Mimi Ko Cruz

mimi ko cruz headshot

Mimi Ko Cruz joined the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub in 2014 with more than two decades of experience in communications. She has worked as a journalist, including 14 years at the Los Angeles Times, and as a higher education public information officer, including eight years at Cal State Fullerton. Her work has earned a number of awards over the years. As communications manager for the Hub, an initiative of the UC Humanities Research Institute based at UC Irvine, she is responsible for public and media relations and publications, as well as for overseeing content development for DMLhub.net and DMLcentral.net.


Blogs (70)


Watchworthy Wednesday: More Twist Fate Reflections

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gangsters of Zootopia By Amberlina-Chan Why did Rumpelstiltskin want a first-born child? The Brothers Grimm fairytale never gave a reason. A fascinating explanation is revealed in “Rumpelstiltskin and His Husband,” a twist on the classic story written by Eva Nemirovsky for the Twist Fate Challenge, an international art and writing challenge for 13 to 17 year olds that published a book featuring the best entries. “This is a great explanation,” author Sara Ryan said this week in an Educator Innovator webinar on the challenge. “Because he is not allowed to adopt with his husband because of oppressive laws, he needs to


Watchworthy Wednesday: Goodbye DML, Hello CLS

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

DML conferences through the years As the eighth and final Digital Media and Learning Conference came to a close last week, its organizers announced the creation of a new annual event — the Connected Learning Summit — that will debut next summer at the MIT Media Lab. New Event Debuts at MIT Aug. 1-3 The summit, to be held Aug. 1-3, will be hosted by the Connected Learning Lab from the University of California, Irvine, the UC Humanities Research Institute, the MIT Media Lab and MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program. It will take place at the MIT campus every other year


Watchworthy Wednesday: Remake Learning Network Turns 10, Reaches Forward

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Remake Learning The Remake Learning network started as an experiment in collaboration among educators, researchers, mentors and caring adults and has become a movement touching thousands of lives in southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio. As it marks its 10-year anniversary, the network just released “Learning Together,” documenting Remake Learning’s achievements. Among its more notable accomplishments: • Connecting more than 500 organizations into a collaborative network. • Training more than 5,300 educators in new and innovative teaching methods. • Establishing more than 170 makerspaces for hands-on learning. • Engaging more than 53,000 people in the annual Remake Learning Days celebration.


Watchworthy Wednesday: Google Expands Free Computer Science Education Program

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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: Get Your Game On with Research, Design Workshops

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

gaming If you’re interested in gaming research, how to design educational games and how gaming can be used to promote learning and social impact, you should check out this year’s two gaming workshops at the 8th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference. Designing Learning Games Eric Klopfer and Scot Osterweil, of MIT’s Education Arcade, are leading the workshop on “Designing Learning Games — an XCD approach.”  “Our work in designing learning games has evolved into a framework of design principles for what we call ‘Resonant Games’ — games that are designed for the whole learner as well


Watchworthy Wednesday: PBS Mentors Future Journalists

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

students videotaping an interview 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


Watchworthy Wednesday: Underrepresented Represented in Code.org Courses

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

girls coding At it’s core, connected learning is about educational equity, and Code.org, which runs Hour of Code, is a shining example. The nonprofit organization recently announced the results of a new survey of the young people it serves. And, the news is good: underrepresented minorities make up 48 percent of Code.org’s students in their courses and girls make up 45 percent. Code.org, designs its courses with equity in mind. This month, it released a new free computer science course for 7th- through 9th-graders. Called “CS Discoveries,” the year-long course compliments Code.org’s existing courses, “CS Fundamental” (for primary


Watchworthy Wednesday: Announcing the 2017 DML Schedule

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

dml 2017 banner It’s here! The schedule for this year’s Digital Media and Learning Conference has been released. Among the highlights: The keynote address by danah boyd, founder and president of Data & Society, a research institute focused on understanding the role of data-driven technologies in society. She also is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a Visiting Professor at ITP at New York University. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, society and policy. She presently is examining questions related to bias in “big data” and artificial intelligence, how people negotiate privacy and publicity, and the social


Watchworthy Wednesday: Sneak Peek of DML Conference Workshops

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

dml workshops As the Digital Media and Learning Conference panel discussions and featured talks are being finalized and keynote addresses are getting polished, here’s a glimpse of the 10 pre-conference workshops being offered this year. Taking place Oct. 4, the day before the two-day main conference at the University of California, Irvine, the workshops offer deep dives into hands-on activities, mini-courses and working sessions with top experts in the digital media and connected learning field. Topics range from courses in media making, learning analytics, program evaluation and game design to tackling problems in research and practice. The workshops: “Games


