Museum’s MediaLab Explores Digital Innovation

Thursday, January 07, 2016 Comment people watching digital innovation projections at MET museums media lab

I recently took a walk across the park from American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), where I work, to our sibling museum founded on the other side of Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. For the first time, I got to go behind the scenes and visit their MediaLab, run by Marco Castro Cosio. After the tour, I met with both Marco and Neal Stimler, digital asset specialist in Collection Information. Both work together in the museum’s centralized Digital Department. I spoke with them about the Met MediaLab and what roles it plays spreading digital

The Spread of Innovation

Monday, March 16, 2015 Comment SXSW 2015 celebration in room with confetti neon lights dancing

Tens of thousands from across the U.S. and around the world will settle in Austin this week to join in the big festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW). For two weeks, it’s a chance to see what is happening in the worlds of interactive, film, and music. By the time SXSW is over, 1,800 bands will have performed, 250 films will have screened, more than 4,000 talks will have taken place, and hundreds of events will have happened.  SXSW Interactive is a big playground and a place where new ideas are tested with one of the world’s

Wanted: A New Generation of Problem Solvers

Sunday, June 16, 2013 Comment close up of problem solving mind challenging games

It has been more than a decade since Marc Prensky popularized the term “digital natives” to describe young people’s inherent connection with digital technologies, and while students may be able to successfully navigate these technologies to accomplish everyday tasks, researchers such as Ugochi Acholonu are exploring the extent to which this theory holds true when it comes to a student’s ability to innovate using technology.   Acholonu tested this theory by asking a group of community college students, ages 18-20 who had grown up in technology inclusive environments, to complete a set of problems on paper.

Hacking the Curriculum 101

Monday, July 09, 2012 Comment apple macbook laptop covered in stickers

At a time when so many teachers and administrators fear and forbid student access to the internet from school, a high school teacher on the California coast is encouraging students by the hundreds to blog, Skype, gamify, and mindmap collaboratively in public. Problems? Zero. Enthusiasm — I can personally testify as one of the people Dr. Preston invited to videoconference with his students — blows the roof off. Preston’s students are enthusiastic about the texts, the ideas, the possibility of reaching out to the authors of those texts and inviting them into the class, and the

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

Privatizing Public Education and ‘Learning to Cheat’ as a Digital Literacy

Monday, October 03, 2011 Comment animated image of railroad tracks in the desert

I’m usually pretty optimistic about the possibilities available to innovative teachers and students. Lately, however, I’ve been worried about the wholesale apathy and universal shoulder-shrug that’s been the response to “What do we do about public education?” At the school I teach at in Los Angeles, in particular, things have been pretty bleak. Let’s put some pieces together regarding this topic by looking at a few news articles. Recently, these were the headlines of three articles I read in the span of a few days: “YA Authors Asked to ‘Straighten’ Gay Characters“ “Water District Taps Google

Wanted (And Needed): ‘Radical’ Collaborations

Monday, August 01, 2011 Comment painting with words 20 Learn

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. This insight from Anne Frank is evidenced today all across the world in education and many other domains. People are doing amazing things. Start ups, reforms, revolutions. It’s good news. It’s happening everywhere. And it all fits together, whether we see the connections today or not. Pointillism. Perpetual beta. If you’re not feeling it, if you’re wondering if you’re a part of education’s big picture…we’re thinking, more than anything, you need to know that you are – assuming you

“Scaling John Seely Brown” and the “End of Endism”

Monday, April 05, 2010 Comment teacher staring at chalk board equations

I recently had occasion to talk on the phone with someone whose posts on education and social media I follow with interest on Twitter.  ToughLoveforX (his Twitter name) is a retired printer whose scan of the educational horizon in the digital age is as eagle-eyed as that of anyone I know.  I follow him on Twitter because I know that, if I click through to one of the url’s he posts, I’m bound to find something good.  When I asked him what he would do, if he could make one monumental change that would have an

Diana Rhoten: The Science of Reimagining Learning

Monday, March 29, 2010 Comment little students excited throwing hats in the air

“From the standpoint of the child, the great waste in the school comes from his inability to utilize the experiences he gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself; while, on the other hand, he is unable to apply in daily life what he is learning at school. That is the isolation of the school – its isolation from life. When the child gets into the schoolroom he has to put out of his mind a large part of the ideas, interests, and activities that predominate in his home and

Reimagining Learning

Monday, March 08, 2010 Comment students sitting at desks working on computers

Teaching and education in America has been a very hot subject in the news. In recent days, there have been lengthy pieces on “building a better teacher,”  the ripple effects of a Rhode Island school board’s decision to fire the entire faculty of a poorly performing school and President Obama’s remarks, and the results of a large survey of teachers. So, I wanted to bring attention to a new effort coming out of the office of our friend, Jim Shelton, at the U.S. Department of Education. It’s a new web 2.0 site on called The