DML: Designing for Participation and Learning with New Digital Media

Attendees will learn to use Designing for Participation (DFP) to support broad learning outcomes in a selected digital media learning context.  DFP is a participatory alternative to the widely used Understanding by Design (UBD) that Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe introduced in the 1990s.  UBD used cognitive and constructivist theories from the 1980s to support individual understanding.  DFP is a broader “participatory” approach that embraces newer situative theories of learning and design-based research methods.  Attendees will learn to use DFP principles and design-based refinements to support participation in the practices that define a particular learning community. They will also learn to do so in ways that results in enduring understanding of the knowledge associated with that community.  Attendees can also learn to support the kinds of participation that lead to levels of achievement that are sometimes made necessary by formal school contexts.

Attendees can work with any digital learning context, but they should have some general ideas of learning outcomes they want to support and document. The workshop is organized around five design principles: reframe knowledge (by transforming skills and concepts into disciplinary tools used in contexts), scaffold participation (by embedding reflections that foster increasingly sophisticated discourse about the relationship between those tools and contexts of use), assess reflections (by having learners reflect on their projects as evidence of engagement), control accountability (by using scoring rubrics and individual assessments prudently and downplaying external tests), and iteratively refine (by continually refining reflections and assessments to continually improve participation, understanding, and achievement).

The principles of DFP will be illustrated using three networked “worked examples.” These include (a) Taiga ecological science curriculum in the Quest Atlantis immersive videogame, (b) a Fan Fiction new media curriculum for secondary language arts, and (c) e-Learning Wikifolios for university instruction. These will be accessible before, during, and after the workshop at   Attendees will collaborate in teams organized around the worked examples and led by one of the facilitators.  Given the limited time, the teams will focus on the third principle.  Each attendee will define a typical project or artifact (i.e., blog post, remix, essay, game, etc.) in their DML environment and generate project reflections for supporting engaged participation.  This 60-minute segment will be preceded by 30 minutes on the first two principles and followed by 30 minutes on the last two.  Our ultimate goal is fostering an ongoing informal network around the worked examples and a more formal network via an online course at Peer to Peer University (