Avoiding ‘Dark Pits of Yuck’: Connected Learning for Military Spouses


“We moved nine times in 14 years…It wore me down. Anything I started and developed on my own got taken away.” — Joanna McGuffey, founder and CEO of Unconventional Works I met Joanna in 2015 at Nucleus CoShare, a coworking office in Dayton, Ohio that serendipitously opened not long after we both moved there to accompany our service member spouses at their new duty locations. She was a seasoned Air Force spouse, having moved nine times in 14 years and I was brand new. Joanna told me that she joined the coworking office because she was “in

Watchworthy Wednesday: Meet 10 Women Championing Connected Learning


As Women’s History Month comes to a close, let’s turn our attention to 10 women scholars making their mark as champions of connected learning. (Connected learning calls for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven and oriented toward educational, economic or political opportunity. It is based on evidence that the most resilient, adaptive and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support.) As connected learning advocates, these 10 scholars, among a number of others worldwide, argue that new media broadens access to opportunity and meaningful learning experiences that can happen anytime, anywhere.

Making Science: When Does Spaghetti Become a Light Ray?


For the past few years, we have been fortunate to work together in a scientific inquiry class. Bringing together science faculty and composition faculty makes for some lively conversations about the teaching of writing. The course is offered to future elementary school teachers who are typically non-science majors. We recently co-wrote with Irene Salter Composing Science: A Facilitator’s Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom (TCPress 2016), which describes our work with these future teachers and our practices for teaching writing in science. The book lays out how we engage students in practices that mirror the

The Power of Digital Writing and Connected Learning


“Sharing power in a system rooted in not sharing power is a pretty tough go,” was the first thing Terry Elliott said when I asked him about his longstanding work in student empowerment — from unschooling his own, now grown, children, to encouraging high school students to blog about a real local issue (bus safety) way back in 2002. These days, in addition to the systemic obstacles to real student empowerment, Elliott faces the challenge of teaching writing to students who, for one reason or another, have difficulty writing. He starts by asking students to “think

Badges, Proof and Pathways


How do you prove what you know and can do these days? Sure, you can show someone your CV, résumé or LinkedIn profile, but what does that prove? Isn’t that just a bunch of claims you’ve got about the stuff you can do? Where’s the evidence? What can you point to in order to say: “This is me. This is who I am. This is my value to the world?” Sometimes, it’s quick and easy to show that you’ve got the skills that are required. A quick on-the-spot check proves that you can build the wall,

When Social Media Assignments Increase Risks for Vulnerable Students


Editor’s note: The following is a discussion between Data & Society Research Institute researchers Monica Bulger and Mikaela Pitcan and Jade Davis, associate director of Digital Learning Projects at LaGuardia Community College. In light of the travel ban and recent border demands to view social media accounts, the scholars discuss students who might be vulnerable in the new environment and also how this might be a moment for teachers and students to reconsider teaching practice and approaches to digital literacy. Monica: What prompted this interview is we were talking the other day about unintended consequences of using personalized

The Trouble with ‘Screen Time Rules’


“Screen time,” as ever, is a hot topic for academics, policy folk and for parents. There’s a seemingly endless debate about how much is too much, or indeed (as we’ve argued) whether ‘time’ is really the right frame at all. We were inspired to take up the screen time debate on this blog for two reasons: First, because in our research, we listened over and over again to British parents referencing some version of the famous American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2×2 rules (no screen time under 2, only 2 hours a day for kids 2