How to Socially Engineer Voluntary Integration

Thursday, October 20, 2016 Comment screenshot of website

In my first blog post for DML, I proposed that parents in school choice markets interpret and act on school performance data in ways that reinforce racial and socioeconomic segregation. New York City public schools are growing increasingly racially segregated, even public pre-K, according to a recent report from the Century Foundation. Economic segregation is also increasing, particularly within the 100 largest school districts, which saw a 30% increase in economic segregation between 1990 and 2010. Meanwhile, 50 years of high-quality qualitative and quantitative research indicate that socioeconomically integrated schools are a win-win, leading to improved

Watchworthy Wednesday: 15 DML Speakers Ignite, Enlighten

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 Comment ignite speakers

Fifteen inspiring speakers took the stage Oct. 6 and 7 during the 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference at the University of California, Irvine. With 20 slides and 5 minutes each, they delivered some powerful talks, enlightening conference-goers about the DML projects that fuel their passions. The following are excerpts from the speakers and videos of their full Ignite presentations. Fresh Rap From Prof Ross “Well, this is a story about how my teaching got flipped, turned upside down…. In So California, born and raised, watching TV is how I spent most of my days,

Teachers Paying Teachers for Lesson Plans

Monday, October 17, 2016 Comment potter-page

Kacey Potter, 8th grade English teacher in Rice Virginia, has earned more than $150,000 over the past five years by selling her curriculum to other teachers via Teachers Pay Teachers — lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, activities, tests, thematic unit plans, worksheets, mini-courses. Facebook All About Me Back to School Activity is $1.50. An entire 7th-, 8th-  or 9th- grade curriculum is $145. “I started really getting into tech and teaching when our school first started using interactive whiteboards and I was the only teacher who could figure out how to use them. That snowballed into my blogging

Stretch Your Mind: Code

Thursday, October 13, 2016 Comment babies

One of the most publicly prominent elements of the current interest in math and science education has been the adage that everyone should learn to code. When arguing for universal coding literacy, promoters often frame the benefits of coding as directly practical — a higher paying job, entry into an important industry, etc. In his thoughtful essay, Basel Farag explains how the direct connection between learning to program and earning a profit is separated by a few question marks. As Farag puts it: We live in an ultra-competitive world, with people turning to all sorts of

Watchworthy Wednesday: 2016 DML Keynote Recap

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 Comment Keynote speakers

In case you weren’t among the nearly 500 people at the 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference last week at the University of California, Irvine, here are highlights from the keynotes. What is the Intellectual Culture of Games? Thanks to two factors that have emerged — mobile gaming and a healthy indie ecosystem — video games are in “the golden age,” according to games expert Constance Steinkuehler, presently a professor in digital media at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and co-director of the Games+Learning+Society Center at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery and soon to join the UCI

Why It’s Time to Let Go of ‘Meritocracy’

Monday, October 10, 2016 Comment inclusive-equitable-education

Meritocracy seems like an unassailable concept. Who could argue with a belief that the ‘brightest and the best’ should reach the highest levels in society? In a heavily class-conscious society (like England), meritocracy proves an extremely alluring way of looking at the world. The idea is so simple: we provide objective, universal tests and this avoids nepotism and entrenched privilege. Everyone, it is argued, has a path to the top. Recently, the Conservative government in the UK made it known that they were considering allowing new grammar schools to be created. This proves a controversial topic,

How are Digital Learning Educators Made?

Thursday, October 06, 2016 Comment educators

Last year, I read Elizabeth Green’s “Building a Better Teacher” and it changed the way I understood education in America. Fundamental to this essential history (of recent efforts at education reform, not just in the U.S. but around the world) is the question of whether teachers are born or made. The book’s subtitle telegraphs Green’s answer “How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone).” If teachers are born, then all we need to do is support those inherently strong at it then push out the rest. If they are made, however, the task is

Watchworthy Wednesday: UCI Opens eSports Arena

Wednesday, October 05, 2016 Comment UCI eSports arena

Now that the University of California, Irvine has opened the first eSports arena of its kind at a public college, student-gamers soon will be doing battle against the enemy Lexus in “League of Legends” tournaments under big screens to cheering fans. The new 3,500-square-foot arena is outfitted with 80 custom gaming PCs, luxurious ergonomic chairs and a webcasting studio that will broadcast matches. Home to UCI’s elite new “League of Legends” team, the arena also will host summer camps and other special events, and is available to anyone who wants to play for recreation for about

Writing for Public Purpose

Monday, October 03, 2016 Comment class

This current back-to-school season is no doubt marked in tangible ways by a contentious presidential election cycle. I find myself wondering how much this indubitable backdrop will play a role in the learning that actually takes place in many classrooms. How much do the real world concerns of the day become an opportunity to help students become critical thinkers who learn to listen to others? Research and school time devoted to civic issues that engage student interest and ignite student passion can certainly represent powerful learning experiences. But, we often fall short of this opportunity in

Creating Culturally Sensitive Solutions to Digital Violence

Thursday, September 29, 2016 Comment Jacque Wernimont

As web materials for the Center for Solutions to Online Violence go live this month, at DML Central we are continuing to run profiles of those who participated in the DML Competition 5 Trust Challenge. By focusing specifically on trust issues, this series of grant opportunities was designed to address the continuing presence of serious obstacles to digital participation that go beyond access to technology and consider the role of systemic bias or suspicion. Rather than adopt a one-size-fits all approach to bullying and stalking, the CSOV offers those seeking information about combatting internet misogyny and

