It’s an amazing time to be a learner – Will Richardson

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 Comment yarn connecting people together

Your personal learning network is not just a network of people you learn from. A “pln,” as enthusiasts call them, is a network of people who are learning together. I was given this essential lore – and truth be told, much of what I know about social media in education – by Will Richardson. The reciprocal nature of learning networks is only the latest useful insight Richardson has given me and the rest of his network. In part, this blog post and interview is a form of reciprocation: you know you have succeeded as an educator


Reanimating education: ideas, questions, inspirations

Friday, May 28, 2010 Comment empty rundown classroom

Editor’s note: We asked student blogger Chris Sinclair to examine all the discourse, content, and conversation in and around the recent TEDxNYED event on education reform, curate it, and comment on it from a student’s perspective. If I had to identify the most consistent narrative around this event, it would be the constraints of the contemporary, lecture-centered classroom environment and how it rewards those who excel at standardized testing, not those interested in actual learning. The speakers questioned the long-standing dynamic between lecturer and student, and suggested that the era of blind memorization of facts is


Emergent Networks: Fotologs as Performances of the Self

Monday, May 24, 2010 Comment black and white photo of girls shadows

Raquel Recuero, a Brazilian professor, is an Internet culture researcher in South America. Fotolog, a photo-sharing site, grew quickly in South America, becoming one of the most popular social networking services in Chile, Brazil and other countries. Fotologs became interesting narratives of everyday life, carefully constructed by users to share the impressions they wanted to display for their audience. They became identity performances. A Gothic user I interviewed, for example, would only publish pictures in black and white, always accompanied by Gothic band lyrics. He said it was a way to “make a statement about himself.”


Recommended reads, links from Global Kids

Thursday, May 20, 2010 Comment group of global kids posing in front of country flags

Editor’s note: Global Kids regularly points us to their current favorite resources. Please tell us what you’re reading or watching and why others should as well! At the top of our list is the best-selling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It’s described as: “Race, poverty and science intertwine in the story of the woman whose cancer cells were cultured without her permission in 1951 and have supported a mountain of research undertaken since then.” It’s a great example of how to use a personal narrative to introduce an audience to broader issues about racism,


Wikimedia and the Future of Public Media

Monday, May 17, 2010 Comment animated castle with boy walking towards it

As of this week, I am officially part of Wikimedia’s advisory board. I’m super excited to be part of the Wikimedia team and community, and am feeling rosy about the promise of all I will learn and hopefully even contribute. Like hordes of other net users, I rely on Wikipedia almost daily as my outboard brain, a taken-for-granted benefit of living in a networked age. I’ve made some edits and contributions to Wikipedia along the way, but mostly I’ve treated it as a public resource there for the taking. When I visited Wikimedia a few months


10 Innovative Digital Media & Learning Projects Win $1.7M

Thursday, May 13, 2010 Comment
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The results of the MacArthur Foundation’s 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition are in, and the 10 winning projects can’t help but to inspire anyone even remotely interested in understanding the potential of the Internet and digital technology to transform learning and knowledge creation. Among the winners: a project to show youth-produced videos on 2,200 Los Angeles city buses and an initiative that will use webcasting, video blogging, and social networking to connect kids from Chicago’s West Side with kids in Fiji to work together to protect Fiji’s coral reefs. Sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and


In Praise of Mo’ Better Grading

Monday, May 10, 2010 Comment street sign steep grades sharp curves

Meanwhile, back at the pedagogical ranch…You may remember that back in November I reported on my experiment in grading, combining the long tradition of contract grading with what I call “crowdsourced grading.”  Since I was already constructing “This Is Your Brain on the Internet” (ISIS 120) as a peer-taught course, I decided that the students responsible for team-leading each class would also be responsible for determining if that week’s required blogs on their reading assignments measured up to the contract standard.  It didn’t seem like such a radical idea.  This is a course on cognition and


Game Changers Kids Competition 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010 Comment
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Announcing the Digital Media and Learning Game Changers Kids Competition! Please share the news and the link to the competition web site, with any kids or colleagues who work with young people who may be interested in applying. The deadline is May 21st. Here are the details for interested kids and teens: Game Changers Kids Competition 2010 Join the 2010 Game Changers Kids Competition for Spore and Little Big Planet players. This is your chance to prove yourself as an innovative video game creator!  Winners must be under 18, and will be selected based on Creativity


Librarian 2.0: Buffy J. Hamilton

Monday, May 03, 2010 Comment 4 kids couch4 kids working together sitting on couch

Which of the following two assignments is more likely to engage high school students and inspire them to learn something?1.  Write a paper about contemporary US war veterans.2.  Create a multimedia resource of news feeds, archival video, student interviews with veterans, document how you accomplished it, and share your findings with the world. Buffy J. Hamilton, “The Unquiet Librarian,” teamed with classroom teacher Susan Lester at Creekside High in Canton, Georgia, and betting on the second alternative, they created “the veteran’s issues research project.” Each student started by using the free Netvibes feed aggregator to create


A Digital Native Reflects on the Concept

Thursday, April 29, 2010 Comment teens sitting on stairs texting during school

There is an assumption that digital natives are naturally predisposed to understanding how to use computers and technology, just because we grew up with the Internet, texting, and emailing. I’m 21 years old, I am a so-called digital native, but my experience has been that the concept of digital literacy is far more meaningful than the concept of digital native – and it has little to do with age or any broad generational differences. Yes, most of my college-age friends know how to operate a computer and navigate online. But they come to me if they


