Creativity is Fundamental for Lifelong Learning


Creativity is for everyone, according to Mitchel Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, where he directs the Lifelong Kindergarten research group. “It’s fundamental. It’s not just about personal expression. Having creative ways of thinking will be important in the workplace, but it’s also important in your civic life. If you really want to make a real contribution to your community, you need to be thinking creatively,” he explained in an online conversation with Mimi Ito, director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California,

Parenting in the Age of Screen Time


Setting screen time rules isn’t simple, but Anya Kamenetz’ new book, “The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life,” aims to help parents moderate technology in their children’s lives. Kamenetz, an expert on education and technology, spoke with Mimi Ito, director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, in the first in a series of online conversations and podcasts, featuring books and research that aim to help educators, scholars, parents and technology makers make sense of learning in the digital age. Many parents, Kamenetz said,

Reframing the ‘Progressive’ vs. ‘Traditionalist’ Debate in Education


One of the unfortunate side effects of the 2007-8 global economic crash has been our decade-long slide into intolerance of the unfamiliar and unknown. Rival groups trade blows over their proposed solutions to economic problems, which inevitably spill over into increased polarisation in other politically-charged areas, such as education. To my dismay, over the past five years in particular, I’ve seen an unhelpful and unhealthy bifurcation in educational discourse into “traditional” and “progressive” camps. Proponents of each approach never fully explain their position, instead defining it as the opposite of whatever “outrageous” statement has been made

Disrupting The Silicon Valley Department of Education


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

Learning from Brain-machine Interfaces


“Neurotechnology” is a broad field of technical research and development focused on the human brain. It includes advanced brain imaging but also new and emerging “brain stimulator” systems that may have the capacity to influence neural activity. The possibilities of neurotechnology have begun to attract educational interest, raising significant concerns about how young people’s mental states may be manipulated by brain-machine interfaces. The Neurotechnology Revolution The human brain has become the focus of intense interest across scientific, technical R&D, governmental, and commercial domains in recent years. Neuroscientific research into the brain itself has advanced significantly with the

Critical Educational Questions for Big Data, Part 2


I started a list of critical questions for big data in education earlier this week. This is a big topic, raising lots of big questions and serious topics and problems for further debate and discussion. Here, I focus on questions about big data ownership, divides, algorithmic accountability, issues about voice and literacy, and, finally, ethical implications and challenges of big data in education. Who “owns” educational big data? The sociologist Evelyn Ruppert has asked, “who owns big data?” noting that numerous people, technologies, practices and actions are involved in how data is shaped, made and captured.

Critical Educational Questions for Big Data


Big data has arrived in education. Educational data science, learning analytics, computer adaptive testing, assessment analytics, educational data mining, adaptive learning platforms, new cognitive systems for learning and even educational applications based on artificial intelligence are fast inhabiting the educational landscape, in schools, colleges and universities, as well as in the networked spaces of online learning. I was recently asked what I thought were some the most critical questions about big data in education today. This reminded me of the highly influential paper “Critical questions for big data” by danah boyd and Kate Crawford, in which

Watchworthy Wednesday: Check Facts With Crap Detection Resources


Want to know if someone plagiarizes a speech? Is the content on a website copied from another website? Do those song lyrics sound familiar? What about those statements? Have they been stolen from books, articles or other public documents? Has a photograph been manipulated? Suspecting minds should check. And, DML Central’s most prolific and highly respected blogger Howard Rheingold shares a guide, listing more than 100 helpful websites he calls “crap detection resources.” His constantly updated and curated list includes sites that can: instantly verify whether a celebrity is dead or alive; research statements made by

Let’s Ban Bans in The Classroom


It’s starting to seem like there is a new ritual being performed at the beginning of each new semester: debating the use of technology in the classroom. In these debates, “technology” almost never means all human-made tools — I’ve yet to read an earnest blog post calling for a ban on pencils in the classroom — but rather portable electronics, most notably the laptop. Perhaps the most prominent voice calling for a ban on laptops is that of Clay Shirky, a new media scholar. Last fall, he posted an article to Medium explaining why he forbids

My Beef With Badges


Don’t get me wrong. I love badges, digital badges for learning. And I don’t mean just for some hoped-for potential to transform the learning landscape. I mean I love them for what I’ve seen them actually achieve: new literacies amongst youth to describe their learning within a Brooklyn after-school program; new motivation within an Atlanta private school; pride in portfolios within a Bronx library; a new understanding of how to use learning technology in a New Orleans day school; the emergence of formative assessment within a New York museum. I am informed by the theoretical but