Antero Garcia

antero-garcia

Antero is an Assistant Professor in the English department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Antero’s research focuses on developing critical literacies and civic identity through the use of mobile media and game play in formal learning environments. Prior to moving to Colorado, Antero was a teacher at a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. Antero received his Ph.D. in the Urban Schooling division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.In 2008 Antero co-developed the Black Cloud Game. A Digital Media and Learning Competition award recipient, the Black Cloud game provoked students to take real time assessment of air quality in their community. Using custom-developed sensors that measure and send data about air quality, students critically analyzed the role pollution played in their daily lives and presented recommendations to their community.

Antero’s numerous publications and conference presentations address technology, educational equity, youth participatory action research, and critical media literacy. Updates about Antero’s work can be found on his blog, The American Crawl.


Blogs (43)


The Construction of Civic Identities in Pop Culture

Monday, May 16, 2016

“I said, ‘Well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles.’ ” — “Excursions,” A Tribe Called Quest A fever dream in 15 steps. This past weekend, Ukrainian singer Jamala won the globally popular 2016 “Eurovision” Contest. A turn from the saccharine love ditties that often take the competition, the winning song, “1944,” is a harrowing narrative of historical deportation of under Stalin’s soviet regime: When strangers are coming They come to your house They kill you all And say We’re not guilty Not guilty A week earlier, the album “Hopelessness” by Anohni was released. Its


Mockingbirds and Thing Explaining: Knowledge Shared and Consumed in Today’s Classrooms

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Let’s talk about how knowledge is valued and dispersed in schools today: last week, two stories percolated in online media that related to the kinds of texts that students will encounter while in schools. First, notable web comic author and best-selling author Randall Munroe’s work will be excerpted in forthcoming textbooks for high school students. As the author of the recent “Thing Explainer,” Munroe’s simplistic illustrations function exactly as their title implies; using basic vocabulary and clear line art, Munroe’s book explains things. From a submarine (i.e. “Boat that goes under the sea”) to the Large


Love and Animation as Missing Ingredients: A Discussion With Marjorie Faulstich Orellana

Monday, February 22, 2016

Books. Laptops. Construction paper. Text books. Desks. Bells. Backpacks. Pens. Smart board styluses. White boards. LCD projectors. Hall passes. The list goes on. The spaces of learning — whether we are discussing classrooms, libraries, extracurricular clubs — are full of a lot of tangible stuff. However, if we want to improve learning, the gaze of educators needs to look beyond the materiality of classrooms and closer at the individuals within these spaces. We need to consider how the relationships between participants in learning spaces captivate and thrill. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Marjorie Faulstich Orellana,


Listening to the Field: Lessons on Multimedia and Technology in English Classrooms

Thursday, January 21, 2016

While I know my DML Central blogging colleagues and I try to stay abreast of the educational, social, and economic implications of digital media on the lives of young people today, sometimes actually asking teachers what they use, learn with, and feel inspired by illuminates most brightly the role of technology in schools. As such, I was pleased when on Sunday, I was able to co-host a Twitter chat with many of my dearest friends from across the country: members of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). As a bit of background, I recently helped


A Triptych on Changing Language, Changing Minds

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reading the Comments “Go home you stupid illegal.” I heard it a lot in 2014. As part of a larger effort protesting the racist name of a local eatery, I was struck by how angry the responses were. Voicing concern for both myself and for society about what language does meant that commenters often assumed I was concerned about the racist name of a restaurant because of my own legal status in the country. (And to lay any readers’ thoughts to rest: I grew up multiracial in southern California, I’m half white, and the closest thing


What the Connected Learning Research Community Can Learn from YPAR

Monday, December 21, 2015

Last month, the two of us (along with our mentor, Dr. Ernest Morrell) celebrated the release of our book, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Youth. The book tells the story of the UCLA Council of Youth Research (YPAR), a long-running youth participatory action research program that mentors young people from South and East Los Angeles to develop research questions about the educational and social challenges they recognize in their communities and then conduct rigorous inquiry into those questions for the purposes of fostering empowerment and action for social justice. We


