Crowdsourcing Scholarship

Monday, June 21, 2010 Comment girls sitting on steps outside holding cell phones

A few weeks ago, just before the 2010 THATCAMP, a well-known technology and humanities “unconference,” got underway at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, the center’s director, Dan Cohen, and his colleague and co-director, Tom Scheinfeldt, made a radical proposal.  In a blog posting called “One Week, One Book: Hacking the Academy,” Cohen proposed that conference participants and others following the discussion on Twitter and in the academic blogosphere should assemble a book about digital media and higher education.  The mandate was to do the project quickly – in only one


Rethinking the Human Subjects Process

Monday, June 14, 2010 Comment
research brainstorm written on blackboard

Get a group of social scientists together to talk about prospective research and it won’t take long before the conversation turns to the question of human subjects board approval. Most researchers have a war story, and all have an opinion of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the committee in US universities that must approve any planned investigation to make certain that the subjects of the research are protected. Before too long, someone will suggest doing away with the IRB, or avoiding human subjects altogether. Research in the field of Digital Media and Learning (DML) tends to


How COPPA Fails Parents, Educators, Youth

Thursday, June 10, 2010 Comment large data center lobby hall green and red light

Ever wonder why youth have to be over 13 to create an account on Facebook or Gmail or Skype? It has nothing to do with safety.  In 1998, the U.S. Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) with the best of intentions.  They wanted to make certain that corporations could not collect or sell data about children under the age of 13 without parental permission, so they created a requirement to check age and get parental permission for those under 13. Most companies took one look at COPPA and decided that the process of


A professor with unconventional methods, message

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 Comment man and woman sitting next to each other working on phone

Digital media and learning initiatives often talk in utopian terms about a “future without books,” but don’t say that to New School faculty member Trebor Scholz.  Scholz, who teaches in the Department of Culture and Media, has had great success with making a book the final project turned in by students at the end of his new media courses.  Instead of merely offering a traditional final exam, he asks students to submit print-on-demand publications that consist of at least 10,000 words and display real production values, even in large lecture classes. According to Scholz, students appreciate


Privacy and social media sites: a growing, global concern

Friday, June 04, 2010 Comment 3 shadows of people

Raquel Recuero, a Brazilian professor, is an Internet culture researcher in South America. Wherever social networking sites have reached the mainstream, privacy seems to have become a more common worry for users. Brazilians, in general, have not thought much about social network privacy, but that is definitely changing. In the beginning of the social media phenomenon in Brazil, when Orkut started catching on (Orkut was the first SNS to grow significantly in the country), users shared almost everything. Social browsing (navigating through other people’s profiles) became the most common activity and finding new (and old) friends


It’s an amazing time to be a learner – Will Richardson

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 Comment yarn connecting people together

Your personal learning network is not just a network of people you learn from. A “pln,” as enthusiasts call them, is a network of people who are learning together. I was given this essential lore – and truth be told, much of what I know about social media in education – by Will Richardson. The reciprocal nature of learning networks is only the latest useful insight Richardson has given me and the rest of his network. In part, this blog post and interview is a form of reciprocation: you know you have succeeded as an educator


Reanimating education: ideas, questions, inspirations

Friday, May 28, 2010 Comment empty rundown classroom

Editor’s note: We asked student blogger Chris Sinclair to examine all the discourse, content, and conversation in and around the recent TEDxNYED event on education reform, curate it, and comment on it from a student’s perspective. If I had to identify the most consistent narrative around this event, it would be the constraints of the contemporary, lecture-centered classroom environment and how it rewards those who excel at standardized testing, not those interested in actual learning. The speakers questioned the long-standing dynamic between lecturer and student, and suggested that the era of blind memorization of facts is


Emergent Networks: Fotologs as Performances of the Self

Monday, May 24, 2010 Comment black and white photo of girls shadows

Raquel Recuero, a Brazilian professor, is an Internet culture researcher in South America. Fotolog, a photo-sharing site, grew quickly in South America, becoming one of the most popular social networking services in Chile, Brazil and other countries. Fotologs became interesting narratives of everyday life, carefully constructed by users to share the impressions they wanted to display for their audience. They became identity performances. A Gothic user I interviewed, for example, would only publish pictures in black and white, always accompanied by Gothic band lyrics. He said it was a way to “make a statement about himself.”


Recommended reads, links from Global Kids

Thursday, May 20, 2010 Comment group of global kids posing in front of country flags

Editor’s note: Global Kids regularly points us to their current favorite resources. Please tell us what you’re reading or watching and why others should as well! At the top of our list is the best-selling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It’s described as: “Race, poverty and science intertwine in the story of the woman whose cancer cells were cultured without her permission in 1951 and have supported a mountain of research undertaken since then.” It’s a great example of how to use a personal narrative to introduce an audience to broader issues about racism,


Wikimedia and the Future of Public Media

Monday, May 17, 2010 Comment animated castle with boy walking towards it

As of this week, I am officially part of Wikimedia’s advisory board. I’m super excited to be part of the Wikimedia team and community, and am feeling rosy about the promise of all I will learn and hopefully even contribute. Like hordes of other net users, I rely on Wikipedia almost daily as my outboard brain, a taken-for-granted benefit of living in a networked age. I’ve made some edits and contributions to Wikipedia along the way, but mostly I’ve treated it as a public resource there for the taking. When I visited Wikimedia a few months


