New Media Literacies

Public School Classrooms: Incubators for Social Learning

Thursday, February 28, 2013 Comment public school classrooms in urban area graffiti covering walls

What does it mean to be a teacher in the 21st century? It’s a question educators like Antero Garcia have been looking to answer since the digital media and learning initiative launched in 2006. Prior to joining the English department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an assistant professor, Antero spent eight years teaching high school English and ESL in South Central Los Angeles. While teaching at the majority-minority school, Antero took note of his students’ social connection to digital media. By incorporating mobile media devices and social m edia platforms into his formal


Creativity: A Literacy?

Thursday, January 03, 2013 Comment creativity graffiti tagged on brick wall

You could make the argument that of all the ills perpetuated by the industrial age approach to education the worst is conformity. Originality had no place in a factory production line. Or so it was thought. Likewise, standardized education and testing has all too often promoted a numbing uniformity. But, our networked society and the information age want, need, and prize something altogether different when it comes to creativity. This commissioned film by “soul biographer” Nic Askew (part of a series of films on connected learning) asks: 
‘In this rapidly changing world might creativity need to


Howard Gardner: Digital Technology and A Well-Rounded Education

Thursday, December 27, 2012 Comment students painting a mural of a neighborhood on wooden fence

As digital technologies become daily staples in both our personal and professional lives, there’s been much discussion among educators and community leaders as to whether these devices and innovations could in some way be accountable for shifts in the ethical and moral make-up of contemporary society. For the last two decades, Howard Gardner has been researching these issues as co-director of the Good Work Project, a MacArthur Foundation funded project that explores the ethical character of young people’s activities in the digital world. In a recent interview with Nesta, an independent charity dedicated to promoting innovation


The Network Society After Web 2.0: What Students Can Learn From Occupy Wall Street

Monday, December 24, 2012 Comment occupy wall street banner on city building

Web 2.0 is a common buzzword used to describe social media. The term gained traction in the mid-2000s to describe a change in the way people interacted with media online. Rather than simply being passive consumers, individuals could now interact with media, by making mashups with Google Maps or leaving comments on purchases at Amazon. They could blog about issues that were important to them and interact with a community of other like-minded individuals. In short, the promise of Web 2.0 is that individuals were no longer beholden to media corporations but had gained a kind


Learning and the Emerging Science of Behavior Change, aka ‘Nudging’

Monday, November 19, 2012 Comment illustration of kid holding heart showing what young people need is love

The language of learning today is full of references to “softness” and “openness.” Software, soft skills, soft performance, and the softening up of school knowledge go hand-in-hand with open source, open access and open educational resources in much current thinking about networked learning. How might this softening and opening up of the language of networked learning influence how learners think, perceive, feel and act? The emerging field of behaviour change theory suggests new ways in which networked technologies might be used as a form of pedagogical persuasion to influence and shape learners’ behavior, even at the


The Social Relevance of Public Writing

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Comment writing on public wall scheduling a meet up

I want to talk about the nature of writing in today’s age of participatory media. In particular, I want to talk about how writing within my classroom has helped foster community amongst the students. In fact, the subtitle of this post could be, “How Wearing a Tie to Class Spurred Community Building.” For one of my undergraduate composition courses, my students and I meet three times a week in a small computer lab with LCD projections on all four walls, a smart tablet for the instructor and a document camera for displaying anything that might not


Some Thoughts on iPads and One-to-One Initiatives

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Comment close up of ipad and spiral notebook

In my experience, there’s broadly three ways to relate to any kind of educational technology: 1) Technological — decide on the technology (for whatever reason) and that determines what you do pedagogically; 2) Pedagogical — settle upon the pedagogy and then look for a technology that fits; 3) Ecological — combine pedagogies and technologies to promote certain kinds of behaviours. I’d like to think that most of what I’ve done so far in my career, from training teachers to implementing multi-site learning systems to evangelising Open Badges, has been focused upon evangelising this ‘third way’ of


Coded Curriculum: The New Architectures of Learning

Monday, October 15, 2012 Comment 3 black female students gathered around a laptop and camera

How should we understand the part played by code in digital media and learning? We are accustomed to arguments that digital media are affecting our existing practices of reading, looking, seeing and hearing, yet relatively little is said of how the underlying code and algorithmic architectures of software actually exert those effects. The work done by code and algorithmic architectures in remediating learning through digital technologies, however, should be treated extremely seriously. Code increasingly affects our notions of agency (who does what), and sociality (how we form attachments and collective belonging). Code is woven into the


Digital Literacies and Web Literacies: What’s the Difference?

Monday, August 20, 2012 Comment graphic showing difference between digital and web literacies

I’m currently iterating some work around Web Literacies for the Mozilla Foundation (you can see the latest version of my thinking here). Perhaps the biggest consideration when dealing with so-called ‘New’ Literacies is distinguishing them from one another. As I’ve discussed many times before, without some clear thinking on this issue both theorists and practitioners alike tend to talk past one another using imprecise terminology. What I want to consider in this post is the relationship between Digital literacies and Web literacies. Aren’t they just synonyms? The topic of digital literacies was the focus of my


Writing Like the Web

Thursday, August 16, 2012 Comment street signs like the web internet padaria locadora

In my last few posts, I have argued that network writing—that is, writing that mimics the conventions of emerging, online genres—should occupy a larger place in writing instruction. However, it can be challenging to imagine how literacies that students have developed in writing, say, text messages, can be applied to writing traditional genres like the argumentative essay or the academic writing that are the centerpiece of most writing instruction. While many innovative instructors have developed assignments that integrate network-native writing like Twitter into classroom settings, how does this writing inform or lead to writing that is