Digital Media & Learning

How are Digital Learning Educators Made?

Thursday, October 06, 2016 Comment educators

Last year, I read Elizabeth Green’s “Building a Better Teacher” and it changed the way I understood education in America. Fundamental to this essential history (of recent efforts at education reform, not just in the U.S. but around the world) is the question of whether teachers are born or made. The book’s subtitle telegraphs Green’s answer “How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone).” If teachers are born, then all we need to do is support those inherently strong at it then push out the rest. If they are made, however, the task is

Where We Stand: A Decade of Digital Media and Learning

Thursday, September 03, 2015 Comment 1 adult 2 students at museum staring at ipad

This October will mark nine years since the official launch of the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, at an event held right down the hall from my desk at the American Museum of Natural History (yes, we offer a lovely room you too can rent out). At the time, I didn’t work at the museum, but the path that eventually lead me here was very much paved by the innovations in digital learning advanced by the foundation in the years that followed. And, I suspect that journeys like mine, which benefitted immeasurably from the

DML History and Future: Share Your Story

Monday, June 08, 2015 Comment DML 2050 logo

What is DML (digital media and learning)? Where does it come from and what might its future look like? And, what has it meant for those involved? Every movement has stories to tell. Every field has one or more founding narratives. This year, a new “#DML2055 — DML in Action” thread at the DML Conference will give us all an opportunity to share our stories; the stories that shape this field and movement. To get us started, we invite all participants to share their own DML story (Why are you connected with DML?) using the #DML2055

How Might Creative Youth Cultures Understand the Nature of ‘Creativity’?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Comment black female student filming using camera and tripad against brick wall

In this post I want to compare two European research projects that investigated creative production by young people in informal, out-of-school and, to a great extent, self organised contexts. Around the world scholars are very interested in the development of any kind of learning community and especially those seemingly stimulated by or reliant on forms of digital technology. It is the key premise for DML. Virtually all of the scholarship is interested in the types of different relationships such cultures have with formal schooling both to see how they might serve as templates for educational reform

The 5 Most Interesting Writing Developments for 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014 Comment close up of iphone showing keyboard and typed words hello world

It is a common theme to complain about the way that writing (or reading or math) skills are declining as our society becomes increasingly digitized. In this post, I look at some examples of the way that digital technologies are making writing more interesting by exploring stories or trends from the past year that have impacted writing and the teaching of writing. Not all of these examples suggest that writing is getting better (or that it is getting worse). Rather, they illustrate how writing is changing under the influence of emerging technologies. 1. Writing is in

Going Beyond ‘Learning to Code’: Why 2014 is the Year of Web Literacy

Monday, January 06, 2014 Comment teacher and student working at laptop together

In January 2012 the Mayor of New York tweeted, along with thousands of other people, that he planned to ‘learn to code’ during the course of that year. Whether or not he was successful in this venture, it’s a good indication of how ‘learn to code’ has captured the zeitgeist and become a movement. A recent Computer Science Education week, for example, was  re-branded as ‘Hour of Code’ – and features celebrities urging everyone to just learn a little bit of code. The argument is largely economic and aligned with agendas around science, technology, engineering

Learning from a Life in Software

Thursday, December 19, 2013 Comment black male students working at beat soundboard

In this post I want to think about our intimate relationship with various kinds of software as a way of understanding the development of skills and practices. I want to take the unusual approach of telling the story of a ‘creative life in software’ – building on Brigid Barron’s development of ‘techno-biographies’ as a way of gaining insight into learning over time and across contexts. I want us to think beyond the more self-evident fact that engaging with software is crucial in the development of all sorts of individual capabilities and competencies to how we might

Fanfiction, Capitalism and Draco in Leather Pants

Monday, December 16, 2013 Comment harry potter book collection on display

Earlier in the semester, I found myself lecturing to a class and having students in my Young Adult Literature course take notes about “Draco in Leather Pants.” Stay with me. Along with contemporary books like Gossip Girl and classics like The Outsiders and Go Ask Alice, my undergraduates at Colorado State University and I looked at how online environments in the past decade have transformed the world of teen literature. For readers of this blog, such a focus shouldn’t be very surprising. Discussions of the Harry Potter Alliance and John Green’s legions of nerdfighters highlight the

Libraries as ‘Sponsors of Literacy and Learning’: Peeling Back the Layers

Friday, December 13, 2013 Comment close up of a white onion

In my last two posts, I have reflected on a rationale for looking at the work of libraries through Deborah Brandt’s concept of sponsors of literacy as well as the philosophical and practical imperatives for libraries to examine the forces and ideologies that shape their work.  As libraries begin to examine the ways they function as sponsors of multiple forms of literacy and to consider the kinds of literate practices that are privileged and marginalized, a checklist or inventory of questions for consideration is needed as a starting point for peeling back the layers of influences.

Learning from

Thursday, December 05, 2013 Comment close up on black keyboard

“But I just want to remind everybody, we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website.” – Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Affordable Care Act,” Oct. 21, 2013 The disastrous launch of gives an opportunity for everyone invested in digital media and learning initiatives to reflect critically about what we do and to ask some hard questions.  Although it may be “just” a website, according to the president, the flawed federal Internet portal intended to enroll millions of consumers into a system of affordable healthcare coverage exposes a