Connected Learning

New Coke and Transforming American Public Schools

Thursday, April 14, 2016 Comment coke

In April of 1985, the Coca-Cola Company announced it was changing the recipe that had been used for 99 years and would now produce a new and improved product. When New Coke came on the market, Coke was the No. 1 soft drink in the U.S. Nevertheless, the executives in Atlanta felt it was time to innovate and make a good product even better. If the company was expecting plaudits, it was badly mistaken. New Coke was met with overwhelming opposition from Coke drinkers. Protests sprang up throughout the nation. People hoarded bottles of “old Coke” and


Opening Learners’ Minds

Monday, April 11, 2016 Comment Sousanis-banner

If you agree that the best teachers help students learn how to think, Dr. Nick Sousanis’ extraordinary hybridization of words and images, “Unflattening,” ought to be one of your texts. Indeed, “unflattening” struck me as an ideal metaphor for the results an ideal teacher should expect: the opening of learners’ minds to new ways of seeing the world as well as the acquisition of knowledge. Written as an Ed.D. dissertation for Columbia University and published by Harvard University Press, “Unflattening” combines words and images that not only tell but show how visual perception actively shapes our understanding of


Speaking for the Oregon Trail Generation: Meet the Center for Solutions to Online Violence Team

Monday, March 28, 2016 Comment 11/03/15 - BOSTON, MA. - Scenes during the Sex, Gender, and Justice event held in the Raytheon Amphitheater at Northeastern University on Nov. 3, 2015. Photo by: Emma Putnam AMD'17/for Northeastern University

Moya Bailey brings her enthusiasm for transforming the digital humanities and her interest in asking critical questions about basic conditions for digital community engagement to her position at Northeastern University. Bailey has been an integral member of the #transformdh hashtag campaign to promote digital inclusion efforts to prioritize born-digital materials and complicate the potential meanings of “access” to technology.  As a core team member of the newly founded Center for Solutions to Online Violence, which received start-up funding from the recent DML Trust Challenge, she has been seeking innovative approaches to combatting the online sexism and racism that terrorizes


Reading as a Social Act

Thursday, March 24, 2016 Comment levy-book

It’s commonly acknowledged that writing is a social act. What does it mean to write online? When we write in the digital age, we are writing to share and to connect. But, what about the act of reading? I open this reflection by quoting myself from a prior DML post: These days, the role of the reader is much like the role of the learner (in a 21st century digitized context). I see a kind of inherent transformation in both of these roles. Reading used to be a more solitary act, bound to a private and


Preparing Museums to Lead Future Learning

Monday, March 14, 2016 Comment trendswatch

How do museums prepare for the arrival of the future, positioning themselves to be leaders in the learning ecology of tomorrow? To find out I spoke with one person who keeps an eye on that horizon — Elizabeth Merritt — from the Center for the Future of Museums. We spoke about augmented reality, digital badges and how museums can become a transformative force in education. Welcome, Elizabeth. Please introduce yourself. I’m Elizabeth Merritt, vice president for strategic foresight and founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums at the American Alliance of Museums. That’s


The Power of Community Open Online Courses

Monday, March 07, 2016 Comment outdoor-class

When MOOCs came along, and were swiftly adopted as the latest venture-funded startup fad, many who didn’t receive so much publicity back then started thinking of possibilities other than massive courses or strictly commercial open courses. Peter Shukie, lecturer at Community College, Blackburn, UK, and doctoral student at Lancaster University, started experimenting with “COOCs” — Community Open Online Courses. “The idea came from my experiences in adult literacy and community education, especially around students and teachers who seemed to be excluded — while at the same time being courted — by moves toward a technology-inspired learning ecology. At the


New for DML2016: Geek Out Day Features Hands-on Workshops

Thursday, March 03, 2016 Comment geekoutday_2

On behalf of all of us at the DML Research Hub, I’m using this blog as an open invitation to our 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, taking place Oct. 5-7 at UC Irvine. New this year: “Geek Out Day,” Oct. 5, featuring three- and six-hour workshops on such topics as civic engagement, designing online courses, digital storytelling, learning analytics, using Minecraft to teach academics and building youth social capital. Experts in their field will lead the nine workshops and participants should expect to fully immerse themselves. In fact, space is limited and you must apply


Amplifying the Teacher Perspective on Connected Learning

Thursday, February 25, 2016 Comment IMG_1139

This is my second post in a series exploring my journey to develop and teach a graduate “Multimodal Literacies” course for pre-service and in-service teachers based on the connected learning framework. (Here are my first and second posts in the series, as well as my original inspiration.)    And, we’re off! In the blink of an eye, the first five weeks of my graduate course focusing on “New & Multimodal Literacies” with pre-service and in-service teachers have flown by. My six committed students and I have been engaged in an exploration of Connected Learning and its applications to


Making Learning Matter in the Digital Classroom

Thursday, February 04, 2016 Comment collage#2

In a recent blog post, I discussed the noteworthy success of a web-based course launched by a research university in a high-profile initiative that emphasized online access as much as digital education. As I pointed out, student evaluations are almost never universally positive about large courses, particularly required courses with many drafts due for projects that can feel like “busy work” to skeptical undergraduates. I interviewed the course instructor, Alexandra Sartor, in this blog post and wanted to follow up with the instructional designer, Ava Arndt, as well. A disclaimer is probably in order here, since


What Failure? Supporting a Succeeding UC Online Course

Thursday, January 14, 2016 Comment collage_v03

I’m certainly no starry-eyed uncritical worshipper of online learning. In fact, I have something of a reputation as a very frank critic, which was solidified with my book The War on Learning. This status as a skeptic is likely to be further reinforced with my new edited collection about “the MOOCs moment” that is slated to appear soon from the University of Chicago Press. So, it’s not surprising that I regularly get sent news items about bone-headed failures from people chortling about the obvious shortcomings of instructional technology in higher education. What has been disconcerting is