ed tech in practice, reading responses & reviews

Response to ‘Conversations at a Crucial Moment’

I chose an article from one of the National Council for Teachers of English journals, College English, titled “Conversations at a Crucial Moment: Hybrid Courses and the Future of Writing Programs.” For the first few pages the author, Catherine Gouge, builds support for her argument that college writing instructors need to begin considering how to blend their composition courses.

Throughout the article, Gouge refers to hybrid courses rather than blended courses, but her definition of hybrid courses is congruous with blended learning (Gouge, 2009, p. 340-341). She quotes Todd Taylor’s list of ten principles for incorporating instructional technology that I believe are worth sharing here:

  1. Keep people first.
  2. Identify and build from program principles.
  3. Start simple.
  4. Invest heavily in hands-on instructor training.
  5. Revise strategies for instructing students.
  6. Consult with others.
  7. Expect the crash.
  8. Consider access.
  9. Be critical of technology.
  10. Use technology as a lever for positive change.

(as cited in Gouge, 2009, p. 343-344)

Gouge goes on to outline the advantages and disadvantages of hybridity. She notes the usual: flexibility, increased student interactivity, increased student accountability, financial benefits, development of marketable real-world skills, etc.  Notably, two of her listed advantages were new to me: first, she points out that the asynchronous communications among students and faculty “transforms learning from a one-time event to an ongoing process;” second, she uses anecdotal evidence to indicate that the challenge of a text-intensive hybrid course serves as a mini-composition course itself.

In her section on the disadvantages, Gouge points out that “the voices that are most noticeably absent in the existing literature on hybrid pedagogy are those that are critical” (p. 347). She lists the usual culprits of resistance to technology and lack of training and access.

Gouge moves on to discuss specific programs and focuses on ICON (Texas Tech University’s Interactive Composition Online Program). The ICON system is simply fascinating. This hybrid system involves multiple document assessors to grade papers anonymously. Through a complicated course management system, the program is able to allow an essay to be scored with comments anonymously and independently two times (or three, if necessary based on score differences).  She lists many criticisms of the ICON program.

In her concluding remarks, Gouge returns to a more general discussion of hybrid courses. She asserts that “the most important principle to keep in mind in approaching any programmatic design process, especially a hybrid one is that no teaching medium is a guarantee of student learning” (p. 357).  School-wide success with such programs requires support and training for the entire institution – students, teachers, and administration.

The most powerful “take-away” I had from this article came in the conclusion: “students need to understand as clearly as possible what to expect from the course and why the course is structured the way that it is” (p. 358). In other words, students need to know why some portions of class are saved for face-to-face while other portions of class are online. As obvious as this statement may be, I believe this is a significant question to keep in the forefront of one’s mind when making instruction choices regarding a blended classroom.

Much like this discussion post I have written, Gouge’s article took a lot of words to say, well, not very much. So, what was the main idea? Blended learning, like any other instructional strategy, has advantages, disadvantages, requires teacher training, and must be incorporated in an effective and meaningful way in order to maximize student learning. I was hoping that the article would be a bit more “how to” rather than analytical and anecdotal.

Work Cited

Gouge, C. (2009). Conversations at a crucial moment: Hybrid courses and the future of writing programs. College English, (71)4. Retreived from http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CE/0714-march09/CE0714Conversation.pdf

gaming and education, reading responses & reviews

James P. Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy: A Review

A Review of What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy


Gee looks forward to a time when students will say the same things about school as they do, today, about video games: “hard is always good, easy is not” (p. 175). Although he worked as a linguist originally, playing a video game called Pajama Sam with his six-year-old son was a catalyst for his research into the educational possibilities of video games. Since then, he has researched extensively, published books and numerous papers on the subject, worked with the MacArthur Foundation, and is currently the Chief Games Scholar at Arizona State University. Through his experiences in his journey from gaming immigrant to full-fledged gamer, Gee discovered what he believes are a set of learning principles embedded within video games that have the potential to guide us towards improved learning in our schools today. In his 2006 book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Henry Jenkins describes Gee as an education reformer who “hope[s] to break the stranglehold formal education has on children’s learning and to expand opportunities for children to practice literacy outside the classroom” (2006, p. 208). Gee continues to be outspoken regarding the need for change in today’s schools, and this text provides significant evidence to support his arguments.


