We find ourselves in a cultural moment that is particularly fraught with the impulse for instant gratification as online social networks have us “plugged in” and busy narrating our lives online. So many have become wholly accustomed to certain forms of digital interactivity by seeking approval and amplification in online forums. Jaron Lanier has effectively dubbed certain social media platforms as “behavior modification empires.” The hazards are now plain to see. Open communication platforms profit from the data generated from our human interaction, making us take pause. Free and open interactivity exacts a certain cost.
Digital media and networks, like blackboards and post-it notes, are tools whose effectiveness depends on how they are used. Whether you call it “connected learning” or a “new culture of learning,” deploying the tools depends on changing the mindset of educators. Connected learning elements are openly networked, interest powered, production centered, peer supported, shared purpose, academically oriented. Educators and trainers of educators are leading the way by experimenting with pedagogy that engages students by connecting their academic curriculum with their personal interests, involving the networked world that students live in, encouraging collaboration and peer support, scaffolding
Democracy is not just about choosing your own leaders. Democracy can only take root in a population that is free enough and educated enough to discuss issues, form public opinion, and influence policy. The public sphere is one of information. As James Madison, “the father of the U.S. Constitution” at age 36 put it (in words now carved in marble at the Library of Congress): “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And
One of the reasons I was very excited to join a community college is because there is a gap in how we think about bringing digital media and technology into learning. While there is a lot of research on K-12 and higher education in general, there isn’t as much research on students who are at risk of failing to continue their education at community colleges. These years are a unique opportunity when it is imperative that people in a position to do so work to close the various achievement gaps. The one people are most familiar
As a young child, I took this photo, of the Franklin Museum’s Giant Heart, my way of expressing my love for this immersive, interactive experience. A few decades later, last month, I returned with my colleagues, on a field trip from NYC to Philadelphia, to visit this venerable institution and learn how they’d been implementing their newest museum-wide strategy for immersive, interactive experiences, but this time using virtual reality. Led by Susan Poulton, their Chief Digital Officer, I learned that the future might be arriving sooner than expected and museums need to develop more agile practices
To maker-educators Fabrice Florin and Edward Janne, maker ed is not just about the technology: “the real power comes from enabling students to build their own projects, combining art, technology, and storytelling,” they insist. Although neither Florin nor Janne had previous training as educators, both are more than sufficiently savvy in multimedia storytelling. Florin was one of the founders of Apple’s Multimedia Lab (the Wikipedia page for the lab is a stub — someone should fill it out), which produced, among other pioneering explorations, Life Story and Moss Landing, which turned out to be prototypes for
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on what makes a good and accessible digital assignment for faculty and teachers who are not comfortable with digital tools but open to learning and experimenting. An approach I’ve often seen is what I’ve recently started calling the kitchen sink approach to “onboarding.” In this approach, a suite of tools or a single tool that can do “everything you can imagine and more” is shown or given to a faculty member to integrate into their already existing course or assignment. The hesitant but eager faculty member, initially excited to
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
I reached out to Rebecca Bray, the chief of experience development at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., to learn about how the museum developed and now runs its innovative Q?rius (pronounced “curious”) space, opened in 2013 as an interactive and educational lab with microscopes, touch screens, interactive activities and a “collection zone,” housing over 6,000 different specimens and artifacts visitors can handle. In our conversation below, we explore their design process, the role of youth learners, the pros and cons of integrating digital media into a hands-on learning space, and more.
Like many of my colleagues who think carefully about digital literacy and pedagogies, I began seriously considering the use of social media platforms in educational settings — sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr — around 2008. Despite nearly a decade of innovative uses of digital platforms in educational settings, the use of these platforms and spaces continues to be trivialized by the public and teachers alike, with cries echoing about attention spans and nostalgia for the loss of face-to-face interaction, which seem more “real.” But, to continue to dismiss digital platforms, particularly those focused on social