Education Reform

Addressing School Leaders’ Connected Learning Concerns

Thursday, June 23, 2016 Comment Empty desks in classroom

I recently had the opportunity to talk about technology, equity, and learning with a group of administrators, coaches, and support staff in an urban school district during their end-of-year leadership summit. My morning presentation offered Connected Learning as a framework for instructional design that takes advantage of the possibilities for amplification, dissemination, and (of course) connection afforded us by digital media tools. I used a quote attributed to 20th century American philosopher William James to establish my thematic focus – the need for learning experiences that recognize and capitalize upon the interconnectedness of citizens within a

Full STEAM Ahead: Remodeling Learning

Monday, May 09, 2016 Comment students working on a small electric car

Yes, it’s relatively easy to introduce technology and to experiment with project-based learning. It’s not so easy to change the law, norms, and practices that are so strongly associated with high schools in the U.S.A. (for example, sequester students on school grounds five days a week), which is why Justin Bathon added a law degree to his education credentials. Dr. Bathon, associate professor at University of Kentucky, Director of Innovative School models and leader of STEAM Academy, in Lexington, Kentucky, is interested in “the ‘code’ of education which includes things like the legal structure upon which

Uber for School?

Monday, October 26, 2015 Comment close up of microchip

Disruptive innovation. Bleeding edge. Scalable solutions. The Uber for X. Silicon Valley is routinely ridiculed for the language of technology entrepreneurship and startup culture it has dispersed. Yet, the Silicon Valley vocabulary is fast becoming part of the language of education, and major tech companies are using their massive financial power to create their own new schools. In the last few years, IBM has launched P-TECH, a network of “smarter schools” modeled on its Smarter Cities program. A former Google executive has established AltSchool, a chain of schools designed more like makerspaces than conventional schools. And,

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

A Collaborative Guide to Best Digital Learning Practices for K-12

Monday, April 09, 2012 Comment picture taken through a window of teacher helping student with work

Below you will find a collaboratively written document produced in Bangkok, Thailand, at the March 28-31 teacher’s meeting of EARCOS, the East Asia Regional Council of Schools.  EARCOS is an organization of 130 primary and secondary schools that primarily use English as the language of instruction.  These include AP and IB schools and a number of other private schools.  We produced the document below on a public Google doc at a workshop, which I structured on the model of an “innovation challenge” of the kind that web developers use to bring together communities to complete a

The Ethics and Responsibilities of the 21st Century Classroom: Part One

Monday, April 02, 2012 Comment lecture hall full of students

When I think about the “ethics and responsibilities of the 21st century classroom,” I think not only about our ethical responsibilities toward students but about our ethical responsibilities toward teachers.  I am very concerned that the drop-out rate of K-12 teachers is even higher than the drop-out rate of K-12 students in the U.S. and in many other countries around the world.  As I’ve gone around the U.S. and abroad talking with teachers, I’ve seen over and over how beleaguered they are: by (a) too many rules, (b) too many constantly-changing systems and theories, by (c)

Webinar: How Can We Disrupt the “Banking” System of Education?

Thursday, March 29, 2012 Comment
bracelet love thy library Gale cendade learning

Earlier today, hosted a live webinar with librarian Buffy Hamilton, aka “The Unquiet Librarian,” on the topic: How do libraries cultivate participatory literacy to disrupt what Paulo Freire calls the “banking” system of education? For this webinar series, anyone can be a part of the conversation via Livestream ( and Twitter (#connectedlearning), pose questions in real-time to the guest speaker, and connect with others in the emerging connected learning community. The webinar’s page on now has a video recording as well as a growing list of the questions asked and resources mentioned. Joining Buffy

The Role of Tech vs The Purpose of Education

Monday, March 26, 2012 Comment old traditional education building with design of white key in front

Working in the field of digital media and learning, where the important role of new technologies in learning seems self-evident, the slow pace of change in mainstream education can feel frustrating. Responding to this challenge, we give a lot of attention to thinking about ways to support and encourage teachers to make greater use of the opportunities presented by digital media, but perhaps we should spend more time considering how and why technologies come to be used, or not used, in the first place. Ambitious Goals for the Transformative Potential of Digital Media Enthusiasm for the

What’s Next for DML?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Comment group of students working at computers on media project

I recently returned from the engaging and rewarding DML2012 both exhausted and invigorated. As I debrief the many ideas and challenges to existing learning practices that were shared and explored at this year’s DML conference, I am struck by the thought of where we, as a community, are headed. Throughout the conference, I occasionally had moments of hesitation: we’ve grown since the first DML conference in 2010 in San Diego. We’ve grown a lot. And I think I’m most excited about the fact that we’ve grown in terms of diversity within the DML community. A lot.

The Future of Learning and Teaching: It’s Time for ‘Audacious Goals’

Friday, March 16, 2012 Comment women sitting in the aisle of packed DML conference room

In an impassioned call to action, Diana Rhoten kicked off the 2012 Digital Media and Learning conference by suggesting that education will never see its long-overdue renaissance without “audacious goals.” Senior vice president for strategy in the new Education Division of News Corp. and the conference chair, Rhoten spoke of the urgent need for researchers, practitioners, teachers, educators, technologists, as well as entrepreneurs and investors, to join together in the cause of a learning revolution. Without “audacious goals” and a diverse community willing to come together at this historic moment of convergence, most would-be education reformers