10 Innovative Digital Media & Learning Projects Win $1.7M

Thursday, May 13, 2010 Comment
reimagining learning banner

The results of the MacArthur Foundation’s 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition are in, and the 10 winning projects can’t help but to inspire anyone even remotely interested in understanding the potential of the Internet and digital technology to transform learning and knowledge creation. Among the winners: a project to show youth-produced videos on 2,200 Los Angeles city buses and an initiative that will use webcasting, video blogging, and social networking to connect kids from Chicago’s West Side with kids in Fiji to work together to protect Fiji’s coral reefs. Sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and


In Praise of Mo’ Better Grading

Monday, May 10, 2010 Comment street sign steep grades sharp curves

Meanwhile, back at the pedagogical ranch…You may remember that back in November I reported on my experiment in grading, combining the long tradition of contract grading with what I call “crowdsourced grading.”  Since I was already constructing “This Is Your Brain on the Internet” (ISIS 120) as a peer-taught course, I decided that the students responsible for team-leading each class would also be responsible for determining if that week’s required blogs on their reading assignments measured up to the contract standard.  It didn’t seem like such a radical idea.  This is a course on cognition and


Game Changers Kids Competition 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010 Comment
reimagining learning banner

Announcing the Digital Media and Learning Game Changers Kids Competition! Please share the news and the link to the competition web site, with any kids or colleagues who work with young people who may be interested in applying. The deadline is May 21st. Here are the details for interested kids and teens: Game Changers Kids Competition 2010 Join the 2010 Game Changers Kids Competition for Spore and Little Big Planet players. This is your chance to prove yourself as an innovative video game creator!  Winners must be under 18, and will be selected based on Creativity


Librarian 2.0: Buffy J. Hamilton

Monday, May 03, 2010 Comment 4 kids couch4 kids working together sitting on couch

Which of the following two assignments is more likely to engage high school students and inspire them to learn something?1.  Write a paper about contemporary US war veterans.2.  Create a multimedia resource of news feeds, archival video, student interviews with veterans, document how you accomplished it, and share your findings with the world. Buffy J. Hamilton, “The Unquiet Librarian,” teamed with classroom teacher Susan Lester at Creekside High in Canton, Georgia, and betting on the second alternative, they created “the veteran’s issues research project.” Each student started by using the free Netvibes feed aggregator to create


A Digital Native Reflects on the Concept

Thursday, April 29, 2010 Comment teens sitting on stairs texting during school

There is an assumption that digital natives are naturally predisposed to understanding how to use computers and technology, just because we grew up with the Internet, texting, and emailing. I’m 21 years old, I am a so-called digital native, but my experience has been that the concept of digital literacy is far more meaningful than the concept of digital native – and it has little to do with age or any broad generational differences. Yes, most of my college-age friends know how to operate a computer and navigate online. But they come to me if they


Harassment by Q&A: Initial Thoughts on Formspring.me

Monday, April 26, 2010 Comment young black male struggling sitting on the ground in front of locker

Questions-and-answers have played a central role in digital bonding since the early days of Usenet.  Teenagers have consistently co-opted quizzes and surveys and personality tests to talk about themselves with those around them.  They’ve hosted guest books and posted bulletins to create spaces for questions and answers.  But when teens started adopting Formspring.me this winter, a darker side of this practice emerged.  While teens have always asked each other crass and mean-spirited questions, this has become so pervasive on Formspring so as to define what participation there means.  More startlingly, teens are answering self-humiliating questions and


The iPad and Generativity

Monday, April 19, 2010 Comment 2 indian children holding chalk pads look like ipads

Since the announcement of Apple’s iPad, reactions to the device have been extremely polarized. While some people have been highly critical of the device, others have reacted positively. Still others have reacted first negatively then positively or, more disorientingly, both at the same time. A striking similarity of many of the most-cited negative reviews of the iPad is that they appeared before the reviewers ever had a chance to interact with the device. For both positive and negative reviewers, this approach made it much easier to praise or critique the iPad as an idea, rather than


Recommended Resources from Global Kids

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Comment Global kids posing in front of castle

Editor’s note: Global Kids each month points us to their current favorite resources. Please take a moment and share some of yours, too, in the comments section. Also, we always value knowing what the knowledge-hungry leaders at GK are reading, watching and listening to, but in the spirit of full disclosure want to acknowledge (and appreciate) that two items in this month’s list involve our research director, Mimi Ito, and our supporter, the MacArthur Foundation. Topping this month’s list: “Are Virtual Worlds Over?” a provocative blog post by digital games guru Raph Koster, who provides a


The DML Field: Listening to Critical Voices

Monday, April 12, 2010 Comment Painting of 20 learn

Often the emphasis in Digital Media and Learning is on K-12 education, and so social computing practices in higher education frequently receive less attention from researchers.  A recently released five-year Mellon Foundation study on “Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication,” analyzed data from 160 interviewees in seven academic fields (and included data from an additional five disciplines from the research planning phase).  The work spanned 45, mostly elite, research institutions, and ultimately concluded that not much has changed in faculty attitudes about where, and in what media, they publish scholarly articles and books, despite the


“Scaling John Seely Brown” and the “End of Endism”

Monday, April 05, 2010 Comment teacher staring at chalk board equations

I recently had occasion to talk on the phone with someone whose posts on education and social media I follow with interest on Twitter.  ToughLoveforX (his Twitter name) is a retired printer whose scan of the educational horizon in the digital age is as eagle-eyed as that of anyone I know.  I follow him on Twitter because I know that, if I click through to one of the url’s he posts, I’m bound to find something good.  When I asked him what he would do, if he could make one monumental change that would have an