Watchworthy Wednesday: Hillary Clinton on the Need for Librarians and Libraries

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hillary Clinton The need for libraries and librarians is greater now more than ever before, Hillary Rodham Clinton told librarians Tuesday at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference. “You have to be on the front line in one of the most important fights we have ever faced in the history of our country — the fight to defend truth and reason, evidence and facts,” she said. The former U.S. secretary of state told thousands of ALA Conferencegoers that librarians can spark “someone’s love of learning,” and they are “standing up for freedom to read, to learn.” Her


Watchworthy Wednesday: Girls Gain Coding Superpower with Wonder Woman

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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


Watchworthy Wednesday: Reimagining 21st Century Learning

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

john seely brown 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


Watchworthy Wednesday: Collaboration is Key to Learning Innovation

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

three Excite speakers The importance of mentors, equity in education and how art helps us see the world differently, were the topics of the first three “Learning Innovation Conversation” series, hosted by the ExCITe (Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies) Center at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The point of the conversations, according to ExCITe’s mission statement, is to encourage an exchange of knowledge and ideas that lead to new connections, inspirations, and collaborations. “The ExCITe Center is a core component of Drexel University’s strategic plan for research innovation, pursuing a unique mission of constructive disruption of traditional aspects of the Academy:


Watchworthy Wednesday: Challenge Calls on Kids to Design Math Games

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

dice The objective of “Get That Pi,” a board game designed by a trio of students from a New Jersey intermediate school, is to earn money by correctly answering circumference or area questions and buy the most pie ingredients. The game is a contestant in the MIND Research Institute’s fourth annual K-12 Game-a-thon, which challenges Kindergarten through 12th-grade students to create their own math games — such as board, card, outdoor and computer or mobile app games — to solve mathematical problems. Search the hashtag  #gameathon on Twitter for ideas. “The challenge is designed to help students engage


Watchworthy Wednesday: How Video Games Amplify Learning

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Constance Steinkuehler As a leading scholar of video games, game culture and game player behavior, Constance Steinkuehler argues that games amplify learning and academics. In fact, video games and esports “leverage and require an incredible amount of cognitive intellectual labor,” she said at last week’s University of California, Irvine eSports Symposium. “Video game play actually leads to higher problem-solving skills. And, those higher problem-solving skills actually lead to higher academic grades…. You can start to see where games, rather than being in competition for so-called intellectual pursuits or academic performances, actually are enhancers.” The UCI professor of informatics


Watchworthy Wednesday: Playing with Realities

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

alternate reality game The new Bloomsbury book, “Alternate Reality Games and the Cusp of Digital Gameplay,” prompted its editors Antero Garcia and Greg Niemeyer to offer a symposium about augmented reality games and how they shape communities. Called “If You Weren’t,” the free symposium takes place May 23 at Stanford University. Details are available online. Presented by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the symposium is a “daylong academic symposium related to alternate and augmented reality gaming as well as a series of playtests and opportunities for collaboration,” Garcia said. “Greg Niemeyer and


Watchworthy Wednesday: Free Online Class Features Art of Being Human

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Michael Wesch On what he thought would be a cool class lecture, Kansas State University Professor Michael Wesch set out on a 41-mile run, while at the same time, controlling a video camera in a drone above him and delivering his talk. He starts off strong, jogging at a quick pace through Manhattan’s streets and woods, saying: “We’re going to talk about what it is that makes us human. … So many people think that what makes us human is our ability to walk, our ability to talk, ability to use tools with our hands, but today, I


Watchworthy Wednesday: Listen to Youth to Improve Education

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Christopher Emdin at SXSWEdu Christopher Emdin, associate professor of science education at Columbia University, Teachers College, opened his keynote address at this year’s SXSWedu (South by Southwest Education) Conference with a little history of the Dinka Tribe of Sudan. Ages ago, he explained, Dinka children suffered from an outbreak of tetanus, which causes “lockjaw,” so they couldn’t open their mouths to eat. As a solution, the tribe decided that tooth extraction would allow the children afflicted by the infectious disease to drink liquids even when their jaw muscles clamped shut. The practice continued, generation after generation, even after the young