Gee explicitly states his purpose for writing What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy from the first pages: to outline 36 learning principles inherent in video games; to inform readers of situated cognition, New Literacy Studies, and connectionism, three important areas of current research; and to convince us “to build schooling on better principles of learning” (p. 9). He believes the 36 principles of learning in video games are the better principles of learning upon which we should build schools.

Gee organizes his text into major chapters, each focuses on a few video games to illustrate several of his learning principles. For instance, to illustrate the concept of semiotic domains, Gee uses the game Pikmin and a young player who applies his understanding of the different colors of pikmin characters to problem solve and overcome challenges. Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series demonstrates the importance of embedding learners within a domain, a concept Gee returns to frequently throughout the text.

Many common themes develop throughout the text. Gee thinks of schools as places caught up in passive learning: teachers give information and students receive information. Students can be successful in school regardless of how well they can solve real problems with the information they have learned. Rarely, he argues, are students actively participating in the construction of new knowledge – a stark contrast to the world of gaming in which gamers must build their own knowledge to achieve new levels of play, and understanding.

Gee asserts that video games can accomplish goals for which today’s schools are simply ill equipped and not designed to achieve. Unlike schools, which promote students to new grades (in games, these would be called levels) based on many external criteria and tests that may not be a true indication of a student’s learning, games stay on the edge of a player’s “regime of competence” (p. 67). Games offer just the right amount of challenge for the gamer – an idea, that, if applied to learning, would ensure that learners are receiving tailored instruction. Returning to his roots as a linguist and literacy professor, Gee explains how the idea of learning at the edge of one’s competence ensures that learning, rather than frustration, is achieved. However, in schools, students are often faced with challenges that exceed their level of competence or do not provide any difficulty, therefore inhibiting growth.

Gee also makes interesting points about games, identity, and cultural models. “People cannot learn in a deep way within a semiotic domain if they are not willing to commit themselves fully to the learning in terms of time, effort, and active engagement” (p. 54). For example, when students see themselves as “good at” or “bad at” specific skills in school, that identity impacts their success in those activities. In playing most video games, players rely on virtual identities and do commit themselves fully with time, effort, and active engagement. Furthermore, Gee argues that games provide opportunities to apply existing cultural models to experiences and gain new understanding from the disparities that arise. He employs the example of playing the part of the bad guy in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, but the greater implications are apparent. Games provide a unique opportunity to experience a situation from another perspective.


Gee’s argument that educators should apply the design features of video games to learning is well supported by his 36 learning principles. “Through good game design,” he suggests, “we can leverage deeper and deeper learning as a form of pleasure in people’s everyday lives, without any hint of school or schooling” (p. 215). In addition to the learning principles, Gee’s illustrations of situated cognition, New Literacy Studies, and connectionism strengthen his argument and provide a common thread to weave all of his ideas together.

Gee and Marc Prensky, another video game researcher and education reformer, both agree that teachers are still vital and central actors in a classroom that includes video games and video game principles. In his 2006 book, “Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning,” Prensky explains that “one of the most interesting challenges and opportunities in parenting and teaching Digital Natives is to find ways to include reflection and critical thinking in their learning” (p. 37). Gee also sees reflection as an important part of the process that may be overlooked. Gee refers to what he calls a “reflective practice,” which Gee explains is the basis for the four-step process of probing, forming a hypothesis, reprobing, and rethinking; “Some consider this four-step process to be the basis of expert reflective practice in any complex semiotic domain” (p. 87-88). According to Gee and Prensky, students often need a teacher to help guide them through a reflective practice, especially to rectify incorrect associations and to guide students off of “garden paths” that distract from making the correct associations.

Gee’s ability to connect his ideas to meaningful anecdotes is one of the most appealing aspects of this text. Through various examples in the text, Gee establishes the importance of embodied learning and situated context in learning; both of which are key aspects to the learning principles inherent in video game design. To support his claims about the importance of situated cognition, Gee describes a scenario in which he distributed manuals for the game Dues Ex to a room of educated adults. He asked them to read the manuals. Were they able to decode the words? Of course, they were. Were they able to visualize and apply their literal understanding? No. His point in this exercise and for including this anecdote is to elucidate the problem many students face: they can decode the text in front of them; however, they have no way of applying their learning because schools today do not provide opportunities for application of many concepts. What does a student who reads a chapter about geology in a textbook truly understand about geology, besides definitions of key terms? Nothing, argues Gee. He explains that “[t]his is why so many school children, even ones who are good at school, can pass tests but still cannot apply their knowledge to real problem solving” (p. 105).

Today’s schools operate in a content view of learning: that learning is the process of distributing information from the teacher to the learner without regard for the social practices surrounding the development of those facts and ideas (p. 22). Gee objects to the “content view” of learning and believes that literacy is multimodal: print and images, for example. The New Literacy, to which Gee adheres, views literacy as a social practice and involves active, critical learning: “Literacy in any domain is actually not worth much if one knows nothing about the social practices of which that literacy is but a part” (p. 18). Gee advocates for overt reflection of gaming and games. He contends that video game learning is active whereas content-based learning in schools is passive. Digital technologies have ushered in this multimodal view of literacy.

The gaming culture, with affinity groups, forums, wikis, and massively multiplayer online games, exemplifies the idea of connectionism. Gee argues that “thinking and reasoning are inherently social. But they are also inherently distributed, and more and more so in our modern technological world” (p. 196). Gee’s text includes many anecdotes demonstrating the connectionism in our world. In one such scenario, Gee, a baby boomer, was able to reciprocate the frequent help he had received from fellow gamers who were members of a particular game’s affinity group. Some players had been posting to forums asking for assistance in operating a cheat code. This particular cheat code required the use of MS-DOS, an operating system with which Gee is familiar because DOS was the operating system when Gee was much younger. Thus, Gee explains the significance of connectionism: “here we see that even a weak link in a network can make the network more powerful in the right circumstances” (p. 202). Although Gee’s qualifying himself as a weak link may be humorous in light of Gee’s achievements outside of this particular game, the point is clear. Gee, not an expert gamer, is a weak link in that affinity group; in the world of education, though, Gee could not be considered a weak link. Our connection and participation within the myriad associations we make build the knowledge base to which we have access. Unfortunately, Gee argues, we assess students apart from their “thinking tools” (p. 197).


Some might argue that Gee imbues his text with superfluous jargon; however, his application of terms – affinity space, semiotic domains, design grammar, situated learning, critical learning, appreciative systems, metalevel thinking – are clearly illustrated through easily understood examples. Further, the “jargon” is necessary to prove his point: video games can guide current learning theory towards the development of more effective schools. Educators, game developers, and researchers are well served to develop an academic vocabulary to discuss these games as genuine artifacts rather than fringe fads.

Through each section of the prose, the reader may begin to question: what does this have to do with education? Just as the question begins to surface, Gee summarily answers the question thoroughly and explicitly, tying all of his previous game-based examples with real-world educational significance – as tenuous as some of those connections may be. His point, however, is never lost: video games have great potential for learning. Still, even though Gee manages to explain the games he plays in clear, accessible language, how does someone with no gaming experience – the baby boomers to whom he frequently alludes – gain a true understanding of the references, comparisons, and applications he discusses?

Gee’s affection for games as a gamer is difficult to overlook. Clearly, he has jumped into the “gamer affinity space” headfirst; he is fully immersed in gaming culture. As a result, he romanticizes the games he discusses. A person with little to no gaming experience may still feel alienated by his text, but ignoring his message would remain difficult because his points are clear and his arguments are valid and strong.

Gee makes a tenuous claim that games “are surrounded by a great many written texts” (p. 97). In this claim, Gee counts forums, blogs, wikis, and manuals as the great many texts. Unfortunately, in comparison to the breadth of texts available outside of gaming, “a great many” is reaching to make a connection that may not be as strong as he asserts, or hopes.

In the introduction and again in the conclusion, Gee clearly states that he wrote this book as plea to recognize that schools are broken and suggests that we look to video games as a way to transform our teaching practices, but he offers no solutions. Gee attempts to show examples of gaming concepts in application; however, each application that he discusses in his text hails from a science classroom – not once does he enter another discipline in gaming concept application. Many of the concepts are transferrable, but to gain the widespread buy-in that a movement such as his requires, Gee needs to show applications across the curricula. But, Gee never suggests that he has the answers. After all, he states from the beginning that his is a plea to fix broken schools. To that end, he is successful.

Final Thoughts

Gee offers some powerful questions – as yet, he acknowledges, unanswered questions – regarding the role of video games as actors in social and cultural movements towards improving education for students. How can teachers begin applying these learning principles now? How can schools harness the qualities in games that encourage students to devote hours endeavoring to solve complex and challenging problems? How can educators, policy makers, and administrations support a shift in schools that truly prepares students for the twenty-first century as Gee sees it?

