Wikirriculum: Curriculum in the Digital Age

Monday, February 07, 2011 Comment wiki curriculum infographic create usability and sustainability

Developing a school curriculum is a complex act of creative design. Add networked participatory media to the mix and curriculum design gets even more complicated. So, from the perspective of digital media and learning research, what kind of approaches to curriculum design should we be developing? A group of researchers and curriculum developers recently undertook some initial work on “curriculum innovation” as part of the DML working groups program. We were looking for the newest developments in curriculum design, situating what we found in a wider context of social, communications and curriculum theory, and just put


Digital Divides, Blog Bans, Games That Cause Change

Thursday, February 03, 2011 Comment students sitting in large classroom working on computers

Global Kids points us to important new resources in the digital media and learning field each month. “It’s how you play the game” (article): Followers of games and education are familiar with the opening last year in New York City of Quest to Learn (Q2L), the new 6-12 school. What is lesser known is the Ein Hayam Experimental School in Haifa, Israel, whose games-based pedagogy within this working class community of both Jews and Arabs is now five years old. While this past fall’s New York Times profile of Q2L highlights the high energy of the


Why Teach?

Monday, January 31, 2011 Comment colorful graffiti written on brick wall

There are as many reasons to teach as there are reasons to learn.  One reason item-response testing (the twentieth-century’s dominant method of testing) is so deficient is that it tends to reduce what we teach to content (especially in the human, social, and natural sciences) or calculation (in the computational sciences).  Think of the myriad ways of knowing, making, playing, imagining, and thinking that are not encompassed by content or calculation.  This semester, I’ve moved over to highly experimental, collaborative, peer-led methods in my two undergraduate classes, “This Is Your Brain on the Internet,” comprised largely


Connected They Write: The Lure of Writing on the Web

Monday, January 24, 2011 Comment young hip girl sitting outside working on laptop

The massive adoption of digital media in the everyday life of teens has reshaped social and educational practices in Latin America. A digital divide persists but youth are increasingly more connected. In Chile, for example, more than 96 percent of all students have Internet access. In Brazil, almost 80 percent of the population between 16 and 24 years and almost 70 percent of those aged 10 to 15 accessed the Internet in 2009. With that kind of penetration, digital media is creating new ways to understand literacy, learning, reading, and especially, writing. Far from hurting the


Teaching Digital Literacy

Monday, January 17, 2011 Comment literacy word cloud surrounded by descriptive words

In literate societies, the idea of teaching someone how to read but not how to write is practically inconceivable. The dual connection between reading and writing is built into the very notion of literacy, making it a challenge to understand how someone could possibly do one without the other. It is safe to say that being able to use a medium as well as understand the processes of creation in that medium are the dual foundations of literacy in all media. This is the premise underlying the argument of media scholar Douglas Rushkoff‘s new book, Program


Social Learning, Literacies and Recommended Resources

Thursday, January 13, 2011 Comment teaching helping students with art project in classroom

Paleontologist from American Museum of Natural History shows I Dig Brazil kids images of ancient animals. Editor’s note: Global Kids does a great job each month pointing us to excellent new resources. Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan for Action (report)This report by media literacy scholar Renee Hobbs for The Aspen Institute and the Knight Foundation is a call to arms. It begins with the declaration that “the time to bring digital and media literacy into the mainstream of American communities is now.” These literacies include the ability to make responsible choices, analyze messages, create content,


UK Student Protests: Democratic Participation, Digital Age

Monday, January 10, 2011 Comment screenshot of google maps and icons representing student protest

The stereotypical characterization of young people as politically apathetic, interested only in using digital media for socializing and gaming, has been punctured by recent events in the UK. University and high school students took to the streets to protest against the tripling of tuition fees for higher education, reductions to grants for 16-18 year olds, and cuts in government university funding. During November and December, students, staff, parents and the wider public marched in London and other UK cities and many universities had buildings occupied, with University of Kent staying in occupation over the Christmas and


Mozilla Drumbeat: Open Web Meets Open Learning

Thursday, January 06, 2011 Comment group of adults sitting in circle in mozilla meet up