Loss, Trauma and the Digital Language of Empathy in Schools

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My father passed away part way through my second year as a teacher. This happened in the middle of one of our school breaks and I was able to use the time away from kids to take care of family arrangements. What I didn’t do during this break was find the time to process, reflect, grieve. And so, when the time came to go back to school, I made the rookie mistake of putting on a smiling face and continuing in my classroom as if it was business as usual. The need to process my own


#BoycottStarwarsVII, Racism and Classroom Responsibility

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I don’t want to be “that guy,” but we need to talk about “Star Wars,” race, class, gender, and sexuality today. Apologies in advance. In particular, we need to talk about who gets to be in “Star Wars,” who gets to make this decision, and what happens when nerd culture is removed from the vestiges of historically primarily white, male space. If you avoided the spew of hate that was #BoycottStarWarsVII on Monday, then let me briefly fill you in: On Monday, Oct. 19, a handful of tweets surfaced accusing the new Star Wars film of advancing an


A Call for Increased Critical Media Literacy in Schools

Monday, September 28, 2015

The racial profiling and racist treatment that followed Ahmed Mohamed’s clock, and the intense media punditry that buzzed and died out in typical fashion highlighted many powerful lessons for young people. And, while I’ve appreciated the ongoing dialogue about racialized perspectives of the maker movement and who gets to be seen as an innovator and who is profiled, the entire exchange: from a viral photo of young Mohamed in handcuffs to a trending hashtag to Obama’s invitation to the White House has been a crucial case study in the need for increased critical media literacy within


Wolf Sharks, Energy Drinks and Learning Standards: Reflections from White House Education Game Jam

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It’s 6:30 Sunday morning and the loft-like space that houses the educational software company Difference Engine echoes the metronome like taps of a ping pong ball flying across the table. It’s not clear how much the Rovio team members (the trio from Finland that were partly responsible for unleashing Angry Birds upon the world) have slept, but their energy has yet to slow as they move steadily into hour 20 of intense programming. This is what happens when you throw a bunch of game developers and educators in a room and encourage them to make better,


iFiasco in LA’s Schools: Why Technology Alone Is Never the Answer

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The opening sentence to a recent Los Angeles Times article says it all: It took exactly one week for nearly 300 students at Roosevelt High School to hack through security so they could surf the Web on their new school-issued iPads, raising new concerns about a plan to distribute the devices to all students in the district. When educators and policymakers assume that simply investing in technology will “level the playing field” in schools, it’s clear that those of us in the DML community have a lot of work to do.  As educational researchers who were teachers in


Are We in Danger of Losing Sight of Urban Schools and their Libraries?

Monday, March 11, 2013

The rhetoric around libraries today is largely filled with enthusiasm in the digital media and learning world. And it probably should be: YOUmedia, makerspaces, and expanding digital opportunities for young people to learn and to grow are happening every day. However, right now, I have a problem with libraries. More specifically, I have a problem with libraries in urban schools. A Bit of Background To say the library at the school I worked at in South Central Los Angeles faced challenges would be too gracious. One year, for example, the staff was greeted with the welcomed


Make ‘Em All Geniuses: Redefining Schools, Possibilities, Equity

Monday, August 10, 2015

Not to brag or anything, but I figured out how to solve the academic achievement “problem” plaguing the U.S. today: just treat all of our children like geniuses. Maybe I should elaborate: As part of my summer reading, I enjoyed Denise Shekerjian’s “Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born.” Twenty-five years old at this point, Shekerjian’s work profiled more than forty winners of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as the “genius award.” In case the fellowship is new to you, a few pieces of key information: fellows are chosen through a nomination process kept confidential from