“In my view, in the twenty-first century we need the following — and we need them fast and all at once together: embodied empathy for complex systems; “grit” (passion + persistence); playfulness that leads to innovation; design thinking; collaborations in which groups are smarter than the smartest person in the group; and real understanding that leads to problem solving and not just test passing. These are, to my mind, the true twenty-first century skills. We will not get them in schools alone and we will never get them in the schools we currently have” (Gee, 2009, p. 4).

In the end, the criticisms of the text are minor factors, for Gee, himself, says that he “meant to argue that one way (not the only way) to deliver good learning in schools and workplaces would, indeed, be via games or game-like technologies” (p. 215).  For any policy maker who would like to realize the potential that already exists, Gee’s book is an excellent guidebook through the world of gaming and its potential for learning. For any educator who is interested in a set of new principles of learning, Gee’s book is an excellent resource. For any gamer who would like to understand how gaming is good, Gee’s book is an excellent read. Gee’s book is for educators and gamers what Prensky’s book, “Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning,” which contains a forward by Gee, is for parents: an excellent guide towards understanding what and how video games are functioning to transform players in small and large manners.

Works Cited

Gee, J. P. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gee, J. P. (2009, April). Games, learning, and 21st century survival skills. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 2(1), 3-9.

Jenkins, Henry. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York, New York: New York University Press.

Prensky, M. (2006). Don’t bother me mom – I’m learning. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.

reading responses & reviews, thoughts on ed tech

What are “mindtools”?

The following is my response to reading Jonassen, Carr, & Hsin-Ping’s 1998 article “Computers as Mindtools for Engaging Learners in Critical Thinking.

From reading this article, I believe I will better evaluate the effectiveness of the technology that I incorporate in the classroom. The authors’ identification that technology “should be used as knowledge construction tools that students learn with, not from” and their distinction that “technologies should not support learning by attempting to instruct the learners” clarify the attributes that make technology most effective in an educational setting. The name “mindtools” is a clever way of identifying that software applications in education should be tools students use with their own knowledge and understanding in order to scaffold and build more knowledge for themselves: tools used with the mind to construct knowledge.

Although the authors outline a comprehensive list of mindtools, a key concept is the versatility and usability of these “mindtools” for students and educators. For example, as an English teacher I have used semantic networking for literary analysis while the example English teacher in the text used a systems modeling tool for literary analysis of Lord of the Flies. The authors’ section on hypermedia describes the benefit to students when they “create their own hypermedia knowledge bases that reflect their own understanding of ideas.” As the authors explain, “designing multimedia presentations is a complex process that engages many skills in learners, and it can be applied to virtually any content domain.”

The authors’ take on conversation tools is noteworthy, especially in light of the rise of social media since the article’s publication. I agree that often students “have been too busy memorizing what the teachers tell them,” and, therefore, we need to “support students’ attempts to converse” in a “cogent and coherent” manner. Although many of the methods for encouraging students to participate in meaningful conversations do not require technology (i.e. Socratic seminars, literature circles, debates, etc.), the pervasiveness of these conversation tools throughout our daily lives creates numerous opportunities for teachers to incorporate these mindtools into classroom instruction. The methods for incorporating social media in education remain more problematic, however, and continue to be something with which I struggle.

The authors’ outline of the “rationales for using technology as mindtools” is important to take-away; the sections on knowledge construction and distributing cognitive processing were especially interesting to me. The constructivist approach to learning dovetails directly into the authors’ own definition of mindtools: specifically, the distinction that the constructivist approach strives for learners to “construct their own knowledge, rather than having the teacher interpret the world and insure that students understand the world as they [the teachers] have told them.” Isn’t that ultimately what we want from students: to give them the tools to think for themselves?

Regarding “distributing cognitive processing,” the idea that we, as educators, should “allocate to the learners the cognitive responsibility for the processing they do best while requiring the technology to do the processing that it does best” resonated with me. During training for AP Calculus teachers this summer, I encountered a mindtool, www.geogebra.org, that allows users to manipulate variables within equations to see their relationships. The software takes on the cognitive process for which it is best suited, computations, while the student manipulates the variables in order to draw conclusions about the relationships among those variables and the equation. What I take-away from this is that many educators may have scoffed at allowing the computer to do the calculations and might have missed the opportunity for their students to get a better sense of the interconnectedness of the variables in these complex equations (I had my own “ah-ha” moments using this program!).