Watchworthy Wednesday: Apply to Present at DML2017 by May 1

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

dml conference Got an innovative program or research project dealing with connected learning or digital media and learning? We want to hear about it at this year’s Digital Media and Learning Conference, and the deadline to apply to be a featured speaker has been extended to May 1. The 8th annual DML Conference is an international gathering that brings together a vibrant and diverse community of innovators, thinkers, and progressive educators to delve into leading-edge topics in digital media and learning. Attendees build connections across research, design, and practice in the service of progressive, equitable, and youth-centered approaches


Watchworthy Wednesday: How AI Will Transform Medical Practice

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dr. Chang Armed with reams of data, a patient’s father convinced Dr. Anthony C. Chang, his daughter’s pediatric cardiologist, to proceed with her surgery. “A data scientist, the father of one of my congenital heart defect patients, really wanted to give me more data than we typically get so he tabulated the pulse oximetry readings on his daughter and plotted it out for me and convinced me that we needed to push ahead with surgery,” Chang said. The chief intelligence and innovation officer and medical director of the Heart Failure Program at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC),


Watchworthy Wednesday: UCI Dreamers Take a Stand, Help Each Other

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

ballet folklorico As a junior computer science major at the University of California, Irvine, she felt “hopeless” watching fellow classmates landing scholarships, federal financial aid and paid internships. “I could not do the same things due to my status,” the student noted. Undocumented students are not eligible for most scholarships because they require U.S. citizenship or residency status. But, thanks to a fundraising effort, created and organized by UCI’s undocumented students themselves, they are raising money and awareness to help each other get through school successfully. With the support of the campus community and generous donors, the students


Watchworthy Wednesday: How You Could Win $250,000 for Being Disobedient

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

MIT Award Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words — “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” — open MIT’s Media Lab video, inviting nominations for its Rewarding Disobedience Award. The award, which comes with a no-strings-attached $250,000 cash prize, will go to a living individual or group engaged in “an extraordinary example of disobedience for the benefit of society.” From the award description: The MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award seeks to highlight effective, responsible, ethical disobedience across disciplines, and around the world. Disobedience Award objectives are to build awareness and support of disobedience-robust work being done, and


Watchworthy Wednesday: Google Scientist Tells How Tech Affects Learning

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Daniel Russell speaking at UCI 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


Watchworthy Wednesday: Meet 10 Women Championing Connected Learning

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

10 women connected learning scholars 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.


Watchworthy Wednesday: The Importance of Media Literacy in Partisan Times

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

“It’s crucial that we cultivate students’ ability to judge the credibility of online political content and build their commitment to carefully assessing such content.” — Joseph Kahne and Benjamin Bowyer Taken from research by Joseph Kahne, the Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Chair in educational policy and politics at UC Riverside, chair of the MacArthur Foundation Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) Research Network and director of the Civic Engagement Research Group, and Benjamin Bowyer, political science lecturer at Santa Clara University, the infographic above points to the importance of media literacy today as partisanship is dramatically


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Book Focuses on Teacher Leadership and Connected Learning

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Survive and Thrive quotes2 Kira J. Baker-Doyle’s new book, “Transformative Teachers: Teacher Leadership and Learning in a Connected World” (Harvard Education Press) offers insight on the pulse of teaching and teacher leadership today. In the first chapter, she introduces readers to Samuel Reed III, a public middle school teacher in Philadelphia who she says “helped to initiate a change in my understanding of transformative teacher learning and leadership in the digital age.” He writes for the Public School Notebook blog “about his work in the field and the classroom, often advocating the idea of ‘flipping the script,’ challenging others to


Watchworthy Wednesday: Fighting for the Arts

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

arts cake With the arts potentially on the federal funding chopping block, Americans for the Arts Action Fund has mobilized to heighten awareness of the benefits provided by the arts. It has released the below infographic, spelling out the value of the arts to jobs and the economy, and announced various civic engagement actions. Among the infographic highlights: The arts and culture sector is a $730 billion industry, representing 4.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — a larger share of the economy than construction ($672 billion) or transportation and ($510 billion), according to the U.S. Bureau of


Watchworthy Wednesday: Celebrate Digital Learning Day Feb. 23

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

kids using tech to figure out a puzzle 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


Watchworthy Wednesday: Creating Connections Through Music

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

concert A simple informal invitation brought musician Laura Ritchie and a few of her University of Chichester students to California two years ago to perform and teach a few impromptu music lessons. She returned last year with different students and is back this month with three undergraduate music majors, delivering more formal performances and workshops for students of a high school and an elementary school in Santa Maria as part of their study. “We co-create the entire program, from writing the handbook, to deciding the hand-in dates, and planning the scope of the trip, and it’s different


