Watchworthy Wednesday: Underrepresented Represented in Code.org Courses

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Comment girls coding

At it’s core, connected learning is about educational equity, and Code.org, which runs Hour of Code, is a shining example. The nonprofit organization recently announced the results of a new survey of the young people it serves. And, the news is good: underrepresented minorities make up 48 percent of Code.org’s students in their courses and girls make up 45 percent. Code.org, designs its courses with equity in mind. This month, it released a new free computer science course for 7th- through 9th-graders. Called “CS Discoveries,” the year-long course compliments Code.org’s existing courses, “CS Fundamental” (for primary


Connected Learning in Teacher Education: Come Make With Us

Monday, July 24, 2017 Comment Kira Baker Doyle

A couple of years ago, I worked in the summer to build Connected Courses with some amazing colleagues. I dabbled in the work of connected learning prior to this invitation, but this was my first real attempt to put the principles into practice. Our goal with Connected Courses was, and remains, to support faculty who are “developing online, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.” At some point in the middle of our week of building, Mimi Ito made a comment, an aside, that stuck with me.


Networked Narratives: Designing for Emergence

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 Comment netnarr

In our last script published here, we approached our Networked Narratives course (@NetNarr) in an emergent fashion. This next installment considers how students explore digital identity via a number of role-play activities, influenced by a few outside mystery characters. Designing for Emergence, The Screenplay, Part 2 Act 2: Scene 1 (A slow dissolve into a view over Alan’s shoulder in a video call with Mia. It’s the summer of 2017, and he sees the bright light coming through the window behind her in New Jersey. Likewise, the warm Arizona light coming in his window lights up


Digital Citizenship in Children’s Books

Monday, July 17, 2017 Comment girls reading books

I recently received a gift package from Alan Levine, a friend from Arizona. Two of my favorite items from the package are ones that I think are sort of gifts for my daughter, but really intended for me. These two items, I felt, give nods to digital citizenship. The first is “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type.” As is clear from the title, it’s a book about cows that type. Not only do they type, but they use their typing to communicate with the farmer, to make demands. When he doesn’t respond, their demands turn to


Watchworthy Wednesday: Announcing the 2017 DML Schedule

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Comment dml 2017 banner

It’s here! The schedule for this year’s Digital Media and Learning Conference has been released. Among the highlights: The keynote address by danah boyd, founder and president of Data & Society, a research institute focused on understanding the role of data-driven technologies in society. She also is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a Visiting Professor at ITP at New York University. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, society and policy. She presently is examining questions related to bias in “big data” and artificial intelligence, how people negotiate privacy and publicity, and the social


Disrupting The Silicon Valley Department of Education

Monday, July 10, 2017 Comment Silicon Valley

Over the last couple of years, increasing numbers of journalists and researchers have begun to focus on Silicon Valley as the epicenter of education reform. Silicon Valley companies, entrepreneurs, engineers and venture capitalists have embarked on ambitious efforts to innovate in education, from creating apps and platforms to establishing completely new schools. Recently, for example, the Financial Times magazine ran a piece on “Silicon Valley’s classrooms of the future.” “Having disrupted the world,” it claimed, “the tech community now wants to prepare children for their new place in it. Leading venture capitalist Marc Andreessen predicts a


Watchworthy Wednesday: Sneak Peek of DML Conference Workshops

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 Comment dml workshops

As the Digital Media and Learning Conference panel discussions and featured talks are being finalized and keynote addresses are getting polished, here’s a glimpse of the 10 pre-conference workshops being offered this year. Taking place Oct. 4, the day before the two-day main conference at the University of California, Irvine, the workshops offer deep dives into hands-on activities, mini-courses and working sessions with top experts in the digital media and connected learning field. Topics range from courses in media making, learning analytics, program evaluation and game design to tackling problems in research and practice. The workshops: “Games


Promoting a Global Community of Educators

Monday, July 03, 2017 Comment

Wouldn’t it be great if someone could find, convene, and facilitate educators and futurists to map the ideal future of education, then grow a global community of educators who could bring the ideals of that map into the realities of educational institutions? Someone already has started this process, and he is indeed both an educator and futurist — in Moscow. Pavel Luksha’s Global Education Futures effort started in Russia and is now active on every continent except Antarctica. We’ve walked and talked in my (geographic) neighborhood several times, and Professor Luksha and his family joined me


Watchworthy Wednesday: Hillary Clinton on the Need for Librarians and Libraries

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 Comment Hillary Clinton

The need for libraries and librarians is greater now more than ever before, Hillary Rodham Clinton told librarians Tuesday at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference. “You have to be on the front line in one of the most important fights we have ever faced in the history of our country — the fight to defend truth and reason, evidence and facts,” she said. The former U.S. secretary of state told thousands of ALA Conferencegoers that librarians can spark “someone’s love of learning,” and they are “standing up for freedom to read, to learn.” Her


This Political Moment: Resources for Educators in the Trump Era

Monday, June 26, 2017 Comment Political Parties Crossroads Sign Democrat and Republican

Educators have long been responsible for supporting the growth and development of all young people. The job of designing engaging lessons, promoting respectful discussion, creating an inclusive classroom, and preparing youth for life in democratic society is never an easy one. We expect educators to perform these and countless other feats on a daily basis. And, this particular political moment is especially challenging. Characterized by record-high indicators of polarization and ideological discord among our major political parties, this political moment has made educators’ routine job duties remarkably challenging and ever-important. What follows is a brief overview


