Education

Can Badging Be the Zipcar of Testing and Assessment?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 Comment drawing of lightbulbs on craft paper

I’m excited that next week the judges will be listening to the “pitches” and then determining the winners of the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition.  Immediately after, will be the opening of what promises to be the best Digital Media and Learning Conference yet, “Beyond Educational Technology: Learning Innovations in a Connected World” (to be held in San Francisco, March 1-3, 2012).  I’m thrilled about both of these showcases for new learning innovation.  But I have a confession to make: when I first began learning about badges, I was skeptical.  I was afraid that, rather than


Bryan Alexander: Emerging Learning Technologies

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 Comment mystery and digital story inphographic northern voice 2010 by Bryan Alexander

I knew Bryan Alexander was intense when I first spotted him in the audience at a talk I gave in the late 1990s. Just look at him. Old Testament prophet? Civil War general? Straight out of Middle Earth or Hogwarts? It’s not just the beard and the eyes. When you watch my video interview with Bryan (below), you can’t help but notice he is always in motion. I’ve actually seen him pound the podium. He’s an educator and an educator of educators who can’t disguise his passion and doesn’t care if he stands out in the


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


Why We Need a 4th R: Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, algoRithms

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 Comment 2 young girls sitting in grass woods outside reading school books

When Frederick J. Kelly invented the Kansas Silent Reading Test, now known as the “multiple-choice test” or the “bubble test,” he was looking for an efficient way to pass students through the U.S. public education system during the teacher shortage of 1914.  With the advent of World War I, men were off to the frontlines in Europe, women were working in war-time factories, and there was a population boom of new immigrants flooding into the schools.  Taking his inspiration from Henry Ford’s assembly line, Kelly came up with a way to standardize learning and assessment for


Teaching Art in a Connected World: the Possibilities

Friday, January 20, 2012 Comment 3 girls covered in paint working on art projects in art class

Aaron Knochel is an assistant professor at SUNY New Paltz, teaching upper division courses in curriculum theory and practice and “technology in the art classroom” in the university’s Art Education program. This past August, Knochel received his PhD in Art Education at Ohio State University, where his research focused on the possibilities and opportunities that new media and technology provide to art education. He was also one of twelve scholars to take part in the DML Research Hub’s Research Associates Summer Institute 2011. As an artist and an educator, Knochel believes that visual skills and digital


When Traditional Policy Goes Bad: Teen Social Use of Mobile Devices in High Schools

Tuesday, January 03, 2012 Comment woman holding cell phone in hand using the screen as a mirror

As I’ve been lately analyzing my data set related to in-school use of mobile devices at an urban school in South Central Los Angeles, I’ve been intrigued by some of the general tensions that exist in mobile media use in schools and the way teens tend to utilize mobile devices in ways that oppose traditional school power structures. Though the initial findings I will share in this post come from one research site over the course of a year, the social practices, based on my ongoing conversations with both high school youth and teachers, mirror the


Steve Hargadon: Reimagining Education as Networked, Participatory, Social, Global

Monday, December 19, 2011 Comment 3 male students working together at classroom computer

Steve Hargadon is the Charlie Rose of technology, learning and teaching. On his website, the Future of Education, he has interviewed everyone: from Clay Shirky to Diane Ravitch to Ken Robinson to Howard Gardner, and nearly all those in between. He’s been at the center of open education resources, Web 2.0, and social networking for as long as anyone I can think of. He is a master of virtual live events. His Teacher 2.0 site is essentially a megasized personal learning network for teachers. I caught up with him recently and am excited to share his


Thinking about Failure: Ways to Tell New Stories about Public Education

Monday, December 05, 2011 Comment shadow of person surrounded by light sound waves

Maybe it’s because progress reports at my high school were recently given to students, but lately I’ve been thinking about the role of failure in schools. The F-word, here and its corresponding letter grade support a high-stakes & high-pressure setting in K-16 school systems. The best sail across the chasm of educational failure and the rest fall into cycles of dropping out of school, out of college eligibility, out of dominant expectations of what it means to be successful. Public education is framed in most media as a dire problem in freefall. Without a parachute. What’s


No Child Left Behind: The Economic Motive of National Education Policy

Wednesday, November 09, 2011 Comment blurry photo of student sitting outside in the dark on his phone

I’ve often thought about how our national educational policy of No Child Left Behind, passed in 2002, reinforces and connects to the increasing income disparity in the United States.  Some of the economic implications of NCLB are obvious, such as the privatizing of the multi-million dollar standardized testing industry or the threat that, if a public school is still failing (as measured by those end-of-grade tests) in 2014, it will either be shut down or privatized.  Even with President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s temporary “reprieve” from this frightening deadline, announced this summer, NCLB


Learning, Freedom, Youth, and the Web: Brazil

Monday, October 10, 2011 Comment girl holding up camera phone in crowd taking a photo

Freedom of speech and social mobilization is new for many countries in Latin America. Most have had closed governments and dictatorships for the last 30 years. However, because of the spread of social media, political action, protests and activism have flourished. In Chile, for example, students have been leading protests demanding educational reform. Reports say more than 400,000 people have gathered in several of these marches. The protests, which have been drawing students to Plaza Italia in Santiago, have been organized with Twitter (for example, the umbrella march, when students protested under the rain and cold), Facebook