Equity

Equitable Connected Learning Requires Diverse Research Perspectives

Monday, April 25, 2016 Comment Andrew Slack sitting at table at DML Conference

As a former high school English teacher in two large, urban school districts, I completely understand how educators, parents and policymakers who are wrestling each day with the most pressing issues facing public education — standardized testing, the effects of poverty on learning, opportunity gaps — might be a bit impatient with educational theory and research. Is this new theory about the intersection of culture, politics, and digital media going to give me the answers about how to help my most struggling students today? If not, it can wait. My students need me right now. So,


A Call for Increased Critical Media Literacy in Schools

Monday, September 28, 2015 Comment ahmed

The racial profiling and racist treatment that followed Ahmed Mohamed’s clock, and the intense media punditry that buzzed and died out in typical fashion highlighted many powerful lessons for young people. And, while I’ve appreciated the ongoing dialogue about racialized perspectives of the maker movement and who gets to be seen as an innovator and who is profiled, the entire exchange: from a viral photo of young Mohamed in handcuffs to a trending hashtag to Obama’s invitation to the White House has been a crucial case study in the need for increased critical media literacy within


Make ‘Em All Geniuses: Redefining Schools, Possibilities, Equity

Monday, August 10, 2015 Comment child-brain.jpg

Not to brag or anything, but I figured out how to solve the academic achievement “problem” plaguing the U.S. today: just treat all of our children like geniuses. Maybe I should elaborate: As part of my summer reading, I enjoyed Denise Shekerjian’s “Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born.” Twenty-five years old at this point, Shekerjian’s work profiled more than forty winners of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as the “genius award.” In case the fellowship is new to you, a few pieces of key information: fellows are chosen through a nomination process kept confidential from


Parenting in a World of Social and Technological Transformation

Monday, May 25, 2015 Comment baby-parents-600.jpg

As educators, policy makers and community activists look to build more equitable futures, a considerable amount of attention remains focused on families, especially parents. Families represent an important node in the learning ecologies of children and teens. When parents are able to connect their children to resources, material and immaterial, they provide substantive support in the pursuit of academic (i.e., higher grades) and non-academic (i.e., character building) outcomes. Moreover, when the home can serve as a rich and vibrant space for learning through inquiry, curiosity and play, the social and educational payoffs can be immeasurable. But,


Is the Maker Movement Equitable?

Thursday, February 12, 2015 Comment girl-bot-600.jpg

The title of the article from The Atlantic stopped me in my tracks as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed: “Why I am Not a Maker.”  I was perplexed. Why would someone not want to engage in the fun, creativity, and imagination of the maker movement? Within the connected learning and DML communities (at least my involvement in them), making has always had a positive connotation, bringing with it the possibility of turning teaching and learning toward a focus on producing new things/ideas instead of simply consuming the status quo. But, perhaps I was ignorant


Addressing Race, Inequity Issues Through Social Media Power

Monday, September 22, 2014 Comment blacktwitter1-600.jpg

The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. began dominating the national headlines instantly. One of the biggest factors, as Newsweek’s Elijah Wolfson points out, was the use of social media by the residents of Ferguson as well as those sympathetic to the concerns about hyper-aggressive police tactics. Speaking about Ferguson, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes told a New York Times reporter, “this story was put on the map, driven, and followed on social media more so than any story I can remember since the Arab spring.” Amidst the surge of social media, a number of journalists reported on what they perceived


Why Technology Alone Can’t Fix the Education Problem

Thursday, February 06, 2014 Comment ipads-kids.jpg

For more than a decade now, I’ve internally cringed whenever someone talks about the promise of technology in education. Often, discussions of iPads, video games, laptops for all focus on the potential of access to the software, device, or app rather than how it’s used. In 1999, my department at UC Santa Barbara decided that all lecturers would hold classes in campus computer labs to demonstrate our progressiveness. We received no training. There was no brainstorming about lessons. We were given no information about the specs of the computer labs. Space was reserved and we were


Libraries as ‘Sponsors of Literacy and Learning’: Peeling Back the Layers

Friday, December 13, 2013 Comment buffy3.600.jpg

In my last two posts, I have reflected on a rationale for looking at the work of libraries through Deborah Brandt’s concept of sponsors of literacy as well as the philosophical and practical imperatives for libraries to examine the forces and ideologies that shape their work.  As libraries begin to examine the ways they function as sponsors of multiple forms of literacy and to consider the kinds of literate practices that are privileged and marginalized, a checklist or inventory of questions for consideration is needed as a starting point for peeling back the layers of influences.


Libraries as ‘Sponsors of Literacies’: Diving Deep to Expose Narratives & Metanarratives

Monday, October 14, 2013 Comment buffy2.600.jpg

In my last post “Literacies and Fallacies,” I introduced Deborah Brandt’s conceptual approach of sponsors of literacy that connects individual literacy development to the economic development of literacy.  I also shared a rationale for why libraries should use this critical interpretive lens and offered an initial list of questions as focal points of inquiry to consider.  As I recently finished Natasha Trethewey’s brilliant and deeply moving Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I saw parallels between the narratives in Trethewey’s work and Brandt’s ethnographic research examining sponsors of literacy.  In this collection of


iFiasco in LA’s Schools: Why Technology Alone Is Never the Answer

Thursday, October 10, 2013 Comment antero15.600.jpg

The opening sentence to a recent Los Angeles Times article says it all: It took exactly one week for nearly 300 students at Roosevelt High School to hack through security so they could surf the Web on their new school-issued iPads, raising new concerns about a plan to distribute the devices to all students in the district. When educators and policymakers assume that simply investing in technology will “level the playing field” in schools, it’s clear that those of us in the DML community have a lot of work to do.  As educational researchers who were teachers in