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


Watchworthy Wednesday: PBS Mentors Future Journalists

Wednesday, August 02, 2017 Comment students videotaping an interview

Students at three Los Angeles area high schools this coming school year will be tackling questions about media literacy, work retraining and youth movements as part of a PBS NewsHour video reporting program aimed at teaching them the tools for employment as multi-media journalists in the future. “We have mentors work with the students and their teachers as they produce three video projects at each of the schools, and the best ones can get featured on PBS NewsHour,” said Christine Zirneklis, PBS SoCal community engagement coordinator. The mentors are broadcast media experts familiar with video editing


From Connected Learning to Connected Teaching: A Necessary Step Forward

Monday, July 31, 2017 Comment connected teaching graphic

I am lucky to know some amazing teachers. I know teachers who are throwing open the doors of their classrooms and partnering with community organizations, libraries, and museums to expand students’ learning opportunities. I know teachers who are flipping the hierarchical teacher-student relationship on its head to allow students to take the lead in their learning. I know teachers who are linking their students to networks that discuss and take action on the most pressing issues of the day. When I ask these teachers why they are making these innovative moves in their practice, they tell


It’s the Relationships, Stupid: Connected Camps Mid-Summer Report

Thursday, July 27, 2017 Comment Kid sitting at desk looking at computer screen with coding on the screen

Two years ago, Connected Camps and Institute of Play launched Minecraft Summer of Learning, piloting a new model for in-game virtual summer camps. We’ve served over two thousand families since then, and are mid-way through summer 3.0. This year’s camps reflect a ton of learning and iteration, but what has stayed constant is our focus on relationships. Through our summer camps, kids are developing close relationships around shared interests, and are able to stay connected with our community year-round. Deep and Close Friendships As I wrote back when we were about to launch, the engine for


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