3 Types of EdTech Baggage: Toolsets, Mindsets, Skillsets

Anyone with a background in technology integration will, of course, be familiar with the diffusion of innovation curve. This is a method to explain the way that different groups of people will react to new technologies. It’s useful, but tends to be used in a very two-dimensional way — as if people will always react in the same way to something new placed in front of them. In particular, I think using the diffusion of innovation curve in a simplistic way can leave out that the adoption and use of technologies has an affect on the

Equitable Connected Learning Requires Diverse Research Perspectives

As a former high school English teacher in two large, urban school districts, I completely understand how educators, parents and policymakers who are wrestling each day with the most pressing issues facing public education — standardized testing, the effects of poverty on learning, opportunity gaps — might be a bit impatient with educational theory and research. Is this new theory about the intersection of culture, politics, and digital media going to give me the answers about how to help my most struggling students today? If not, it can wait. My students need me right now. So,

The Politics of Reticence: Beyond Number Games

Politics by numbers is a funny game. It allows for large structures like universities to reduce the question of diversity, plurality, dissent, and acceptance into quantified rubrics of access, inclusion, and representation. So that universities can often build coherently diverse groups, where the markers of identity tick the boxes of conformity and resemblance to diversity ideologies, but more often than not, these tick marks are ways to gloss the reinforced cultures of containment and the persistent poetics of silence. In the last two blogs, I had looked at #DalitLivesMatter, as arising from the politics of despair,

Air-B-N-Me: Self Representation in the Digital Age

Is your real life anything like your online version of it? How have open networks and social media shaped our perceptions of both ourselves and others? The politics of representation in the digital age continue to shed provocative light on the divide between what is real and what is represented. In my current New Media Studies class, my students and I have found it useful to consider this question by investigating the idea of “filtering” — a concept that Jill Walker Rettberg writes about extensively in Seeing Ourselves Through Technology. Filters may refer to both the

New Coke and Transforming American Public Schools

In April of 1985, the Coca-Cola Company announced it was changing the recipe that had been used for 99 years and would now produce a new and improved product. When New Coke came on the market, Coke was the No. 1 soft drink in the U.S. Nevertheless, the executives in Atlanta felt it was time to innovate and make a good product even better. If the company was expecting plaudits, it was badly mistaken. New Coke was met with overwhelming opposition from Coke drinkers. Protests sprang up throughout the nation. People hoarded bottles of “old Coke” and

Opening Learners’ Minds

If you agree that the best teachers help students learn how to think, Dr. Nick Sousanis’ extraordinary hybridization of words and images, “Unflattening,” ought to be one of your texts. Indeed, “unflattening” struck me as an ideal metaphor for the results an ideal teacher should expect: the opening of learners’ minds to new ways of seeing the world as well as the acquisition of knowledge. Written as an Ed.D. dissertation for Columbia University and published by Harvard University Press, “Unflattening” combines words and images that not only tell but show how visual perception actively shapes our understanding of

Reassessing Collective Intelligence

“@MichelleFields you are totally delusional”: Collective intelligence in 2016 Back in 2005, Tim O’Reilly, publisher and technology pundit, posted an essay describing “Web 2.0.” In it, O’Reilly attempted to describe what had changed about the internet since the early 2000 tech bubble and what had become called “Web 1.0,” the first generation of the  business-oriented, public web. One of the changes of Web 2.0 that O’Reilly identified was “harnessing collective intelligence,” using the group features of the web to develop new smart products. One effect of this collective intelligence, “turning the web into a global brain”

Designing Youth Participatory Action Research Pathways: Bringing YPAR to DML

Sometimes when you are immersed in a community and surrounded by friends with like-minded interests, beliefs, and ideas, you begin to forget that an entire world that does not understand your lingo or share your experiences exists outside that community. I re-learn this lesson often in the context of the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) community. I feel so fortunate to have been invited to share my YPAR experiences across multiple audiences over the past few weeks. I participated in an Educator Innovator webinar alongside several members of the UCLA Council of Youth Research to discuss