Watchworthy Wednesday: About Frederick Douglass

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Frederick Douglass Have you seen the Frederick Douglass memes all over social media? They mostly take aim at President Donald J. Trump for his brief comment on the first day of Black History Month this year. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job, that is being recognized more and more, I notice,” Trump said, leading people to speculate whether the president knows who Douglass was.  Douglass, the civil rights icon who escaped slavery and fought for human rights until his death in 1895, has been trending on Twitter and other sites as people


Watchworthy Wednesday: Awards Available for Scholars to Study Connected Learning Data

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Hive fashion Digital media and learning scholars interested in analyzing connected learning data are being invited to apply for awards from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and UC Irvine. The data comes from the Connecting Youth: Digital Learning Research Project, led by Richard Arum, dean of UCI’s School of Education, and postdoctoral scholar Kiley Larson. They gathered data on nontraditional educational practices employed by innovative schools, museums, libraries and community centers. “The project focused on studying a set of educational innovations that integrated digital media with progressive pedagogy,” Arum said. “Given the extent to which formal


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Book Questions Tech Assumptions

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ipad “Giving voice to the voiceless” is a familiar phrase, says Meryl Alper, author of “Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability, and Inequality” (MIT Press, 2017). “It has Biblical origins, is foundational to journalism, and often describes technologies like civic media and open data,” she notes. “But, I’m looking at voice not just metaphorically (as self-expression and agency), but also alongside the more literal sense (oral vocalization). The popular press, as well as tech companies like Apple and Microsoft, have historically used the phrase to characterize non-speaking and minimally speaking individuals with disabilities (and youth in particular) as


Watchworthy Wednesday: Podcast Examines Human Rights Data Analysis

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Iraq body count “Data is always lying to you… but, we can fix it, sometimes, maybe.” That’s how Patrick Ball, director of research for the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, opens his podcast, “Understanding Patterns of Mass Violence with Data and Statistics.” Published earlier this month, the podcast is part of Databites, a speaker series by Data & Society, a research institute in New York City that focuses on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development. The idea that observable data are the same as patterns of behavior is a “naïve model,” Ball says, adding that


Watchworthy Wednesday: Incarcerated Parents Connect With Kids Through Reading

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mother and children read stories with incarcerated dad via video “If you stare at a painting and do not see yourself there, paint your own portrait.” — Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, “Giant Steps to Change the World” At her neighborhood library in Philadelphia recently, an 8-year-old girl enthusiastically sang a couple songs, danced, shared jokes, discussed her birthday wishes and read several books with her incarcerated mom via video conference. The hour-long encounter, made possible by the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Stories Alive program, was the second for the mother and daughter. “She was so excited to see her mother again,” said Titus Moolathara,


Watchworthy Wednesday: What Does Miami Sound Like?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

miami For 100 days, Jan. 31-May 12, residents of Miami can contribute their own sound and video clips to the New World Symphony (NWS), America’s Orchestral Academy, as part of Project 305. The project will use selected submissions to compose an orchestral work and accompanying video that will be performed by the NWS on Oct. 21 at the New World Center. Through a partnership between NWS, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and MIT Media Lab, the project is modeled after the collaborative City Symphonies created throughout the world by innovative and influential composer, inventor and educator Tod Machover. His Detroit


Watchworthy Wednesday: Opportunity to Provide Computer Ed in K-12 Schools

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

cs for all Want to provide a computer science and computational thinking education project in K-12 schools? Teams of educators, researchers, community members and others interested in doing so are being offered the chance to be awarded 19 “CS for All” grants, totaling $20 million, from the National Science Foundation (NSF). “With this solicitation, the NSF focuses on researcher-practitioner partnerships (RPPs) that foster the research and development needed to bring CS/CT to all schools,” says Nichole D. Pinkard, founder of the Digital Youth Network and associate professor in the School of Design College of Computing and Digital Media at


Watchworthy Wednesday: CLA Debuts Newsletter

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

new CLA newsletter on ipad The Connected Learning Alliance has debuted a weekly e-mail newsletter, featuring updates from the blog of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and the greater CLA and DML community. Its mission is simple: to keep you informed about the latest news, opportunities and opinion from researchers, educators and innovators who are part of the movement for connected learning. Connected learning is learning that is social, powered by interests, and connected to opportunity, explains Mimi Ito, CLA co-founder. “The connected in connected learning is about putting people and equity first as technology becomes more prevalent in the lives of young


