Selfies, Snapchat and Distance Learning


Selfies have been in the news a lot lately, particularly after the Oxford English Dictionary declared “selfie” to be the word of the year for 2013.  During the last month I have been quoted in The Washington Post, USA Today, and Politico.com about this global Internet genre. An essay of mine appeared on the new website SelfieCity, an archive of thousands of selfies from five cities around the world, so reporters eager for an expert opinion have been calling and e-mailing.    Less attention gets paid to selfies as a teaching tool, although Jill Walker Rettberg has

Modularity, the 20 Percent and Desks with Wheels


I want to talk about the need for modularity in schools but first, I feel like I need to explain why this is such an important issue. It’s like this: the conversations I’ve had lately have been painting a frustrating picture of schools and the teaching profession. Non-educators have talked to me about how the system of schooling kills creativity, passion, and interest-driven learning. At the same time, the pre-service teachers I work with at Colorado State University share a frustration with not knowing the specific teaching practices they can immediately implement in their school sites

Conversation with Alan Levine, Pedagogical Technologist


“Instructional technologist” is an inadequate description for what Alan Levine has done at Maricopa Community Colleges, the New Media Consortium and the University of Mary Washington, often from his connected cabin in the Arizona highlands.  A better description might be: Alan Levine is a pedagogical technologist and architect of open, connected learning systems that enable students to take power over and responsibility for (and joy in!) their own learning. In Levine’s worlds of ds106, Phonar, and other open online courses, his coding and technical design often go beyond supporting existing pedagogy, by enabling learners to become

Networks: What You Don’t See is What You (for)Get


When I start thinking about DML (digital media and learning) and other such “networks” that I am plugged into, I often get a little confused about what to call them. Are we an ensemble of actors? A cluster of friends? A conference of scholars? A committee of decision makers? An array of perspectives? A group of associates? A play-list of voices? I do not pose these  questions rhetorically, though I do enjoy rhetoric. I want to look at this inability to name collectives and the confusions and ambiguity it produces as central to our conversations around

Making Sense of Games, Gaming Culture Knowledge


I am carrying out a piece of work, exploring how young people imagine, develop interests in, and work toward becoming employed in a range of digital creative industries. I am interviewing a number of young people who are studying game design or various kinds of computer programming as well as those informally engaged in maker communities or other kinds of coding clubs, festivals and initiatives. Part of my interest is in the kinds of identity work that young people engage in as they begin to define themselves as the sorts of people who might work in

Engaging Youth: 7 ‘Epic’ Tips


“The irony is the more personal your story is, the more universal it is. And, the more you keep that nuance that makes your story personal, the more it will spread,” Nirvan Mullick, the founder of Imagination Foundation noted during a webinar podcast earlier this year. Mullick spoke from experience. “Caine’s Arcade,” a short documentary film he released in 2009, became an overnight internet grassroots-driven sensation and inspired a movement of youth-driven “cardboard creativity.” This success led Mullick to eventually launch the Imagination Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “find, foster and fund creativity

Brazil Internet ‘Bill of Rights’ Protects Web Users


Leading the way toward protecting individual rights and freedom of expression on the Internet, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies has approved a Bill of Rights, “Marco Civil.” The landmark legislation now awaits approval by Brazil’s Senate and president to become law.  Marco Civil was first conceived among scholars and online specialists as a movement against another bill proposed by Senator Eduardo Azeredo, who wanted to track transactions by every Internet user and provider. Ronaldo Lemos, a respected Brazilian academic, lawyer and commentator on intellectual property, technology and culture, is credited as a creator of Marco Civil,