Digital Media

Preparing Museums to Lead Future Learning

Monday, March 14, 2016 Comment computer-generated image of floating museum

How do museums prepare for the arrival of the future, positioning themselves to be leaders in the learning ecology of tomorrow? To find out I spoke with one person who keeps an eye on that horizon — Elizabeth Merritt — from the Center for the Future of Museums. We spoke about augmented reality, digital badges and how museums can become a transformative force in education. Welcome, Elizabeth. Please introduce yourself. I’m Elizabeth Merritt, vice president for strategic foresight and founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums at the American Alliance of Museums. That’s


The Power of Community Open Online Courses

Monday, March 07, 2016 Comment Teacher speaking to teenagers who are all holding and looking at smartphones

When MOOCs came along, and were swiftly adopted as the latest venture-funded startup fad, many who didn’t receive so much publicity back then started thinking of possibilities other than massive courses or strictly commercial open courses. Peter Shukie, lecturer at Community College, Blackburn, UK, and doctoral student at Lancaster University, started experimenting with “COOCs” — Community Open Online Courses. “The idea came from my experiences in adult literacy and community education, especially around students and teachers who seemed to be excluded — while at the same time being courted — by moves toward a technology-inspired learning ecology. At the


Making Learning Matter in the Digital Classroom

Thursday, February 04, 2016 Comment Online Course description screenshot

In a recent blog post, I discussed the noteworthy success of a web-based course launched by a research university in a high-profile initiative that emphasized online access as much as digital education. As I pointed out, student evaluations are almost never universally positive about large courses, particularly required courses with many drafts due for projects that can feel like “busy work” to skeptical undergraduates. I interviewed the course instructor, Alexandra Sartor, in this blog post and wanted to follow up with the instructional designer, Ava Arndt, as well. A disclaimer is probably in order here, since


Listening to the Field: Lessons on Multimedia and Technology in English Classrooms

Thursday, January 21, 2016 Comment Franki Sibberson tweet about students learning styles

While I know my DML Central blogging colleagues and I try to stay abreast of the educational, social, and economic implications of digital media on the lives of young people today, sometimes actually asking teachers what they use, learn with, and feel inspired by illuminates most brightly the role of technology in schools. As such, I was pleased when on Sunday, I was able to co-host a Twitter chat with many of my dearest friends from across the country: members of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). As a bit of background, I recently helped


What Failure? Supporting a Succeeding UC Online Course

Thursday, January 14, 2016 Comment UCSD webpage screenshot with students and professor in image

I’m certainly no starry-eyed uncritical worshipper of online learning. In fact, I have something of a reputation as a very frank critic, which was solidified with my book The War on Learning. This status as a skeptic is likely to be further reinforced with my new edited collection about “the MOOCs moment” that is slated to appear soon from the University of Chicago Press. So, it’s not surprising that I regularly get sent news items about bone-headed failures from people chortling about the obvious shortcomings of instructional technology in higher education. What has been disconcerting is


The Spread and Evolution of Learning Labs

Monday, January 04, 2016 Comment man performing on stage in front of crowd at learning lab

For much of its duration, the Digital Media and Learning (DML) initiative has made a serious investment in not only reimagining learning but also remaking the kinds of institutions and places that support learning. This effort has come in many forms including the design of new kinds of spaces for children and teens to learn and cultivate the skills that are relevant in a knowledge-driven economy. One of the enduring outcomes of the initiative, for example, has been the design of learning labs across a number of cities. What are Learning Labs? The report, Learning Labs in


How to Answer John Gardner’s Challenge

Monday, November 23, 2015 Comment inspirational quote by john w gardner about young people

John W. Gardner (1912-2001, no relation) was the most impressive public citizen of my time. Trained as a psychologist, president of the Carnegie Foundation at an early age, and a dedicated public servant who served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the cabinet of President Lyndon Johnson, Gardner achieved his most important influence in the latter part of his life, as a private citizen. He launched and helped guide important initiatives like Common Cause, the Independent Sector, the White House Fellowship, and Encore; of equal importance, he served as a role model and mentor


Loss, Trauma and the Digital Language of Empathy in Schools

Thursday, November 12, 2015 Comment Forgotten Future candle vigil

My father passed away part way through my second year as a teacher. This happened in the middle of one of our school breaks and I was able to use the time away from kids to take care of family arrangements. What I didn’t do during this break was find the time to process, reflect, grieve. And so, when the time came to go back to school, I made the rookie mistake of putting on a smiling face and continuing in my classroom as if it was business as usual. The need to process my own


Disruption and Innovation: Divided By Design

Monday, October 19, 2015 Comment Uber billboard in city

Every day that I arrive to and leave from work, I’m greeted by an Uber billboard. The photograph shows a women of color, probably in her 30s squinting as she looks at the camera. The accompanying text says, “Driving with Uber means I can provide for my daughter.” The “Uber means” text is in blue. This billboard replaced a previous Uber billboard that simply featured a car and said “Drive with Uber.” There is an obvious link between the existence of these billboards and education as they were placed directly outside of a community college. There


Doing Innovation: How Millennials Are Navigating Today’s Economy

Thursday, October 08, 2015 Comment 6 people sitting around table with computers at hackathon

Millennials live in a world of contradictions. They are the most educated generation in U.S. history and yet they earn less than the previous generation of young workers. They live in the richest economy the world has ever seen and yet stable and meaningful employment remains elusive. This year, the U.S. Census announced that millennials now make up a greater share of the workforce than any other population segment. Millennials are coming of age at a time when many of our notions about work, identity, opportunity, and mobility are undergoing profound change. How are young 20 and 30-somethings navigating these