Social Media

Learning, Freedom, Youth, and the Web: Brazil

Monday, October 10, 2011 Comment girl holding up camera phone in crowd taking a photo

Freedom of speech and social mobilization is new for many countries in Latin America. Most have had closed governments and dictatorships for the last 30 years. However, because of the spread of social media, political action, protests and activism have flourished. In Chile, for example, students have been leading protests demanding educational reform. Reports say more than 400,000 people have gathered in several of these marches. The protests, which have been drawing students to Plaza Italia in Santiago, have been organized with Twitter (for example, the umbrella march, when students protested under the rain and cold), Facebook


Conectar Igualdad: Argentina’s Bold Move to Build an Equitable Digital Future

Friday, September 16, 2011 Comment hundreds of girls sitting in auditorium assembly holding computers

I recently had a chance to participate in a wonderful conference in Buenos Aires.  El Congreso Internacional de Inclusión Digital Educativa (The International Conference on Digital Inclusion Education) was an event that celebrated and illuminated a new national initiative in Argentina to equip students in secondary schools (grades 10, 11, and 12) with netbooks.  The program is sponsored by Conectar Igualdad, an organization supported by Argentina’s President and Ministry of Education.  The opening panel for the conference included Argentina’s Minister of Education, Director of Culture and Education, as well as officials from Conectar Igualdad.  The panelists


Recommended Reads (August): Youth Culture, Games & Learning, Teaching 2.0

Thursday, August 18, 2011 Comment 3 male students working on laptops in classroom

The latest fascinating report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, “Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age,” offers one of the first large-scale studies to explore ideas parents have about their young children’s use and access of media. A review on the web site for the New America Foundation, “Parental Worries, Or the Lack Thereof, About Digital Media,” does an excellent job covering the key findings and putting them in context. “It’s encouraging to see these robust conversations among early childhood experts about the roles that families and educators are playing as they guide their


Life Narratives in Social Media

Monday, August 15, 2011 Comment female looking over laptop only see her eyes

The stories we tell about ourselves are immensely powerful. In a digital age, how do we use social media to construct and tell these stories? How we explain who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going constitute important narratives that drive decisions we make about our futures and our ways of being in the world. These narratives are also crucially bound up with what we learn and how we learn it. According to Ivor Goodson, learning that ‘sticks’ is learning that has meaning in the context of our life narratives; it


Digital Illiteracy

Thursday, July 14, 2011 Comment The Great Gatsby book cover

Besides being a Pulitzer Prize winning film critic, Roger Ebert is a serious reader, and in a recent post on his blog, he blasts a “retelling” of The Great Gatsby that dumbs down the prose of the original novel for “intermediate level readers,” thereby robbing them of the full experience of the novel’s literary richness. After providing a few comparisons between the original and the new version, Ebert made a claim that jumped out at me: “You can’t become literate by being taught illiteracy, and you can’t read The Great Gatsby without reading it.” No doubt


Digital Learning and the Arab Spring

Thursday, June 23, 2011 Comment close up of computer keyboard

As revolution and revolt spreads across the Arab world, Americans often see social networking sites and online video as playing a starring role. Whether it is testimony about police brutality or jubilation in the squares, examples of so-called witness journalism captured by cell phone cameras, webcams, and other mobile devices have made many citizens feel more engaged with the political plight of those struggling against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.


A Teenager Taps Social Media to Help Change his Struggling Community

Monday, June 20, 2011 Comment large pictures of human portraits covering front of buildings in poor community

“Intense shootings happening at this moment in the Complexo do Alemao!” tweeted teenager Rene Silva on Nov. 9, 2010.  Using his personal Twitter account (@Rene_Silva_RJ) and the Twitter account of a newspaper he created, “Voz da Comunidade,” (Community Voice – @vozdacomunidade), Rene was able to broadcast information about a standoff between police and drug traffickers from inside the “Complexo do Alemão,” one of the major groups of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. During the dangerous conflict, Rene and two other kids drew media attention in Brazil because they were able to send out news in real


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


Hacking Higher Education

Friday, March 18, 2011 Comment green graphic of shot injecting brain representing hacking higher education

Times of crisis are times of change and provide an opportunity to imagine alternative educational futures. Following the UK’s winter of protests about cuts to education budgets and rising tuition fees, students and staff are raising questions about what kind of education they are fighting for. Even before tuition fees were introduced, access to higher education was exclusive, with young people from well off backgrounds disproportionately represented. With the value of higher education increasingly framed as a financial investment that pays off against future earnings, there is much about the current system that many would not


Designing Learning From “End to End”

Friday, March 04, 2011 Comment close up of a dandelion

When Tim Berners-Lee and a handful of colleagues began developing the World Wide Web, they did so without a blueprint but with something better:  a principle.  What if all the world’s knowledge could easily be transferred between us without going through a central node controlling the shape of that information?  What if my computer could abide by certain kinds of communication protocols, could send out packets of information, and then any other computer in the world set up to understand those protocols could receive it?  What if we all, the human community, could exchange our ideas