Why Apple is Good at Design

Monday, March 09, 2015 Comment neon silver red apple watches ad

Today’s impending release of the Apple Watch, Apple’s highly-anticipated entry into wearable computing, has prompted a new round of discussion about the company’s design prowess. While the computer-maker’s design chops are universally acknowledged, praise for the company is often presented as a series of paradoxes. Where Apple has promoted “empathy with user needs” as a design philosophy, the company keeps its distance from market research. Although Apple is hailed as an innovative maker of technology products, it rarely creates new product categories, preferring instead to innovate within existing categories — the Ipod, Iphone, and now the Apple

KitHub Designed to Empower Young Innovators

Monday, March 02, 2015 Comment kithub animation of young girl and her mother working on project together

KitHub, “creative electronics for young innovators,” is a kit-of-the-month club for young makers, their parents, and their families. It was designed to empower kids and parents who weren’t necessarily close to a physical makerspace, by two women — Tara Tiger Brown and Luz Rivas — who are passionately devoted to maker education, not by an edu-biz conglomerate or VC-founded startup. Brown has served as an entrepreneur, executive director, technical director and lead product manager for the MacArthur Foundation-supported Connected Learning Alliance, Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC, Born This Way Foundation, Topspin Media, and Microsoft, and is co-founder

Let’s Ban Bans in The Classroom

Monday, January 26, 2015 Comment teacher lecturing in front of students with large maze presentation

It’s starting to seem like there is a new ritual being performed at the beginning of each new semester: debating the use of technology in the classroom. In these debates, “technology” almost never means all human-made tools — I’ve yet to read an earnest blog post calling for a ban on pencils in the classroom — but rather portable electronics, most notably the laptop. Perhaps the most prominent voice calling for a ban on laptops is that of Clay Shirky, a new media scholar. Last fall, he posted an article to Medium explaining why he forbids

Teaching Urban Digital Literacy Outside School, Part 1

Thursday, January 22, 2015 Comment group of kids performing on stage outside with teachers directing

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series highlighting different programs that teach digital literacy outside of school. Under the auspices of the Mayor’s Office of New York City, Global Partners Junior is an “online international exchange program that connects New York City youth ages 9-12 with their peers around the world.” It also is devoted to teaching digital fluency skills for the transnational communication made possible by the Internet. Students “research facts about their communities and international cities, exchange messages on a password-protected website, and share multimedia projects and video greetings.” Partner cities include

Mobile Learning Futures

Thursday, January 01, 2015 Comment black and white image of black woman texting with headphones on the bus

The United States Census Bureau has been tracking computer use since 1984 and the use of the Internet since 1997. Not surprisingly, much has changed over that span of time. Even though use of computers and the Internet has spread, gaps still remain. In its most recent study the U.S. Census (November 2014) reports that household computer ownership and Internet use were most common in Asian and white households, in high-income households, and in households that report high levels of educational attainment. When the study turns to handheld computer devices these patterns are turned upside down. For example,

2014: A DML Look Back, Forward

Monday, December 29, 2014 Comment conference room with presenter and audience at DML Connecting Practices 2014

For my final post of the year, I thought I would turn the mic around and ask YOU, the ever faithful DML Central reader, what you think about the year in digital media and learning. To get your thoughts flowing, I asked my fellow DML Central columnists to weigh in with their own year-end observations. Please take a moment to review their reflections, then add your own. You know what? Let’s not just look back but forward as well, making some predictions, and then let’s agree to meet back here in a year’s time and see

Let Go of Fear for Connected Learning Success

Thursday, December 25, 2014 Comment paulo coelho quotes ob bravery and experience with picture of woman standing on mountain

I want to talk about the one thing that I think is the biggest risk in connected learning: Not Trying. The biggest barrier to meaningful experimentation that I’ve encountered is the fear of an experiment not working or achieving the desired results. In other words, people are afraid of failure. When we take things like negativity bias into account, that makes sense. So, how do we reframe learning experimentation outside of failure that takes into account our fear of failure? I think the most successful shift I’ve seen implemented, and that I’ve made myself when I’m

Genius: Web Annotation, Digital Literacies and Educational Possibilities

Monday, December 22, 2014 Comment Genius website screen shot killer mike article and other rappers on rap poetry injustice

The same evening as the non-indictment announcement in the Michael Brown case was announced, I received an email notification from about a teacher-driven conversation called “How do I talk to my students about Ferguson?” More than two dozen responses flooded into the forum discussion including video links, news articles, and canonical literature that could guide classroom discussions. Looking at the way this community has emerged around an online tool, I have been intrigued by the digital literacy possibilities of and the communities that it is fostering. Originally launched as Rap Genius, the site has

Computing Brains: Neuroscience, Machine Intelligence and Big Data in the Cognitive Classroom

Monday, December 08, 2014 Comment detailed graphic of human brain function lights numbers

The human brain has become a major topic in education. The field of educational neuroscience, or neuroeducation, is flourishing. At the same time, a number of initiatives based in computer science departments and major technology companies are also taking the brain seriously. Computer scientists talk of developing new brain-inspired cognitive learning systems, or of developing new theoretical and computational understandings of the brain in order to then build new and more effective forms of machine intelligence. The important aspect of these synchronous developments in neuroscience and brain-based systems is that they are beginning to come together

Circuit Stickers, Notebook Hacking and Learning as Debugging

Monday, November 24, 2014 Comment notebook with drawing and electrical wiring on pages making lights

I’ve been writing for 45 years, and have always owned more physical notebooks than I need at any one time, and I’m an enthusiastic novice at electronics, so several of my antennae tingled vigorously when I first came across the term “circuit stickers” — peel-and-stick circuitry and components that are flat enough to make paper pages blink and boop. We’re used to thinking of words as, well, dead — they signify but (in most cases) don’t perform. Documents didn’t connect with each other through clickable links before the Web, either. Why NOT compose writing with light