Watchworthy Wednesday: Feeding Mind and Body

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Comment students at UCI food pantry

A University of California, Irvine undergrad, whose mother died two years ago leaving her to care for her grandfather and younger brother, was lucky when she could afford a meal for herself. The transfer student, commuting from L.A. five days a week and working 10-15 hours per week, “was rarely eating one meal per day because she would use any funds she had to feed her grandfather and brother first. In addition, she has a medical condition (post-concussion syndrome), and her lack of appropriate nutrition was making it worse because she was always fatigued and feeling


Selling Social-emotional Learning

Monday, November 13, 2017 Comment child with play money

Social-emotional learning has become a significant education policy priority and a key focus for education technology development and investment. The core idea behind social-emotional learning (SEL) approaches is that the “non-cognitive” aspects of learning are fundamentally linked to academic progress. Improving SEL skills is, therefore, seen as an important prerequisite for raising attainment. This simple idea has now begun to catalyze an outpouring of policy lobbying, ed-tech developments, and, importantly, new models of financial investment and profit-making. SEL, in other words, is being sold as a policy solution to long-standing educational problems, a potentially lucrative ed-tech


Watchworthy Wednesday: Lessons on Digital Citizenship

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 Comment digital citizenship guide

Digital citizenship, according to Common Sense Media, is “a way of thinking critically online, being safe with your information and who you connect with and acting responsibly in how you communicate and behave.” As part of Digital Citizenship Week, which took place the third week of October in California, the nonprofit organization created a guide for educators for promoting digital citizenship. The 35-page guide, “Digital Citizenship and Social and Emotional Learning,” aims to help educators connect challenging digital dilemmas to social and emotional skills through discussion questions, lessons and digital tools that build students’ character. From the guide: A key


The Importance of Student Privacy in Big Data

Monday, November 06, 2017 Comment students using cell phones

I’ve written in the past about understanding the Terms of sites you are asking students to use and been interviewed about the implications of social media in classes. This year, one of the things I want to focus on is bringing those two things together. It is important that we don’t just know the terms we are asking our students to work under when we enforce the use of social media or other proprietary digital platforms for course work, it is important we know the implications and the devastating effects these tools and platforms might have


Watchworthy Wednesday: Day of the Dead Resources Guide Educators

Wednesday, November 01, 2017 Comment altar

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, today celebrated Nov. 1 and 2, is a tradition of honoring ancestors, and more educators are seeking ways to teach about it. Started by the Aztecs some 3,000 years ago, the ritual, which includes honoring deceased loved ones by erecting altars adorned with their pictures and favorite foods, colorful parades and skull face painting, has been spreading throughout the U.S. It’s featured in the movies, museums, schools and cultural centers. And, among the many resources offered to teachers, parents and other educators online, is the Smithsonian Latino


Three Myths About Education Technology and the Points of Light Beyond

Monday, October 30, 2017 Comment Tween boys using digital tablets and cell phone in sunny autumn park

Three powerful myths persist in our narratives around education technology. The first is that technology has the capacity to disrupt systems. For all the hope and hype that technologies can enable major organizational changes in educational systems through personalization, unbundling, or information access, but in reality, the reality is that culture domesticates new technologies. New apps, software, and devices are put in the service of existing structures and systems, rather than rearranging them. The most widely adopted education technologies are those that add a little efficiency to existing practices in school systems. The second myth is


Watchworthy Wednesday: How Arts and Humanities Games Celebrate Life

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Comment Walden game scene

What would happen if games that go beyond simple situational conflict, such as combat and confrontation, instead took on more complex questions about life? Game designer Tracy Fullerton offered her thoughts during her keynote address at the recent Games for Change Festival. “Real life is neither either or, it’s not on or off or versus, it’s not black or white, it’s not any kind of duality no matter how we try to simplify it,” she said. “We all know in our experience that life is filled with grays, with nuance, with layers of perspective and problematising


Where is the Humanity in the Computer Science Curriculum?

Monday, October 23, 2017 Comment AI and human hands

“Let us move from human-centered design to humanity-centered design.” — From the Copenhagen Letter I’ve been struggling to write this post for a long, long time. Every time I see calls for teaching coding to young people or to girls or to minorities, I get frustrated. First off, the need for everyone to learn code may be inflated, as Audrey Watters has written. As someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, I can assure you that no coding bootcamp is going to produce a person as qualified as someone who has studied computer science at


Watchworthy Wednesday: More Twist Fate Reflections

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 Comment Gangsters of Zootopia By Amberlina-Chan

Why did Rumpelstiltskin want a first-born child? The Brothers Grimm fairytale never gave a reason. A fascinating explanation is revealed in “Rumpelstiltskin and His Husband,” a twist on the classic story written by Eva Nemirovsky for the Twist Fate Challenge, an international art and writing challenge for 13 to 17 year olds that published a book featuring the best entries. “This is a great explanation,” author Sara Ryan said this week in an Educator Innovator webinar on the challenge. “Because he is not allowed to adopt with his husband because of oppressive laws, he needs to


Reflections on Youth Efficacy in the Twist Fate Challenge

Monday, October 16, 2017 Comment

I think the Twist Fate Challenge is AMAZING….It gives young writers a chance to expand their imaginations. (Simone)*  Sometimes the only thing separating a hero from a villain is a curious twist of fate. An unexpected turn of events — a chance encounter, a hasty decision, an unexpected detour, a best intention — can spark a chain reaction that upends our expectations of familiar fantasy tropes and storylines. In Spring of 2016, young writers and artists were invited to conceptualize their own hypothetical hero/villain twist of fate in the “Twist Fate Challenge.” Together with DeviantArt (DA)