Watchworthy Wednesday: Survey Analyzes Plugged-in Parents

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

parent screen time While 8- to 18-year-olds are clocking in lots of screen time, their parents are doing the same if not more, according to a new survey, measuring parental media use. The study by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that provides parents, educators and youth with information to help with navigating media and technology, found that parents of teens and tweens spend more than nine hours a day looking at their screens. Of those parents surveyed, 78 percent believe they are good media and technology role models for their children. “The great news is that the report shows


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Report Features Connected Learning in Libraries

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Creating a dress she designed at Providence Public Library’s Fashion Forward program In their just released research report, “Connected Libraries: Surveying the Current Landscape and Charting a Path to the Future,” scholars from the University of Maryland and University of Washington examine the different types of “connected learning” happening in public libraries across the nation and the challenges that librarians face as facilitators. The report opens with an infographic explanation of connected learning, an educational framework that emphasizes learning experiences that are socially embedded, interest driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Examples of connected learning experiences in libraries are discussed and resources for librarians to use


Watchworthy Wednesday: Virtual Field Trip Delves into Museum Science

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Infrared xray of artwork With a camera that sees infrared light pointed at a centuries-old painting by artist Jan Provost, the original sketch underneath appears. The x-rayed image shows how different the original drawing was from what was ultimately painted. To analyze the minerals in the paint used, scientists use XRF (X-ray fluorescence), a non-destructive analytical technique that determines the elemental composition of materials. Such science and technology can be used to answer all sorts of art history and scientific questions. That was the point of a virtual field trip today behind the scenes at the Detroit Institute of Arts


Watchworthy Wednesday: Gratitude Increases Well-being

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

world gratitude map As Americans gather to celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, people around the globe can take part in giving thanks through free online projects that aim to boost well-being and resilience year-round. Crowd-Sourced Gratitude Map Some 23,000 people from 100 countries so far have posted notes about what they’re grateful for on the World Gratitude Map, a crowd-sourcing project founded by Jacqueline Lewis five years ago. It, Lewis said, “encourages users to document and celebrate the good things in life and helps keep their eyes on all that’s good and beautiful and possible in the world.” A few


Watchworthy Wednesday: Letters for the 45th President

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

topics of letters to the president from young people Gun control, immigration, education, abortion and police brutality are among the top issues that young people care about and want President-elect Donald J. Trump to care about, too. As part of the Letters to the Next President 2.0 project, students, ranging in age from 13 to 18, from across the country wrote letters expressing their views on myriad issues. Nearly 12,000 letters were penned online. The following are  a few excerpts: “Gun violence across America has been getting progressively worse, and something needs to be done in attempt to resolve this crisis. Given the violent world we live


Watchworthy Wednesday: iCivics Game Delivers Lessons on U.S. Presidency

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

screenshot of icivics game As Donald Trump was declared president elect early this morning, the website iCivics debuted a new edition of Executive Command, an animated educational game aimed at teaching kids all about the role of the president. The game has players take on the role and select an agenda for the country. They learn what it takes to accomplish their goals while facing the challenges and responsibilities that appear along the way. “We don’t learn civics and how to be involved as a citizen, genetically. We have to learn it, every generation,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says in a


Watchworthy Wednesday: How to Make Digital Civic Change

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

ypp The Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network has debuted a new website, featuring its “Action Frame” — 10 questions designed to guide young people on how to make civic change in this digital age. From the website: Sixties activists insisted the personal is political. Change-makers in the digital age get that idea, and one-up it with another rallying cry: the political is social and cultural. Your platforms and digital strategies need to make this principle count, so that you, your peers, and your audiences engage each other, and the allies you all want, in high-quality, equitable,


Watchworthy Wednesday: Closing the Homework Gap

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

students at computers doing homework in library Franny Millen was in the 7th grade four years ago when she realized that many of her classmates couldn’t do their homework because they didn’t have a computer or internet access at home. To her, that was simply unfair and she and her family started a nonprofit organization, Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D), to help her peers. “As educators, we recognize that we don’t have digital equity in our community but to Franny, it was just not fair,” Valerie Truesdale, chief technology officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, recalled. “Some students could extend learning beyond


Watchworthy Wednesday: 15 DML Speakers Ignite, Enlighten

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ignite speakers Fifteen inspiring speakers took the stage Oct. 6 and 7 during the 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference at the University of California, Irvine. With 20 slides and 5 minutes each, they delivered some powerful talks, enlightening conference-goers about the DML projects that fuel their passions. The following are excerpts from the speakers and videos of their full Ignite presentations. Fresh Rap From Prof Ross “Well, this is a story about how my teaching got flipped, turned upside down…. In So California, born and raised, watching TV is how I spent most of my days,


