Teaching

Teaching and Learning with Minecraft: Liam O’Donnell

Monday, July 08, 2013 Comment 3 young female students working on computers in classroom minecraft

Playing with blocks certainly predates constructionist theories of learning by playing with “tangible manipulatives,” but the culturally universal practice is probably as old as human social learning. What is new is the ability to use simulated blocks to teach comparative religion by enabling students to construct navigable models of famous houses of worship. Or explore biology by assembling giant DNA molecules, or manifest millions of blocks by performing the proper calculations and applying appropriate logical operations. Manipulatives aren’t containers of knowledge, but can be used as “objects to think with,” as Seymour Papert noted more than thirty


Learning Online in the Second Grade: Teacher Linda Yollis

Monday, May 20, 2013 Comment group of kids sitting around classroom computer working together

Blogging, commenting thoughtfully on others’ blogs, staying safe online, creating a positive digital footprint, using audio and video to connect with students in other parts of the world, creating and publishing video – at what grade level should students be introduced to these essential digital literacies? How about the second grade? Linda Yollis, a teacher in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, remembers the classroom in which she started teaching in the 1980s: “Learning was confined to the four walls of the classroom, was entirely paper-based, worksheet-driven, and I was the audience for most of the written


Design Thinking and Diversity: A Professional Development Case Study

Friday, May 10, 2013 Comment groups of students outside making human fort activity

What do a New York public school, the Howard County Public School system in Maryland, and a small private K-8 school in California all have in common? Each is re-conceptualizing the standard school curriculum by using design thinking, a learning approach that is collaborative, action-based, and experimental, as a way to meet the needs of today’s learners. Design thinking can be a powerful tool for developing higher-order skills such as complex problem solving, creativity and critical thinking. But it can also be an unfamiliar and intangible concept for teachers to grasp, making professional development and pre-service


Teachers, Youth, and Social Media: Experiments

Friday, April 26, 2013 Comment young students hand in the air to answer ask question to teacher in classroom

While young people are often adept at navigating networked spaces for social purposes in their everyday lives, it is less clear what role schools and teachers should play in that process. In what ways can educators support, mentor, and scaffold youth’s navigation of online spaces to foster rich learning experiences and ethical communication practices? Amy Stornaiuolo, an assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, explored this topic from 2008-2011 while serving as the research coordinator for a large-scale design research project that studied how youth around the world communicated on a private social


Children and Computers in Paraguay: Studying What Works and What Doesn’t

Thursday, April 11, 2013 Comment children and adults going into school building in paraguay

Can technology really transform education in developing countries? That was the goal of Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child, but since its founding in 2005, the organization has been the subject of debate as many in the education sector have questioned its utopian vision and its ability to fulfill its promises. In 2010, Morgan Ames, a PhD candidate in Stanford’s Department of Communication, spent six months examining these debates by conducting ethnographic fieldwork with Paraguay Educa, a local non-governmental organization (NGO) responsible for leading the deployment of 9,000 laptops in Paraguay starting in 2009. Ames presented


Interview: T. Mills Kelly on ‘Lying About the Past’ and Media Literacy

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 Comment article story who killed alice walsh in old newspaper clipping

Professor T. Mills Kelly is a historian at George Mason University in Washington, D.C. In 2012, he and students of his course, ‘Lying About the Past‘, became headline news after it was uncovered that they had created “false facts” about fictional events and posted them online in blogs, videos and Wikipedia entries. Professor Kelly believes this method of working-through is true to the learning objectives of the course and, moreover, that it is the best way to instill a deep understanding of practical ethics. Yet he was lambasted for unethical use of the Internet by fellow


Why We Need Badges Now: A Bibliography of Resources in Historical Perspective

Friday, March 01, 2013 Comment poster of different badges icons explaining badges are visual representations of skill or achievement

It was something over a year ago when we first began talking about badges as a powerful new tool for identifying and validating the rich array of people’s skills, knowledge, accomplishments, and competencies that happens everywhere and at every age.  That’s when we decided that this year the Digital Media and Learning Competition would be dedicated to an array of competitions on badging.  I remember when we started writing, blogging, talking, speaking, and in other ways trying to create a conversation around badges as an alternative mode of assessment, people would look at me like I


Public School Classrooms: Incubators for Social Learning

Thursday, February 28, 2013 Comment public school classrooms in urban area graffiti covering walls

What does it mean to be a teacher in the 21st century? It’s a question educators like Antero Garcia have been looking to answer since the digital media and learning initiative launched in 2006. Prior to joining the English department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an assistant professor, Antero spent eight years teaching high school English and ESL in South Central Los Angeles. While teaching at the majority-minority school, Antero took note of his students’ social connection to digital media. By incorporating mobile media devices and social m edia platforms into his formal


Augmenting Reality: Addressing Trauma with Digital Media

Friday, February 08, 2013 Comment blurred photo of yellow city cab

Colombian artist Isabel Restrepo has tackled a variety of projects to promote digital literacy, raise awareness to change public health and safety behavior, and foster civic participation in a number of different youth engagement efforts. Perhaps her best known project was Entránsito, a traveling augmented reality interactive show for teens that was designed to reduce the country’s high mortality from traffic accidents. Sixty presentations were funded by the Medellin’s Secretary of Culture, which ultimately reached more than 5,600 citizens with a message about avoiding cascading problems that lead to accidents that humanized particular victims. To reach


Assessment: Turning a Blunt Instrument Into a Powerful Learning Tool

Monday, November 26, 2012 Comment 3 students sitting together in library studying working on computer

It’s ironic that assessment in schools is most often “something adults do to students,” as Rick Stiggins puts it, because all humans are highly evolved for learning, and self-assessment is a powerful tool all learners use. Whether you are trying to master a recipe, solve an equation, improve your golf swing, you continually ask yourself questions such as “Have I learned to do what I need to do?” “What did I do wrong?” “How do I improve?” and, most importantly, “How did I learn that?” All, assessment. Wouldn’t it be great if schools didn’t turn a