Designed Equity: Reflection on Youth-focused Game Jam in South Central LA

Thursday, June 18, 2015

In his concluding remarks during his DML 2015 session, “Designing Classroom Equity: Connected Learning and Co-Designed Research from Across the National Writing Project,” DML Conference Committee member and Columbia University Professor Ernest Morrell noted: “Technologies are tools; love is a foundation; humanity is the end.” Dr. Morrell’s note pushes educators to move beyond an idolization of digital gadgetry and think purposefully about what work related to connected learning looks like in sustained execution. To this extent, while I spent most of the last week in downtown Los Angeles basking in the inspired scholarship on display at


Avengers, Privilege and Internet Nerdrage

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I want to complain for a minute about a certain Hollywood superhero blockbuster. Then, I want to complain for a minute about people who complain about superhero blockbusters on the Internet. Hypocrite? Probably. (A brief note on the general plot of the film before moving on: there is another DML Central post that should be written about Hollywood’s depiction of evil artificial intelligence, mustache-twirling robots, education and Marc Goodman’s recent book, “Future Crimes.” However, I’m hoping someone else will write the ultimate Skynet et al., kiss-off instead of me.) Shortly after seeing “Avengers: Age of Ultron,“ I


Grappling with Equity and Gaze: A Conversation with Shirin Vossoughi and Meg Escudé

Monday, April 27, 2015

As the maker movement continues to build in numbers, I’ve been particularly interested in the critical research that is scrutinizing the dynamics of interaction and learning within spaces of making. I recently got a chance to talk digitally with Shirin Vossoughi and Meg Escudé about their research into tinkering, equity, and gesture. I’m particularly excited about the scrutiny into aspects of making that are sometimes overlooked and how this work can extend to educator professional development:  For a general audience, can you describe the Tinkering After School Program and what led to it getting started? Meg Escudé: In 2012,


Looking Ahead to Games for Change

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Growing to the thousands of attendees and general public that will encounter the games, ideas, and fun that are a part of this year’s Games for Change Festival hasn’t been easy. Asi Burak, president of Games for Change reflected on the growth that the organization and the movementhas experienced over the past decade. Emphasizing Action As an academic, so much of my time at conferences is spent either presenting to a largely passive audience or quietly consuming (or daydreaming) other people’s panels, lectures, and posters. Sure, the conference space can be enlivened through engaging activity and digital dialogue, butconferences are places I spend a lot


Defining a Participatory Critical Literacy

Monday, February 02, 2015

The screen in the room offered the expected prompt: “What is your definition of critical literacy?” The familiar scratching of pen to paper could be heard throughout the auditorium as ideas were being generated. There is a strange dissonance to sit in a full room and silently write (like with a pen and paper!) for five minutes. Yes, today’s modern conference is one often obsessed with a backchannel. (Watching Obama’s State of the Union two weeks ago, I spent nearly the entire speech staring at my twitter feed and engaging in dialogue; Obama’s main-attraction content mainly


Genius: Web Annotation, Digital Literacies and Educational Possibilities

Monday, December 22, 2014

The same evening as the non-indictment announcement in the Michael Brown case was announced, I received an email notification from Genius.com about a teacher-driven conversation called “How do I talk to my students about Ferguson?” More than two dozen responses flooded into the forum discussion including video links, news articles, and canonical literature that could guide classroom discussions. Looking at the way this community has emerged around an online tool, I have been intrigued by the digital literacy possibilities of Genius.com and the communities that it is fostering. Originally launched as Rap Genius, the site has


Embracing Possibility: Lessons from Mozfest 2014

Monday, November 03, 2014

Two weekends ago, I had the opportunity to help co-“wrangle” a floor for the 2014 Mozilla Festival, better known as Mozfest. Emphasizing the space’s festival-like ethos (as opposed to typical conference drudgery), Mozfest spills into hallways, walls, and, of course, the web with its bend toward productivity. Described as a “a hands-on festival dedicated to forging the future of this open, global web,” Mozfest brings together a global audience to spend a weekend making stuff. As co-wranglers (with an unequivocally great team of Christina Cantrill, Paul Oh, Jane Park, and Chad Sansing, our role was to


Looking to South Central L.A. for Back-to-School Inspiration

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The past few weeks have yielded the sleepy grumbles of students, parents, and teachers alike as the school year begins anew. In preparing for my own school year, and the dozens of future teachers I’ll be learning with over the year, I was struck by the kinds of innovations that my colleagues are engaged in all across the country. While a question the DML community must revisit throughout the year, I am starting my year off by asking myself: What are the key principles for integrating digital media, connected learning, and fun within a school year?


