Identity

What do new Social Networks tell us about Digital Literacies?

Monday, July 11, 2011 Comment screenshot of google homepage with arrows pointing to the + sign to add new pages

The recent launch of Google+, a new social network, has caused ripples in many different online spaces. From talk of it being a ‘Facebook killer’ because of its enhanced privacy settings to discussion of who one should place in the various ‘Circles’ available to users, the focus has been on technical aspects of the new service. What interests me, however, is how using the lens of digital literacies can cast light on practices and interactions in these spheres. There are two graphs ingrained in the brains of most people interested in technology and its effects on


The Cosmopolitan Classroom

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 Comment students sitting in theater seats waiting for presentation

The globalization of digital media has put pressure on education systems worldwide to be reformed. The emphasis is on schooling that will promote the cosmopolitan identities of globalized digital citizens. But what kind of cosmopolitan identities? And can we imagine truly cosmopolitan classrooms? Debates about digital media and learning and the need for educational reform have gone truly global. The proof is Rupert Murdoch’s massive News International corporation. At the recent global eG8 forum in Paris in May, Murdoch used his speaking platform to advocate a “digital revolution in schooling.” According to his eG8 speech, the


Should We Design Social Justice into Learning?

Monday, May 02, 2011 Comment group of adults sitting in home around couches working on computers

The notion of design is central to the way we think about learning, and to how we think about digital media. Some would argue that learning is “designed in” to digital media such as good video games. But what can this concept tell us about “designing in” social justice to learning experiences? Thinking about digital media from a design perspective compels us to recognize how much of what we take for granted as “just the way things are” are the consequences of design decisions, and reveals how things could be otherwise. It shows how individuals can


School, Work and Play: Decoding Digital Age Shifts

Friday, April 01, 2011 Comment man giving spoken word performance during DML

Learning with digital media is often articulated through an affective vocabulary of play, informality, enjoyment, and creativity, as opposed to the formality, standards and routines of conventional schooling. This difference in the language of learning corresponds with changing patterns in work. Employers now claim they want to hire more playful and creative recruits with portfolios of experience in social networking and online virtual worlds.  The 21st Century Workforce Mindset The links between schooling, culture, and employment are now changing as the growth of an “interactive economy” places new demands on youth both as potential consumers of


Identity, Avatars, Virtual Life – and Advancing Social Equity in the ‘Real’ World

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 Comment girl peaking over laptop only showing her eyes

This semester, MIT professor Fox Harrell is teaching an ambitious new course on “Identity Representation” that includes studying identities adopted in computer games and social network sites.  In the course description posted online, Harrell explains that he is more broadly interested in getting students to “look at how humans express multiple identities for different purposes both in the real world and online.”  As the first researcher both in MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Harrell is developing what he calls a “toolkit” for the “Advanced Identity Representation


Understanding the Rise of Social Networking in Brazil

Thursday, February 24, 2011 Comment people sitting on the ground at conference working on computers

Orkut was the first major social networking service to arrive in Brazil and it has just passed the seven-year mark. Although several other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are growing in popularity, Orkut maintains a strong leadership position and it is still growing. It’s intriguing to explore how and why Orkut established such a strong foothold on the Internet in a country that didn’t have high Internet adoption rates when Orkut first arrived in January 2004. As soon as Google launched Orkut, it spread rapidly among technology workers and students. People quickly became interested


Young Black Males, Learning, and Video Games

Thursday, February 17, 2011 Comment 4 black males playing video game together

A recent report on educational achievement among young black males describes a “national catastrophe” in primary, secondary, and higher education that is reinforced by policy failures and funding shortfalls. “A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools” uses data largely from the U.S. Department of Education to paint a grim picture of an achievement gap between black and white students, reinforcing the message of recent books like Pedro Noguera’s The Trouble with Black Boys: Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education. While the Obama


Digital Self-Harm and Other Acts of Self-Harassment

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 Comment portrait of woman with hair covering face representing self harm

Sometimes, things aren’t what they appear to be.  And, in those cases, jumping to the wrong conclusion can be a disservice to everyone.  After I first wrote about Formspring seven months ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about teens who chose to respond to vicious or harassing questions (since only responses are ever posted publicly).  Listening to teens, I had concluded that many out there were trying to prove that they were tough and could handle anything.  And I’ve continued to hear that story in the field.  But as I started looking into the negative commentary on teens’


Teens, Social Media, and Celebrity: Anatomy of an Incident

Friday, August 27, 2010 Comment mc and I heart open web

Recently, two Brazilian teenagers practicing sexting on Twitcam, became international news. More than 25,000 Twitter users watched the live transmission of the couple’s intimate moments. Copies of the video and screen shots quickly flooded other social networking sites. Several Twitter users who saw the images denounced the incident and it was reported to a local police chief. The police chief launched an investigation (all links in Portuguese) and contacted the boy, the girl, and their parents. The two teenagers (a 16-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl) said the broadcast was the result of a wager. The


Social Steganography: Learning to Hide in Plain Sight

Monday, August 23, 2010 Comment drawings of sad faces with one green happy face in the middle

Carmen and her mother are close.  As far as Carmen’s concerned, she has nothing to hide from her mother so she’s happy to have her mom as her ‘friend’ on Facebook.  Of course, Carmen’s mom doesn’t always understand the social protocols on Facebook and Carmen sometimes gets frustrated.  She hates that her mom comments on nearly every post, because it “scares everyone away…Everyone kind of disappears after the mom post…It’s just uncool having your mom all over your wall. That’s just lame.”  Still, she knows that her mom means well and she sometimes uses this pattern