Watchworthy Wednesday: 2016 DML Keynote Recap

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Keynote speakers In case you weren’t among the nearly 500 people at the 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference last week at the University of California, Irvine, here are highlights from the keynotes. What is the Intellectual Culture of Games? Thanks to two factors that have emerged — mobile gaming and a healthy indie ecosystem — video games are in “the golden age,” according to games expert Constance Steinkuehler, presently a professor in digital media at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and co-director of the Games+Learning+Society Center at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery and soon to join the UCI


Watchworthy Wednesday: UCI Opens eSports Arena

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

UCI eSports arena Now that the University of California, Irvine has opened the first eSports arena of its kind at a public college, student-gamers soon will be doing battle against the enemy Lexus in “League of Legends” tournaments under big screens to cheering fans. The new 3,500-square-foot arena is outfitted with 80 custom gaming PCs, luxurious ergonomic chairs and a webcasting studio that will broadcast matches. Home to UCI’s elite new “League of Legends” team, the arena also will host summer camps and other special events, and is available to anyone who wants to play for recreation for about


Watchworthy Wednesday: iPadpalooza Pizzazz

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

George Couros presenting keynote address During the mini-keynotes at iPadpalooza over the summer, George Couros, author of “The Innovator’s Mindset,” talked about a kid who made a YouTube video, hoping somebody would see it. When he gets one “like,” he makes another video in gratitude and ends up going viral. “So, this kid totally reminds me of me when I was a kid,” Couros said. “A little bit awkward, a little bit chubby and just hoping he connects to somebody…. He makes a six-minute video to thank people all around the world for his one like. So, he goes on and


Watchworthy Wednesday: Brokering Learning Opportunities

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Brokering A new initiative — Building Youth Pathways in Computer Science and Digital Making (CS-Paths) — has been launched in an effort to support teens in computing and digital making programs. CS-Paths, a partnership between the Hive Research Lab (HRL) and the Hive NYC Network, asks: “How might we support young people to pursue computing and digital media pathways that go beyond a single program experience?” The answer: through brokering learning opportunities. This kind of brokering is the practice of a caring adult such as a teacher, counselor, peer, librarian or volunteer helping a young person connect


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Series Features Extraordinary Women

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Feminist Frequency Emma Goldman was born in 1869 in Russia. When she was 15, her father tried to force her to get married and when she refused, he threw her French grammar book in the fire. At 16, she left her homeland, immigrating to the United States where she discovered her calling as a political revolutionary. Her story comes to life as narrated by Anita Sarkeesian, in this just-released video series, “Ordinary Women Daring to Defy History” by Feminist Frequency: “The Revolutionary Life of Emma Goldman” is the first of five videos in the series, telling the stories


Watchworthy Wednesday: The 5 Most Needed 21st Century Skills

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

CharacterDay As the third annual Character Day approaches Sept. 22, the nonprofit Let it Ripple Film Studio will be featuring “The Adaptable Mind,” an 11-minute exploration of the five skills we need most to flourish in the 21st century. Webby Awards creator Tiffany Shlain, who founded Character Day, co-founded the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and leads Let it Ripple, uses Twitter to pose a question at the beginning of the film: “What’s a great example of a 21st century mind in action?” She receives hundreds of responses and focuses on the one from Los


Watchworthy Wednesday: Empowering Youth Through Writing, Digital Media

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ywp-banner Four 16-year-old Muslim-American girls are getting their stories heard through slam poetry. Thousands of other young people are sharing their hopes, fears, aspirations and observations, too, as part of the Young Writers Project. YWP, a nonprofit organization based in Burlington, Vermont and founded 10 years ago, is dedicated to helping youth develop the confidence and communication skills needed to shape their world via creative writing, performance and visual and audio mediums.  “We develop effective methods to help youths explore their own ideas, share with peers and mentors and present best work to affirming audiences,” says Geoffrey


Watchworthy Wednesday: Spreading Storytelling Through Photography and Connecting Educators

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Student takes a photo with a mobile device As a documentary photographer, Andrea Birnbaum is a storyteller. But, she emphasizes, “I am very aware that I cannot tell other people’s stories for them. I can only show my perspective on what I see in the world.” So, when she discovered Phonar Nation, the online photography class immediately appealed to Birnbaum, also an educator, as it teaches students how to tell their own stories. Designed by award-winning photographer, Jonathan Worth, Phonar Nation was built to be taught from a mobile device for a mobile device user, and it’s an open course that any student can


