Equity

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


There are No Lessons for Alton or Philando

Monday, July 11, 2016 Comment rally after Alton and Philando murders

Like many of you, I cried on Wednesday as I watched Alton Sterling’s son cry for his daddy a day after he was murdered by the police of Baton Rouge. I watched that teenage boy and I wept in sadness, anger, and exhaustion. I watched that teenage boy knowing what Roxane Gay wrote later that day: “We have to bear witness and resist numbness and help the children of the black people who lose their lives to police brutality shoulder their unnatural burden.” And, while mainstream media spent the day in a cycle of did-she-or-didn’t-she about


Equitable Connected Learning Requires Diverse Research Perspectives

Monday, April 25, 2016 Comment Andrew Slack sitting at table talking to people 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 screen shot of abc 7 news reporting ahmed mohamed arrest at school

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 graphic of child brain with with thought bubbles representing mat science sports

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 parents holding baby hand at the beach

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 young girl working on measuring a robot with another student

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