Watchworthy Wednesday: iPadpalooza Pizzazz

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Comment George Couros presenting keynote address

During the mini-keynotes at iPadpalooza over the summer, George Couros, author of “The Innovator’s Mindset,” talked about a kid who made a YouTube video, hoping somebody would see it. When he gets one “like,” he makes another video in gratitude and ends up going viral. “So, this kid totally reminds me of me when I was a kid,” Couros said. “A little bit awkward, a little bit chubby and just hoping he connects to somebody…. He makes a six-minute video to thank people all around the world for his one like. So, he goes on and

Hacking for Change

Monday, September 26, 2016 Comment young people hacking

In a recent trip to Sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent time seeing up close the country’s burgeoning technology and social innovation-driven ecosystem. During his visit to countries like Nigeria and Nairobi, Zuckerberg visited a coding camp for children, vibrant innovation hubs, and several tech companies. He also sought to learn more about what makes Kenya the world leader in mobile money. Zuckerberg met with a number of young tech entrepreneurs who are toiling away, striving to remake Africa’s economy, boost civic life, strengthen education, and raise public health standards. According to Zuckerberg, “Africa is where the future

Virtually Connecting at #2016DML

Thursday, September 22, 2016 Comment dml2015

I am pleased to report that the upcoming Digital Media and Learning Conference (to be held at the University of California, Irvine on Oct. 5-7) is slated as rich ground for Virtually Connecting!   Virtually Connecting is a connected learning community that is reshaping the ways we think about professional collegiality. In a traditional model of professional development, conferences have always been the key location to build conversations and connections. In the era of the conference hashtag and the meeting back channel, claims have been made that it is easier to keep up with conference conversations,

Watchworthy Wednesday: Brokering Learning Opportunities

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Comment Brokering

A new initiative — Building Youth Pathways in Computer Science and Digital Making (CS-Paths) — has been launched in an effort to support teens in computing and digital making programs. CS-Paths, a partnership between the Hive Research Lab (HRL) and the Hive NYC Network, asks: “How might we support young people to pursue computing and digital media pathways that go beyond a single program experience?” The answer: through brokering learning opportunities. This kind of brokering is the practice of a caring adult such as a teacher, counselor, peer, librarian or volunteer helping a young person connect

‘Compojing’: Writing with Emoji for Fun and Profit

Monday, September 19, 2016 Comment emojis on pillows

Over the past year and a half, I have been working closely with a group of researchers and teachers in Northern Colorado on a co-designed curriculum project called Compose Our World. While there is plenty to share about that project at a future date, today I want to talk a little bit about composition practices within our online communication tool, Slack. Specifically, I want to talk about “reactions” within the platform. While many readers may be presently using or are familiar with Slack, what I most appreciate is how seamlessly it moves communication from text to

Digital Literacy, Identity and a Domain of One’s Own

Thursday, September 15, 2016 Comment arm

I must have about 10 domain names. That’s a lot less than some people I know, but 10 more than most people. Two of the domain names are those that I own on behalf of other people (my children) while the rest are for various projects and things I’ve done over the years. My doctoral work is on one of them. I’ve got projects I share with other people ( And, of course, I have a canonical domain which includes my first and last name ( Ten years ago, if I knew someone primarily through

Watchworthy Wednesday: New Series Features Extraordinary Women

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Comment Feminist Frequency

Emma Goldman was born in 1869 in Russia. When she was 15, her father tried to force her to get married and when she refused, he threw her French grammar book in the fire. At 16, she left her homeland, immigrating to the United States where she discovered her calling as a political revolutionary. Her story comes to life as narrated by Anita Sarkeesian, in this just-released video series, “Ordinary Women Daring to Defy History” by Feminist Frequency: “The Revolutionary Life of Emma Goldman” is the first of five videos in the series, telling the stories

A Conversation About Screen Time

Monday, September 12, 2016 Comment kids and screens

I raised a millennial who is now in her 30s. We dealt with the fact that she did her homework while engaging in multiple instant-message conversations and watching television in the background. Her response: “When I stop making straight As in school, maybe it’s a problem.” I’ve talked a lot about my conversations with my daughter about “crap detection” and search engines, which were just coming of age around the time she started using them for middle school research. In those olden days of the early 2000s, smartphones, SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, weren’t issues. The territory is

Critical Educational Questions for Big Data, Part 2

Thursday, September 08, 2016 Comment server

I started a list of critical questions for big data in education earlier this week. This is a big topic, raising lots of big questions and serious topics and problems for further debate and discussion. Here, I focus on questions about big data ownership, divides, algorithmic accountability, issues about voice and literacy, and, finally, ethical implications and challenges of big data in education. Who “owns” educational big data? The sociologist Evelyn Ruppert has asked, “who owns big data?” noting that numerous people, technologies, practices and actions are involved in how data is shaped, made and captured.

Watchworthy Wednesday: The 5 Most Needed 21st Century Skills

Wednesday, September 07, 2016 Comment CharacterDay

As the third annual Character Day approaches Sept. 22, the nonprofit Let it Ripple Film Studio will be featuring “The Adaptable Mind,” an 11-minute exploration of the five skills we need most to flourish in the 21st century. Webby Awards creator Tiffany Shlain, who founded Character Day, co-founded the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and leads Let it Ripple, uses Twitter to pose a question at the beginning of the film: “What’s a great example of a 21st century mind in action?” She receives hundreds of responses and focuses on the one from Los