xenophobia, racism, and misogyny. But, to many members of underprivileged communities whose histories are marked by oppression and marginalization, shock is the province of the (racially) privileged who are having their vision of America and


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Report Features Connected Learning in Libraries

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 Comment Creating a dress she designed at Providence Public Library’s Fashion Forward program

In their just released research report, “Connected Libraries: Surveying the Current Landscape and Charting a Path to the Future,” scholars from the University of Maryland and University of Washington examine the different types of “connected learning” happening in public libraries across the nation and the challenges that librarians face as facilitators. The report opens with an infographic explanation of connected learning, an educational framework that emphasizes learning experiences that are socially embedded, interest driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Examples of connected learning experiences in libraries are discussed and resources for librarians to use


Practicing the Principles of Connected Learning

Monday, December 05, 2016 Comment connected courses

I’ve met and profiled active contributors for years, but Kevin Hodgson has to be one of the most active co-learners I’ve encountered. He was part of my Twitter personal learning network, but I began to understand how much energy he puts into sharing his knowledge and imagination when we participated in Connected Courses, “a collaborative community of faculty in higher education developing networked, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.” We had a plan, but part of that plan was what I call “co-learning” — we knew that


Exploring 3 Models of Digital Literacy

Thursday, December 01, 2016 Comment kids

The New Media Consortium, the group behind the annual Horizon reports on the impact of technology on learning, has produced a short report on digital literacy. The report is based on a survey of 450 educators on their perceptions of digital literacy and how it is being implemented in their fields. The recommendations in the report don’t cover a whole lot of new ground — students should be thought of as makers, etc. — but, the project is interesting for its attempt to define digital literacy. As the authors of the report — Bryan Alexander, Samantha


Watchworthy Wednesday: Virtual Field Trip Delves into Museum Science

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Comment Infrared xray of artwork

With a camera that sees infrared light pointed at a centuries-old painting by artist Jan Provost, the original sketch underneath appears. The x-rayed image shows how different the original drawing was from what was ultimately painted. To analyze the minerals in the paint used, scientists use XRF (X-ray fluorescence), a non-destructive analytical technique that determines the elemental composition of materials. Such science and technology can be used to answer all sorts of art history and scientific questions. That was the point of a virtual field trip today behind the scenes at the Detroit Institute of Arts


IBM, Pearson and the Cognitive Infrastructure of Education

Monday, November 28, 2016 Comment watson

The world’s largest edu-business, Pearson, partnered with one of the world’s largest computing companies, IBM, at the end of October 2016 to develop new approaches to education in the “cognitive era.” Their partnership was anticipated earlier in the year when both organizations produced reports about the future trajectories of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence for personalizing learning. I wrote a piece highlighting the key claims of both at the time, and have previously published some articles tracing both Pearson’s interests in big data and IBM’s development of cognitive systems for learning. The announcement of their partnership


Toward a Pedagogy of Repair and Care

Thursday, November 24, 2016 Comment sign of circle over bad word

Note: This is the introduction to a four-part mini-series that looks at a growing dissonance between the politics that we espouse in our classes and the realities that our students observe in their everyday practices. The impetus for this series emerges from the fact that while in class, the young scholars I work with struggle to engage with politics of care, life, and dignity. They experience in their digital zeitgeist an emerging culture of abrasive, brutal, and abusive language and behavior that negates their intellectual engagements. Beginning with setting up the context in this first post,


Watchworthy Wednesday: Gratitude Increases Well-being

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 Comment world gratitude map

As Americans gather to celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, people around the globe can take part in giving thanks through free online projects that aim to boost well-being and resilience year-round. Crowd-Sourced Gratitude Map Some 23,000 people from 100 countries so far have posted notes about what they’re grateful for on the World Gratitude Map, a crowd-sourcing project founded by Jacqueline Lewis five years ago. It, Lewis said, “encourages users to document and celebrate the good things in life and helps keep their eyes on all that’s good and beautiful and possible in the world.” A few


Lesson Ideas for Mobile Learning

Monday, November 21, 2016 Comment Shelley Sanchez Terrell with child, using mobile phone

I knew that I had to talk with Shelly Sanchez Terrell again when I learned through the tweetvine that she had a new book out about mobile learning (Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones, and BYOT). Six years ago, my interview with and blog post about Terrell’s netweaving turned out to be a useful resource when I sought to explain to educators the value and how-to of personal learning networks. She’s a teacher who teaches teachers. She’s taught in more than 20 countries! She’s currently adjunct professor At Alamo Community


The Importance of Imagination, Part 1

Thursday, November 17, 2016 Comment people on the moon

On the morning after election day, I tweeted: Slept 2 hrs. My 1st act of love & creative imagination 2day: starting my kids day off w/courage, honesty & belief in goodness. Deep breath. — Mia Zamora (@MiaZamoraPhD) November 9, 2016 Shocked, exhausted, and profoundly heartbroken, I knew to meet the day with the universal mandate for good parenting: to serve as my children’s best example. I took similar steps to support and listen to my students. Soon thereafter, I came to realize I was experiencing a form of grief. A sense of loss shared by so