Jonassen, D. H., Carr, C. & Hsin-Ping, Y. (1998). Computers as mindtools for engaging learners in critical thinking. Tech Trends, 43(2), pp. 24-32. Retrieved from http://www.siue.edu/education/techready/5_Software_Tutorials/5_AncillaryPages/Mindtools.pdf

ed tech in practice, Lifelong Learning, reading responses & reviews

Don’t Become Irrelevant: A Response to Peering Backward

The following is my response to Weigel, James, & Gardner’s 2009 article “Learning: Peering Backward and Looking Forward in the Digital Era” in the International Journal of Learning and Media. My professor, Dr. Sessums, posed the following question:

Weigel et al (2009) provide a brief historical review of teaching and learning that neatly sets the stage for a deeper consideration of things to come.

[A]fter millennia of considering education (learning and teaching) chiefly in one way, we may well have reached a set of tipping points: Going forward, learning may be far more individualized, far more in the hands (and the minds) of the learner, and far more interactive than ever before. This constitutes a paradox: As the digital era progresses, learning may be at once more individual (contoured to a person’s own style, proclivities, and interests) yet more social (involving networking, group work, the wisdom of crowds, etc.). How these seemingly contradictory directions are addressed impacts the future complexion of learning (Weigel, et al, 2009, p. 2).

Based on your reading of the article, in what ways is education in the modern era different than education in the past? Also, please describe both the opportunities and barriers associated with new digital media in schools. Cite at least 3-5 specific examples from the article to support your argument. Your response should be between 250-500 words.

My response:

Considering that the modern era as defined by the authors began around 1400, the most important difference between the modern era and the past is contextualized learning. The authors provide many examples of learning by observation and apprenticeships in meaningful situations rather than being informed without the opportunity for real transfer. In the modern era, a student may learn how to farm through reading a book and completing worksheets while in the past students would learn from the farmer by farming. Learning formerly took place in the locations best suited for the lesson; now learning takes place in a classroom. Education shifted from the purpose of the first schools, to prepare most students to be literate, numerate, hard-working, and knowledgeable about one’s culture, to learning specialties through apprenticeships in the premodern era, to finally “the uniform schooling” we have today in which generally all students learn the same content in the same manner (4, 5).

NDM provides opportunities for improved contextualized learning experiences: now the student learning about farming might be playing a multiplayer virtual game and research techniques through online communities. These “virtual learning environments offer diverse pathways to understanding” which provide an opportunity for educators to “[accommodate] individual intelligences and learning styles” (11). The use of NDM provides an opportunity to shrink the “relevance gap” by incorporating more learning that helps students build the “various disciplinary skills” they will need for success (14). In the section titled “Critical Skills for Today and Tomorrow” the authors provide an extensive (and intimidating) list of the skills researchers have identified as “necessary” for students “in this changed environment” (7). NDM provides opportunities for addressing “soft skills” (i.e. “collaborative and social skills”) that are essential for student success in this evolving job landscape (7).

Integration of NDM will require a shift in the fundamental structure and nature of our current education system. The authors argue that “unless the schools are equal to the task of absorbing the new digital media, and making acute use of their potentials while guarding against their abuses, schools are likely to become as anachronistic as almshouses” (15). Unfortunately, most talk of reform “centers on test scores in traditional subjects, secured in traditional ways” (13). Plus, with NCLB and test scores “linked to federal funding,” implementing the kind of radical changes this shift would require “can be considered a risky enterprise for public schools” (11). More practical barriers are present as well; for example, educators will need to develop methods for assessing learning in “unorthodox settings” (12). Social learning activities require monitoring so that all voices are heard lest the majority drown out “voices of dissent” (12). Educators must develop effective strategies for instructing students on how to assess “what [information] is reliable and trustworthy” and how to synthesize that information (14). Finally, the students themselves are changing and educators must acknowledge and address the impact of the “the phenomenon of continuous partial attention” and the role that NDM plays in possibly “undermin[ing] personal autonomy” in adolescents (13).


Weigel, M., James, C., & Gardner, H. (2009). Learning: Peering backward and looking forward in the digital era. International Journal of Learning and Media, 1(1), 1-18.

reading responses & reviews, thoughts on ed tech

Response to Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out

For our first assignment in Instructional Computing II, we were assigned a reading about media ecologies in the text Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (abbreviated as HOMAGO). The title of the book threw me off: Hanging out? Messing around? Geeking out? How can this be a scholarly text? Then, as I began reading, the descriptive titles became clear and perfectly logical. I appreciate how the authors do not attempt to make black and white descriptions of various levels of participation. They avoid any sort of hard and fast rules that could be neatly contained in a table or chart. This makes sense because, as they describe in the text, kids move fluidly from varying levels of participation for various reasons: “The genres of participation — hanging out, messing around, and geeking out — reflect and are intertwined with young people’s practices, learning, and identity formation within these varied and dynamic ecologies” (Ito et. al., 2010, p. 31).

