I was recently asked by Sally Pewhairangi whether I thought digital literacies could be taught as generic skills, out of any particular context, and whether they would then transfer. When I was asked this question, examples of cooking and learning languages were offered (citing chef Tim Ferris). For example, could we learn the rules of cooking, then apply them to different ingredients and cuisines? Does “content” matter that much? There are three broad dimensions in my answer to this with respect to digital literacies being generic vs. context-specific: Cognitive skills aren’t like physical skills, but share
There are some phrases — “communities of practice” and “close reading” spring to mind — that we as educators tend to use automatically. It’s never just an “online community” or “reading.” Sometimes, this is because we’re not aware of the very specific meaning of these terms; sometimes it’s because we want to make what we’re doing sound more important or useful than it is. I have to confess that I was using the term “Deliberate Practice” (which I’ll capitalise for emphasis) incorrectly. I had been using it to mean “practice done deliberately.” My mother sitting me
I continue to think a great deal about how new media has grown the possibilities of our collective academic work. As the director of a Masters in Writing Studies Program at Kean University, I often reckon with how our traditional forms of scholarship are merely one reference point when considering how to produce and create new knowledge. As a result, I have for some time been a proponent of a more expansive sense of what writing might entail in the 21st century, and I have often spoken about “Writing-as-Making.” The digitized and computational environments of our
When asked to explain his attitude toward arts education, British photographer Jonathan Worth describes what he is teaching as “storytelling” that should be an integral part of everyone’s “digital literacy and digital citizenship” rather than a rarified artistic skill for niche training of a cadre of aesthetic elites. Worth is currently the instructor of Phonar, the sprawling massive, free, and open undergraduate photography course that he teaches to as many as 30,000 participants at one time. Worth’s initiative was one of five recognized recently for outstanding innovation in the international Reclaim Open Learning Challenge and Symposium.
In January 2012 the Mayor of New York tweeted, along with thousands of other people, that he planned to ‘learn to code’ during the course of that year. Whether or not he was successful in this venture, it’s a good indication of how ‘learn to code’ has captured the zeitgeist and become a movement. A recent Computer Science Education week, for example, was re-branded as ‘Hour of Code’ – and Code.org features celebrities urging everyone to just learn a little bit of code. The argument is largely economic and aligned with agendas around science, technology, engineering
At the beginning of 2013 the Mozilla Foundation announced its intention to work with the community to create a new learning standard for Web Literacy. I’m delighted to say that we’re well on course to release v1.0 of that standard at the Mozilla Festival in London at the end of October. In this post I want to give an overview of how I went from being initially skeptical to an enthusiastic project lead – all because of something I learned about ontology from Clay Shirky. If it’s impossible to create a completely coherent categorization, even when you’re doing
Across the US, schools are back in session. My university started back last week, and, as I usually do, I spent the first day of class discussing the syllabus, explaining to students my expectations for them and the course. When I do this, I always devote some time to explain the different digital tools we will use in the course and suggest additional tools students can use to make their lives easier. In this additional tools category, I like to emphasize the importance of backing up one’s data and in one of my classes I suggested
I work for Mozilla. We were one of 86 civil liberties groups that signed an open letter demanding swift access from Congress in the light of recent revelations around NSA surveillance. The website StopWatching.Us has seen a surge in people signing up to find out what they can do to campaign for a more visible, transparent and accountable government. I’m a UK citizen. This does not make me exempt from this story. In fact, it makes it even more relevant for ‘foreign nationals’. The NSA has admitted to routinely surveilling those outside US borders – in other words, people like me.
It has been more than a decade since Marc Prensky popularized the term “digital natives” to describe young people’s inherent connection with digital technologies, and while students may be able to successfully navigate these technologies to accomplish everyday tasks, researchers such as Ugochi Acholonu are exploring the extent to which this theory holds true when it comes to a student’s ability to innovate using technology. Acholonu tested this theory by asking a group of community college students, ages 18-20 who had grown up in technology inclusive environments, to complete a set of problems on paper.
In recent years, international development organizations have started incorporating digital media programming in an effort to merge storytelling and popular media into civic engagement and to bring young people together across national and cultural differences. In 2009, AMIGOS de las Americas partnered with a major development agency to carry out youth media and youth arts programs in Nicaragua. As the program’s director, Chelsey Hauge, a doctoral candidate in Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, spent three years studying young people’s relationships with media production, community development, and civic engagement. She was especially interested