Watchworthy Wednesday: Closing the Homework Gap

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

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

Teachers Paying Teachers for Lesson Plans

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

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

Creating Culturally Sensitive Solutions to Digital Violence

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

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

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