What if the same energy, ideals, organizational effectiveness, global army of volunteers and code wizardry that created the Firefox web browser could be applied to learning and education? Don’t forget that the Mozilla Foundation is all about maintaining the openness and generativity of the Web. Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, told me recently “we need to do more than make a browser” for Mozilla to advance its larger goals. I asked him why Mozilla decided to turn its attention and formidable energies to education and learning. “We looked at each other,” Surman said,


“Check-in” Learning and Social Learning Networks

Monday, January 03, 2011 Comment teacher standing at the front of classroom teaching students a lesson

At the core of all of our work at the Digital Youth Network, whether it is understanding the affordances of social learning networks or creating new learner-centered models, is the idea that learners stay engaged by identifying the pathways most interesting and relevant to them. We address this by not only providing a wide array of program options but also designing social learning networks to provide our youth a space outside of structured programming to explore their passions with the support of peers and mentors. Being able to engage our students beyond the limited time and


Disrupting Class: A New Age for Learning

Thursday, December 30, 2010 Comment
students sitting in class having conversations disrupting class

Book review: one in an occasional series on works that aspire to reimagine learning in the information age. Let’s start with the shocking news that Disrupting Class authors Clayton Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson present a hopeful view of the world where K-12 education is utterly transformed. In their view, learner-centered teaching plus information technology will mean the end of the century-old industrialized model of public schooling. From page one, there’s an expression of “high hopes.” They debunk many of the traditional theories about why our schools are failing: funding issues, lack of


Top 5 Blog Posts on Digital Media and Learning for 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010 Comment facebook home screen reflecting in sunglasses

The DML Central blog is just over a year old, and the close of 2010 marks our first full year of publishing thought leadership from our featured bloggers and highlighting best practices in the emerging field of digital media and learning. It has been an inspiring adventure. Thanks in large part to our growing community, we have learned a great deal about collaboration, conversation, and exploration in digital media and learning in the past year — lessons we will apply in the redesign of this site and the creation of new Web resources in 2011. Meanwhile,


Peer Learning Isn’t Easy (But Some Days It’s Amazing)

Monday, December 20, 2010 Comment students sitting on couches working on laptops together

I’m not teaching a class this term.  I’m doing something lots harder.  I am making a collaborative, peer-led experience available to students.  There are six of them: three graduate students, two undergraduate students, and one recent alum.  There is no syllabus.  As part of HASTAC and the Digital Media and Learning Competition, my semester has been full of exciting opportunities so I wrote an open letter to Duke students inviting anyone daring enough to join me for a peer-created collaboration to build projects around these events.  I wanted to share the wealth and turn it into pedagogy.  I’ve never done anything like this before so I wanted to handpick the participants in what I call a “Tutorial in Collaborative Thinking.”  I had about two dozen inquiries; if the word “grade” or “requirements” came up in the email to me, I knew the student was wrong for this experiment in independent, self-guided group learning-by-doing.  The six who were bold enough to join have dubbed themselves FutureClass.  They created a class website and even co-created their own logo.  If you’ve never co-designed a logo with six people you don’t know, from different backgrounds, different ages, different kinds of expertise, well, let me just tell you it isn’t easy.  They pulled it off, too. Nothing about FutureClass has been easy.  To begin with, Duke doesn’t really have an institutional category for a six-person group independent study that crosses graduates and undergraduates and alums (including a doctoral student at UNC too), and in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.  After an exchange of something on the order of a gazillion emails, a department chair (name omitted to protect the implicated) went out on a limb and just signed the form making this anomaly a reality.