I think one idea from the book does well to explain the general concept: the techne-mentor (p. 58-60). A techne-mentor is someone who mentors another on a specific technology, but the authors are quick to point out that one can be a techne-mentor one moment and a mentee the next. For example, I am generally the techne-mentor at work and school. I help my colleagues and my students with all sorts of various,, menial computer tasks: how to attach a file? how to save this as a PDF? why won’t Microsoft stop bold-facing this sentence? However, when my Promethean board misbehaves, I give myself approximately two minutes to try and solve the problem on my own. Then, I panic and call my media specialist, who, in turn, sends a very tech-savvy student to save me (often to the chagrin of my students, “oh no, take your time,” they say.). Eventually, as I have had more time to mess around with my Promethean board (who has time to mess around these days?), I will gain the confidence to save myself and will probably get more phonecalls from my colleagues to save them. The point is that it will take me time to make mistakes and learn how to use the Promethean board before I have the confidence to go from a user to a geek (and I mean that with affection).

I believe that it is clear from the readings and anecdotal evidence in the text that we must find time to allow students to mess around with technology. Unstructured time allows users to hone skills and develop preferences. When these users are students who will have to navigate digital media for the rest of their lives, it becomes a vital part of their education, yet we seem to be lost as to how to best accomplish this task while still keeping students on track to meet mandated deadlines and check off items from our standardized lists.

In 2007-2008, I had the privilege and pleasure to work on a year-long project-based learning initiative called Global Learning Initiative through Digital Education for Students, GLIDES. This project lasted for approximately six months and culminated with a school-wide presentation. My students, for their media, had the choice of web pages, podcasts, or iMovies. Many of them had never attempted making any of the choices. Overwhelmingly, they chose iMovies. The focus of the project was answering the question: How does the journey of life effect the past, present, and future? The social studies teachers addressed the middle ages and East Asia while my ninth grade English students “explored the universality of themes in literature. They began with a theme from a Greek Myth and researched how that literary theme has appeared across generations and cultures: thus, truly proving that the human experience has been affected by our journeys, regardless of time and place, in many similar, universal ways” (GLIDES brochure). Sadly, such programs have been dropped because there was no discernible method for measuring learning gains using the standardized tests to which we must answer.

To say that I am a control freak is an understatement, but I’ll leave it at that. The fact is that I had to relinquish control for days at a time in the classroom as we worked towards completing these projects. As I type “we” I must admit that I did very little save for the occasional suggestion. The students figured the techie stuff out on their own for the most part, and the movies seemed to make themselves. They were so driven to create amazing products that I never once worried about the content not being “good enough”, we had adequately prepared the students on determining validity and reliability of information. Still, I believe there are two hurdles that must be jumped to reach a point where we can begin giving students the space as part of a regular school day. First, we must be willing to relinquish some control, in appropriate measures, at appropriate times, in appropriate circumstances. Second, we must make explicit instruction on validity and reliability of information a part of each child’s education, beginning early and never stopping because change is constant. We must be vigilant in educating our youth and truly educating digital media literacy as a distinct form of learning. These ideas are summed up in the HOMAGO idea of space, which is enunciated here.

I’m not done with this text even though my assignment for class is over. There is so much more I want to read. I have a personal interest in the gaming industry and the potential for educational outcomes offered therein. As a gamer (not currently, thank you very much UF), I know how much can go into learning and mastering a complicated game. To admit this publicly is a first, but I have possibly done more research on different games than many, many other things about which I probably should research. Learning the ins and outs of some of the more complex games involves so many skills that I firmly believe there are educational implications that MUST be tapped.

As far as some more interesting take-aways: Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, interviewed the authors of the book on his blog. There is a youtube video stream of the conference launching this book: From MySpace to HipHop, A MacArthur Forum. But for a QUICK LOOK, definitely check this out:


Ito, M., Baumer, S., Bittanti, M., boyd, d., Cody, R., Herr-Stephenson, B., … & Tripp, L. (2010). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Pres.