Connected Learning

Why We Need a 4th R: Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, algoRithms

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 Comment 2 young girls sitting in grass woods outside reading school books

When Frederick J. Kelly invented the Kansas Silent Reading Test, now known as the “multiple-choice test” or the “bubble test,” he was looking for an efficient way to pass students through the U.S. public education system during the teacher shortage of 1914.  With the advent of World War I, men were off to the frontlines in Europe, women were working in war-time factories, and there was a population boom of new immigrants flooding into the schools.  Taking his inspiration from Henry Ford’s assembly line, Kelly came up with a way to standardize learning and assessment for


Toward Peeragogy

Monday, January 23, 2012 Comment 5 women working on laptops around conference table

Editor’s Note: This evening Howard will deliver the 2011 Regents’ Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley. His topic: the transformative power of social media and peer learning. Here, in a continuing series, Howard reflects on his ongoing experiment in high-end, peer-to-peer, global learning via the internet and social networks. 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. At the end of the first course I taught solo, I asked students for their


‘Connected Learning’ in Edge Communities

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Comment 3 youth filmmakers working together on video camera

For more than nine weeks now I have been working with a high school in the Central Texas area, getting to know students, teachers, and administrators.  Along with a fantastic team of graduate students, we are spending time with an after school digital media club that offers students a range of opportunities to hang out, mess around and geek out.  I have also been working directly with two video game development classes on a project we think will offer some insights into creating new kinds of learning environments, learner identities, and youth civic engagement. Part of


Redefining School, Success

Monday, June 13, 2011 Comment Be You Points of difference colorful art graphic

We’re a district InnovationLab in Loveland, Colorado, where students have crafted, and just completed year one, of a four-year plan of disruption to redefine school. Based on findings that learning at its best is voluntary, per passion/choice, and self-directed, we are working towards community as school. After our experience this past year, we are thinking: It’s prime time for some much needed detox from traditional assumptions. The Web is offering a new space, new connections, new life, if we so choose. What Tech Wants is to set us free. It wants to let us get back


Mobile Phones, Digital Media, and America’s Learning Divide

Monday, May 30, 2011 Comment 2 students sitting in stairwell with backpacks on phones

During a recent research related visit to New York City I decided to take a stroll down 125th Street in Harlem.  Among the assortment of shops and vendors on the famous stretch that is home to the legendary Apollo Theater were an abundance of mobile phone providers.  Even a few of the street vendors offered mobile phone accessories such as cases, covers, and car adaptors.  It struck me that while you could easily purchase a mobile phone on 125th Street you could not purchase a desktop or laptop computer.  Not that long ago the assumption that


Going Interactive in a Big Way: How Can We Transform the Lecture Class?

Monday, May 16, 2011 Comment man sitting in shared work space working on laptop sitting on beanbag chair

This is the last in a three-part “end of term” series of blog posts on “Doing Better by Gen Y.”  In the first post, one of my students spoke about the paucity of opportunities to actually think critically about the role of digital media in society, in learning, in global relations, in local and global inequalities, and in the workplace.  In the second post, “What Are Digital Literacies:  Let’s Ask the Students,” both of my classes, “This Is Your Brain on the Internet” and “Twenty-First Century Literacies,” helped us understand what about my peer-led, peer-assessed, peer-designed


Pop-Up University

Thursday, April 28, 2011 Comment young hip girl sitting outside working on laptop

If Rheingold U, my current experiment in cultivating wholly online, multimedia, unaccredited, for-not-much-pay learning communities, originally germinated out of fun and impulse, the next stage was more scary-serious. As soon as I took people’s money and started telling the world about my intentions, I was obligated as well as motivated to make it work – not just to deliver a rich set of learning materials, but to conjure actual social learning magic. Networked social learning is most effective and truly magical when students who don’t know one another one day start scouring the world for knowledge


What Are Digital Literacies? Let’s Ask the Students

Thursday, April 21, 2011 Comment student playing game on the screen of a control room

Two weeks ago I blogged on DML Central on “Doing Better by Generation Y” and the tendency for pundits to criticize Gen Y’s absorption with new media, critique how little they know, blame their lack of attention, and castigate their inability to sustain real friendships (rather than “superficial” social networks).  I argued that, even if this point of view were correct, it neither helps young people by providing them with better ways of understanding the social imperatives of the Internet culture into which they were born, nor does it recognize the social media skills students do


Getting Serious About Reimagining Learning in the Digital Age

Monday, April 18, 2011 Comment female student sitting in glasroom

I want to have a conversation about what it’s going to take to turn schools around and why digital media — as it’s currently being used — isn’t yet helping. I’m going to start with a not-so-subtle secret: if we want to be innovative and if we want to make a significant impact on public schools (statistics suggest we should), we’re going to have to conduct work in schools. As broken as the current schooling system may seem, as much as we may belabor the ongoing gutting of arts, the mass-testing, and the lack of technology


Doing Better By Generation Y

Monday, April 04, 2011 Comment braille graffiti on glass window

When Lauren Sanders concentrates on her childhood memories, she can recall “the fuzzy sounds of dial-up Internet and the generic female voice cheerfully state, ‘You’ve Got Mail.’” Born in 1990, Lauren is an official member of “Generation Y,” defined by Wikipedia as “marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies.” She notes that’s she’s grown up “around computers and other forms of technology” so, when she registered for my class, “This Is Your Brain on the Internet,” she was sure she “knew everything about the World Wide Web, and its use