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


Opportunity to Share Research on Connected Learning, Teacher Education

Monday, September 04, 2017 Comment research

If you follow my blog posts, you know that I am deeply committed to exploring the intersections of connected learning and teacher education, both in my own practice as a teacher educator and in the work of fellow innovative educators in the National Writing Project network. I am excited to take this commitment to a new level as I take on the editorship of a peer-reviewed, open access journal — Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (English section), sponsored by the Conference on English Education (CEE) through the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). My


Combining Art and Technology Engages Students

Monday, August 28, 2017 Comment kids with time machine

To maker-educators Fabrice Florin and Edward Janne, maker ed is not just about the technology: “the real power comes from enabling students to build their own projects, combining art, technology, and storytelling,” they insist. Although neither Florin nor Janne had previous training as educators, both are more than sufficiently savvy in multimedia storytelling. Florin was one of the founders of Apple’s Multimedia Lab (the Wikipedia page for the lab is a stub — someone should fill it out), which produced, among other pioneering explorations, Life Story and Moss Landing, which turned out to be prototypes for


Frugal Innovation in Digital Learning

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Comment dml

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on what makes a good and accessible digital assignment for faculty and teachers who are not comfortable with digital tools but open to learning and experimenting. An approach I’ve often seen is what I’ve recently started calling the kitchen sink approach to “onboarding.” In this approach, a suite of tools or a single tool that can do “everything you can imagine and more” is shown or given to a faculty member to integrate into their already existing course or assignment. The hesitant but eager faculty member, initially excited to


Digital Learning in British Art Museums

Monday, August 21, 2017 Comment kids with signs

Disclaimer: The Tate Modern is one of my favorite museums. My previous apartment held a place of honor, above the couch, for a poster I picked up there. And, in 2014, I interviewed the developers of their awesome app, the Magic Tate Ball (re: Using “String and Sellotape” To Build the Magic Tate Ball). So, imagine my excitement when I was recently introduced to Kathryn Box at the Tate Gallery in London. Kathryn manages and produces content for the Tate Kids website and the Tate Kids social channels, which focuses on games and films and articles


Watchworthy Wednesday: Google Expands Free Computer Science Education Program

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Comment

In its quest to make computer science education free and accessible to everyone, Google is expanding its igniteCS program. The initiative pairs volunteer computer science undergrads, who serve as mentors, and younger students, who learn from them. Libraries now are being recruited as sites to host the growing program. “Our goal really is to make computer science free and accessible to everyone,” said Erin Mindell Cannon, a Google program manager. “Computer science, in a lot of ways, is so broad and so intangible that I think a lot of students don’t understand what it can be.”


Examining Elite Data Power

Monday, August 14, 2017 Comment big data

The concept of “big data” has been the subject of considerable hype and speculation in recent years. So much so that the dominant technologies and technical practices that generate big data — data analytics, algorithms and machine learning — are now commonly described as “artificial intelligence” instead. As a result, Ian Bogost argues, there has been “an explosion of supposed-AI in media, industry and technology.” Despite emerging punctures in the big data and AI hype bubbles, it remains hard to dispute that digitally produced, collected and analysed forms of data have been vested with certain powers


Watchworthy Wednesday: Get Your Game On with Research, Design Workshops

Wednesday, August 09, 2017 Comment gaming

If you’re interested in gaming research, how to design educational games and how gaming can be used to promote learning and social impact, you should check out this year’s two gaming workshops at the 8th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference. Designing Learning Games Eric Klopfer and Scot Osterweil, of MIT’s Education Arcade, are leading the workshop on “Designing Learning Games — an XCD approach.”  “Our work in designing learning games has evolved into a framework of design principles for what we call ‘Resonant Games’ — games that are designed for the whole learner as well


No Shortcuts in Course Design

Monday, August 07, 2017 Comment prep for course design

Like many of my friends and colleagues, August is the month for deep engagement in course design. If you were to shine a flashlight into this world, you would find me on a couch in the living room, hair disheveled, clothes unchanged for days, various plates and cups tossed to the floor, surrounded by books ranging from Vygotsky’s Mind in Society to Scieszka and Barnett’s Battle Bunny. I love this time of year. And, once I get started on design, it is almost impossible to stop. For me, imagining a learning environment, curating the texts, and