The Selfie and the Self: Part 1 – Hiding and Revealing

Monday, June 16, 2014 Comment female astronaut floating in spaceship looking down at earth

The inherent tension in the world of the social web is between hiding and revealing. In the post-Snowden era that we live in, there is a collective public anxiety about how much of our selves is known by government databases, social network algorithms, and big data analytics that are creating profiles of every action, every transaction, every flick of the eye and stroke of the key, as we go our merry way on the Internet. At the same time, we are coming to terms with the fact that visibility is the new currency —our private data

What “Teaching Computers” Can Tell Us about Teaching Digital Culture

Thursday, July 18, 2013 Comment close up of questionnaire scantron fill in name section

In a recent piece at Locus, Cory Doctorow argues: Computers are the children of the human race’s mind, and as they become intimately involved in new aspects of our lives, we keep stumbling into semantic minefields, where commonly understood terms turn out to have no single, well-agreed-upon meaning across all parts of society. As an example, Doctorow gives the “real names” policies of social network sites like Facebook and Google+. Where it may seem simple for a person to use his or her legal name on a website, Doctorow uses the example of his family, immigrants 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

Digital Literacy: Search Algorithms are Mechanical Turks

Thursday, December 08, 2011 Comment vintage drawing of man in headdress building a political set

One of the most pervasive features of computing culture are algorithms, the sets of processes or instructions contained in computer code that determine how a particular task will be completed. While algorithms power everything from your automatic coffee maker to your smart phone, because they are frequently hidden from their users, it can be easy to ignore these algorithms and their impact on how we gain access to information. One of the areas where algorithms have the most impact is on our information search and retrieval practices. Online search is dominated by complex searching algorithms, the

Worthy Reads: On Minecraft, Borges, Khan, Next Generation Museums

Thursday, September 01, 2011 Comment group of students giving presentation goofing off in front of class

If you haven’t yet heard about Minecraft, then get ready. We can’t go to an education conference without hearing talk about it. The widely popular sandbox game has sold more than 3 million units, though it’s still in beta. Each player gets their own world to “mine” for resources and then “craft” those resources to build whatever they imagine. A great introduction to Minecraft and its potential for education, especially for the younger set, is this Teacher Teaching Teachers podcast, which features educators from around the world sharing how they are using it in and out

Share, Grow, Do: The Potential of Digital Age Learning

Saturday, June 04, 2011 Comment female student working on paper work and laptop

The National Writing Project has launched a fantastic new web site, Digital Is, to build a community amongst educators exploring how the digital age is changing how we write, share, collaborate, publish and participate in the digital age. More importantly, what does this mean for the teaching of writing? The site offers resources, news and discussions. It is fairly new, so check it out and consider being part of building this community. Global Kids has already contributed to Digital Is by adding multimedia curriculum for Supporting Youth to Develop a Mental Map of Where They Learn.

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

When Robots Write

Thursday, April 14, 2011 Comment 4 robots placed next to each other

Robots are always in the news, it seems. Whether they are serving as caregivers for the elderly or helping solve the Japanese nuclear crisis, robots are becoming an increasingly important part of contemporary life. Even though we all don’t yet own a personal robot assistant, there is a way in which automated processes are part of all of our lives: in the many bots that make the data structures of the Internet possible. Bots aren’t robots in the traditional sense, but rather are computer programs that scour the Net performing increasingly complex tasks. In his fascinating

Cyberbullying: An International Perspective

Thursday, March 24, 2011 Comment artistic blurry photograph of person

A viral video of an Australian boy retaliating against a bully at school has sharply ratcheted up offline and online discussions of cyberbullying. On websites in numerous countries, young and old alike have recounted their own bullying problems and there’s a sense that this is an universal phenomena. In Brazil, it has become increasingly common for kids to suffer from bullying not only in schools, but also on social networking sites. Many aggressive incidents are recorded by cell phones and posted on sites such as Youtube. Online communities are formed to ridicule these bullied students, and

Humans, Technology and the Digital Future

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 Comment group of students sitting around a table working on laptops

At the top of the must-read list this month is “How the Internet Gets Inside Us,” an article by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnick who offers an insightful overview of the range of opinions found in recent books regarding the shifting relationship between humans and technology. He categorizes books about the Internet into the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers, and the Ever-Wasers. The Never-Betters believe that we’re on the brink of a new utopia, the Better-Nevers think that we were better off without the Internet, and the Ever-Wasers insist that at any moment in modernity something like this