Watchworthy Wednesday: Letters for the 45th President

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 Comment topics of letters to the president from young people

Gun control, immigration, education, abortion and police brutality are among the top issues that young people care about and want President-elect Donald J. Trump to care about, too. As part of the Letters to the Next President 2.0 project, students, ranging in age from 13 to 18, from across the country wrote letters expressing their views on myriad issues. Nearly 12,000 letters were penned online. The following are  a few excerpts: “Gun violence across America has been getting progressively worse, and something needs to be done in attempt to resolve this crisis. Given the violent world we live


4 Lessons from the Election for Educational Researchers

Monday, November 14, 2016 Comment election coverage

I get that there are going to be a lot of think pieces about what this means and what we need to do (I posted immediate repercussions of the election for teachers Tuesday night as well). I see your posts on social media, I hear your podcasts, I’m following your hashtag. We are coping and the words that are pouring forth are necessary. The statements of disgust, fear, and anguish are necessary right now as are those of action, determination, and hope. Keep doing that. On top of these, I am working my way through building


Language, Gaming and Possibilities

Thursday, November 10, 2016 Comment language game screenshot

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with game designer Kathryn Hymes about language, agency, and world building. As one half of the gaming company Thorny Games (with Hakan Seyalioglu), Kathryn is currently running a Kickstarter for a tabletop roleplaying game, Dialect, a game that encourages players to create a new culture and its language and — over time — imagine how the language gradually dies. Possibilities of Gaming In looking at Dialect, I am particularly interested in how the flexibility of gaming allows players to move beyond traditional assumptions of what games can be and


Watchworthy Wednesday: iCivics Game Delivers Lessons on U.S. Presidency

Wednesday, November 09, 2016 Comment screenshot of icivics game

As Donald Trump was declared president elect early this morning, the website iCivics debuted a new edition of Executive Command, an animated educational game aimed at teaching kids all about the role of the president. The game has players take on the role and select an agenda for the country. They learn what it takes to accomplish their goals while facing the challenges and responsibilities that appear along the way. “We don’t learn civics and how to be involved as a citizen, genetically. We have to learn it, every generation,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says in a


DOI Finds Open Access Research

Monday, November 07, 2016 Comment open

One of the best things to come out of Open Access Week was the oaDOI tool by Impactstory. If you are unfamiliar with the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system, it provides a unique identifier for published works, one that operates as a persistent link to those works. Using this identifier, researchers can search for the work in question using just the DOI by adding “doi.org/” to the front of it. While the DOI system is great, when you search for a research article using its DOI, you typically are pointed to the publisher’s’ version of the


9 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Educational Games

Thursday, November 03, 2016 Comment board game

I’ve been teaching educational game design for a few semesters now as part of a module of a Creative Thinking and Problem Solving liberal arts course at my institution. I started out as a novice to the whole idea of game design, but I knew a lot about education. From teaching the course several times, I’ve learned a lot about how to teach it (and how not to), but I’ve also learned a lot from observing my students make mistakes when designing educational games. And, I make these mistakes sometimes when attempting to design a game.


Watchworthy Wednesday: How to Make Digital Civic Change

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 Comment ypp

The Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network has debuted a new website, featuring its “Action Frame” — 10 questions designed to guide young people on how to make civic change in this digital age. From the website: Sixties activists insisted the personal is political. Change-makers in the digital age get that idea, and one-up it with another rallying cry: the political is social and cultural. Your platforms and digital strategies need to make this principle count, so that you, your peers, and your audiences engage each other, and the allies you all want, in high-quality, equitable,


The Importance of Working ‘Open’ in Education

Monday, October 31, 2016 Comment elevator key

Is working “open” the binary opposite of “closed” ways of working? Could it be that it’s as simple as flicking some kind of switch for your organisation or institution to begin embracing open working practices? Matt Thompson, a former colleague at Mozilla, doesn’t think so. Building on a post he wrote five years ago entitled simply “How to work open,” Matt has recently encouraged us to start small — using the metaphor of a dimmer switch to explain his point. Another metaphor we might want to use is of an elevator, as Bryan Mathers has used


Moving Past Civic Engagement To Civic Innovation

Thursday, October 27, 2016 Comment Nicole Mirra at DML2016

Every year, without fail, I leave the Digital Media and Learning Conference with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to my work. While I attribute some of this energy boost to the opportunity to connect with colleagues and share my research, I think its major source is the conference’s commitment to highlighting the power and responsibility of digital technologies to contribute to a more equitable and active civic life. Too often, when discourses about education and technology converge, conversations focus on the novelty-factor of particular tools in the classroom, opportunities for large-scale data collection, or


Watchworthy Wednesday: Closing the Homework Gap

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 Comment students at computers doing homework in library

Franny Millen was in the 7th grade four years ago when she realized that many of her classmates couldn’t do their homework because they didn’t have a computer or internet access at home. To her, that was simply unfair and she and her family started a nonprofit organization, Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D), to help her peers. “As educators, we recognize that we don’t have digital equity in our community but to Franny, it was just not fair,” Valerie Truesdale, chief technology officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, recalled. “Some students could extend learning beyond