New Media Literacies

YouMedia: A New Vision for Learning

Thursday, September 23, 2010 Comment students performing spoken word at You Media center

In July 2009, YouMedia launched as an ambitious attempt to re-imagine the library as a more relevant learning resource for today’s teens. Understanding that the landscape has changed how teens learn, socialize and self-identify, how do we remix the public library experience so it can truly engage teens in a way that supports its core mission? A partnership between the Chicago Public Library and the Digital Youth Network, YouMedia took on this task through the creation of a unique 21st century physical learning space and an innovative online space to connect learners 24/7. The 5,500-square-foot space


Digital Media and the Changing Nature of Authorship

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 Comment 8 photos of hands writing in notebooks

Students spend a lot of time writing. Most everyone vividly remembers writing essays for school, and, for many, those memories are not necessarily pleasant. Talk of writing in the classroom often dredges up images of empty pages yawning to be filled, writer’s block, and a general uneasiness with the idea of writing in general. The papers we wrote were typically read only by our teachers, and maybe our classmates, after which they disappeared never to be seen again. In Literacy in American Lives, Deborah Brandt explains the origin for some of these uneasy feelings, noting that


It’s the Learning, Not the Technology – Jessica K. Parker

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 Comment girl sitting on suitcase reading in street

Without a doubt, your 15-year-old daughter can text one-handed while holding her phone under her desk. Your 11-year-old brother leads his own World of Warcraft guild. Your fellow college students are Googling you during the first class you have together. And if you are the professor, you know that your lectures are now competing against the entire Web for your students’ attention. Without a doubt, today’s youth are tech-savvy. That doesn’t mean, however, that their proficiencies automatically grow into literacies, that they appreciate the lasting social implications of an inappropriate photo on Facebook, know how to


How COPPA Fails Parents, Educators, Youth

Thursday, June 10, 2010 Comment large data center lobby hall green and red light

Ever wonder why youth have to be over 13 to create an account on Facebook or Gmail or Skype? It has nothing to do with safety.  In 1998, the U.S. Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) with the best of intentions.  They wanted to make certain that corporations could not collect or sell data about children under the age of 13 without parental permission, so they created a requirement to check age and get parental permission for those under 13. Most companies took one look at COPPA and decided that the process of


A professor with unconventional methods, message

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 Comment man and woman sitting next to each other working on phone

Digital media and learning initiatives often talk in utopian terms about a “future without books,” but don’t say that to New School faculty member Trebor Scholz.  Scholz, who teaches in the Department of Culture and Media, has had great success with making a book the final project turned in by students at the end of his new media courses.  Instead of merely offering a traditional final exam, he asks students to submit print-on-demand publications that consist of at least 10,000 words and display real production values, even in large lecture classes. According to Scholz, students appreciate


It’s an amazing time to be a learner – Will Richardson

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 Comment yarn connecting people together

Your personal learning network is not just a network of people you learn from. A “pln,” as enthusiasts call them, is a network of people who are learning together. I was given this essential lore – and truth be told, much of what I know about social media in education – by Will Richardson. The reciprocal nature of learning networks is only the latest useful insight Richardson has given me and the rest of his network. In part, this blog post and interview is a form of reciprocation: you know you have succeeded as an educator


A Digital Native Reflects on the Concept

Thursday, April 29, 2010 Comment teens sitting on stairs texting during school

There is an assumption that digital natives are naturally predisposed to understanding how to use computers and technology, just because we grew up with the Internet, texting, and emailing. I’m 21 years old, I am a so-called digital native, but my experience has been that the concept of digital literacy is far more meaningful than the concept of digital native – and it has little to do with age or any broad generational differences. Yes, most of my college-age friends know how to operate a computer and navigate online. But they come to me if they


Apprenticeship 2.0 Could Fuel 21st Century Learning

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 Comment old photograph of elder teaching young boy to make apprenticeship

In a recent New Yorker piece on cookbooks, Adam Gopnik observes that “the space between learning the facts about how something is done and learning how to do it always turns out to be large, at times immense.” Although Gopnik is explicitly referring to cooking, this statement could be equally applied to most forms of learning since the nineteenth century. As Cathy Davidson points out, the history of modern education has been that of the constant refinement of how we rank and classify individuals and their relative worth. Cathy notes that this history is intimately bound up


Teaching, Texting, and Twittering with Obama

Monday, February 01, 2010 Comment screen shots of barack obama social media banners

With the first year of the Obama administration officially coming to a close, educators have been thinking about how the president’s online presence could be used for both civic education and media literacy purposes.  Obama came into office with the promise of delivering web-based participatory democracy or “Government 2.0” to citizens.  But I have found myself arguing that Obama’s “embrace” of online practices was actually quite limited, when it came to the messages he was promulgating.  I am also not alone in wondering if online commenting and voting really constitutes democratic engagement. Many educators have visited


Educating for the Future, Not the Past

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 Comment Einstein writing on chalk board quote

Historian Robert Darnton has argued that we are currently in the fourth great Information Age in all human history.  The first information revolution came with the development of writing in 4000 B.C. Mesopotamia.  The second was facilitated by the invention of movable type (in 10th Century China and 15th Century Europe).  The third was marked by the advent of mass printing (presses, cheap ink and paper, mass distribution systems, and mass literacy) in late 18th Century Europe and America. The current Information Age is the fourth such era, marked by the development of the Internet and,