Fear and Learning in Las Vegas

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I hung out with popular children’s and young adult authors like Mo Willems and Lemony Snicket and Markus Zusak last week. Okay, maybe “hung out” is too strong a description. I mainly walked in the same general vicinity as these noteworthy authors, occasionally snapping selfies. I admit that I was too, too lazy to wait in the long, long lines to meet these awesome authors (and many more). (Are you there, Judy [Blume]? It’s me, Antero, too impatient to wait to meet you but, still think you’re awesome!) See, my better half is a librarian and


The Algorithms of Busyness

Thursday, May 22, 2014

During the past week, I have been busy. I know this because my phone tells me so. Each night, before I go to bed, I check my schedule for the next day — seeing where I need to be, what time, any student meetings I’ve scheduled, and any notes I’ve made for my classes. That sentence makes it sound like an arduous process, but it’s little more than a swipe on my iPhone’s home screen to see what’s scheduled and a mental calculation about the level of formality my attire will require. Lately, my phone — I


Modularity, the 20 Percent and Desks with Wheels

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I want to talk about the need for modularity in schools but first, I feel like I need to explain why this is such an important issue. It’s like this: the conversations I’ve had lately have been painting a frustrating picture of schools and the teaching profession. Non-educators have talked to me about how the system of schooling kills creativity, passion, and interest-driven learning. At the same time, the pre-service teachers I work with at Colorado State University share a frustration with not knowing the specific teaching practices they can immediately implement in their school sites


Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom: New Report

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Last week saw the release of Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, a free Connected Learning report I edited. I’m hoping you’ll spend some time reading it — it features a plethora of powerful contributions by members of the National Writing Project. When you riffle through Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, what you’ll see is a series of narratives from educators from across the country sharing how they are already exemplifying connected learning principles in practice in schools. As educators and researchers, we often talk about the possibilities of advances in learning sciences and pedagogy.


Making Academic Research Purposeful, Accessible in Connected Learning Era

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Two weeks ago, the Internet squabbled in the hoopla that resulted from author J.K. Rowling’s admission that she thought her titular character Harry Potter should have ended up with know-it-all sidekick, Hermione. Fans took sides and passionately filled Tumblr and Facebook screeds defending or lambasting Rowling’s statements. And while academics are possibly a (slightly) more reserved bunch than Hogwarts wannabes, a similar uproar could be heard this past week. On Sunday, Nicholas Kristoff published a column in the New York Times, “Professors, We Need You!” In discussing the ways that “Ph.D. programs have fostered a culture that


Meaningful Integration: Optimistic About iPads in Schools

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Late last year, my colleague Thomas Philip and I discussed why we were so troubled by the ways the Los Angeles Unified School District bumbled its way through adopting iPads for its students. And, as the second largest school district in the country continues to waffle in its plans for students, I’ve been excited about one district’s initiative to meaningfully integrate technology into the school lives of children.  Starting last week, the St. Vrain Valley School District in Colorado began its “deployment” of iPad minis to students at two middle schools. What will eventually be a


Fanfiction, Capitalism and Draco in Leather Pants

Monday, December 16, 2013

Earlier in the semester, I found myself lecturing to a class and having students in my Young Adult Literature course take notes about “Draco in Leather Pants.” Stay with me. Along with contemporary books like Gossip Girl and classics like The Outsiders and Go Ask Alice, my undergraduates at Colorado State University and I looked at how online environments in the past decade have transformed the world of teen literature. For readers of this blog, such a focus shouldn’t be very surprising. Discussions of the Harry Potter Alliance and John Green’s legions of nerdfighters highlight the


