New Media Literacies

Web Literacies: What is the ‘Web’ Anyway?

Monday, July 23, 2012 Comment graphic design depicting network connections

I’ve recently started in a new role for the Mozilla Foundation. At least half of my job there is to come up with a framework, a White Paper, around the concept of ‘web literacies’. It’s got me thinking about both parts of that term — both the ‘web’ and the ‘literacies’. In this post I want to consider the first of these: what we mean by the ‘web’? I’ve already considered the latter in quite some detail in my doctoral thesis (available at neverendingthesis.com). Defining the Web Sometimes it’s important to step back from the things


Writing Without Networks

Thursday, July 12, 2012 Comment sticky notes posted on white wall connected by colorful lines showing social netwrok

In his essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” Nicholas Carr relates an exchange between Nietzsche and one of his friends, in which the friend remarked that the philosopher’s writing style had changed after he began to use a typewriter. As Carr tells us, Nietzsche’s reply was to agree, stating, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Those who study technology (Carr credits Kittler, who has written extensively about the effects of technology on culture, as the source of the Nietzsche story) tend to readily agree with these conclusions: technologies impact our behavior


Back to the Drawing Board

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 Comment close up of apple macbook laptop keyboard and mechanical pencil

For people on the academic calendar, resolutions tend to be undertaken in the summer months rather than at the start of the new year in January.  This summer I am picking up a pencil and rethinking my relationship to visual communication with a resolution to spend more time in the weeks to come drawing.  I would urge others in the DML community to try to do the same. To prepare myself for this task, I’ve bought some sketchbooks and pencils for the first time in decades.  Of course, this activity feels strange to hands that have spent so


The Challenge of Teaching Networked Writing

Monday, June 25, 2012 Comment young boy holding flip phone over his eye

In my last post I wrote about what Derek Mueller calls the “digital underlife,” the writing practices of students that fall below the radar of classroom practice, but which are crucial ways in which these students practice literacy. In that post I argued that it is important for teachers to acknowledge the ways in which our students actually write and encourage them to think of themselves as writers. Yet doing so doesn’t answer another crucial question: how does this writing fit into our instruction? For a sense of perspective, it is worth noting that this is a


On the Importance of Webmaking

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Comment kids and adults working on laptops at table

I’ve come to realize over the last couple of years just how important the Open Web is for online innovation. It’s a standards-based platform that allows anyone to use relatively low-cost technologies to connect things and people together in new ways. It’s radical in its egalitarian, open, and democratic approach. But it’s under threat. When Steve Jobs announced the original iPhone only five years ago in 2007 he emphasized the importance of getting Web browsing right on a mobile device. Hot on the heels of the announcement, of course, came the wildly successful App Store. A


Worthy Reads: Mobile Learning, Flipped Lessons, New Media Literacies

Thursday, June 07, 2012 Comment global kids working at table together eating snacks

Fast Company magazine recently featured this article, from design studio Frog’s Fabio Sergio, on how mobile devices will provide learning opportunities for people across age and income spectrums. It offers a nice overview, from a design perspective, on how mobile is opening new opportunities for learning. He details the following: 1. Continuous learning2. Educational leapfrogging3. A new crop of older, lifelong learners (and educators)4. Breaking gender boundaries, reducing physical burdens5. A new literacy emerges: software literacy6. Education’s long tail7. Teachers and pupils trade roles8. Synergies with mobile banking and mobile health initiatives9. New opportunities for traditional


Pop Culture Criticism as 21st Century Skill

Thursday, May 31, 2012 Comment an older student and younger student work together on laptop mentoring

As part of the Digital Youth Network’s (DYN) 2011-2012 professional development, we have set out to explore how critical media literacy can help Chicago middle school students become responsible and savvy digital producers. Through hours of discussion and self-reflection, we have decided that the challenge to integrate critical theory into our tech-heavy digital production curriculum is no easy task. In what ways can we make critical media literacy relevant to our students’ desires to produce media that imitates the same mainstream content we want them to deconstruct? While teaching a DYN afterschool video production class at


Going Low-Tech to Teach New Literacies

Monday, May 28, 2012 Comment large group of students at school science fair

Ethnic Studies professor Wayne Yang takes a distinctive approach to new media literacies to get UC San Diego students to host their own Comic-Con comic book convention with original graphic novel projects.   Although print artifacts are central to the culminating activity of the course, students also work on their digital skills as they lay out pages in software programs such as Adobe Photoshop or post the video “trailers” that advertise their wares on sites such as YouTube. In an interview, Yang described how his work in the classroom with comic books was influenced by Ernest


Beyond the Console: Gaming, Learning & Literacy

Thursday, May 24, 2012 Comment teenagers sitting on a couch smiling playing video games

Tanner Higgin is a PhD candidate in English at the University of California, Riverside studying race, gender, and power in digital media cultures. He’s also researching and developing play and project-based curriculum at the nonprofit organization GameDesk. Higgin’s dissertation, Race and Videogames, draws from his own gaming experiences and develops a new type of literacy attached to the u nique ways race functions in videogame culture. He discussed his research with 11 other participants and a handful of mentors this past August at the DML Research Associates Summer Institute. In the video below, Higgin talks about


Why Critical Design Literacy is Needed Now More Than Ever

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 Comment 3 students conducting video interview and holding script

One thing is clear in our work at Texas City High School (TCHS) this year: students like to create their own media.  Students at TCHS create their own YouTube channels, compose original music, comics, games, Tumblr pages, art work, and fashion designs.  As young people’s use of social and digital media applications continues to evolve they are developing what I call a “design disposition.”  This is a reference to a distinct generational view that they expect to not only consume media content but create content, too.  Throughout the year we have sought out ways to both