Social Media

Social Media Discourse: Violence, Olympiads and Our Everyday Life

Thursday, August 23, 2012 Comment person with facebook screen reflecting in their sunglasses

All the world’s attention was recently focused on the Olympic Games in London. The competition was widely broadcasted by traditional and online media, with an astronomic audience, reaching many countries. Social media became a place for discussing, commenting and cheering for the athletes. However, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook also drew the world’s attention to the spread of violence and hate through discourse. Athletes were banned from the Olympiad because of racist and aggressive posts on social networking sites. A Greek triple jumper posted on Twitter: “With so many Africans in Greece, at


George Couros: Why School Administrators Should Embrace the Social Web

Thursday, June 28, 2012 Comment shot overview of 2 students sitting in class working on laptops

By encouraging administrators to become learner-leaders, to use social media to connect with each other, share best practices and experiment, Canadian school principal George Couros is leading by example, exhortation, and instigation the people who are supposed to be leading our schools into the future. He created and regularly contributes to the website that serves as an online gathering place especially for school principals, Connected Principals, and has blogged in detail about why and how school administrators should be using social media in practical ways in their schools — linking in this one compendium post to


Should We Fear Children Accessing Facebook?

Thursday, June 21, 2012 Comment
close up of iphone with facebook loading on screen

In recent months, there has been an intense media and policy vortex surrounding the questions of when and how children – especially those under 13 – should gain access to popular online sites like Facebook. The outcome of these cultural and political conversations will have a profound effect on key components of connected learning from values such as full participation and social connection to activities that are peer-supported, interest-powered, and openly networked. The focus on age as a metric for assessing the appropriateness of children’s online interactions primarily comes from several historical sources, including alcohol and


Learning from Kony 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012 Comment large group of student at science fair

In March of this year, as I taught my winter lecture class that focuses on Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication Online, I began to receive urgent e-mails from students about a viral video produced by a group called Invisible Children, which my undergraduates implored me to watch.  A number of the messages came with warnings that it would require thirty minutes of my time and attention.  A typical cautionary message read as follows: “you should really watch the whole thing in one go, so set up a good chunk of time.” So I made sure to


PortoAlegre.cc: Giving A City Back to Its Citizens

Monday, June 11, 2012 Comment girl in sound booth working on laptop with headphones on

Several new projects are trying to use cyberspace as a platform to help citizens build an information network and share information about their cities. One effort that has achieved significant traction is PortoAlegre.cc, a platform for the citizens of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil to interact, share information about their city, and mobilize for cause. The idea is to provide an online space for people to discuss the city’s problems and to collectively think about solutions. It was the fruit of a smaller project created by Rio dos Sinos


Social Media and Public Sphere: The #VetaDilma Movement and Brazil’s Forests

Friday, May 25, 2012 Comment people filming interview in large art studio graffiti on the walls

Today Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vetoed several parts of a controversial forest bill that had been approved by Brazil’s Congress and promoted by powerful agricultural interests. Until today, it was unclear how President Rousseff would decide and she did not opt for a full veto, which is what environmentalists had pushed for. But in recent weeks millions of Brazilians protested the bill, both online and offline. Given today’s actions by President Rousseff, this is a situation and outcome comparable to the online campaign mounted against the controversial SOPA legislation in the U.S. that was also backed


Recommended Reads: On What Kids Can Learn, Minecraft, Generation Y

Thursday, May 17, 2012 Comment 4 students smiling holding up writing paperwork with edits marked on it

Common Sense Media, known as the go-to resource for solid reviews of movies, books, and television, just released a new ratings initiative to evaluate the learning potential of websites, video games, and mobile apps. You can learn more about it here. The Huffington Post published a useful overview and welcome to the ratings. They found value in how it shifts Common Sense Media towards “a more holistic view and analysis of media.” In addition, it provides both parents and educators a common language to use for talking about media and learning. “Their system, which is more


On Digital Badges, Participatory Learning, Flipped Classrooms

Friday, February 17, 2012 Comment 5 students working on laptops together in classroom

If you read this blog, you have undoubtedly heard about the new interest in digital badging systems. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Chronicle of Higher Education have all covered the topic in recent weeks (and most more than once). But to prepare for the level of attention sure to ratchet up come March, when HASTAC announces the winners of the $2M “badges for lifelong learning” grants, we thought it worth taking a look back at the talk that launched a thousand badges: Eva L. Baker’s “The End(s) of Testing.” Back in


Brazil: Kids Using Digital Media to Teach Each Other, Change Culture

Monday, February 13, 2012 Comment Internet Uvre students working in computer lab

Last year, Rio de Janeiro saw the birth of a new type of battle in the streets of the favelas: the “Small Step Battle.” In this battle, hundreds of kids and teenagers from the poor parts of Rio are fighting with a major weapon: dance steps. Everyday, kids are posting videos of themselves performing creative and often very difficult ‘funk’ dance steps on YouTube. These videos are now a fever: some have millions of viewers. The battle is on and these kids are challenging others to create better (and often, even more difficult steps) to dance


Digital Futures: Internet Freedom and Millennials

Friday, February 03, 2012 Comment padlock on green door

Last year was a turbulent year for freedom of speech and online expression in India. Early in 2011 we saw the introduction of an Intermediaries Liability amendment to the existing Information Technologies Law in the country, which allowed intermediaries like internet service providers (ISPs), digital content platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) and other actors managing online content, to remove material that is deemed objectionable without routing it through a court of law. Effectively, this was an attempt at crowdsourcing censorship, where at the whim or fancy of any person who flags information as offensive, it could