Do-It-Yourself Democracy

I’ve written before about civic education initiatives intended to help model systems of political deliberation in the United States, but with my first trip to Latin America in April for the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) conference, I wanted to learn more about efforts underway in countries south of the equator.  Pia Mancini sat down with DML Central for an interview about the Net Democracy foundation, which is intended to “innovate in the political system” in response to a perceived “crisis of representation” in which communities of young people fall prey to silence,

New Centers of Data Visualization in Education

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,

Learner Interest-Driven Curriculum

What most educators would call “subjects” or “disciplines,” Jeff Hopkins, principal of the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry, regards as “silos” when they restrict the scope of learning and nodes of a knowledge network when they serve as points of interconnection. Rather than teaching, evaluating, and assessing students around distinct subjects, PSII educators guide students in projects that matter to them, which require tying together multiple subjects. Hopkins and his teachers are big on the word “consilience,” which biologist E.O. Wilson popularized as a focus on “the unity of knowledge.” Although this approach may seem

Connecting Adult Learners

A lot of the work we have been doing as part of the connected learning community has focused on children and young people. We design digital tools that create new ways for young people to learn. We create environments in which learning starts with a young person’s interest. And, we are starting to re-design the academic system so that “non-traditional” learning can find the recognition it deserves. There are many good reasons why we have focused on young people. It’s easier to make a difference to someone’s life if they are just starting out, if they

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

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

Reclaiming the Web for the Next Generation

Around this time last year, thanks to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, U.S. citizens found out just how little online privacy they have. For those outside the U.S., the revelations were potentially even worse news as they weren’t granted the protection of the U.S. constitution. The Snowden revelations were, and are, shocking. We need to reform government and its relationship to the digital world we inhabit. This will likely be a slow process best achieved through democratic means. The chances of doing so are relatively good, as we have some of the best minds of our generation

Creativity and Electronic Invention

“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

Badges For Learning Series, Part 3: A Case Against Standardized Badges

In my first two posts in this series (“My Beef With Badges” and “Getting the Full Picture”), I called on the emerging badging community to stop conflating our aspirations with our achievements and then modeled one way to share a more accurate picture of the challenges we all face. In this post, I would like to address my challenges with a vision often shared for digital badges, namely the creation of a broad badging ecosystem. Amongst those like me who aspire to see the flourishing of robust badging systems, to capture and reflect the rich learning

Explaining the Research of Connected Learning

The idea of “connected learning” encompasses a way of theorising and describing the kinds of learning that take place against the grain, as it were, in places where we might not usually expect to find it, in communities where traditionally it is not always recognised, and amongst individuals who frequently appear to be on parallel tracks to those customarily valued by the mainstream. It describes communities of practice that have sprung up in virtual and informal spaces inhabited by young people and around activities and interests often ignored by conventional schools. However, whilst the idea of