Virtually Connecting at #2016DML


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,

‘Compojing’: Writing with Emoji for Fun and Profit


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

A Conversation About Screen Time


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

The Contradiction of Borderless Technology in a Border-Filled World


As I am slowly making my way through an analysis of the mission statements and strategic technology plans of the United States’ largest K-12 public school districts, one thing is becomingly increasingly clear to me — nearly every district is striving to prepare students to be “21st century ready,” but none define what exactly this means. Instead, what they are doing is throwing around terms like “global citizenship” or “21st century economy” to stress the necessity of new investments in pedagogical models (e.g. blended learning) and digital infrastructure. I’ve realized that education policy discourse (particularly when it

Watchworthy Wednesday: Connecting Hip-Hop and Coding


How can young people use coding to express their interests in areas such as hip-hop dance? To explore this question, Progressive Arts Alliance and the MIT Scratch team will host the Hip-Hop and Scratch Coding Summit, a two-day workshop for educators and program leaders to learn about creative pathways into computing. The summit, to be held Oct. 21-22 in Cleveland, Ohio, will bring together a diverse group of people who lead programs for young people, especially for youth in underserved communities. Forty participants will be chosen on Sept. 5, so there’s still time to apply. The summit

Deconstructing Disneyland: An App-Based Media Literacy Experience


If Pokémon Go marked the beginning of the era of mass-market Augmented Reality Games (ARGs), Deconstructing Disneyland may mark the beginning of ARGs as mobile media literacy education tools. Media scholars, game designers, technologists, educators, and students at Brigham Young University are finishing an “immersive mobile app that encourages users to critically engage with the popular theme park, expanding their media literacy skills while enhancing their Disney experience.” associate professor of design Brent Barson, student Chris Bowles, associate professor of media arts Jeff Parkin, and assistant professor of media arts Benjamin Thevenin plan to present their

Augmented Wearables and the Future of Museums: An Update


A year ago, I wrote “Augmented Wearables and the Future of Museums” for DML Central. Back then, most everything was in the conceptual realm. Tools were not yet for sale and most weren’t even available yet for developers. Boy, has a lot changed in one year (and I’m not even talking about Pokémon Go, which I did write about here a few weeks ago). When I was a kid, no baseball game was complete without a box of Cracker Jacks. I still feel that way. A few weeks ago, at a game with my family, I

Amino One Makes Bioengineering Useful, Easy to Learn


A chemistry set was a big part of what first interested me in science, back in the 20th century. Today’s scientist of tomorrow has the opportunity to play and learn with a bioengineering set! Yes, you can safely experiment with genetically altering bacteria to create your own pigments and more. It’s called Amino One from AminoLabs — a “laptop size Personal Bioreactor and Transformation Station” that enables learners to experience safe hands-on bioengineering — and make personally useful products. Personally, as a painter, I can’t wait to engineer bacteria to create my own pigments. Julie Legault, CEO

Watchworthy Wednesday: How Pokémon Go Promotes Learning Opportunities


In barely two weeks, the virtual reality game Pokémon Go has attracted millions of players. Now, educators are pondering whether the game can be used to promote learning. Three blogs — Aside, Discovery Education and EdTech — are nodding indeed. “Harnessing student excitement of this game can easily be used to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities,” writes Discovery Education’s Kathy Schrock. She offers a number of resources educators can use to create lessons. Among her observations: “The journal component of the game automatically records the time and date of the events as they

The Secret Sauce in Pokémon Go: Big Data


Unless you’ve been holed-up in a cave playing Minecraft, you’ve heard about (and possibly even played) the new augmented reality (AR) mobile game sweeping the globe, Pokémon Go. For sure, AR can be exciting and compelling, when properly designed, offering us an experience of co-presence with a virtual character or object. And, it’d be understandable if you attributed Nintendo’s success to its use of the AR camera. But, you’d be wrong. The game’s AR succeeds, in fact, because it turned big data into a game. With Pokémon Go, we are offered the opportunity to pretend our