New Media Literacies

In Search of the Other: Decoding Digital Natives

Monday, October 24, 2011 Comment Occupy your future sign on ground during protest rally

This is the first post of a research inquiry that questions the ways in which we have understood the Youth-Technology-Change relationship in the contemporary digital world, especially through the identity of ‘Digital Native’. Drawing from three years of research and current engagements in the field, the post begins a critique of how we need to look at the outliers, the people on the fringes in order to unravel the otherwise celebratory nature of discourse about how the digital is changing the world. In this first post, I chart the trajectories of our research at the Centre


Digital Opportunities for Civic Education

Friday, October 21, 2011 Comment digital democracy group meeting and working together

Earlier this year, Professor Joseph Kahne and a group of civic learning scholars announced a key finding from a study of student Internet usage: youth who pursue their interests online are more likely to be engaged in civic and political issues. On Thursday, at a day-long symposium in Washington, D.C., called “Civic 2.0: Citizenship Education for a New Generation,” Kahne, an education professor at Mills College and Chair of the MacArthur Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), drew from this study and three additional studies to discuss the digital opportunities for civic education and engagement. Some


Serendipity, aka “Accidental Discovery”: Does the Web Help or Hurt?

Monday, October 17, 2011 Comment female students working on classroom computer together

I am obsessed with serendipity. It’s become an almost pathological fascination since 2009, when I was inspired by a happy confluence of what I was doing then, and something that bumped up against it. I’m curious about what serendipity is, how it can be predicted and the things that help facilitate it and hinder it. And, being a student of the social psychology of the web, I’m interested in how the digital space affects it. Serendipity has become a topic of debate for web scholars and web developers. Author Stephen Johnson has declared the web the


Digital Literacies for Writing in Social Media

Thursday, October 13, 2011 Comment close up shot of leather bound notebook

The following is a shortened version of a talk I gave at the “Engaging the Public” symposium held at Washington & Jefferson College on Oct. 1. According to Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It, 65 percent of students entering school today will have careers in fields that haven’t been invented yet. While #IDontHaveFactsToBackThisUp, I’m willing to make the following prediction about writing: a full 100% of these students, at some point in their lives, will be required to use writing technologies that haven’t been invented yet. Consider this: as recently as four years ago, who would have


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


Mitch Resnick: The Role of Making, Tinkering, Remixing in Next-Generation Learning

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Comment lifelong kindergarten sign hanging from ceiling quote by Michel Resnick

Mitch Resnick is on the conference committee for the 2012 Digital Media and Learning Conference, “Beyond Educational Technology: Learning Innovations in a Connected World.” As Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, he develops new technologies and activities to engage people (especially children) in creative learning experiences. His Lifelong Kindergarten research group developed ideas and technologies underlying the LEGO Mindstorms and WeDo robotics kits, used by millions of young people around the world. His group also developed the Scratch programming language and online community, enabling young people to create and share interactive stories, games,


What do Google, Open Source Software and Digital Literacies have in Common?

Monday, August 29, 2011 Comment graphic of many words describing Digital information

Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, hit the headlines recently with an attack on the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) curriculum in UK schools. It “focuses on teaching how to use software,” he said to the audience gathered for the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, “but gives no insight into how it’s made.” According to Schmidt that equates to “just throwing away your great computing heritage.” The link to the BBC News article containing Schmidt’s comments quickly did the rounds in the educational technology and elearning social media circles of which I am part.


“Digital Is” Website Accelerates Teacher-to-Teacher Learning and Collaboration

Monday, August 22, 2011 Comment Digital Is graphic of words describing meaning

Over the course of four days earlier this summer at a lush retreat in Seattle, I had the opportunity to write and engage with some of the most exciting teachers I’ve been able to interact with in my career. Aside from the fact that I spent most of the day typing up notes on my iPad, the lush environment was a perfect retreat for allowing me to reflect thoughtfully on what practices had contributed most to my students’ writing practices over the past year. And the best thing about this opportunity to write while being surrounded


Digital Fluency: Empowering All Students

Thursday, July 28, 2011 Comment female student working on spoken word at DYN You Media

Although “digital literacy” is often a phrase associated with programs that have utopian pedagogical visions, it also can become a term attached to rigid curricular requirements, standardized testing, and models of education that stigmatize some students as remedial when it comes to their basic programming skills or their abilities to use software productively.  Furthermore, the term “digital literacy” can generate conflicts among educators because many different disciplines may claim sole responsibility for providing any needed instruction, as I’ve argued elsewhere.  Computer scientists, media scholars, librarians, composition teachers, and digital arts instructors have all made supposedly exclusive


Multiliteracies and Designing Learning Futures

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 Comment students working together on project on computers

Multiliteracies is an area of interest for me and my classroom, and I am hoping to use this post for dialogue and collective theory-building. But first, I want to talk briefly about being a book geek. As an English teacher, I am passionate about literature. During my first two years in the classroom I overextended myself by maintaining an evening and weekend job assistant managing a popular independent bookstore in Los Angeles. Passion, Teaching, and Literacy The pay was paltry and secondary to the opportunity I had at first dibs for advanced readers’ copies of works