New MIT Book Series Seeks Authors


How large-scale online environments — such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), intelligent tutoring systems, learning games, collaborative programming communities, community tutorial systems, social learning networks and numerous informal communities of learners on platforms like Reddit, YouTube or fanfiction sites — are contributing to learning is the topic of a new book series from MIT Press. And, the series editors are seeking proposals for books that investigate, critique and explain these large-scale environments. “Just as large-scale learning environments are diverse, we seek a diverse set of methodological and theoretical perspectives to inform our series, ranging from

Rethinking Black Digital Literacy, Part 1


Editor’s note: This is the first part of a three-part post featuring the fourth interview in a multi-part series with participants in the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities Conference. The series features public intellectuals discussing digital literacy issues. Jessica Marie Johnson is one of the country’s leading scholars on black code literacy. I’ve had the privilege of teaching with her at the Digital Humanities Summer Research Institute. At the conference my campus organized, she recently gave a thought-provoking and inspiring keynote address. Professor Johnson’s own digital literacy story started early: “I have what feels now like

Reteaching Teaching: Pedagogy and Teacher Training for the Digital Age


Digital media and networks, like blackboards and post-it notes, are tools whose effectiveness depends on how they are used. Whether you call it “connected learning” or a “new culture of learning,” deploying the tools depends on changing the mindset of educators. Connected learning elements are openly networked, interest powered, production centered, peer supported, shared purpose, academically oriented. Educators and trainers of educators are leading the way by experimenting with pedagogy that engages students by connecting their academic curriculum with their personal interests, involving the networked world that students live in, encouraging collaboration and peer support, scaffolding

Taking Control of Digital Identity


My college freshmen, all 84, are deep into a study of digital cultures and digital literacies as we head toward Week 4 of our semester. I designed this first-year comp class so we could weave the practices of academic writing — research, citation, revision, editing, etc. — while also working toward, in a nutshell, simply being more awesome at using the web. I am deeply committed to cultivating the democratic potential of an open web, still believing in the possibility that our most marginalized students can be heard and their ideas amplified in ways that traditional distribution

Networked Publics: Learning and Creating as Global, Interconnected, Interactive Community Enterprise


“Openly networked” is one of the connected learning principles because learning always has been as much or more of a social than a strictly individual enterprise — and because the age-old human proclivity for operating in social networks has been vastly amplified by digital media and networks. Consider the difference between writing an essay for the teacher and maybe getting a gold star or a good grade, and publishing the same essay online and receiving comments from people around the world. In the old days, student presentations had a critical audience of one. These days, presentations

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,

Digitally Improving Historical Knowledge


This is the second part in a multi-part series about participants in the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities conference. This series features public intellectuals discussing digital literacy issues. “Colored Conventions: Bringing Nineteenth-Century Black Organizing to Digital Life” was recently named by the National Endowment for the Humanities one of its “essentials” a collection of 50 works funded by the organization to reshape “what we know about ourselves and our world.” Like Ken Burns’ sprawling documentary on the Civil War or the preservation and publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the NEH lauded “Colored Conventions” for its ground-breaking

Ferguson Syllabus and the Power of Social Media


This is the first part in a multi-part series about participants in the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities conference. This series features public intellectuals in the academy discussing digital literacy issues. I first met Marcia Chatelain at the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities Conference, where she gave an inspiring talk about how her work on The Ferguson Syllabus was connected to her own past at a variety of academic institutions, including the University of Missouri, Georgetown University, and William and Mary. In introducing a syllabus that provided background materials for understanding police violence against unarmed civilians

Watchworthy Wednesday: How Arts and Humanities Games Celebrate Life


What would happen if games that go beyond simple situational conflict, such as combat and confrontation, instead took on more complex questions about life? Game designer Tracy Fullerton offered her thoughts during her keynote address at the recent Games for Change Festival. “Real life is neither either or, it’s not on or off or versus, it’s not black or white, it’s not any kind of duality no matter how we try to simplify it,” she said. “We all know in our experience that life is filled with grays, with nuance, with layers of perspective and problematising

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