I’m going to this year’s Digital Media and Learning Conference, March 3-5 in Long Beach, California! And I’m really hoping to see you guys there. I’m trying to schedule a meetup with all my virtual and offline buddies, so if you’re coming and are interested in joining in, shoot me an email by clicking here and I’ll fold you into the mix.
I’m officially part of two presentations, described below. The third thing I’m joining in on is a HASTAC panel on “new collectives.” In the spirit of thinking freshly about new collectives, the organizers of this panel solicited input from all current HASTAC Scholars on the idea of new collectives. I’ve included a set of suggested questions sent out by the organizers of this panel below, followed by my contribution to this neat idea.
Panel 1: Designing for Participation and Learning with New Media
LOCATION: Intl Ballroom II
ORGANIZERS: Daniel Hickey (Indiana University), Jenna McWilliams (Indiana University), Mary Beth Hines (Indiana University), Jennifer Conner (Indiana University /Purdue University Indianapolis), Adam Ingram-Goble (Indiana University), Rebecca Rupert (Bloomington New Tech High School)
THEME: Digital Media and Learning
KEYWORDS: assessment // design principles // innovation
Description: Attendees will learn to use Participation by Design (PBD) to support broad learning outcomes in a selected digital media learning context. PBD extends the widely used Understanding by Design (UBD) that Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe introduced in the 1990s. UBD uses cognitive and constructivist theories from the 1980s to design curricula that support individual understanding. PDB embeds UBD in a broader “participatory” approach that embraces newer situative theories of learning and design-based research methods. Attendees will learn to use the principles of PBD in design-based refinements to support participation in the practices that define a particular learning community. But they will learn to do so in ways that readily leave individuals with the enduring understanding of the knowledge associated with that community. Attendees can also learn to support the kinds of participation that lead to levels of achievement that are sometimes made necessary by formal school contexts.
Attendees can work with any digital learning context, but they should have some general ideas of learning outcomes they want to support and document with PBD. The workshop is organized around five design principles: reframe knowledge (by transforming skills and concepts into disciplinary tools used in contexts), scaffold participation (by embedding reflections that foster increasingly sophisticated discourse about the relationship between those tools and contexts of use), assess reflections (by having learners reflect on their creations as evidence of engagement), control accountability (by downplaying scoring rubrics and individual assessments and obscuring external tests), and iteratively refine (by continually refining reflections and assessments to continually improve participation, understanding, and achievement).
The principles of PDB will be illustrated using networked “worked examples” from studies using (a) the Quest Atlantis immersive videogame for elementary science, (b) a Fan Fiction new media curriculum for secondary language arts, and (c) e-Learning Wikifolios for university instruction. These will be accessible as before, during, and after the workshop at www.workedexamples.org. Attendees will collaborate in teams organized around the worked examples and led by one of the facilitators. Given the limited time, the teams will focus on the third principle. Each attendee will define a typical project artifact (i.e., blog post, remix, essay, game, etc.) in their DML environment and generate artifact reflection for supporting engaged participation. This 60-minute segment will be preceded by 30 minutes on the first two principles and followed by 30 minutes on the last two. Our ultimate goal is fostering an ongoing informal network that continues around the worked examples and participates in a more formal collective via a course at Peer to Peer University.
Panel 2: Participatory Culture Reconsidered: Moving Beyond Rainbows, Unicorns and Butterflies
LOCATION: Intl Ballroom I
ORGANIZER: Rafi Santo(Indiana University – Learning Sciences Program)
PARTICIPANTS: Cassidy Puckett (Northwestern University – Sociology Department), Jenna McWilliams (Indiana University – Learning Sciences Program), Ugochi Acholonu (Stanford University – Learning Sciences & Technology Design Program), Rafi Santo (Indiana University – Learning Sciences Program)
THEME: Youth Digital Media and Empowerment
KEYWORDS: Participatory culture // Democracy // Digital adaptability
Description: Increased recent focus on learning through participatory cultures and digital tools has led to new frameworks for understanding how digital media can empower a new generation of learners. At the same time, new tensions complicate this process. How can we support learners to use new media while also empowering them to resist, revise and reconfigure problematic value systems embedded in those technologies? What dispositions do youth who are subject to the “participation gap” need in order to develop participatory literacies? How does the rhetoric of participatory cultures as bastions of democracy and transparency obscure equity issues that prevent full participation? In this panel conversation, emerging researchers will tackle questions that explore extensions to and limitations of the participatory culture paradigm.
On the question of developing a Literacy of Critical Participation: While educators have enthusiastically met the participatory culture paradigm as a means to empower youth, this embrace leaves behind an important critical lens found in more traditional media literacy approaches when encountering media. Rafi Santo, PhD student in Learning Sciences at Indiana University, will share his work on developing a Literacy of Critical Participation that allows for empowerment not only through new media, but also in relation to digital platforms
On the question of Defining and Measuring Differences in Digital Competency: Key to addressing disparity in technology use is defining and measuring digital competence and identifying how it is developed such that ‘tacit’ knowledge can be made transparent and accessible for all youth. Cassidy Puckett, PhD student in Sociology at Northwestern University, will share her work to define and measure one ‘disposition’ of competence called ‘digital adaptability’ or the ability to learn new technologies.
On the question of Power and ‘Democracy’: Though participatory cultures can feel empowering and liberating, they still carry with them the potential for silencing and marginalization. Jenna McWilliams, PhD student in Learning Sciences at Indiana University, will present research with high school English students highlighting ongoing challenges of
supporting truly ‘democratic’ membership in online participatory cultures.
On the question of Designing for Participation: Technology activities can place students at a disadvantage, particularly if they dis-empower students or conflict with cultural dispositions. Ugochi Acholonu, PhD student in Learning Sciences and Technology Design at Stanford, will share findings on the relationship between dispositions, learning activities, and ways people seek opportunities with digital devices.
Panel 3: Modeling a new collective: HASTAC Scholars as Case Study
LOCATION: Intl Ballroom V
TIME: 3:00-4:30 PM
Sheryl Grant (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill/HASTAC)
Fiona Barnet (Director of HASTAC Scholars)
PARTICIPANTS: Dixie Ching (NYU/HASTAC Scholar), Cathy N. Davidson (Duke University/HASTAC), Jade E. Davis (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill/HASTAC Scholar)
THEME: New Collectives
KEYWORDS: scholars // virtual collective
Description: New collectives like the HASTAC Scholars function in the powerful tension that exists between traditional learning institutions and a collaborative, dispersed, virtual learning space. Two hundred HASTAC Scholars from 75 universities currently participate in this new collective, and represent a transformative model for the future of learning institutions. There is a mythology of technology that can obscure this tension, creating the illusion that new collectives are free, and that they run themselves without institutional support. In this panel, we address the “invisible” work and unusual realworld infrastructures that make a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary, decentralized virtual collective a credible and impactful learning space. We seek to address the following tensions: 1) what choices must be made about hierarchy and decentralization, 2) what unique elements must be in place, and what crucial technologies must exist, in order for the new collective to perform; 3) how do HASTAC Scholars use the new collective as part of their learning, and how does their institution support or constrain this learning; 4) what can this type of new collective achieve, and how
could this model transfer to other kinds of learning.
Here’s my contribution to the HASTAC panel on New Collectives: