Digital Writing as Mode of Thinking


In my current “Writing Theory & Practice” course, we have been discussing the elusive notion of “voice” in writing. What makes a writerly voice distinct, audible, sincere, authentic? What makes a voice compelling? We have recognized that voice is connected to both embodiment and subjectivity. We have talked about the important link between voice and empowerment. We have acknowledged how hard it is to hone one’s writerly voice, as we reach for a kind of agility that allows us to shift our voices depending on audience or context.   All of this to say that finding

Uber for School?


Disruptive innovation. Bleeding edge. Scalable solutions. The Uber for X. Silicon Valley is routinely ridiculed for the language of technology entrepreneurship and startup culture it has dispersed. Yet, the Silicon Valley vocabulary is fast becoming part of the language of education, and major tech companies are using their massive financial power to create their own new schools. In the last few years, IBM has launched P-TECH, a network of “smarter schools” modeled on its Smarter Cities program. A former Google executive has established AltSchool, a chain of schools designed more like makerspaces than conventional schools. And,

#BoycottStarwarsVII, Racism and Classroom Responsibility


I don’t want to be “that guy,” but we need to talk about “Star Wars,” race, class, gender, and sexuality today. Apologies in advance. In particular, we need to talk about who gets to be in “Star Wars,” who gets to make this decision, and what happens when nerd culture is removed from the vestiges of historically primarily white, male space. If you avoided the spew of hate that was #BoycottStarWarsVII on Monday, then let me briefly fill you in: On Monday, Oct. 19, a handful of tweets surfaced accusing the new Star Wars film of advancing an

Disruption and Innovation: Divided By Design


Every day that I arrive to and leave from work, I’m greeted by an Uber billboard. The photograph shows a women of color, probably in her 30s squinting as she looks at the camera. The accompanying text says, “Driving with Uber means I can provide for my daughter.” The “Uber means” text is in blue. This billboard replaced a previous Uber billboard that simply featured a car and said “Drive with Uber.” There is an obvious link between the existence of these billboards and education as they were placed directly outside of a community college. There

Connected Learning and Teacher Education, Part 1: Choosing Texts


In my last post, I described my rationale for developing a “New and Multimodal Literacies” course for pre-service and in-service teachers grounded in the principles of connected learning. Even though the start of the course is still more than three months away, the journey has begun. In one of the more painful routines of the academic world, professors need to submit book orders for their spring courses just as they are settling into their fall ones. (Sigh) On the bright side, this deadline has spurred me to begin thinking seriously about some of the texts that will

How Games Transform Museum Experience


Officially, James Collins is the Digital Media Project Manager at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, working across all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo. But, to me, as someone deeply interested in how games can transform museum visitor experiences, he’s the right guy in the right place at the right time. His email sig reads “Games are a series of interesting choices.” Yup, the guy I want to speak with. I ran into James recently at the Serious Play Conference in Pittsburgh and we sat down to explore his

Taking Control of Your Digital Identity


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,