Watchworthy Wednesday: Connecting Hip-Hop and Coding

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

teen codes hip-hop dance move How can young people use coding to express their interests in areas such as hip-hop dance? To explore this question, Progressive Arts Alliance and the MIT Scratch team will host the Hip-Hop and Scratch Coding Summit, a two-day workshop for educators and program leaders to learn about creative pathways into computing. The summit, to be held Oct. 21-22 in Cleveland, Ohio, will bring together a diverse group of people who lead programs for young people, especially for youth in underserved communities. Forty participants will be chosen on Sept. 5, so there’s still time to apply. The summit


Watchworthy Wednesday: A Dreamer’s Guide to College Funds

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca with her DREAMer's Roadmap app Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca would not be studying at Cañada College in Redwood City, getting ready to transfer to a four-year college and major in political science and communications, were it not for the help of a scholarship for undocumented students. Unable to apply for federal student loans because of her status and discouraged by naysayers, she thought it would be impossible to go to college, and she knows many other undocumented youth feel the same way. (About 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year in the U.S.) That’s why she created DREAMer’s Roadmap, a


Watchworthy Wednesday: Expounding on Educational Equity

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

cla equity banner students looking at aquarium Schools are just one place where learning takes place. Education can also be had at libraries, after-school programs, summer camps and online. In fact, today’s abundance of technological resources provides myriad learning opportunities. But, not all youth have the chance to take part, due to barriers such as access and cost. This Connected Learning Alliance video addresses educational equity and how connected learning can help close the access gap. It’s based on research evidence, proving that “we need a learning ecosystem that challenges inequality by empowering people to create opportunity together. The tools of the digital


Watchworthy Wednesday: Check Facts With Crap Detection Resources

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

magnifying glass on newspaper 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


Watchworthy Wednesday: How Pokémon Go Promotes Learning Opportunities

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pokémon Go players In barely two weeks, the virtual reality game Pokémon Go has attracted millions of players. Now, educators are pondering whether the game can be used to promote learning. Three blogs — Aside, Discovery Education and EdTech — are nodding indeed. “Harnessing student excitement of this game can easily be used to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities,” writes Discovery Education’s Kathy Schrock. She offers a number of resources educators can use to create lessons. Among her observations: “The journal component of the game automatically records the time and date of the events as they


Watchworthy Wednesday: Music-making Revolution

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Girl creating music on Looplabs Today’s stars are born on YouTube, Vine, Instagram and SoundCloud, and people are expressing themselves more than ever through social media using the written word, photographs and video. Musical expression, however, remains massively underserved, according to Craig Swann, co-founder of Looplabs, a cloud-based music studio that offers a free online collaborative production platform that allows anyone to create anywhere with an internet connection. Looplabs’ mission “is to help the world create, share and discover music together,” Swann said. “We’re quickly approaching 100,000 users since launching late last year in public beta. We have top users from 8


Watchworthy Wednesday: The Minecraft Effect

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

minecraft fortress Minecraft, the Lego-like building video game, is such a massive hit that the New York Times Magazine recently made it the subject of a cover story. What makes the game such a global sensation is its power to encourage an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) — those pesky fields that Americans don’t seem to be able to conquer. U.S. students lag behind 34 other countries in math and behind 26 countries in science, according to a Pew Research Center study. “The game encourages kids to regard logic and if-then statements as fun things


Watchworthy Wednesday: Infographics Showcase Edtech, eLearning, Gamification

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Infographic illustration of child looking through vr virtual reality headset Infographics: they pack facts and stats with colorful visuals; the best ones teach you something in a quick and alluring way. That’s why I’m digging this website: elearninginfographics.com. It curates some of the most informative infographics on topics including edtech, e-learning (blended and mobile learning, distance education, instructional design), MOOCs (massive open online courses), school (from preschool to adult education), gamification and social learning. There are so many, I stopped counting after 100. But, I picked three recent ones that I think the DML community might find useful. This one gives a timeline on education’s evolution from


Watchworthy Wednesday: Protego — An Orlando Call to Action

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

illustration of Harry Potter casting the protego spell in response to Orlando tragedy. Just days before a gunman killed 49 people in a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Fla., the Harry Potter Alliance launched its “Protego” campaign, which aims to make the world a safer place for the transgender community. The Pulse nightclub shooting, the 11-year-old nonprofit HPA notes, was a hate crime that “sits at the intersection of many forms of oppression.” In author J.K. Rowling’s books, the heroes fight against injustice and the HPA wants people to do that in real life.  “Protego is the HPA’s first ever transgender rights and safe spaces campaign, named after the shield charm used in the Harry