Pollution Challenge! and Civic Learning with Video Games

Thursday, November 07, 2013

I can’t play video games. I forget this simple fact every couple of years and a dark cloud swoops over Casa Garcia and I am enveloped in the feverish button mashing of some complex simulation for a hazy month or two. I have the kind of personality where, once I’ve begun playing a game, I am consumed. In high school, around the time I should have been doing research on colleges, keeping up with homework, and diligently eyeing my GPA as an eager-to-get-into-my-preferred-university high school junior, I started playing the Sims. The sandbox-like nature of the


Summer Reading: The Privilege, Petulance, and Passion of Steve Jobs

Monday, August 19, 2013

Like many, I spent part of my summer catching up on books I’ve been meaning to read and haven’t committed the time to do so during the rest of the year. Along with fun genre fiction, one book I finally picked up was Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Steve Jobs. I should note that I am typing this post on a MacBook Pro, that I regularly rely on an iPad Mini for writing while traveling, and that much of my leisure “reading” today comes from playing audiobooks (at double speed no less!) on my iPhone.


How Computers Can Impede Spaces of Learning

Thursday, July 25, 2013

As a technophile, I’ll be the first to admit it: sometimes computers get in the way of learning. Hopefully that can be something we all agree on, right? I’ve mentioned before that one of the main composition courses I taught last year was held in our school’s computer lab. And while my class took advantage of writing and engaging using the computers, spatially they made learning a challenge. As much as I appreciated the convenience of having all of my students logged into the same Google Docs simultaneously for live editing and commenting, or to be


Avenging ‘Making’ For All: Challenging Iron Man

Monday, May 13, 2013

With Iron Man 3 raking in millions and marking the official start of summer blockbusters, it is thrilling to recognize that moviegoers are largely staring at a screen enraptured with Hollywood’s most successful maker. As such, I have good news and bad news for the maker movement. First the good news: to state the obvious, the movie’s hero, Tony Stark, has an uncannily familiar special power – he’s a tinkerer. Without diving into the plot too deeply, it is fair to say that the reason Tony Stark can save the world is because he’s a really


‘Imagine A World Where You Only Have To Go To School Because You Truly Want To’

Monday, January 07, 2013

Lately, I’ve been pleased with the ways digital tools are allowing me to engage and collaborate with the media producers that most challenge my thinking. I had intended to blog about how the comic book Wild Children terrifies and motivates me as an educational researcher. However, through a handful of Twitter exchanges, I, instead, was able to talk with the book’s author, Ales Kot. Last summer, I picked up an unassuming, stand-alone comic book. This is nothing new. I’m still a regular reader of comic books today and the parallels between the serialization of monthly comic


The Social Relevance of Public Writing

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I want to talk about the nature of writing in today’s age of participatory media. In particular, I want to talk about how writing within my classroom has helped foster community amongst the students. In fact, the subtitle of this post could be, “How Wearing a Tie to Class Spurred Community Building.” For one of my undergraduate composition courses, my students and I meet three times a week in a small computer lab with LCD projections on all four walls, a smart tablet for the instructor and a document camera for displaying anything that might not


Why We Need a Reddit and Kickstarter for Educational Research

Monday, October 01, 2012

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what digital media can do to improve what we know about learning. And you know what I’ve decided? I think it is time that learning needs to be kickstarted (kickstarter.com) and I think we need Reddit (reddit.com) to help us out. These two wildly popular websites are currently used to guide production of films, music, clothing, and public opinion. I think we can wield these online tools to guide better understanding of learning. But first, a little bit about what Kickstarter and Reddit actually do: Over the summer I helped actualize


What’s Next for DML?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I recently returned from the engaging and rewarding DML2012 both exhausted and invigorated. As I debrief the many ideas and challenges to existing learning practices that were shared and explored at this year’s DML conference, I am struck by the thought of where we, as a community, are headed. Throughout the conference, I occasionally had moments of hesitation: we’ve grown since the first DML conference in 2010 in San Diego. We’ve grown a lot. And I think I’m most excited about the fact that we’ve grown in terms of diversity within the DML community. A lot.


