Education

The Possibilities of Badges and Blockchain

Thursday, February 11, 2016 Comment badges-block

In March 2015, I wrote “Peering Deep into the Future of Educational Credentialing” for DML Central. In it, I explored the potential for the blockchain technology (best known for underpinning Bitcoin) to add an extra layer of trust and verification to Open Badges. Now, a year later, we’re a lot closer to that reality than I originally envisioned. The diffusion of innovation has moved so quickly that even government ministers are excited about the possibilities afforded by the blockchain. Let’s back up a bit first. The great thing about the Open Badges Infrastructure is that it’s


Annotation, Rap Genius and Education

Monday, February 08, 2016 Comment hypothesis-students

Annotation educator Jeremy Dean came to me through my serendipity amplifier: Twitter. I watch some people think aloud in public and some people attend to my public online musings; when I think out loud in perceiving range of the right publics, the serendipities start amplifying. One of my Rheingold U students asked me via an open tweet whether I still use Diigo for social bookmarking; I replied that I also liked Diigo as a way to have conversations with learners about online texts through highlights and comment threads. I had not known Dr. Dean, but he


Making Learning Matter in the Digital Classroom

Thursday, February 04, 2016 Comment collage#2

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-tweet

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 collage_v03

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


Museum’s MediaLab Explores Digital Innovation

Thursday, January 07, 2016 Comment met-medialab

I recently took a walk across the park from American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), where I work, to our sibling museum founded on the other side of Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. For the first time, I got to go behind the scenes and visit their MediaLab, run by Marco Castro Cosio. After the tour, I met with both Marco and Neal Stimler, digital asset specialist in Collection Information. Both work together in the museum’s centralized Digital Department. I spoke with them about the Met MediaLab and what roles it plays spreading digital


The Spread and Evolution of Learning Labs

Monday, January 04, 2016 Comment AMX big stage.2

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


Learning in the Digital Microlaboratory of Educational Data Science

Monday, November 30, 2015 Comment calculator

In the last few years, Educational Data Science has emerged as a new field of inquiry in educational research. Where did it come from, what is its likely future impact on the production of knowledge about educational practices and learning processes, and how might it affect studies in digital media and learning? In sociological research, it has become quite fashionable to conduct studies of particular academic fields, their historical origins and development, and their methods of knowledge production. Influential research has been conducted, for example, to trace the development of psychology, neuroscience, behavioural sciences, and the


Blended, Hybrid, Flipped, Online: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Thursday, November 26, 2015 Comment hybrid-600

This is my second post in a series exploring my journey to develop and teach a graduate “Multimodal Literacies” course for pre-service and in-service teachers based on the connected learning framework. You can see the first post here and my original inspiration here. Now that I have a sense of the conceptual and thematic organization of my course and have decided upon some focus texts, I am confronted with the task of setting up weekly structure and my methods for communicating content. Several of my colleagues have asked me whether, considering the multimodal subject I am


Digital Writing as Mode of Thinking

Thursday, October 29, 2015 Comment sound

In my current “Writing Theory & Practice” course, we have been discussing the elusive notion of “voice” in writing. What makes a writerly voice distinct, audible, sincere, authentic? What makes a voice compelling? We have recognized that voice is connected to both embodiment and subjectivity. We have talked about the important link between voice and empowerment. We have acknowledged how hard it is to hone one’s writerly voice, as we reach for a kind of agility that allows us to shift our voices depending on audience or context.   All of this to say that finding