Technology

Eating Robots: Data Diets and Hungry Algorithms

Thursday, July 02, 2015 Comment small robot holding computer chip next to laptop

What do robots eat? Contemporary digital data analytics systems feed on a diet of data produced through human activity. Through this feeding, robotic machines receive the informational nutrition required for their own development: to become smarter, more aware of their environment, more responsive and adaptive in their interactions with people. By eating human data, robots are learning. Feeding Societies The claim that we now live in a consumer society has become commonplace in academic research. People have become voracious consumers, but also, through their participation in social media environments, present themselves as desirable commodities for the


Parenting in a World of Social and Technological Transformation

Monday, May 25, 2015 Comment parents holding baby hand at the beach

As educators, policy makers and community activists look to build more equitable futures, a considerable amount of attention remains focused on families, especially parents. Families represent an important node in the learning ecologies of children and teens. When parents are able to connect their children to resources, material and immaterial, they provide substantive support in the pursuit of academic (i.e., higher grades) and non-academic (i.e., character building) outcomes. Moreover, when the home can serve as a rich and vibrant space for learning through inquiry, curiosity and play, the social and educational payoffs can be immeasurable. But,


Teaching Urban Digital Literacy Outside Schools, Part 3

Monday, May 04, 2015 Comment students sitting at computers getting help from teacher

World making or world building as a pedagogical activity emphasizes authoring entire environments and systems collaboratively rather than merely having students compose one discrete text at a time in isolation. A few years ago, DML Central covered the large enrollment college course of Wayne Yang at UC San Diego, which included a curriculum of graphic novels, video trailers, and live performances dramatizing possible dystopian outcomes that might emerge from present structures of injustice. Other sites in higher education also are experimenting with the world-building paradigm. For example, the World Building Institute at USC encourages experts in cinematic


The Digital Imagination of Government

Thursday, April 30, 2015 Comment close up of usb port and computer chip

In the UK, the last year or so has seen a massive proliferation of interest in digital education right across the spectrum of the public, private and civil society sectors. Digital education has now become the focus for a cross-sector “network” of interests and concerns, and, as a result, is now becoming “governmentalized” as a seriously political business. The consequence of this network of interest is the production of a shared vision of the digital future of society that digital education is to play a part in making into an attainable reality. Digital Government Visions In


How Collaboration Empowers Learning

Monday, April 13, 2015 Comment ed chat quote the power of networking responsibility

“I learned more on Twitter in six months than in two years of graduate school” is the epigraph of the first chapter of Tom Whitby’s book (co-authored with Steven W. Anderson), “The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning.” This quote could summarize Whitby’s philosophy of learning and teaching, in which collaboration is the environment, not just an ingredient, in effective learning. A teacher of English in secondary schools for 34 years and an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College for six years, he’s officially retired but, you wouldn’t know that from his social media activity. Whitby


The Future and History of Learning to Code

Thursday, April 02, 2015 Comment old computer in museum

Much of the discussion around ‘learning to code’ is couched in futuristic terms. By learning to code, we are told, young people will be equipped to become the innovators, tech entrepreneurs and civic leaders of the future. Yet, much less is said about the history underpinning learning to code, and how such an appreciation of its past might enrich our understanding of its future. Future Codes Before considering its past, it is worth reviewing some current claims about learning to code and its potential contribution to the future. For example, a recent UK report entitled “Young


The Nuts and Bolts of Digital Civic Imagination

Thursday, March 26, 2015 Comment black lives matter rally banner protesters

I grew up in Oakland when the Black Panthers were setting up free lunches and breakfasts for me and my classmates in Oakland public schools and carrying guns to defend themselves and their community from the Oakland police. I grew up not trusting the police. It wasn’t an active distrust, but a vague terror that the police might at any moment stop me, arrest me, beat me for no reason at all. I still carry that quiet terror with me 40 years later. Every black man in my life has had experiences of police violence similar


Writing Our Way Into Inquiry and Presearch

Monday, March 23, 2015 Comment Students writing on white board creating think puzzle in classroom

As we continue our efforts to think about writing literacies as a focal point of our inquiry work in a high school library, my colleague Jennifer Lund and I continue to see the power of an old school technology: pen and paper. We’ve targeted the presearch phase of research projects as a sweet spot for using writing literacies as a medium for critical thinking and making visible student ideas, questions, and patterns of understanding. In their “Pathways to Knowledge“ model of information literacy, Pappas and Tepe define presearch as the stage that “…enables searchers to connect their information need and prior


The Spread of Innovation

Monday, March 16, 2015 Comment SXSW 2015 celebration in room with confetti neon lights dancing

Tens of thousands from across the U.S. and around the world will settle in Austin this week to join in the big festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW). For two weeks, it’s a chance to see what is happening in the worlds of interactive, film, and music. By the time SXSW is over, 1,800 bands will have performed, 250 films will have screened, more than 4,000 talks will have taken place, and hundreds of events will have happened.  SXSW Interactive is a big playground and a place where new ideas are tested with one of the world’s


Teaching Urban Digital Literacy Outside School, Part 2

Thursday, March 12, 2015 Comment a picture of teenage black girl with perplexed staring face

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series highlighting different programs that teach digital literacy outside of school. Doctoral candidate Eunsong Kim has become an expert on Twitter ethics involving communities of color who writes collaboratively for a wide range of audiences.  For example, in 2014 she had her work recognized among the “most important art essays of the year” and she’s weighed in in the opinion pages of TIME magazine. Kim’s work on digital literacy in urban communities and “finding spaces in between” also is foundational for her identity as a scholar. She has been involved withUrban Gateways for nearly six