Cyberculture

Identity, Avatars, Virtual Life – and Advancing Social Equity in the ‘Real’ World

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 Comment girl peaking over laptop only showing her eyes

This semester, MIT professor Fox Harrell is teaching an ambitious new course on “Identity Representation” that includes studying identities adopted in computer games and social network sites.  In the course description posted online, Harrell explains that he is more broadly interested in getting students to “look at how humans express multiple identities for different purposes both in the real world and online.”  As the first researcher both in MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Harrell is developing what he calls a “toolkit” for the “Advanced Identity Representation


Understanding the Rise of Social Networking in Brazil

Thursday, February 24, 2011 Comment people sitting on the ground at conference working on computers

Orkut was the first major social networking service to arrive in Brazil and it has just passed the seven-year mark. Although several other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are growing in popularity, Orkut maintains a strong leadership position and it is still growing. It’s intriguing to explore how and why Orkut established such a strong foothold on the Internet in a country that didn’t have high Internet adoption rates when Orkut first arrived in January 2004. As soon as Google launched Orkut, it spread rapidly among technology workers and students. People quickly became interested


D.I.Y.U.: An Experiment

Monday, February 21, 2011 Comment art painting of 20 learn

Rheingold U, my current experiment in cultivating wholly online, multimedia, unaccredited, for-not-much-pay learning communities, grew out of a desire to follow the fun and act on impulse. When I impulsively tweeted  a couple of weeks ago, “Anyone willing to pay $100 for five-week Intro to Mind Amplifiers course?” I was long-practiced in the art of riding the waves of personal impulse. In fact, the most productive learning trails I’ve followed or blazed in life started with singular impulses that fulfill life-long interests but were triggered by superficial, even accidental proximate causes. I started thinking about computers


Digital Divides, Blog Bans, Games That Cause Change

Thursday, February 03, 2011 Comment students sitting in large classroom working on computers

Global Kids points us to important new resources in the digital media and learning field each month. “It’s how you play the game” (article): Followers of games and education are familiar with the opening last year in New York City of Quest to Learn (Q2L), the new 6-12 school. What is lesser known is the Ein Hayam Experimental School in Haifa, Israel, whose games-based pedagogy within this working class community of both Jews and Arabs is now five years old. While this past fall’s New York Times profile of Q2L highlights the high energy of the


Connected They Write: The Lure of Writing on the Web

Monday, January 24, 2011 Comment young hip girl sitting outside working on laptop

The massive adoption of digital media in the everyday life of teens has reshaped social and educational practices in Latin America. A digital divide persists but youth are increasingly more connected. In Chile, for example, more than 96 percent of all students have Internet access. In Brazil, almost 80 percent of the population between 16 and 24 years and almost 70 percent of those aged 10 to 15 accessed the Internet in 2009. With that kind of penetration, digital media is creating new ways to understand literacy, learning, reading, and especially, writing. Far from hurting the


Top 5 Blog Posts on Digital Media and Learning for 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010 Comment facebook home screen reflecting in sunglasses

The DML Central blog is just over a year old, and the close of 2010 marks our first full year of publishing thought leadership from our featured bloggers and highlighting best practices in the emerging field of digital media and learning. It has been an inspiring adventure. Thanks in large part to our growing community, we have learned a great deal about collaboration, conversation, and exploration in digital media and learning in the past year — lessons we will apply in the redesign of this site and the creation of new Web resources in 2011. Meanwhile,


Digital Self-Harm and Other Acts of Self-Harassment

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 Comment portrait of woman with hair covering face representing self harm

Sometimes, things aren’t what they appear to be.  And, in those cases, jumping to the wrong conclusion can be a disservice to everyone.  After I first wrote about Formspring seven months ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about teens who chose to respond to vicious or harassing questions (since only responses are ever posted publicly).  Listening to teens, I had concluded that many out there were trying to prove that they were tough and could handle anything.  And I’ve continued to hear that story in the field.  But as I started looking into the negative commentary on teens’


Why Is Everyone Worried About Attention Now?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 Comment a child sitting in front of a radio with bright lights and bubbles representing imagination

If you read the newspapers of the early twentieth century, you realize that everyone was fretting then about the “horseless carriage.”  They were positive that the new technology of an automobile that drove itself would push humans beyond their natural, God-given, biological limits.  They worried it would not be safe because human attention and reflexes were not created to handle so much information flying past the windshield.  That debate reached a crescendo in 1904 when the Hollywood film director, Harry Myers, received the world’s first speeding ticket for rushing down the streets of Dayton, Ohio, at


“Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers

Monday, November 15, 2010 Comment group of girls with mean looks on their faces representing bullies

Ever had one of dem days you wish woulda stayed home / Run into a group of niggas who getting they hate on / You walk by they get wrong you reply then shit get blown / Way outta proportion way past discussion / Just you against them, pick one then rush em / Figure you get jumped here thats next / They don’t wanna stop there now they bustin / Now you gushin, ambulance rushin you to the hospital / with a bad concussion / Plus ya hit 4 times bullet hit ya spine paralyzed


Recommended Reading, Viewing, Clicking 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 Comment teacher helping students with class work

Editor’s note: Global Kids does a great job mining the 24/7 flow of resources coming out of the digital media and learning field. They share some of their favorites each month. Please tell us what you’re reading or watching and why others should as well! How do we pick what to put on this list? Often, when we come across something more than once, from different sources, we usually know we’re on to something fast becoming a meme. A video, “Daniel Pink: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” is one of them. The author of