Teachers, Youth, and Social Media: Experiments

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

In Pursuit of In(ter)dependent Learning: Kio Stark

Humans are by far the most skilled social learners of this planet’s millions of species. We’re biologically equipped to pay attention to and learn from each other, and we’ve devised cultural tools such as speech and writing to augment our biologically endowed cognitive capabilities. We’ve created institutions to equip our young people to benefit from and contribute to civilization. Unfortunately, as is often the case with powerful inventions, schooling has its drawbacks – foremost among them the dulling of many young people’s hunger for independent learning. I’ve thought about these issues ever since I was identified

An Ecosystem for Mentorship: A New Vision for College Communities

On a recent college visit, I was pleased to find a great model for an entire ecosystem of mentorship. Colorado Christian University (CCU) students/faculty had been touting their solid community, and for all I can tell, it appears legit by design. The campus is small, 1200-1500, and somewhat affluent (at least the tuition calls for much money). But I believe their layered, overlapping and differentiated means for everyone being known by someone, begs neither small size nor large expense. A brief description: 1:150; 8-5; 5 days/wk: Their life direction program is a center providing a one-stop

Writing for Interaction, Part 2

Media and literary theorists have argued for some time that reading is an inherently interactive process. To give only one example, the history of reading is mostly a history of bodily performance: reading to an audience or group, or reading out loud to oneself. It was only in the Middle Ages that reading silently to oneself became an accepted norm in the west. Since that time, reading out loud has continued to be a popular practice, and much writing, like poetry, is specifically designed to take advantage of this form of interaction. This can be seen

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

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

Why Organizations Large and Small Should Align with Mozilla’s Web Literacy Standard

At Mozilla we don’t like silos. We believe in innovating upon open standards and in ensuring that the Web remains an open platform. That’s why our Firefox web browser exists. It’s why we’re working on Firefox OS. And it’s why we’re delighted to have recently launched v1.0 of the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI). In a previous post I introduced our latest work engaging the community around a new, open learning standard for Web Literacy. In this post I want to elaborate on that and explain how the standard might work in practice. One of the great things about the OBI is that

How Does Globalization Shape Education Reform?

“We’re living in a 21st century knowledge economy, but our schools, our homes, and our culture are still based around 20th century expectations,” said then-Senator Barack Obama in a 2005 speech to the American Library Association. In the past decade, there’s been increased discussion amongst education stakeholders in regards to new openings for education reform around the global economy’s transition to this singular postindustrial era of which Obama spoke. But according to Daniel Araya, a Research Fellow in Learning and Innovation with the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (I-CHASS) at the

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

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