When Traditional Policy Goes Bad: Teen Social Use of Mobile Devices in High Schools

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

As I’ve been lately analyzing my data set related to in-school use of mobile devices at an urban school in South Central Los Angeles, I’ve been intrigued by some of the general tensions that exist in mobile media use in schools and the way teens tend to utilize mobile devices in ways that oppose traditional school power structures. Though the initial findings I will share in this post come from one research site over the course of a year, the social practices, based on my ongoing conversations with both high school youth and teachers, mirror the


Thinking about Failure: Ways to Tell New Stories about Public Education

Monday, December 05, 2011

Maybe it’s because progress reports at my high school were recently given to students, but lately I’ve been thinking about the role of failure in schools. The F-word, here and its corresponding letter grade support a high-stakes & high-pressure setting in K-16 school systems. The best sail across the chasm of educational failure and the rest fall into cycles of dropping out of school, out of college eligibility, out of dominant expectations of what it means to be successful. Public education is framed in most media as a dire problem in freefall. Without a parachute. What’s


Privatizing Public Education and ‘Learning to Cheat’ as a Digital Literacy

Monday, October 03, 2011

I’m usually pretty optimistic about the possibilities available to innovative teachers and students. Lately, however, I’ve been worried about the wholesale apathy and universal shoulder-shrug that’s been the response to “What do we do about public education?” At the school I teach at in Los Angeles, in particular, things have been pretty bleak. Let’s put some pieces together regarding this topic by looking at a few news articles. Recently, these were the headlines of three articles I read in the span of a few days: “YA Authors Asked to ‘Straighten’ Gay Characters“ “Water District Taps Google


“Digital Is” Website Accelerates Teacher-to-Teacher Learning and Collaboration

Monday, August 22, 2011

Over the course of four days earlier this summer at a lush retreat in Seattle, I had the opportunity to write and engage with some of the most exciting teachers I’ve been able to interact with in my career. Aside from the fact that I spent most of the day typing up notes on my iPad, the lush environment was a perfect retreat for allowing me to reflect thoughtfully on what practices had contributed most to my students’ writing practices over the past year. And the best thing about this opportunity to write while being surrounded


Multiliteracies and Designing Learning Futures

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Multiliteracies is an area of interest for me and my classroom, and I am hoping to use this post for dialogue and collective theory-building. But first, I want to talk briefly about being a book geek. As an English teacher, I am passionate about literature. During my first two years in the classroom I overextended myself by maintaining an evening and weekend job assistant managing a popular independent bookstore in Los Angeles. Passion, Teaching, and Literacy The pay was paltry and secondary to the opportunity I had at first dibs for advanced readers’ copies of works


Rethinking the “New” in “New Media”

Friday, June 10, 2011

I’m not a label person. Really, I usually don’t care what we call something. However, sometimes the words we call the tools and practices of teachers get in the way of acceptance, adoption, and policy. At the recent Urban Sites Network Conference in Boston, always-inspiring educator and writer Linda Christensen led a group of teachers through a “mixer.” In her book, Reading, Writing, and Rising Up, this activity–one I use in my classroom–was called a “tea party.” It was with amusement and a tinge of sadness to realize why the name has changed. And though couched


Getting Serious About Reimagining Learning in the Digital Age

Monday, April 18, 2011

I want to have a conversation about what it’s going to take to turn schools around and why digital media — as it’s currently being used — isn’t yet helping. I’m going to start with a not-so-subtle secret: if we want to be innovative and if we want to make a significant impact on public schools (statistics suggest we should), we’re going to have to conduct work in schools. As broken as the current schooling system may seem, as much as we may belabor the ongoing gutting of arts, the mass-testing, and the lack of technology