Teaching

Children and Computers in Paraguay: Studying What Works and What Doesn’t

Thursday, April 11, 2013 Comment children and adults going into school building in paraguay

Can technology really transform education in developing countries? That was the goal of Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child, but since its founding in 2005, the organization has been the subject of debate as many in the education sector have questioned its utopian vision and its ability to fulfill its promises. In 2010, Morgan Ames, a PhD candidate in Stanford’s Department of Communication, spent six months examining these debates by conducting ethnographic fieldwork with Paraguay Educa, a local non-governmental organization (NGO) responsible for leading the deployment of 9,000 laptops in Paraguay starting in 2009. Ames presented


Interview: T. Mills Kelly on ‘Lying About the Past’ and Media Literacy

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 Comment article story who killed alice walsh in old newspaper clipping

Professor T. Mills Kelly is a historian at George Mason University in Washington, D.C. In 2012, he and students of his course, ‘Lying About the Past‘, became headline news after it was uncovered that they had created “false facts” about fictional events and posted them online in blogs, videos and Wikipedia entries. Professor Kelly believes this method of working-through is true to the learning objectives of the course and, moreover, that it is the best way to instill a deep understanding of practical ethics. Yet he was lambasted for unethical use of the Internet by fellow


Why We Need Badges Now: A Bibliography of Resources in Historical Perspective

Friday, March 01, 2013 Comment poster of different badges icons explaining badges are visual representations of skill or achievement

It was something over a year ago when we first began talking about badges as a powerful new tool for identifying and validating the rich array of people’s skills, knowledge, accomplishments, and competencies that happens everywhere and at every age.  That’s when we decided that this year the Digital Media and Learning Competition would be dedicated to an array of competitions on badging.  I remember when we started writing, blogging, talking, speaking, and in other ways trying to create a conversation around badges as an alternative mode of assessment, people would look at me like I


Public School Classrooms: Incubators for Social Learning

Thursday, February 28, 2013 Comment public school classrooms in urban area graffiti covering walls

What does it mean to be a teacher in the 21st century? It’s a question educators like Antero Garcia have been looking to answer since the digital media and learning initiative launched in 2006. Prior to joining the English department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an assistant professor, Antero spent eight years teaching high school English and ESL in South Central Los Angeles. While teaching at the majority-minority school, Antero took note of his students’ social connection to digital media. By incorporating mobile media devices and social m edia platforms into his formal


Augmenting Reality: Addressing Trauma with Digital Media

Friday, February 08, 2013 Comment blurred photo of yellow city cab

Colombian artist Isabel Restrepo has tackled a variety of projects to promote digital literacy, raise awareness to change public health and safety behavior, and foster civic participation in a number of different youth engagement efforts. Perhaps her best known project was Entránsito, a traveling augmented reality interactive show for teens that was designed to reduce the country’s high mortality from traffic accidents. Sixty presentations were funded by the Medellin’s Secretary of Culture, which ultimately reached more than 5,600 citizens with a message about avoiding cascading problems that lead to accidents that humanized particular victims. To reach


Assessment: Turning a Blunt Instrument Into a Powerful Learning Tool

Monday, November 26, 2012 Comment 3 students sitting together in library studying working on computer

It’s ironic that assessment in schools is most often “something adults do to students,” as Rick Stiggins puts it, because all humans are highly evolved for learning, and self-assessment is a powerful tool all learners use. Whether you are trying to master a recipe, solve an equation, improve your golf swing, you continually ask yourself questions such as “Have I learned to do what I need to do?” “What did I do wrong?” “How do I improve?” and, most importantly, “How did I learn that?” All, assessment. Wouldn’t it be great if schools didn’t turn a


The Social Relevance of Public Writing

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Comment writing on public wall scheduling a meet up

I want to talk about the nature of writing in today’s age of participatory media. In particular, I want to talk about how writing within my classroom has helped foster community amongst the students. In fact, the subtitle of this post could be, “How Wearing a Tie to Class Spurred Community Building.” For one of my undergraduate composition courses, my students and I meet three times a week in a small computer lab with LCD projections on all four walls, a smart tablet for the instructor and a document camera for displaying anything that might not


Some Thoughts on iPads and One-to-One Initiatives

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Comment close up of ipad and spiral notebook

In my experience, there’s broadly three ways to relate to any kind of educational technology: 1) Technological — decide on the technology (for whatever reason) and that determines what you do pedagogically; 2) Pedagogical — settle upon the pedagogy and then look for a technology that fits; 3) Ecological — combine pedagogies and technologies to promote certain kinds of behaviours. I’d like to think that most of what I’ve done so far in my career, from training teachers to implementing multi-site learning systems to evangelising Open Badges, has been focused upon evangelising this ‘third way’ of


Writing Like the Web

Thursday, August 16, 2012 Comment street signs like the web internet padaria locadora

In my last few posts, I have argued that network writing—that is, writing that mimics the conventions of emerging, online genres—should occupy a larger place in writing instruction. However, it can be challenging to imagine how literacies that students have developed in writing, say, text messages, can be applied to writing traditional genres like the argumentative essay or the academic writing that are the centerpiece of most writing instruction. While many innovative instructors have developed assignments that integrate network-native writing like Twitter into classroom settings, how does this writing inform or lead to writing that is


Professor Alec Couros: “The Connected Teacher”

Thursday, July 26, 2012 Comment 4 students in computer class working at the same computer

One powerful benefit of networked learning is that when you find something interesting, it often leads to someone interesting – and that someone often leads to entire networks of interesting people. Or, as Dr. Alec Couros puts it, “the tools come and go, but the relationships endure.” I found Professor Couros the way many people did, by coming across the intriguing diagram of “The Networked Teacher” that many educators now use in their slide presentations. By the time I discovered Dr. Couros, now professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina, I had