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


Schooling the Platform Society

Monday, October 24, 2016 Comment circuit board

Social media platforms have become key parts of everyday life. The use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Spotify and so on has become so widespread that some commentators have begun to speak of an emerging “platform society” and of “platform capitalism.” At the same time, we are seeing the development of new platforms for use in schools. What might be the impact on education of the emergence of a platform society and platform capitalism? The sociologists of social media Jose van Dijck and Thomas Poell have argued that “over the past decade, social media platforms have penetrated deeply


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

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

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,