Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online

I wrote Critical Citizenship for Critical Times in 2013, responding to the political upheaval in Egypt. I argued that teaching critical thinking traditionally promotes skepticism (a good thing, particularly when authorities like the government are corrupt or untrustworthy like the media) but what ended up happening in Egypt is that those who questioned media and political power turned their advocacy into oppositional advocacy that topples regimes but does little to co-construct a better future. I suggested we reconsider what we mean by “critical,” and proposed that universities aim to promote criticality that centers around social justice

Watchworthy Wednesday: Infographics Showcase Edtech, eLearning, Gamification

Infographics: they pack facts and stats with colorful visuals; the best ones teach you something in a quick and alluring way. That’s why I’m digging this website: It curates some of the most informative infographics on topics including edtech, e-learning (blended and mobile learning, distance education, instructional design), MOOCs (massive open online courses), school (from preschool to adult education), gamification and social learning. There are so many, I stopped counting after 100. But, I picked three recent ones that I think the DML community might find useful. This one gives a timeline on education’s evolution from

STEM Design Strategies to Engage Underrepresented Students

Although “making is a stance toward learning,” Minecraft is proving to be an object to learn with as well as think with in many after-school programs. “Talking about tinkering while doing it, in person and online, can enhance social contexts for peer learning and for learning thinking skills,” however, inequities continue to exist in underserved communities — what Henry Jenkins has called “the participation gap.” Digital Youth Network, among others, has been busy trying, assessing, and spreading the word about practices that effectively bridge the gap. At DML 2016, on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 12:30 p.m.,

Addressing School Leaders’ Connected Learning Concerns

I recently had the opportunity to talk about technology, equity, and learning with a group of administrators, coaches, and support staff in an urban school district during their end-of-year leadership summit. My morning presentation offered Connected Learning as a framework for instructional design that takes advantage of the possibilities for amplification, dissemination, and (of course) connection afforded us by digital media tools. I used a quote attributed to 20th century American philosopher William James to establish my thematic focus – the need for learning experiences that recognize and capitalize upon the interconnectedness of citizens within a

Watchworthy Wednesday: Protego — An Orlando Call to Action

Just days before a gunman killed 49 people in a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Fla., the Harry Potter Alliance launched its “Protego” campaign, which aims to make the world a safer place for the transgender community. The Pulse nightclub shooting, the 11-year-old nonprofit HPA notes, was a hate crime that “sits at the intersection of many forms of oppression.” In author J.K. Rowling’s books, the heroes fight against injustice and the HPA wants people to do that in real life.  “Protego is the HPA’s first ever transgender rights and safe spaces campaign, named after the shield charm used in the Harry

Research Shows Connected Learning Works

Does connected learning — particularly in disadvantaged communities and for underrepresented youth — work? The answer is important to students, educators, and parents. It’s also of great interest to institutions such as the MacArthur Foundation, which has a multi-decade commitment to improving educational outcomes. After years of granting millions of dollars to schools, the foundation started a broad initiative that was based not strictly on educational institutions, but also on the extra-curricular learning environments that were emerging as more and more young people became immersed in digital media: “In 2004, we decided to consider alternative paths.

Educating for Participatory Politics in the Digital Age

When I earned my teaching credential in the late 1990s, I had to take a class called “Technology for Teachers.” We mostly talked about using programs like Microsoft Office to prepare students for the workplace. Absent were conversations about the ways learning, communication, and engagement have changed in the digital age. Unfortunately, such supports are still rare in teacher education and schools. For example, a district-wide survey conducted in Oakland, California in 2013, found that 93% of teachers believe that technology is essential, but 63% reported not having had ANY technology-related professional development. The innovative teachers

3 Ways Open Badges Work Like the Web

“The web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect — to help people work together — and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world.” — Tim Berners-Lee A phrase that I and other Open Badges strategists use often is:  “Open Badges work like the web.” Recently, I’ve been asked by those less familiar with the technical architecture of the web what exactly we mean by this. My starting point is “Working openly on

Advocating for Online Privacy

As a researcher who actively engages in tech policy, Seda Gürses considers how a variety of actors may disrupt online wellbeing. She also brings an international perspective to her collaborative work. As part of the Trust Challenge team launching the Center for Solutions to Online Violence, Gürses contributes her expertise as a computer scientist and privacy advocate. Now based at Princeton, she previously held positions at New York University and the University of Leuven. In an interview with DML Central, Gürses mused about the fact that her earliest digital literacy experiences had been shaped by childhood experiences.

Against the Ampersand: Hyperlink Politics for the Future

“States are certain loci of power, but the state is not all there is of power. The state is not always the nation-state…So, already the term state can be dissociated from the term ‘nation’ and the two can be cobbled together through a hyphen, but what work does the hyphen do? Does the hyphen finesse the relation that needs to be done? Does it mark a certain soldiering that has taken place historically? Does it suggest a fallibility at the heart of the relation?” — Judith Butler and Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak, authors of Who Sings the Nation-State? The