Technology

The Closed Loop of Digital Literacy Debate

Thursday, November 19, 2015 Comment cartoon depicting timeline of how media sources create 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 dog tag saying whats ur digital ID? camouflage background

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 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


The Power of Decentralization in the MOOC

Thursday, July 30, 2015 Comment old illustration of rhinoceros

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


Advancing New Forms of Scholarship in Writing

Monday, July 27, 2015 Comment screen shot of animated woman pirate fighter in game

I continue to think a great deal about how new media has grown the possibilities of our collective academic work. As the director of a Masters in Writing Studies Program at Kean University, I often reckon with how our traditional forms of scholarship are merely one reference point when considering how to produce and create new knowledge. As a result, I have for some time been a proponent of a more expansive sense of what writing might entail in the 21st century, and I have often spoken about “Writing-as-Making.” The digitized and computational environments of our


The Role of Technology in Digital Learning

Thursday, July 23, 2015 Comment screen shot of what does the fox say music video

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of four blogs on digital learning. In their accidental and ironic hit Youtube song, “What does the Fox say?”, the Norwegian band Ylvis, who first produced it as an “anti-hit” production, takes up a school-book primer describing all the different noises that animals make, and make a critical intervention in this taxonomy of school-room sounds: But, there’s one sound that no one knows, what does the fox say? The viral hit song has been adopted by many different user-movements, who have used it to draw attention to


Book Lacks Digital Reading Details

Monday, July 20, 2015 Comment black and white photo of passengers reading on the subway

The goal of “Words Onscreen,” Naomi S. Baron’s new book, is to account for the ways that “digital reading is reshaping our understanding of what it means to read” (p. xii). Baron argues that “digital reading is fine for many short pieces or for light content we don’t intend to analyze or reread,” but it “is less well suited for many longer works or even for short ones requiring serious thought” (p. xii). While Baron largely does an excellent job surveying the changes that new technologies have introduced to our reading habits — her demonstration of


Seeking the Next Steve Jobs

Thursday, July 16, 2015 Comment steve jobs graphic collage made up of apple products

Most practitioners and education researchers argue that digital divides are still the biggest obstacle to ensuring that diverse populations of youth have a shot at becoming the next Steve Jobs. Among these divides are gaps in students’ digital skills. For example, studies find that teachers do not equally teach the same digital skills in Internet use, online collaboration, and digital production. But school technology rollouts in recent history suggest it’s more than just about skills. When in 2013, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) signed a $30 million deal with Apple to buy iPads for its


Eating Robots: Data Diets and Hungry Algorithms

Thursday, July 02, 2015 Comment small robot holding computer chip next to laptop

What do robots eat? Contemporary digital data analytics systems feed on a diet of data produced through human activity. Through this feeding, robotic machines receive the informational nutrition required for their own development: to become smarter, more aware of their environment, more responsive and adaptive in their interactions with people. By eating human data, robots are learning. Feeding Societies The claim that we now live in a consumer society has become commonplace in academic research. People have become voracious consumers, but also, through their participation in social media environments, present themselves as desirable commodities for the


Parenting in a World of Social and Technological Transformation

Monday, May 25, 2015 Comment parents holding baby hand at the beach

As educators, policy makers and community activists look to build more equitable futures, a considerable amount of attention remains focused on families, especially parents. Families represent an important node in the learning ecologies of children and teens. When parents are able to connect their children to resources, material and immaterial, they provide substantive support in the pursuit of academic (i.e., higher grades) and non-academic (i.e., character building) outcomes. Moreover, when the home can serve as a rich and vibrant space for learning through inquiry, curiosity and play, the social and educational payoffs can be immeasurable. But,