Current Project

Digital Media for Young Learners: An Event at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia

Tomorrow, I will be heading down to Philadelphia with Rahim Rajan after work for an event hosted by The Digital Media and Learning Initiative entitled The Power of Youth Voice: What Kids Learn When They Create With Digital Media.

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It is a public forum presented by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Writing Project, and the good people at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Rahim and I are not attending in any official capacity, but just as curious onlookers. We have noticed a real trend in these types of programs for digital media and education and personally I hope it is a trend that continues. We need to move beyond the shiny new object syndrome and start applying rigor to our technology and content selections. To do that, we need to know what works and what doesn’t, what technology is appropriate for what age ranges, and how interaction with digital media and the technology that supports it augments/diminishes both traditional learning paradigms and new facets of information literacy. For more information on what literacy (transliteracy) I am referring to, see here and here for some excellent background explanation.

Rahim is a veteran of Aluka and JSTOR and takes some wonderful photographs in many far off places. Even as far as Brooklyn. He also took a lot of the photographs we have on the Aluka Flickr page.

According to the event description:

The Power of Youth Voice: What Kids Learn When They Create With Digital Media is a public forum designed to open discussion in the Philadelphia area to educators, parents, researchers, students, and community members about the potential of learning through engagement with digital media.

There are many questions around what it means for young people to be widely involved in digital media use today—whether it is playing video games, using the Internet for research or social networks, or using mobile devices. By bringing in experts in the digital media and learning field and showing examples of how digital media is used to create powerful learning experiences for young people in and outside the classroom, we hope to encourage dialogue regarding opportunities to make learning meaningful and relevant to the next generation.

The forum will take place at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, Wednesday, November 18, 2009 from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. The event will be broadcast in Second Life—a virtual world—and available via streaming video. For those who attend in person, before the panel and discussion a reception will be held, during which examples of youth work involving digital media will be on display.

Should be interesting. For those of you not in the NYC/Philadelphia corridor, you can follow it online either in Second Life or via video stream by following the instructions on this page. Be there or be square.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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