Digital Divides

Poorly Educated and Poorly Connected: The Hidden Realities of Innovation Hubs

Thursday, May 30, 2013 Comment Austin Texas skyline trees and neighborhood

When President Barack Obama decided to kick off his “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tours” in Austin it highlighted once again the city’s reputation as a growth sector in the nation’s creative and high tech economy. Over the last few years the arrival of Apple, Google, Facebook and others has diversified Austin’s creative economy which has long provided a home for Dell, IBM, and Applied Materials Inc. According to the White House, the President’s visit was to observe, listen, and explore how the innovation and industry in Austin might serve as a model for other cities

A Student-driven, Afterschool Technology Club: When Reality and Policy Collide

Friday, May 17, 2013 Comment male student sitting at classroom desk texting on phone under desk

Taking advantage of the online world’s ability to help youth develop knowledge, expertise, skills and important new literacies involves risks, but how much? Some researchers and authors such as Lenore Skenazy, Sonia Livingstone, and Lynn Schofield Clark have reasoned that a number of policies and strategies, which are intended to protect youth, are actually misguided and may be making youth’s learning experiences even more limiting. Jacqueline Vickery, an assistant professor in the department of Radio-Television-Film University of North Texas, studies the discourse around risk and digital media and how it fuels moral panics and influences policy.

Philadelphia: A Case Study on the Importance of Internet Access in Public Spaces

Friday, May 03, 2013 Comment vernell and kanisha working at classroom computer together

We live in a world today where broadband access is becoming increasingly necessary for attaining jobs, expanding innovation and remaining globally competitive. Even in an iconic city like Philadelphia many residents are struggling to gain basic access to technology. Based on findings from a 2011 poll from the Pew Internet and American Life Project and Knight Foundation, 41 percent of Philadelphia households lack access to the Internet. Some experts have argued that this number could be as high as 55 percent. According to a report released last year by IBM and the city of Philadelphia, it

The Right to Thrive: Connected Learning at the Digital Edge

Thursday, March 21, 2013 Comment female student holding video camera

A few months ago, I interviewed a former high school teacher and asked him what his hope was for the digital media and learning community in 2013. His answer: to push for a stronger focus on schools. “Students are in schools from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm everyday. Think about how much time that is. Do we want students to get more of the same, or should we give them a transformational education for the 21st century?” For an entire school year, Alexander Cho and a group of researchers immersed themselves in the trenches of a

Connected Learning: Unlocking Potential

Monday, February 11, 2013 Comment 2 students sitting on high school steps using their cell phones

One of the more interesting assertions of connected learning is the need to create new approaches to education that recognize the vitality of learning and the fact that it happens in many different ways.  There is widespread agreement among researchers from sociology, economics, and education that the academic achievement gaps in the U.S. are attributable to both in–school and out-of-school experiences.  While there is widespread recognition of the former, there is a tendency to gloss over the importance of the latter, out-of-school learning. What young people from upper income households do with their time out-of-school varies

From Theory to Design: Exploring the Power & Potential of ‘Connected Learning,’ Part Two

Thursday, October 11, 2012 Comment graphic of words describing creativity

One of the more compelling aspects of connected learning is the opportunity for students to create personalized learning pathways that establish important links across the different nodes in their learning ecology. I had a chance to witness the power and potential of connected learning during a three-week summer digital media and design camp that we conducted with students at Texas City High School (TCHS). Like so many schools populated by students from low-income households, TCHS struggles with the stigma that its students are low-performing and “at-risk.” And yet, outsiders might be surprised to see the range

Exploration: Digital Media and Social Inequality

Friday, May 04, 2012 Comment hands putting digital devices into box

Christo Sims is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and a graduate researcher for the Connected Learning Research Network’s Leveling Up project. The project team is investigating the learning dynamics of interest-driven online groups that support academically relevant knowledge-seeking and expertise development. Sims, whose research interests include youth culture, digital media practices, and social inequalities, developed an on-the-ground research methodology while working on the Digital Youth Project. A t hree-year ethnographic research project, Digital Youth brought together a cohort of researchers who jointly worked to understand how digital media and technology are meaningful

Why Critical Design Literacy is Needed Now More Than Ever

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 Comment 3 students conducting video interview and holding script

One thing is clear in our work at Texas City High School (TCHS) this year: students like to create their own media.  Students at TCHS create their own YouTube channels, compose original music, comics, games, Tumblr pages, art work, and fashion designs.  As young people’s use of social and digital media applications continues to evolve they are developing what I call a “design disposition.”  This is a reference to a distinct generational view that they expect to not only consume media content but create content, too.  Throughout the year we have sought out ways to both

What Schools are Really Blocking When They Block Social Media

Monday, January 30, 2012 Comment 1 female student sitting alone in empty classroom

The debates about schools and social media are a subject of great public and policy interests.  In reality, the debate has been shaped by one key fact: the almost universal decision by school administrators to block social media.  Because social media is such a big part of many students social lives, cultural identities, and informal learning networks schools actually find themselves grappling with social media everyday but often from a defensive posture—reacting to student disputes that play out over social media or policing rather than engaging student’s social media behaviors. Education administrators block social media because

Recommended Resources: Digital Citizenship, New Media Literacies, Games and Learning

Monday, November 21, 2011 Comment 4 boys all taking photo with phones of sidewalk memorial

Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World is nearly 500 pages of workshops and lessons plans dedicated to teaching youth ethics for a digital age.  Produced through a unique collaboration of Harvard’s GoodPlay Project and Project New Media Literacies, it is all free online, as one giant download or as separate files.  We were delighted to see it released, as Global Kids youth leaders played a role advising on various aspects of the project (such as through our Media Masters program, which tested some of the early curriculum).  For those interested in the