Teaching

The Importance of Working ‘Open’ in Education

Monday, October 31, 2016 Comment elevator key

Is working “open” the binary opposite of “closed” ways of working? Could it be that it’s as simple as flicking some kind of switch for your organisation or institution to begin embracing open working practices? Matt Thompson, a former colleague at Mozilla, doesn’t think so. Building on a post he wrote five years ago entitled simply “How to work open,” Matt has recently encouraged us to start small — using the metaphor of a dimmer switch to explain his point. Another metaphor we might want to use is of an elevator, as Bryan Mathers has used


Amplifying the Teacher Perspective on Connected Learning

Thursday, February 25, 2016 Comment workflow drawing for teacher

This is my second post in a series exploring my journey to develop and teach a graduate “Multimodal Literacies” course for pre-service and in-service teachers based on the connected learning framework. (Here are my first and second posts in the series, as well as my original inspiration.)    And, we’re off! In the blink of an eye, the first five weeks of my graduate course focusing on “New & Multimodal Literacies” with pre-service and in-service teachers have flown by. My six committed students and I have been engaged in an exploration of Connected Learning and its applications to


Making Learning Matter in the Digital Classroom

Thursday, February 04, 2016 Comment Online Course description screenshot

In a recent blog post, I discussed the noteworthy success of a web-based course launched by a research university in a high-profile initiative that emphasized online access as much as digital education. As I pointed out, student evaluations are almost never universally positive about large courses, particularly required courses with many drafts due for projects that can feel like “busy work” to skeptical undergraduates. I interviewed the course instructor, Alexandra Sartor, in this blog post and wanted to follow up with the instructional designer, Ava Arndt, as well. A disclaimer is probably in order here, since


Online Literacy and the College Learner: Transfer Research and Technology

Monday, February 01, 2016 Comment Students sitting in front of rows of computers facing projector screen

Recently, I wrote a post for DML Central about an online course that’s receiving unusually high course evaluations and is being offered by the Culture, Art, and Technology program at UC San Diego. It’s a course in which online literacy is both the form and the content of the assigned curriculum. The instructor, Alexandra Sartor, took time out from teaching for an interview with DML Central to talk about her experiences, teaching the course. She laughed about the fact that her ultimate achievement was probably having “almost no comments about the form of the course.” Despite the digital focus


Loss, Trauma and the Digital Language of Empathy in Schools

Thursday, November 12, 2015 Comment Forgotten Future candle vigil

My father passed away part way through my second year as a teacher. This happened in the middle of one of our school breaks and I was able to use the time away from kids to take care of family arrangements. What I didn’t do during this break was find the time to process, reflect, grieve. And so, when the time came to go back to school, I made the rookie mistake of putting on a smiling face and continuing in my classroom as if it was business as usual. The need to process my own


My Exploration of Connected Learning as a Framework for Teacher Education

Thursday, September 24, 2015 Comment connected learning graphic showing learning principles design principles

I was living in Los Angeles in 2013 when the Los Angeles Unified School District began implementing its ill-fated plan to provide all of its 640,000 students with iPads. I am now living in El Paso, Texas, where the El Paso Independent School District just completed its (admittedly much smoother) roll-out of laptops for all of its 60,000 students. I could likely be telling a similar story regardless of where I lived considering the frenzy across the country to get devices into the hands of students. While I think the goal of providing equitable access to


Cursive Writing and the Importance of Teaching Skills

Monday, September 21, 2015 Comment kareem trump letter signature written over typed out letter

For most of the past decade, I have spent a week each summer reading essays by high schoolers in the Advanced Placement program. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend: They are getting easier to read. Not in the sense that the students are better at organizing their ideas or crafting sentences than they have been in previous years, but rather they are literally easier to read. This past year, while reading through my 100th or so essay one day, I realized why: Most of the students aren’t writing in cursive anymore. Of course,


Defining Digital Media Across Disciplines

Thursday, August 20, 2015 Comment close up hands working on curcuit board

After my last post on designing a course into digital media, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection and work trying to figure out best practices and approaches for defining digital media across disciplines. This project is the primary function of my new position as the associate director for Digital Learning Projects at LaGuardia Community College’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Recently, a digital competency was added as a requirement for all students. I am very excited that this is happening, and that I get to be a part of it, but it leaves a big


Enhancing Connected, Distributed Learning

Thursday, August 13, 2015 Comment leuphana holding a large meeting in conference room

This is the last of the four-part series that draws from our experiences of completing a Mentored MOOC called “Managing the Arts” with the Goethe Institute at the Leuphana Digital School this spring. In the first part, I argued that distributed learning might conceptually help us better than connected learning, as it shows the seams, and promises not connectivity but consolidation as the role of technologies of online learning. My colleague Mariam Haydeyan detailed the idea of a distributed learner and her fragmented learning processes that become consolidated when we imagine the learner not just as an individual


Speculative Design for Emergent Learning: Taking Risks

Thursday, June 11, 2015 Comment graphic of word Idea with stick figure characters drawing letters

As I look in the rear view mirror at this past semester, I marvel at the grand experiment of my #WritingRace class at Kean University that I blogged about as we embarked on our journey. I decided to take co-learning one step further. When I first met my fantastic group of graduate and undergraduate students for this course, I announced that they were in charge of their own learning outcomes. I also mentioned that there was no prescribed syllabus for the course.  Rather, they would design their own syllabus as they considered their collective goals. Along with