New for DML2016: Geek Out Day Features Hands-on Workshops

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Geek Out Day at DML Conference happening October 5, 2016 On behalf of all of us at the DML Research Hub, I’m using this blog as an open invitation to our 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, taking place Oct. 5-7 at UC Irvine. New this year: “Geek Out Day,” Oct. 5, featuring three- and six-hour workshops on such topics as civic engagement, designing online courses, digital storytelling, learning analytics, using Minecraft to teach academics and building youth social capital. Experts in their field will lead the nine workshops and participants should expect to fully immerse themselves. In fact, space is limited so seats are


Making Upstanders in Today’s World

Thursday, August 27, 2015

group of young upstanders marching protesting for anti bullying rally Oppression happens. So, what can students do? How can young people become upstanders (people who stand up for social justice and equality) in their communities? In the fourth of a four-part Connected Learning TV and Facing History and Ourselves webinar series, activists and educators tackled those questions. The webinar speakers — Mary Hendra, who leads the Los Angeles program team for Facing History and Ourselves; Jon Lego, who teaches at Animo Jackie Robinson High School in Los Angeles; Emily Weisberg, a program associate for Facing History and Ourselves; Andrew Slack, co-founder of the Harry Potter Alliance; Milton Reynolds, a senior program


Using Design Research to Support Youth Programs

Monday, April 06, 2015

Dixie Ching teaching 2 students a project in classroom Rafi Santo and Dixie Ching are figuring out how youth programs in New York can best support young people in learning whatever interests them. Santo, a doctoral candidate in learning sciences at Indiana University, and Ching, a doctoral candidate in educational communication and technology at New York University, are the project leads of the Hive Research Lab, an applied research partner of the Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network. The network is a citywide lab where educators, technologists and youth-development experts from more than 70 organizations, museums, libraries, after-school programs, code clubs and others come together to build innovative, connected


Advancing Access for Digital Youth with Disabilities

Thursday, February 26, 2015

meryl alper headshot and quote disability central to human experience “Disability is central to the human experience,” writes Meryl Alper in the opening chapter of her book, “Digital Youth with Disabilities.” The report summarizes how children with disabilities use media for social and recreational purposes and identifies areas where more research on the topic is needed. “At one time or another, those of us who are ‘temporarily able-bodied’ will become disabled, whether as part of the aging process or unexpectedly at any age,” says Alper, a USC doctoral candidate in communication. “People with disabilities have the same human rights to live with dignity and self-worth as


Educating Educators: Q&A With Connected Learning Advocate Kira Baker-Doyle

Thursday, November 27, 2014

kira baker boyle teaching 2 students in classroom Kira J. Baker-Doyle, assistant professor of education at Arcadia University, and her colleagues designed Arcadia’s Connected Learning Certificate program so educators of all levels, from Kindergarten through graduate school, could build a network and teach and learn from each other. The program launched this fall and it’s driven by students who propose and select the content and topics of discussion. “The program embodies connected learning,” Baker-Doyle said. Connected learning is an educational approach designed for our ever-changing world. It leverages the advances of the digital age to make that dream a reality — connecting academics to


The Case for Open Courses in Higher Ed: Q&A with Connected Learning Educator Kim Jaxon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

kim jaxon teaching at desk to adult students in classroom Kim Jaxon is interested in having her students “do the thing,” which, she says, means that she’s less interested in preparing them for some later occupation or activity, and more excited about having them “participating right now in ideas that matter to them right now.” The Chico State assistant professor of English is one of a stellar group of open-learning pioneers who I met when they gathered at UC Irvine over the summer to create “Connected Courses,” a free online course for higher education faculty members to learn how to offer their own open online college


Learning That Connects

Thursday, May 08, 2014

colorful graphic of connie yowell quote on connected learning engagement with kids A single question — “How are young people changing socially in terms of how they learn and how they civically engage because of digital media?” — launched the John D. and Catherine T.  MacArthur Foundation’s digital media and learning initiative back in 2000. Soon after, the foundation awarded three grants for the formal study, advocacy and practice of connected learning, a 21st century educational approach that takes advantage of today’s abundance of digital information and social connection and makes learning relevant to everyone. Years of study by the Connected Learning Research Network led to the creation of