Fostering Democratic Dialogue with Digital Annotation


As a professor at a public, land-grant institution, I consider it my sacred responsibility to produce and share knowledge that directly benefits the communities I have the honor to serve. As a professor of education, I am particularly committed to supporting young people, teachers, and all who champion learning. Because of these commitments, few things frustrate me more than the academic publishing system that places many of the articles I write about literacy and civic engagement behind firewalls, available only to those with access to institutional databases. The people with whom I hope to communicate through

Watchworthy Wednesday: Lessons on Digital Citizenship


Digital citizenship, according to Common Sense Media, is “a way of thinking critically online, being safe with your information and who you connect with and acting responsibly in how you communicate and behave.” As part of Digital Citizenship Week, which took place the third week of October in California, the nonprofit organization created a guide for educators for promoting digital citizenship. The 35-page guide, “Digital Citizenship and Social and Emotional Learning,” aims to help educators connect challenging digital dilemmas to social and emotional skills through discussion questions, lessons and digital tools that build students’ character. From the guide: A key

Where is the Humanity in the Computer Science Curriculum?


“Let us move from human-centered design to humanity-centered design.” — From the Copenhagen Letter I’ve been struggling to write this post for a long, long time. Every time I see calls for teaching coding to young people or to girls or to minorities, I get frustrated. First off, the need for everyone to learn code may be inflated, as Audrey Watters has written. As someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, I can assure you that no coding bootcamp is going to produce a person as qualified as someone who has studied computer science at

Reflections on Youth Efficacy in the Twist Fate Challenge


I think the Twist Fate Challenge is AMAZING….It gives young writers a chance to expand their imaginations. (Simone)*  Sometimes the only thing separating a hero from a villain is a curious twist of fate. An unexpected turn of events — a chance encounter, a hasty decision, an unexpected detour, a best intention — can spark a chain reaction that upends our expectations of familiar fantasy tropes and storylines. In Spring of 2016, young writers and artists were invited to conceptualize their own hypothetical hero/villain twist of fate in the “Twist Fate Challenge.” Together with DeviantArt (DA)

Developing Socially Engaged Youth Through Game Design


This summer at the Games For Change Festival, the Game Jam Guide e-book was released, sharing advice from a range of experts on how to lead game jams. One of those experts is Matthew Farber, an assistant professor of technology, innovation and pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado (and whom will be presenting on the topic at the upcoming Digital Media and Learning Conference). I reached out to Matthew to learn more about how he uses games for learning and how the Guide can help others run their own game jams. Matthew, it interests me

The Need for Frank Discussions About Digital Identity, Trust


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

Watchworthy Wednesday: Google Expands Free Computer Science Education Program


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.”

Watchworthy Wednesday: PBS Mentors Future Journalists


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