Social Media

#SlaveryWithASmile: How Twitter Can Raise Social Consciousness

Monday, January 18, 2016 Comment twitter-slave

I love Twitter. I love Twitter because it makes silly questions about dog pants go so viral that the President feels the need to weigh in with his opinion. I love Twitter because it allows me to follow the thoughts of all of the actors in my current theatrical obsession: the “Hamilton” musical. But most of all, I love Twitter because of its ability to bring stories to light from around the country (and around the world) that spark social and political dialogue. While some consider tweeting about social causes to be a form of “slacktivism” because


How Unplanned Learning Led to Online Book Group

Monday, January 11, 2016 Comment mooc-hr

Learning by stumbling upon things — and cultivating the ability to recognize when you’ve stumbled onto something valuable — can be amplified manyfold if you regularly look where people in your personal learning network are pointing. Focused, systematic, pre-planned learning is still a powerful tool in the learning toolbox but, sometimes, you need to put yourself into the position of stumbling upon and dipping into learning that you had not planned. Autumm Caines, for example, participated in focused, systematic learning as a master’s student (now graduate) at Ohio State University and associate director of academic technology


Learning The Terms of Digital Literacy

Monday, December 07, 2015 Comment terms

Often when we talk about digital literacy, we are speaking about giving students the tools they need to be successful in a digitally-augmented world. In learning digital literacy, students also learn the social protocols, expectations, and risks that come along with engagement in digital devices, something I’ve written about many times before. Recently, I’ve been working closely with faculty members and asking them a simple question: “Have you read the ‘Terms of Service’ of any of the digital tools and platforms you are using?” More often than not, the answer has been, “no.” This is not


How Collaboration Empowers Learning

Monday, April 13, 2015 Comment ed-chat-600.jpg

“I learned more on Twitter in six months than in two years of graduate school” is the epigraph of the first chapter of Tom Whitby’s book (co-authored with Steven W. Anderson), “The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning.” This quote could summarize Whitby’s philosophy of learning and teaching, in which collaboration is the environment, not just an ingredient, in effective learning. A teacher of English in secondary schools for 34 years and an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College for six years, he’s officially retired but, you wouldn’t know that from his social media activity. Whitby


Ferguson, Social Media and Educational Dialogue

Thursday, December 18, 2014 Comment 15267008823_9c7b1045dd_h.jpg

As St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch stepped to the microphone on the evening of Nov. 24 to announce the grand jury’s decision about the fate of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, I found myself glued simultaneously to my laptop and the television set. I watched McCulloch’s statement on CNN while toggling between Twitter and Facebook to express my emotions in real time and gauge the reactions of friends, colleagues, and the rest of the world online. Physically, I was sitting on a


Calculating the Child Through Technologies of the ‘Quantified Self’

Monday, May 26, 2014 Comment runners.jpg

The concept of the ‘quantified self’ has become the focus of global interest. Less acknowledged is the emergence of a range of technological devices and apps designed specifically for children to track, monitor and analyze data about their health, bodies and well-being. What are the issues raised by these technologies of the quantified self for kids? Emergence of the ‘Quantified Self’ In the last five years, there has been a sharp growth in the popularity of health data collection devices and apps for use in everyday life. The idea of a ‘quantified self’ first emerged through


The Algorithms of Busyness

Thursday, May 22, 2014 Comment busy-sked.jpg

During the past week, I have been busy. I know this because my phone tells me so. Each night, before I go to bed, I check my schedule for the next day — seeing where I need to be, what time, any student meetings I’ve scheduled, and any notes I’ve made for my classes. That sentence makes it sound like an arduous process, but it’s little more than a swipe on my iPhone’s home screen to see what’s scheduled and a mental calculation about the level of formality my attire will require. Lately, my phone — I


Rolezinhos: Flash Mobs, Social Media and Teens

Monday, February 10, 2014 Comment role-brasil.jpg

A new movement — the “rolezinhos” (meaning something like “hang out somewhere” or “little strolls”) — has taken hold in Brazil. Through social media, the rolezinhos started as a simple call for fun teen gatherings in malls, organized by teenagers. Because of their increasing popularity, however, they have evolved into something similar to a flash mob, attracting thousands of rowdy participants, causing some panic among mall vendors and sparking police clashes. Rolezinhos are a phenomenon that started with teens from the urban periphery of São Paulo. But teens — nearly 80% — all over Brazil engage


The End of Theory in Digital Social Research?

Monday, January 20, 2014 Comment ben19.600.jpg

Computer code, software and algorithms have sunk deep into the “technological unconscious” of our contemporary “lifeworld.” How might this affect academic research in the social sciences and the formation of the professional identities of academics? These are important questions for researchers working in Digital Media and Learning, asking us to consider how the digital devices and infrastructures that we study might actually be shaping our practices, shaping our production of knowledge, and shaping our theories of the world. Professional work across the natural, human and social sciences is now increasingly mediated and augmented by computer coded


Capabilities of Movements and Affordances of Digital Media: Paradoxes of Empowerment

Thursday, January 09, 2014 Comment zeynep5.600.jpg

From the “Indignados” in Spain, to “Occupy” in the United States, from Tahrir Square in Egypt to Syntagma Square in Greece, from Gezi Park in Turkey to #Euromaidan in Ukraine, the recent years have witnessed a proliferation of protests which, while embedded in differing circumstances and specific grievances, share multiple characteristics. Social media, an integral aspect of all these movements, is not a mere “tool” that is external to the organizational and cultural structure of these movements. Instead, it has become increasingly clear that communication is a form of organization, and the form of communication strongly