Social Equity

Advancing Access for Digital Youth with Disabilities

Thursday, February 26, 2015 Comment meryl-quote-2.jpg

“Disability is central to the human experience,” writes Meryl Alper in the opening chapter of her book, “Digital Youth with Disabilities.” The report summarizes how children with disabilities use media for social and recreational purposes and identifies areas where more research on the topic is needed. “At one time or another, those of us who are ‘temporarily able-bodied’ will become disabled, whether as part of the aging process or unexpectedly at any age,” says Alper, a USC doctoral candidate in communication. “People with disabilities have the same human rights to live with dignity and self-worth as


Rethinking the ‘Race Between Education and Technology’ Thesis

Monday, December 02, 2013 Comment craigwatkins.13.600.jpg

This year my research team has been pouring over qualitative data that we collected over a year-and-half period from Freeway High School (previously referred to as Texas City High School in earlier posts), the site of our fieldwork in the study of ‘connected learning.’  Several themes related to young people’s adoption of digital media, the role of technology in schools, social inequality, and the future of learning have emerged from our fieldwork.  For instance, we have thought a lot about the social distribution of new forms of learning in the digital age, especially the skills and


How Can We Make Open Education Truly Open?

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I have spent the last month being unpopular. I have been in conversation with many ‘Open Everything’ activists and practitioners. At each instance, we got stuck because I insisted that we begin by defining what ‘Open’ means in the easy abuse that it is subject to. It has been a difficult, if slightly tedious exercise, because not only was there a lack of consensus around what constitutes openness, but also a collective confusion about what we mean when we attribute openness to an object, a process or to people. It was easy to define openness as


Is Facebook Destroying the American College Experience?

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Sitting with a group of graduating high school seniors last summer, the conversation turned to college roommates.  Although headed off to different schools, they had a similar experience of learning their roommate assignment and immediately turning to Facebook to investigate that person.  Some had already begun developing deep, mediated friendships while others had already asked for roommate transfers.  Beyond roommates, all had used Facebook to find other newly minted freshman, building relationships long before they set foot on campus. At first blush, this seems like a win for students.  Going off to college can be a


Mapping Our Learning Worlds

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Digital maps allow us to map our journeys across times and places, linking virtual information to physical locations. What do digital maps teach us about how to see the world and our place in it and what kinds of navigations do they make possible? What opportunities do digital maps offer for mapping our learning journeys across school, home and other spaces and times? What do digital maps teach us about the world? In A History of the World in Twelve Maps, Jerry Brotton traces the history of human civilisations through the maps they produced, showing how


Should We Fear Children Accessing Facebook?

Thursday, June 21, 2012 Comment
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In recent months, there has been an intense media and policy vortex surrounding the questions of when and how children – especially those under 13 – should gain access to popular online sites like Facebook. The outcome of these cultural and political conversations will have a profound effect on key components of connected learning from values such as full participation and social connection to activities that are peer-supported, interest-powered, and openly networked. The focus on age as a metric for assessing the appropriateness of children’s online interactions primarily comes from several historical sources, including alcohol and


Exploration: Digital Media and Social Inequality

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Christo Sims is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and a graduate researcher for the Connected Learning Research Network’s Leveling Up project. The project team is investigating the learning dynamics of interest-driven online groups that support academically relevant knowledge-seeking and expertise development. Sims, whose research interests include youth culture, digital media practices, and social inequalities, developed an on-the-ground research methodology while working on the Digital Youth Project. A t hree-year ethnographic research project, Digital Youth brought together a cohort of researchers who jointly worked to understand how digital media and technology are meaningful


What Tech Wants: A People Agenda

Thursday, March 22, 2012 Comment monika.3.600.jpg

I loved Kevin Kelly’s book, and especially loved the message I heard from it. What I heard was that tech wants us to become more humane, not less. What I heard, was that tech wants us to get to know ourselves, each other, and the world around us, even better than we ever imagined, for good. This, to me, is about communication. It’s about changing up the conversations we have. It’s about spreading and sharing good ideas. It’s about intimate coffee house conversations on local-global as well as a global-global scales. It’s about exposing tacit knowledge.


Digital Futures: Internet Freedom and Millennials

Friday, February 03, 2012 Comment nishant.3.600.jpg

Last year was a turbulent year for freedom of speech and online expression in India. Early in 2011 we saw the introduction of an Intermediaries Liability amendment to the existing Information Technologies Law in the country, which allowed intermediaries like internet service providers (ISPs), digital content platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) and other actors managing online content, to remove material that is deemed objectionable without routing it through a court of law. Effectively, this was an attempt at crowdsourcing censorship, where at the whim or fancy of any person who flags information as offensive, it could


What Schools are Really Blocking When They Block Social Media

Monday, January 30, 2012 Comment craig6.600.jpg

The debates about schools and social media are a subject of great public and policy interests.  In reality, the debate has been shaped by one key fact: the almost universal decision by school administrators to block social media.  Because social media is such a big part of many students social lives, cultural identities, and informal learning networks schools actually find themselves grappling with social media everyday but often from a defensive posture—reacting to student disputes that play out over social media or policing rather than engaging student’s social media behaviors. Education administrators block social media because