Moving Past Civic Engagement To Civic Innovation

Thursday, October 27, 2016 Comment Nicole Mirra at DML2016

Every year, without fail, I leave the Digital Media and Learning Conference with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to my work. While I attribute some of this energy boost to the opportunity to connect with colleagues and share my research, I think its major source is the conference’s commitment to highlighting the power and responsibility of digital technologies to contribute to a more equitable and active civic life. Too often, when discourses about education and technology converge, conversations focus on the novelty-factor of particular tools in the classroom, opportunities for large-scale data collection, or

Watchworthy Wednesday: Closing the Homework Gap

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 Comment students at computers doing homework in library

Franny Millen was in the 7th grade four years ago when she realized that many of her classmates couldn’t do their homework because they didn’t have a computer or internet access at home. To her, that was simply unfair and she and her family started a nonprofit organization, Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D), to help her peers. “As educators, we recognize that we don’t have digital equity in our community but to Franny, it was just not fair,” Valerie Truesdale, chief technology officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, recalled. “Some students could extend learning beyond

How to Socially Engineer Voluntary Integration

Thursday, October 20, 2016 Comment screenshot of website

In my first blog post for DML, I proposed that parents in school choice markets interpret and act on school performance data in ways that reinforce racial and socioeconomic segregation. New York City public schools are growing increasingly racially segregated, even public pre-K, according to a recent report from the Century Foundation. Economic segregation is also increasing, particularly within the 100 largest school districts, which saw a 30% increase in economic segregation between 1990 and 2010. Meanwhile, 50 years of high-quality qualitative and quantitative research indicate that socioeconomically integrated schools are a win-win, leading to improved

Watchworthy Wednesday: 2016 DML Keynote Recap

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 Comment Keynote speakers

In case you weren’t among the nearly 500 people at the 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference last week at the University of California, Irvine, here are highlights from the keynotes. What is the Intellectual Culture of Games? Thanks to two factors that have emerged — mobile gaming and a healthy indie ecosystem — video games are in “the golden age,” according to games expert Constance Steinkuehler, presently a professor in digital media at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and co-director of the Games+Learning+Society Center at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery and soon to join the UCI

Hacking for Change

Monday, September 26, 2016 Comment young people hacking

In a recent trip to Sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent time seeing up close the country’s burgeoning technology and social innovation-driven ecosystem. During his visit to countries like Nigeria and Nairobi, Zuckerberg visited a coding camp for children, vibrant innovation hubs, and several tech companies. He also sought to learn more about what makes Kenya the world leader in mobile money. Zuckerberg met with a number of young tech entrepreneurs who are toiling away, striving to remake Africa’s economy, boost civic life, strengthen education, and raise public health standards. According to Zuckerberg, “Africa is where the future

Watchworthy Wednesday: New Series Features Extraordinary Women

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Comment Feminist Frequency

Emma Goldman was born in 1869 in Russia. When she was 15, her father tried to force her to get married and when she refused, he threw her French grammar book in the fire. At 16, she left her homeland, immigrating to the United States where she discovered her calling as a political revolutionary. Her story comes to life as narrated by Anita Sarkeesian, in this just-released video series, “Ordinary Women Daring to Defy History” by Feminist Frequency: “The Revolutionary Life of Emma Goldman” is the first of five videos in the series, telling the stories

A Conversation About Screen Time

Monday, September 12, 2016 Comment kids and screens

I raised a millennial who is now in her 30s. We dealt with the fact that she did her homework while engaging in multiple instant-message conversations and watching television in the background. Her response: “When I stop making straight As in school, maybe it’s a problem.” I’ve talked a lot about my conversations with my daughter about “crap detection” and search engines, which were just coming of age around the time she started using them for middle school research. In those olden days of the early 2000s, smartphones, SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, weren’t issues. The territory is

Parent Choice: Using Data to Justify Decisions that Perpetuate Segregation?

Monday, August 29, 2016 Comment pre-school classroom

As a researcher of urban education and parent of a child entering public pre-K in New York City this fall, my professional and personal interests converged this past year as I visited schools and poured over school performance data, along with every other parent of a 3-year-old in the city. I practically squealed with pleasure when the Department of Education released its newest data tool, the School Performance Dashboard. The Dashboard makes the process of at-a-glance school comparison that much easier, at least for parents conversant in the languages of data and quantitative measurement, who are

Watchworthy Wednesday: A Dreamer’s Guide to College Funds

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Comment Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca with her DREAMer's Roadmap app

Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca would not be studying at Cañada College in Redwood City, getting ready to transfer to a four-year college and major in political science and communications, were it not for the help of a scholarship for undocumented students. Unable to apply for federal student loans because of her status and discouraged by naysayers, she thought it would be impossible to go to college, and she knows many other undocumented youth feel the same way. (About 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year in the U.S.) That’s why she created DREAMer’s Roadmap, a

Watchworthy Wednesday: Expounding on Educational Equity

Wednesday, August 03, 2016 Comment cla equity banner students looking at aquarium

Schools are just one place where learning takes place. Education can also be had at libraries, after-school programs, summer camps and online. In fact, today’s abundance of technological resources provides myriad learning opportunities. But, not all youth have the chance to take part, due to barriers such as access and cost. This Connected Learning Alliance video addresses educational equity and how connected learning can help close the access gap. It’s based on research evidence, proving that “we need a learning ecosystem that challenges inequality by empowering people to create opportunity together. The tools of the digital