Technology

Air-B-N-Me: Self Representation in the Digital Age

Monday, April 18, 2016 Comment Computer-generated image of two women dancing in ballroom dresses

Is your real life anything like your online version of it? How have open networks and social media shaped our perceptions of both ourselves and others? The politics of representation in the digital age continue to shed provocative light on the divide between what is real and what is represented. In my current New Media Studies class, my students and I have found it useful to consider this question by investigating the idea of “filtering” — a concept that Jill Walker Rettberg writes about extensively in Seeing Ourselves Through Technology. Filters may refer to both the


From Changing Education Systems to Changing Society

Monday, February 29, 2016 Comment Group of young people working at individual computer stations

Whether stated explicitly or not, a core proposition of DML is that there are deep consequences to the ways that young people are learning both in and out of school and using digital technology with peers, in affinity groups, as they develop interests and expertise. In the context of the U.S., digital media and learning (DML) offers challenges to the school curriculum and significantly to the organization of the out-of-school, community-based non-formal learning sector. But, what could it mean in other places around the world? I recently visited TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies, in Yerevan, the capital


Lessons Learned During Summer Minecraft Camp

Thursday, February 18, 2016 Comment Kids sitting at table and playing on a computer

We partnered with Connected Camps and Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative (BBK) last summer to run a four-week affiliate camp for underprivileged kids in the city of Richmond, California. Richmond’s residents are predominantly low-income Black or Latino families, and a recent study by the Richmond Public Library and BBK found that computer and Internet access in this community was far below the national average. With the generous assistance of the City of Richmond’s IT staff, we hosted the camp in Richmond’s City Hall IT Training Room, a basement room with 28 workstations. These computers were connected


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


Turning Digital Learning Into Intellectual Property

Monday, January 25, 2016 Comment 9990016123_b58fa297eb_h

The world’s largest publisher of educational textbooks and resources, Pearson, recently extended its work into digital media and learning. As well as producing innovative new digital learning resources and platforms, Pearson is also positioning itself as a major center for the analysis of educational big data. This has implications for how learning is going to be conceptualized in the near future, and begs big questions about how the private ownership of educational data might impact emerging understandings and explanatory theories of the learning process itself. The Big Data Gatekeeper Originally established in 1844, by 2014 Pearson


Blended, Hybrid, Flipped, Online: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Thursday, November 26, 2015 Comment hybrid-600

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. You can see the first post here and my original inspiration here. Now that I have a sense of the conceptual and thematic organization of my course and have decided upon some focus texts, I am confronted with the task of setting up weekly structure and my methods for communicating content. Several of my colleagues have asked me whether, considering the multimodal subject I am


The Closed Loop of Digital Literacy Debate

Thursday, November 19, 2015 Comment isolation

Here’s a quiz for you, reader. The following quotes were written about popular books on the effect of technology on our behavior and culture. One was written in the late 1990s and one was written this year. See if you can guess which is which (no Googling, cheaters). Our rapturous submission to digital technology has led to an atrophying of human capacities like empathy and self-­reflection, and the time has come to reassert ourselves, behave like adults and put technology in its place. And …computer-based environments for the practice of literacy are described as contributing to


Taking Control of Your Digital Identity

Monday, October 05, 2015 Comment digital-id

A friend told me I was “going rogue” when I leased a slice of off-campus server to host The Social Media Classroom for my UC Berkeley and Stanford courses. The social affordances for the learning management systems at both institutions did not fulfill my needs for sophisticated forum, blog, wiki, and chat tools in courses about social media that used social media intensively as part of the curriculum. It cost me $50/year for a server that enabled me to install the SMC, MediaWiki, WordPress, and other online publishing platforms. When I taught Digital Journalism at Stanford,


My Exploration of Connected Learning as a Framework for Teacher Education

Thursday, September 24, 2015 Comment cl-graphic

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


The Power of Decentralization in the MOOC

Thursday, July 30, 2015 Comment rhino-600.jpg

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of four blogs on digital technology. Nishant Shah’s Annotation: In the last entry, I had suggested that instead of connectedness, what we really need to think about, in connected and digital learning, is the idea of distributedness. I had argued that the role of technology in MOOC environments is that of consolidation, and it is the act of consolidation that allows for the distributedness of learners, teachers, and resources to be sustained. Building upon this conversation, my colleague Mariam Haydeyan at the Leuphana Digital School, uses the