Networked Narratives: Designing for Emergence


In our last script published here, we approached our Networked Narratives course (@NetNarr) in an emergent fashion. This next installment considers how students explore digital identity via a number of role-play activities, influenced by a few outside mystery characters. Designing for Emergence, The Screenplay, Part 2 Act 2: Scene 1 (A slow dissolve into a view over Alan’s shoulder in a video call with Mia. It’s the summer of 2017, and he sees the bright light coming through the window behind her in New Jersey. Likewise, the warm Arizona light coming in his window lights up

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

Promoting a Global Community of Educators


Wouldn’t it be great if someone could find, convene, and facilitate educators and futurists to map the ideal future of education, then grow a global community of educators who could bring the ideals of that map into the realities of educational institutions? Someone already has started this process, and he is indeed both an educator and futurist — in Moscow. Pavel Luksha’s Global Education Futures effort started in Russia and is now active on every continent except Antarctica. We’ve walked and talked in my (geographic) neighborhood several times, and Professor Luksha and his family joined me

Watchworthy Wednesday: Girls Gain Coding Superpower with Wonder Woman


As Wonder Woman continues to dominate the big screen, girls all over the world are watching her on computer screens as they learn a 21st century superpower — coding. “Wonder Woman’s strength is more relevant today than ever, especially in the technology space, since girls are less likely than boys to be encouraged to pursue computer science and only 22 percent of gaming developers are women,” Google Play’s Mathilde Cohen Solal wrote in a blog post. Made with Code, Google’s initiative to champion the next generation of female leaders and inspire them to see coding as a

Networked Narratives: Digital Alchemy of Storytelling


More than enough books, TED Talks, and blog posts have described the potential of storytelling. Stories often enhance our endeavors, whether in business communication or in learning, in political rhetoric or in our overall understanding of the world. The emphasis on the special essence of the story suggests an existence of a certain kind of magic. Could a story work like an elixir? For us, this notion of the magic in stories paved the way for our “digital alchemy” effort co-teaching Networked Narratives — a 2017 open course based on a digital storytelling class at Kean

Watchworthy Wednesday: Reimagining 21st Century Learning


Reimagining Leonardo da Vinci for the 21st century is how people will be able to cultivate “a new way of knowing” and learning in the next 80 years of rapid and constant technological advances, according to John Seely Brown, former director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and the author of “A New Culture of Learning” and “The Social Life of Information.” “I think the unique power of the human imagination comes in part from its ability to integrate opposing qualities, like emotion and reason, curiosity and certainty,” he said during his keynote address at the

Building Community With Peer Mentors


“The more I give my teacher-power to students and encourage them to take more responsibility for their own learning, the more they show me how to redesign my ways of teaching.” — Howard Rheingold, “Toward Peeragogy” Howard Rheingold has been a champion of peer-to-peer learning for years. Howard’s ideas are often in my head, milling about with Lev Vygotsky and social theories of learning. When I set out to design a large writing course for college freshmen, I was particularly focused on the role more capable peers would play in our writing class. In fact, I

Platform Capitalism in the Classroom


Platform capitalism is the new global business model in an age of social media platforms, big data analytics and tech-centered venture capital investment. The big platform operators, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are all now competing for school business, while education technology investment has boomed in recent years, thanks to funding for startup companies. ClassDojo is one of the most successful recent education technology startups. It has extensive reach to millions of teachers worldwide, generous venture capital backing, and enthusiastic coverage in the business, technology and education press. As it has scaled up from a