How to Use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool: Adrianne Wadewitz

Monday, May 06, 2013 Comment 4 female students sitting in classroom working on laptops very focused

Wikipedia is often not thought of as a platform for pedagogy, since so many teachers explicitly tell their students to steer clear of the site as a source of information.  However, as a site for learner-driven inquiry and informal education, it is without question the chief reference point for many discussions from matters of general knowledge to areas of arcane expertise. Adrianne Wadewitz would like to provide more explicit instruction about not only reading Wikipedia but also writing Wikipedia in the classroom context.  She has helped write a helpful brochure from the Wikimedia Foundation on “How

What Ancient Greek Rhetoric Might Teach Us About New Civics

Thursday, November 29, 2012 Comment picture of old new greece city skyline

A great deal of our conversation lately has focused on getting governments to open up their data and to share what they know with the general public. We are beginning to see a larger trend emerge -– much of the thinking of the power of technology to transform societies, especially societies in the developing world, focuses on government transparency. I think this focus is deeply important, but I also think it’s an incomplete way to understand the space of technology and social change. We need to understand not just governments and transparency, but the rights and

Five Elements to Help Redefine Public Ed

Thursday, October 25, 2012 Comment ivan illich headshot and quote about school as advertising agency for society

Imagine we redefine public education so that Dewey’s democratic society is co-created ongoingly, bettering each moment we practice it. The purpose of public education is a democratic society — John Dewey Imagine public education becomes the vehicle to social change, rather than, as Illich notes, a potential addiction to dependency. Imagine someone like Schmidt meets up with someone like Thiel and they agree on a premise that people are good, that human capital is our gold, that we really can learn/be/do anything today, and that the more we facilitate that for everyone, rather than regulate/manage some

Why We Need a Reddit and Kickstarter for Educational Research

Monday, October 01, 2012 Comment person holding lightbulb kite in desert at night

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 ( and I think we need Reddit ( 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

Understanding Digital Civics

Monday, September 03, 2012 Comment group of students working on their laptops individually

Last week, I gave a lecture titled “The Emergence of Digital Civics” at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. I was in South Australia to give another lecture, a joint lecture with Dr. Genevieve Bell of Intel in memory of her friend James Tizard. I hope to write up the talks Genevieve and I gave, but since I had detailed notes for my civics lecture, I’ve worked them into a blog post. In Kansas City, a young man named Jase Wilson is trying to build a trolley system. Kansas City applied to the US department of transportation

How Do We Make Civic Crowdfunding Awesome?

Monday, August 13, 2012 Comment thousands of hands in the air

Ten people each contribute $100 a month into a pool. They meet once a month and discuss possible projects to support. Each month, they give a grant of $1000 to a project that meets a simple criterion: it’s awesome. That’s the logic behind the Awesome Foundation, founded by Tim Hwang and friends, brilliantly built and managed by Christia Xu. Awesome Foundation now has 50 chapters in 10 countries and has given 252 grants, sponsoring awesome projects like Float, which attaches air pollution sensors to kites to report on air quality, and Free the Billboards, which invites Giving A City Back to Its Citizens

Monday, June 11, 2012 Comment girl in sound booth working on laptop with headphones on

Several new projects are trying to use cyberspace as a platform to help citizens build an information network and share information about their cities. One effort that has achieved significant traction is, a platform for the citizens of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil to interact, share information about their city, and mobilize for cause. The idea is to provide an online space for people to discuss the city’s problems and to collectively think about solutions. It was the fruit of a smaller project created by Rio dos Sinos

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

P2PU: Learning for Everyone, by Everyone, about almost Anything

Monday, May 23, 2011 Comment group of people casually having a meeting with beer pizza and swing

Meet Philipp Schmidt, co-founder and executive director of Peer to Peer University, an emerging, Web-based global learning community. At P2PU, study groups form and gather online to learn a particular topic. They do group work together and provide constructive feedback for one another. All courses are free and open. Schmidt started P2PU after he and a few friends wanted to learn more about psychology together. After that initial experience, they created a wiki offering seven more courses to see if people would be interested, and P2PU was born. Entrepreneurial and committed to open learning culture, Schmidt

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