Technology

New Centers of Data Visualization in Education

Thursday, June 26, 2014 Comment Doug Belshaw graph comparison of primary class sizes in state-funded schools within OECD countries 2007

Contemporary educational systems, spaces and practices are increasingly represented through digitally-mediated visualizations. Is the increased visibility made possible by visualization practices and technologies also influencing and shaping perceptions of education, and contributing to how the future of learning is envisioned and imagined? Cascading Data Education is a field dense with statistical data. The numerical manipulation of the school and the university is well established. These numerical data, including administrative records and student assessment data, have assumed significant power in educational policy debates globally. Statistics, collected and analysed in databases, provide a new kind of powerful knowledge,


The Selfie and the Self: Part 1 – Hiding and Revealing

Monday, June 16, 2014 Comment female astronaut floating in spaceship looking down at earth

The inherent tension in the world of the social web is between hiding and revealing. In the post-Snowden era that we live in, there is a collective public anxiety about how much of our selves is known by government databases, social network algorithms, and big data analytics that are creating profiles of every action, every transaction, every flick of the eye and stroke of the key, as we go our merry way on the Internet. At the same time, we are coming to terms with the fact that visibility is the new currency —our private data


Creativity and Electronic Invention

Monday, June 09, 2014 Comment young indian girls playing hopscotch in the sand

“Our current education system is ill-prepared to educate the next generation of creative leaders. Developing every individual’s creative potential will be one of the crucial value-creating factors for leading economies in the Imagination Age.” I’m allergic to most everything in that paragraph. Not everyone is going to be a leader. Creativity is important even when — maybe especially when — it isn’t a value-creating factor for leading economies. And the Imagination Age sounds like a ride at Disney World.  However, it did get me thinking about creativity and education, and what, exactly, creativity can mean in


The Algorithms of Busyness

Thursday, May 22, 2014 Comment 3 screenshots of busy iphone calendar agendas

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


Productivity and Play in Digital Media and Learning

Monday, May 05, 2014 Comment man playing game on old computer

A new report from the Technology & Social Change Group at the University of Washington’s Information School argues that, in the context of learning, using computers and other communication technologies for play is equally as important as using them for work or other “productive” activities.  The authors of the study state that the usage policies for publicly accessible computers tend to favor “productive” uses — such as looking for work or conducting research — over (supposedly) non-productive ones, like playing games or accessing social networks. However, in their research, they found that it was not easy to


Reading Like a Computer Reads

Thursday, March 27, 2014 Comment stack of text books and pencil wedged in pages

Spritz is a startup that wants to change how people read on small screens. The startup has created an app that feeds texts to readers one word at a time, arranged so that their eyes are not “forc[ed]…to spend time moving around the page.” You can see a demonstration in this video. The Spritz reading technique allows readers to see as many as 1,000 words per minute, and promises developers that it will make “streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays.” When writing about Spritz, one commonplace has been to note that the technique


Defending the Humanities in the Digital Age

Monday, February 24, 2014 Comment digital humanities graphic with words that represent humanities

Taking Care of Things: Reclaiming What is Lost in Our Defence of Humanities[1] If this were a book, this section would be the preface. If it were an academic paper, a footnote. If an art piece, a curator’s note. But, in this mixed multi-media semi-strange space of the research blog, this is just the space where I tell you what is going to follow. And perhaps, explain (though not to justify) why I need to tell you what is going to follow. For a while now, I have been trying to work through some of the questions


Meaningful Integration: Optimistic About iPads in Schools

Thursday, February 13, 2014 Comment group of young students holding up ipads over their face with pictures of their face on screen

Late last year, my colleague Thomas Philip and I discussed why we were so troubled by the ways the Los Angeles Unified School District bumbled its way through adopting iPads for its students. And, as the second largest school district in the country continues to waffle in its plans for students, I’ve been excited about one district’s initiative to meaningfully integrate technology into the school lives of children.  Starting last week, the St. Vrain Valley School District in Colorado began its “deployment” of iPad minis to students at two middle schools. What will eventually be a


Why Technology Alone Can’t Fix the Education Problem

Thursday, February 06, 2014 Comment kids sitting at classroom desk working on music media on ipads

For more than a decade now, I’ve internally cringed whenever someone talks about the promise of technology in education. Often, discussions of iPads, video games, laptops for all focus on the potential of access to the software, device, or app rather than how it’s used. In 1999, my department at UC Santa Barbara decided that all lecturers would hold classes in campus computer labs to demonstrate our progressiveness. We received no training. There was no brainstorming about lessons. We were given no information about the specs of the computer labs. Space was reserved and we were


Re-imagining the Where, When, and How of Educational Practice

Monday, February 03, 2014 Comment students using multi touch screen on wall

“Well, I guess in all honesty I would have to say that I never knew nor did I ever hear of anybody that money didn’t change.” (Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men) Last month, I was at Bett, the annual educational technology and training show. It was a feast for the senses: I saw higher-pixel displays that supposedly ‘improve learning,’ multi-touch screens to ‘transform educational experiences,’ and (of course!) tablet devices were presented as a panacea for, well, everything. The irony was that the venue was simultaneously hosting the EAG Amusement and Leisure Show. If