Watchworthy Wednesday: Goodbye DML, Hello CLS

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 Comment DML conferences through the years

As the eighth and final Digital Media and Learning Conference came to a close last week, its organizers announced the creation of a new annual event — the Connected Learning Summit — that will debut next summer at the MIT Media Lab. New Event Debuts at MIT Aug. 1-3 The summit, to be held Aug. 1-3, will be hosted by the Connected Learning Lab from the University of California, Irvine, the UC Humanities Research Institute, the MIT Media Lab and MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program. It will take place at the MIT campus every other year


Anti-Violence Work, Performance Studies and Experimental Pedagogy

Monday, October 09, 2017 Comment T.L. Cowan quote

This post concludes the series that DML Central has been running based on interviews with members of the development team for the Center for Solutions to Online Violence by focusing on T. L. Cowan of the University of Toronto, who describes herself as a “writer, performer, activist, and professor” committed to anti-violence work. Cowan described how she “worked as an anti-violence feminist activist with different community organizations throughout the 90s, which were bricks and mortar centers” and completed “anti-violence training as an undergraduate student.” She also participated “in street-based activism and women’s shelter-based activism and became


Networked Narratives: Netproving in the Mirror World

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Comment Levine

In our most recent script, we set the stage for how we approached the Networked Narratives course (@NetNarr) as a networked improvisation including some mystery characters. Here, we reflect on what was designed as an open space for the collective imagination — a place where students created alternative personas and then engaged them in the #NetNarr mirror world called #Arganee. Designing for Emergence, The Screenplay, Part 3 Act 3: Scene 1 (Like previous acts, the opening scene dissolves into a view over Alan’s shoulder at a video chat screen with Mia. Her background appears to be


Developing Socially Engaged Youth Through Game Design

Monday, October 02, 2017 Comment

This summer at the Games For Change Festival, the Game Jam Guide e-book was released, sharing advice from a range of experts on how to lead game jams. One of those experts is Matthew Farber, an assistant professor of technology, innovation and pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado (and whom will be presenting on the topic at the upcoming Digital Media and Learning Conference). I reached out to Matthew to learn more about how he uses games for learning and how the Guide can help others run their own game jams. Matthew, it interests me


5 Secrets to Creating an Innovative After-school Program

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 Comment minecraft play

A little over a year ago, Mahad Ibrahim reached out to me about Connected Camps, an organization I’m leading with Katie Salen that offers online learning programs and mentorship in Minecraft. Mahad and I go way back. Nearly a decade ago, Mahad had been part of the Digital Youth Project that I co-led, when he was a Ph.D. student at the UC Berkeley iSchool. More recently, Mahad had teamed up with entrepreneur and escape room designer Alexis Santos in launching Mind Foundry, an organization providing STEM learning experiences to underserved kids in the Twin Cities. Would


How Young Activists Deploy Digital Tools for Social Change

Monday, September 25, 2017 Comment activists

Nabela Noor, a young American Muslim Youtube personality, was born of Bangladeshi parents and had developed a large following based on her make-up tutorials and fashion advice. Frustrated by what she saw as Islamaphobic discourse in American society, intensified by Donald Trump’s candidacy for president, she recorded and shared with her followers a powerful statement, “Dear America.” Speaking directly to the camera, the 22 year old describes herself as “an American through and through” who is also a Muslim, shared the ways her schoolmates responded differently to her after 9/11, and discussed the chilling climate her


Watchworthy Wednesday: Remake Learning Network Turns 10, Reaches Forward

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Comment Remake Learning

The Remake Learning network started as an experiment in collaboration among educators, researchers, mentors and caring adults and has become a movement touching thousands of lives in southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio. As it marks its 10-year anniversary, the network just released “Learning Together,” documenting Remake Learning’s achievements. Among its more notable accomplishments: • Connecting more than 500 organizations into a collaborative network. • Training more than 5,300 educators in new and innovative teaching methods. • Establishing more than 170 makerspaces for hands-on learning. • Engaging more than 53,000 people in the annual Remake Learning Days celebration.


Highlighting Young Producers by Twisting Fate

Monday, September 18, 2017 Comment new_queen_by_moryapanima-d9x64c9 Twist Fate

“What if Lord Voldemort had never become Lord Voldemort? What if he found the love of his life before everything started?” So teases the description of Knilesly’s short story, “The Queer Quill.” As one of the winners of the Twist Fate challenge earlier this year, it is a featured story in the recently published collection, Twist Fate: Teens Spin Classic Tales. Available as a physical book for libraries and contributors and freely downloadable, Twist Fate is a powerful collection to read through. With thousands of entries on popular youth media communities DeviantArt and Wattpad, the images,


The Need for Frank Discussions About Digital Identity, Trust

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 Comment

I have been writing profiles of core members of the design team working on developing the Center for Solutions to Online Violence over the course of the past year and have been asking this group of educators to reflect on the lessons learned about abusive and threatening online behavior. This month, I spoke to Associate Professor Rebecca Richards, a rhetoric and writing specialist at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, about how she brings her experiences as a former public school teacher in urban and rural settings to her scholarly thinking about the challenges that teens face in


Why Museums Should Dive Into VR

Monday, September 11, 2017 Comment museum VR

As a young child, I took this photo, of the Franklin Museum’s Giant Heart, my way of expressing my love for this immersive, interactive experience. A few decades later, last month, I returned with my colleagues, on a field trip from NYC to Philadelphia, to visit this venerable institution and learn how they’d been implementing their newest museum-wide strategy for immersive, interactive experiences, but this time using virtual reality. Led by Susan Poulton, their Chief Digital Officer, I learned that the future might be arriving sooner than expected and museums need to develop more agile practices