The Joy of Writing – With Ancient Tools or New

Monday, December 13, 2010 Comment 2 men sitting at art station using painting and writing tools

The Telegraph recently published an article announcing that, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, “ancient communication technologies” like handwriting “are current like never before.” The title of the article — “How Twitter made handwriting cool” — is a little misleading in that there isn’t much in the article to suggest how Twitter has any impact on the “coolness” of handwriting. Rather, it stands in as a representative of social media, against which the handwriting “movement” establishes itself as cool by rebelling against this new fad. Besides establishing this kind of knee-jerk binary between handwriting and new


Digital Self-Harm and Other Acts of Self-Harassment

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 Comment portrait of woman with hair covering face representing self harm

Sometimes, things aren’t what they appear to be.  And, in those cases, jumping to the wrong conclusion can be a disservice to everyone.  After I first wrote about Formspring seven months ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about teens who chose to respond to vicious or harassing questions (since only responses are ever posted publicly).  Listening to teens, I had concluded that many out there were trying to prove that they were tough and could handle anything.  And I’ve continued to hear that story in the field.  But as I started looking into the negative commentary on teens’


Student-led Curriculum: Demanding, Digital, Compelling

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 Comment students and teacher sitting in college classroom smiling at the camera

At November’s University of California Institute for Research in the Arts conference, the emphasis was on college courses that couldn’t be planned out according to set syllabi and fixed course objectives, because students were expected to be co-creators of the classes in which they often found themselves enrolled. Whether capitalizing on emergent interactions with online or offline communities, such courses defy predictability, because the students on the class roster aren’t the only participants in a new generation of service learning courses that take advantage of social media technologies. For example, at the Otis College of Art


Why Is Everyone Worried About Attention Now?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 Comment a child sitting in front of a radio with bright lights and bubbles representing imagination

If you read the newspapers of the early twentieth century, you realize that everyone was fretting then about the “horseless carriage.”  They were positive that the new technology of an automobile that drove itself would push humans beyond their natural, God-given, biological limits.  They worried it would not be safe because human attention and reflexes were not created to handle so much information flying past the windshield.  That debate reached a crescendo in 1904 when the Hollywood film director, Harry Myers, received the world’s first speeding ticket for rushing down the streets of Dayton, Ohio, at


New Media Literacy: Critique vs Re-design

Thursday, November 18, 2010 Comment mouse staring at a large barcode

A central concern of media education has been to empower young people with the ability to question, analyze, critique and deconstruct messages they encounter in media. But in a global remix culture, the power and relevance of critique itself may be due for critique. Critique is retrospective: it turns its attention on artifacts and texts that have already been produced and exist in the world in a relatively stable form. It also assumes a separation between the producer of media, and its consumer – a separation that is called into question by the increasing ease with


“Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers

Monday, November 15, 2010 Comment group of girls with mean looks on their faces representing bullies

Ever had one of dem days you wish woulda stayed home / Run into a group of niggas who getting they hate on / You walk by they get wrong you reply then shit get blown / Way outta proportion way past discussion / Just you against them, pick one then rush em / Figure you get jumped here thats next / They don’t wanna stop there now they bustin / Now you gushin, ambulance rushin you to the hospital / with a bad concussion / Plus ya hit 4 times bullet hit ya spine paralyzed


How Learning Spaces Reflect Our View of Children

Thursday, November 11, 2010 Comment kids sitting around learning space watching recording spoken word presentation

Many school buildings are in a terrible state. Even in seemingly advanced western nations many old schools resemble architectural catastrophes that, along with post-war urban tower blocks and the shopping malls of the 1950s, have largely been left to the crumble of rust. In the last few years, though, there has been a renaissance in school building design based on a reimagining of learning spaces (pdf) that has mirrored the advance in our understandings of education-oriented information and communication technologies (ICT). Yet as I pass my local school, currently being completely rebuilt to a high-tech spec, and


Community and Writing in an Age of New Collectives

Monday, November 08, 2010 Comment geographic map of online communities and platforms

In Larry Sanger’s history of the development of Wikipedia in Open Sources 2.0, the Wikipedia co-founder writes: For months I denied that Wikipedia was a community, claiming that it was, instead, only an encyclopedia project, and that there should not be any serious governance problems if people would simply stick to the task of making an encyclopedia. This was wishful thinking. In fact, Wikipedia was from the beginning both a community and an encyclopedia project. (p. 329; my emphasis). In other words, Sanger argues that the problems he associated with Wikipedia when he was head of