Connected Learning

The Future of Learning and Teaching: It’s Time for ‘Audacious Goals’

Friday, March 16, 2012 Comment women sitting in the aisle of packed DML conference room

In an impassioned call to action, Diana Rhoten kicked off the 2012 Digital Media and Learning conference by suggesting that education will never see its long-overdue renaissance without “audacious goals.” Senior vice president for strategy in the new Education Division of News Corp. and the conference chair, Rhoten spoke of the urgent need for researchers, practitioners, teachers, educators, technologists, as well as entrepreneurs and investors, to join together in the cause of a learning revolution. Without “audacious goals” and a diverse community willing to come together at this historic moment of convergence, most would-be education reformers


Reflections on DML2012 and Visions of Educational Change

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 Comment DML 2012 conference room full of people

A few days back home after DML2012, I’ve been browsing through the blogosphere and tweet streams and reflecting on the various conversations I had at the event. One unfortunate side-effect of being part of the organizing is that I can’t get to many sessions, so I’m grateful for the after-party happening online. I wanted to pull one thread of my own learning related to this year’s theme, which centered on innovation, technology, and educational reform. BEYOND EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY The theme and the Bay Area location was a provocation, designed by conference chair Diana Rhoten to confront


Connected Learning: Designed to Mine the New Social, Digital Domain

Thursday, March 01, 2012 Comment 3 youth filmmakers working together filming with video camera

Focus on education has perhaps never been greater. As we seek to understand the impact of the internet and this age of connection, it has focused attention on a topic of extraordinary importance: the need to reimagine the experience of learning. Beginning in 2006, the MacArthur Foundation began investigating, along with a diverse community of researchers and scholars, how are youth being impacted by the forces of the digital age, especially in regards to their learning? What were the implications to schooling and to educational institutions? Initially, we were agnostic about the role of technology. But


Why We Need a 4th R: Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, algoRithms

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 Comment 2 young girls sitting in grass woods outside reading school books

When Frederick J. Kelly invented the Kansas Silent Reading Test, now known as the “multiple-choice test” or the “bubble test,” he was looking for an efficient way to pass students through the U.S. public education system during the teacher shortage of 1914.  With the advent of World War I, men were off to the frontlines in Europe, women were working in war-time factories, and there was a population boom of new immigrants flooding into the schools.  Taking his inspiration from Henry Ford’s assembly line, Kelly came up with a way to standardize learning and assessment for


Toward Peeragogy

Monday, January 23, 2012 Comment 5 women working on laptops around conference table

Editor’s Note: This evening Howard will deliver the 2011 Regents’ Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley. His topic: the transformative power of social media and peer learning. Here, in a continuing series, Howard reflects on his ongoing experiment in high-end, peer-to-peer, global learning via the internet and social networks. The more I give my teacher-power to students and encourage them to take more responsibility for their own learning, the more they show me how to redesign my ways of teaching. At the end of the first course I taught solo, I asked students for their


‘Connected Learning’ in Edge Communities

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Comment 3 youth filmmakers working together on video camera

For more than nine weeks now I have been working with a high school in the Central Texas area, getting to know students, teachers, and administrators.  Along with a fantastic team of graduate students, we are spending time with an after school digital media club that offers students a range of opportunities to hang out, mess around and geek out.  I have also been working directly with two video game development classes on a project we think will offer some insights into creating new kinds of learning environments, learner identities, and youth civic engagement. Part of


Redefining School, Success

Monday, June 13, 2011 Comment Be You Points of difference colorful art graphic

We’re a district InnovationLab in Loveland, Colorado, where students have crafted, and just completed year one, of a four-year plan of disruption to redefine school. Based on findings that learning at its best is voluntary, per passion/choice, and self-directed, we are working towards community as school. After our experience this past year, we are thinking: It’s prime time for some much needed detox from traditional assumptions. The Web is offering a new space, new connections, new life, if we so choose. What Tech Wants is to set us free. It wants to let us get back


Mobile Phones, Digital Media, and America’s Learning Divide

Monday, May 30, 2011 Comment 2 students sitting in stairwell with backpacks on phones

During a recent research related visit to New York City I decided to take a stroll down 125th Street in Harlem.  Among the assortment of shops and vendors on the famous stretch that is home to the legendary Apollo Theater were an abundance of mobile phone providers.  Even a few of the street vendors offered mobile phone accessories such as cases, covers, and car adaptors.  It struck me that while you could easily purchase a mobile phone on 125th Street you could not purchase a desktop or laptop computer.  Not that long ago the assumption that


Going Interactive in a Big Way: How Can We Transform the Lecture Class?

Monday, May 16, 2011 Comment man sitting in shared work space working on laptop sitting on beanbag chair

This is the last in a three-part “end of term” series of blog posts on “Doing Better by Gen Y.”  In the first post, one of my students spoke about the paucity of opportunities to actually think critically about the role of digital media in society, in learning, in global relations, in local and global inequalities, and in the workplace.  In the second post, “What Are Digital Literacies:  Let’s Ask the Students,” both of my classes, “This Is Your Brain on the Internet” and “Twenty-First Century Literacies,” helped us understand what about my peer-led, peer-assessed, peer-designed


Pop-Up University

Thursday, April 28, 2011 Comment young hip girl sitting outside working on laptop

If Rheingold U, my current experiment in cultivating wholly online, multimedia, unaccredited, for-not-much-pay learning communities, originally germinated out of fun and impulse, the next stage was more scary-serious. As soon as I took people’s money and started telling the world about my intentions, I was obligated as well as motivated to make it work – not just to deliver a rich set of learning materials, but to conjure actual social learning magic. Networked social learning is most effective and truly magical when students who don’t know one another one day start scouring the world for knowledge