Watchworthy Wednesday: Google Scientist Tells How Tech Affects Learning


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

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


“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


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?


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


“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

When Social Media Assignments Increase Risks for Vulnerable Students


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 Importance of Connected Learning Leadership


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


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


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