Harassment by Q&A: Initial Thoughts on Formspring.me

Monday, April 26, 2010 Comment young black male struggling sitting on the ground in front of locker

Questions-and-answers have played a central role in digital bonding since the early days of Usenet.  Teenagers have consistently co-opted quizzes and surveys and personality tests to talk about themselves with those around them.  They’ve hosted guest books and posted bulletins to create spaces for questions and answers.  But when teens started adopting Formspring.me this winter, a darker side of this practice emerged.  While teens have always asked each other crass and mean-spirited questions, this has become so pervasive on Formspring so as to define what participation there means.  More startlingly, teens are answering self-humiliating questions and


The iPad and Generativity

Monday, April 19, 2010 Comment 2 indian children holding chalk pads look like ipads

Since the announcement of Apple’s iPad, reactions to the device have been extremely polarized. While some people have been highly critical of the device, others have reacted positively. Still others have reacted first negatively then positively or, more disorientingly, both at the same time. A striking similarity of many of the most-cited negative reviews of the iPad is that they appeared before the reviewers ever had a chance to interact with the device. For both positive and negative reviewers, this approach made it much easier to praise or critique the iPad as an idea, rather than


Recommended Resources from Global Kids

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Comment Global kids posing in front of castle

Editor’s note: Global Kids each month points us to their current favorite resources. Please take a moment and share some of yours, too, in the comments section. Also, we always value knowing what the knowledge-hungry leaders at GK are reading, watching and listening to, but in the spirit of full disclosure want to acknowledge (and appreciate) that two items in this month’s list involve our research director, Mimi Ito, and our supporter, the MacArthur Foundation. Topping this month’s list: “Are Virtual Worlds Over?” a provocative blog post by digital games guru Raph Koster, who provides a


The DML Field: Listening to Critical Voices

Monday, April 12, 2010 Comment Painting of 20 learn

Often the emphasis in Digital Media and Learning is on K-12 education, and so social computing practices in higher education frequently receive less attention from researchers.  A recently released five-year Mellon Foundation study on “Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication,” analyzed data from 160 interviewees in seven academic fields (and included data from an additional five disciplines from the research planning phase).  The work spanned 45, mostly elite, research institutions, and ultimately concluded that not much has changed in faculty attitudes about where, and in what media, they publish scholarly articles and books, despite the


“Scaling John Seely Brown” and the “End of Endism”

Monday, April 05, 2010 Comment teacher staring at chalk board equations

I recently had occasion to talk on the phone with someone whose posts on education and social media I follow with interest on Twitter.  ToughLoveforX (his Twitter name) is a retired printer whose scan of the educational horizon in the digital age is as eagle-eyed as that of anyone I know.  I follow him on Twitter because I know that, if I click through to one of the url’s he posts, I’m bound to find something good.  When I asked him what he would do, if he could make one monumental change that would have an


Diana Rhoten: The Science of Reimagining Learning

Monday, March 29, 2010 Comment little students excited throwing hats in the air

“From the standpoint of the child, the great waste in the school comes from his inability to utilize the experiences he gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself; while, on the other hand, he is unable to apply in daily life what he is learning at school. That is the isolation of the school – its isolation from life. When the child gets into the schoolroom he has to put out of his mind a large part of the ideas, interests, and activities that predominate in his home and


Facebook’s Games: Emerging Sociality

Monday, March 22, 2010 Comment painting of butterflies

Raquel Recuero is a professor of linguistics and communication in Brazil, and a researcher in social media and Internet culture in South America. The content of this post is based on her recent research about Facebook’s role-playing games. Social networking games are typically regarded as “casual” in the sense that they don’t require players to become so addicted to them, or to invest a lot of time in order to be enjoyed. Game mechanisms are simpler, allowing users, in many cases, just to point-and-click and the rules aren’t complex. Thus, one would doubt that RPGs (role


ChatRoulette: Devil Incarnate or Accessible Public?

Monday, March 15, 2010 Comment roulette game

It’s easy to see new Internet phenomena and panic, especially when the technology in question opens up a portal to all of the weird parts of the Internet.  This is precisely what is happening around ChatRoulette, a new peer-to-peer webcam-based video chat site. Although the site was built by a 17-year-old Russian high school student to connect with other teens, nearly every adult who has visited the site runs screaming that this is a terrible space for young people.  In some senses, they’re right.  But the more that they panic and talk about how bad this


Spin: The Digital Media & Learning Conference 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010 Comment art piece of record player in snow outside

Hidden in the tweetstream from the Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010 are hundreds of provocative insights, comments, and observations, and we couldn’t help but mine the archive for another round. The full stream can be found here: #dml2010. The tweets we’ve collected below contain ideas, questions, and thoughts that can be readily absorbed by both those who attended the conference and those who did not – as well as recommended resources and links. Cast of Characters (in order of tweets that reference them):Katie Salen (presenter) Ernest Morrell (panelist) Henry Jenkins (conference chair) Benjamin Stokes (panelist)Lev


Reimagining Learning

Monday, March 08, 2010 Comment students sitting at desks working on computers

Teaching and education in America has been a very hot subject in the news. In recent days, there have been lengthy pieces on “building a better teacher,”  the ripple effects of a Rhode Island school board’s decision to fire the entire faculty of a poorly performing school and President Obama’s remarks, and the results of a large survey of teachers. So, I wanted to bring attention to a new effort coming out of the office of our friend, Jim Shelton, at the U.S. Department of Education. It’s a new web 2.0 site on Ed.gov called The