Watchworthy Wednesday: Google Scientist Tells How Tech Affects Learning

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 Comment Daniel Russell speaking at UCI

When his daughter was studying linguistics, Daniel M. Russell observed her reading a book on Turkish grammar while connected to her earbuds, listening to Turkish news on an online app. “She was multiple coding,” he explained Tuesday to a group of UC Irvine computer scientists. Russell, a senior research scientist at Google, said that as technology rapidly changes, “it’s tied to our ways of thinking. It affects us in the way we think, the way we frame and the way we reason. And, how we learn is highly dependent upon the technology we bring into the


What Teachers Can Learn from Students

Monday, March 27, 2017 Comment

I remember being a college student. The problem with being a professor who remembers being a college student, is that we’re probably misremembering, or our experience is different from those of our current students. Last week, I got to experience being in students’ shoes a little more than usual, and I found the experience particularly enlightening. I felt that being in closer or more intense contact with students for a couple of days and experiencing their lives helped me empathize with them more. This is very different from teaching them, because when I teach them, I


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

Thursday, March 23, 2017 Comment

“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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 Comment 10 women connected learning scholars

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?

Monday, March 20, 2017 Comment spaghetti artifact

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017 Comment Terry Elliott

“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


Watchworthy Wednesday: The Importance of Media Literacy in Partisan Times

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Comment

“It’s crucial that we cultivate students’ ability to judge the credibility of online political content and build their commitment to carefully assessing such content.” — Joseph Kahne and Benjamin Bowyer Taken from research by Joseph Kahne, the Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Chair in educational policy and politics at UC Riverside, chair of the MacArthur Foundation Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) Research Network and director of the Civic Engagement Research Group, and Benjamin Bowyer, political science lecturer at Santa Clara University, the infographic above points to the importance of media literacy today as partisanship is dramatically


Badges, Proof and Pathways

Monday, March 13, 2017 Comment my badges ilustration

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,


Online Tools That Foster Civic Engagement

Thursday, March 09, 2017 Comment screenshot of usa.gov website

As my colleague, Antero Garcia, explained in a DML Central post last month, we are working together to produce a web series that provides educators with tools and tips to support civically-engaged pedagogy in their classrooms and beyond. Sponsored by the Studies of Literacy and Multimedia (SLAM) Assembly within the National Council of Teachers of English, SLAM School aims to offer demonstrations of useful strategies in 30 minutes or less. A few weeks ago, I led a class on how (and why) to interact with your elected representatives. I want to share some of what I


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Book Focuses on Teacher Leadership and Connected Learning

Wednesday, March 08, 2017 Comment Survive and Thrive quotes2

Kira J. Baker-Doyle’s new book, “Transformative Teachers: Teacher Leadership and Learning in a Connected World” (Harvard Education Press) offers insight on the pulse of teaching and teacher leadership today. In the first chapter, she introduces readers to Samuel Reed III, a public middle school teacher in Philadelphia who she says “helped to initiate a change in my understanding of transformative teacher learning and leadership in the digital age.” He writes for the Public School Notebook blog “about his work in the field and the classroom, often advocating the idea of ‘flipping the script,’ challenging others to


When Social Media Assignments Increase Risks for Vulnerable Students

Monday, March 06, 2017 Comment social media

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’

Thursday, March 02, 2017 Comment screen time

“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


Watchworthy Wednesday: Fighting for the Arts

Wednesday, March 01, 2017 Comment arts cake

With the arts potentially on the federal funding chopping block, Americans for the Arts Action Fund has mobilized to heighten awareness of the benefits provided by the arts. It has released the below infographic, spelling out the value of the arts to jobs and the economy, and announced various civic engagement actions. Among the infographic highlights: The arts and culture sector is a $730 billion industry, representing 4.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — a larger share of the economy than construction ($672 billion) or transportation and ($510 billion), according to the U.S. Bureau of


The Importance of Connected Learning Leadership

Monday, February 27, 2017 Comment

At the beginning of our conversation, Emily Vickery cautioned: “I can’t talk about being a connected educator without talking about teacher leadership.” In addition to teaching English at Pensacola (Florida) Catholic High School, Vickery also serves as a “21st Century Learning Specialist” who designs and delivers professional learning for teachers on curriculum design, pedagogy, assessment, learning management and the use of digital tools. “I kind of backed into it — I was a reluctant teacher leader,” she was quick to add. Coming from “a family of teachers, preachers, and farmers,” Vickery swore she would never become


Epic Learning: Large Class as Intentional Design

Thursday, February 23, 2017 Comment Jumbo class

Last October, I gave an Ignite talk at the Digital Media and Learning Conference called “Epic Composition.” Below, I offer a more extended look at the design and structures of my “jumbo” first-year writing course at California State University, Chico. Walking into our “jumbo” first-year writing course as an outsider can be a bit intimidating. The room is packed with people: 90 students, nine writing mentors, and the instructor. Students sit in new desks: rolling chairs with a bottom “saucer” for storing backpacks, a moving tray designed for a laptop. Students have nicknamed the chairs “George


Watchworthy Wednesday: Celebrate Digital Learning Day Feb. 23

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Comment kids using tech to figure out a puzzle

Students and educators nationwide will be taking part in Digital Learning Day (DLDay) tomorrow, focusing on innovative ways technology enhances teaching and learning. “In some classrooms and out-of-school programs across the country, educators are doing some pretty amazing things with technology,” according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. “Yet, these pockets of innovation are confined to a small number of schools and communities. Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.” As part of


Safely Guiding Students on Learning Journey

Monday, February 20, 2017 Comment classroom with teacher and students

I remember the first year I started teaching. It was exhilarating and confusing and led me to a mini-existential crisis of sorts that I imagine often when you walk into a class with a bunch of faces staring at you who assume you have all the answers and the key to their future. Why else would they be there? I had a conversation with a dear friend and I asked her the point of teaching. She said: “To remember that students don’t know what they don’t know, but that they are in that space to learn


Engaging Parents in After-School Programs

Thursday, February 16, 2017 Comment kids in after-school program

As part of the Leveling Up: Parenting study, a project of the Connected Learning Research Network at the DML Research Hub, I and my fellow researchers wondered: How can we help interest-driven after-school programs better engage with parents? Though we had spent a lot of time in these spaces interviewing and observing students and their families, we realized we hadn’t systematically talked to the educators and administrators in these spaces to get their perspective on what works and what doesn’t. We’ve just finished interviewing educators and administrators at a dozen interest-based after-school enrichment programs in Orange


Watchworthy Wednesday: Creating Connections Through Music

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 Comment concert

A simple informal invitation brought musician Laura Ritchie and a few of her University of Chichester students to California two years ago to perform and teach a few impromptu music lessons. She returned last year with different students and is back this month with three undergraduate music majors, delivering more formal performances and workshops for students of a high school and an elementary school in Santa Maria as part of their study. “We co-create the entire program, from writing the handbook, to deciding the hand-in dates, and planning the scope of the trip, and it’s different


Fighting for Critical Civic Education in Dangerous Times

Monday, February 13, 2017 Comment

The actions that Donald Trump has taken during the first weeks of his presidency have struck many Americans as shockingly antithetical to the values upon which our country was purportedly founded. Posts on Twitter note the terrible irony of refugees and immigrants being detained at our nation’s airports while our Statue of Liberty beckons the world to “give us your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Those outraged at the prospect of religious tests to enter the country ask, “didn’t we already find it self-evident that all men are created equal?” Statue of Liberty to huddled