Watchworthy Wednesday: Girls Gain Coding Superpower with Wonder Woman

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Comment Wonder Woman

As Wonder Woman continues to dominate the big screen, girls all over the world are watching her on computer screens as they learn a 21st century superpower — coding. “Wonder Woman’s strength is more relevant today than ever, especially in the technology space, since girls are less likely than boys to be encouraged to pursue computer science and only 22 percent of gaming developers are women,” Google Play’s Mathilde Cohen Solal wrote in a blog post. Made with Code, Google’s initiative to champion the next generation of female leaders and inspire them to see coding as a


Networked Narratives: Digital Alchemy of Storytelling

Monday, June 19, 2017 Comment alchemy

More than enough books, TED Talks, and blog posts have described the potential of storytelling. Stories often enhance our endeavors, whether in business communication or in learning, in political rhetoric or in our overall understanding of the world. The emphasis on the special essence of the story suggests an existence of a certain kind of magic. Could a story work like an elixir? For us, this notion of the magic in stories paved the way for our “digital alchemy” effort co-teaching Networked Narratives — a 2017 open course based on a digital storytelling class at Kean


Watchworthy Wednesday: Reimagining 21st Century Learning

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 Comment john seely brown

Reimagining Leonardo da Vinci for the 21st century is how people will be able to cultivate “a new way of knowing” and learning in the next 80 years of rapid and constant technological advances, according to John Seely Brown, former director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and the author of “A New Culture of Learning” and “The Social Life of Information.” “I think the unique power of the human imagination comes in part from its ability to integrate opposing qualities, like emotion and reason, curiosity and certainty,” he said during his keynote address at the


The Future of Youth Mentoring

Monday, June 12, 2017 Comment mentor

The number of Americans willing to serve as volunteer mentors has remained remarkably stable over the past decade — between 2 million and 2.5 million, or around 1% of the adult population (Raposa et al., 2016). If we assume that some of this is group mentoring, we can roughly estimate that about 3.5 million (7%) of the 45.7 million American youth between the ages of 6 and 17 receive volunteer mentoring each year. Even if this percentage somehow doubled, we’d still be around 2% of adults. These trends have interesting implications. First, we should continue to identify training


Watchworthy Wednesday: Collaboration is Key to Learning Innovation

Wednesday, June 07, 2017 Comment three Excite speakers

The importance of mentors, equity in education and how art helps us see the world differently, were the topics of the first three “Learning Innovation Conversation” series, hosted by the ExCITe (Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies) Center at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The point of the conversations, according to ExCITe’s mission statement, is to encourage an exchange of knowledge and ideas that lead to new connections, inspirations, and collaborations. “The ExCITe Center is a core component of Drexel University’s strategic plan for research innovation, pursuing a unique mission of constructive disruption of traditional aspects of the Academy:


Building Community With Peer Mentors

Monday, June 05, 2017 Comment mentors

“The more I give my teacher-power to students and encourage them to take more responsibility for their own learning, the more they show me how to redesign my ways of teaching.” — Howard Rheingold, “Toward Peeragogy” Howard Rheingold has been a champion of peer-to-peer learning for years. Howard’s ideas are often in my head, milling about with Lev Vygotsky and social theories of learning. When I set out to design a large writing course for college freshmen, I was particularly focused on the role more capable peers would play in our writing class. In fact, I


Watchworthy Wednesday: Challenge Calls on Kids to Design Math Games

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Comment dice

The objective of “Get That Pi,” a board game designed by a trio of students from a New Jersey intermediate school, is to earn money by correctly answering circumference or area questions and buy the most pie ingredients. The game is a contestant in the MIND Research Institute’s fourth annual K-12 Game-a-thon, which challenges Kindergarten through 12th-grade students to create their own math games — such as board, card, outdoor and computer or mobile app games — to solve mathematical problems. Search the hashtag  #gameathon on Twitter for ideas. “The challenge is designed to help students engage


Platform Capitalism in the Classroom

Monday, May 29, 2017 Comment class dojo messaging

Platform capitalism is the new global business model in an age of social media platforms, big data analytics and tech-centered venture capital investment. The big platform operators, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are all now competing for school business, while education technology investment has boomed in recent years, thanks to funding for startup companies. ClassDojo is one of the most successful recent education technology startups. It has extensive reach to millions of teachers worldwide, generous venture capital backing, and enthusiastic coverage in the business, technology and education press. As it has scaled up from a


Watchworthy Wednesday: How Video Games Amplify Learning

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 Comment Constance Steinkuehler

As a leading scholar of video games, game culture and game player behavior, Constance Steinkuehler argues that games amplify learning and academics. In fact, video games and esports “leverage and require an incredible amount of cognitive intellectual labor,” she said at last week’s University of California, Irvine eSports Symposium. “Video game play actually leads to higher problem-solving skills. And, those higher problem-solving skills actually lead to higher academic grades…. You can start to see where games, rather than being in competition for so-called intellectual pursuits or academic performances, actually are enhancers.” The UCI professor of informatics


What Do We Mean When We Talk About 21st Century Learning?

Monday, May 22, 2017 Comment future school

The signifier “21st century” has become ubiquitous in educational policy discourse. A glance at most local, state, and national education plans reveals reference after reference to the need for “21st century schools” focusing on “21st century skills” that prepare “21st century students.” For example, the term appears (quite appropriately) 21 times in the U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan. Authors of the Common Core State Standards in Literacy indicated that standards were adopted only when determined “essential for college and career readiness in a 21st century, globally competitive society.” The National Assessment for Education Progress