Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Digital Media and Learning Resources: DML Central at the University of California

(If you are in a hurry, jump to the DML Central resource page for lots of links, including teaching resources.)

Here is the press release:

New Center at UC Irvine to Seed Research and Collaboration on Digital Media and Learning

Posted October 27, 2009
IRVINE, Calif. (Oct. 27, 2009) -- Digital media and the Internet are transforming how young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. A newly-created Digital Media and Learning Research Hub located at the University of California-Irvine will provide an international center to nurture exploration of and build evidence around the impact of digital media on young people’s learning and its potential for transforming education. Funded through a $2.97 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Center was announced today at a national forum at Google headquarters that brought together leading thinkers around the challenge of reasserting American global leadership in education.

“Global digital media are rapidly becoming a driving force in globalization, scientific advances, and the intersection - and sometimes clash - of cultures,” said David Theo Goldberg, director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute and co-director of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. “Every day new questions arise about the ability of traditional systems and institutions to prepare both young people and life-long learners for the social, economic and political demands of a complex and networked new century.”

Through study of how youth are using digital media, researchers will seek to understand the implications inherent in how this generation of youth – unlike any previous one – is embracing the online world to access information, socialize, and engage in public life. Research is expected to help schools, libraries, museums and other institutions engaged in teaching and learning better prepare students for the 21st century workforce.

“We’re at the very early stages of this phenomenon where youth and kids are learning so much more outside of the classroom via the Web and social networking,” said Mizuko Ito, University of California, Irvine researcher and co-director of the Research Hub. “If we don’t tap into the learning revolution that is going on today, I’m very concerned we’re going to have many kids being left behind.”

With a physical office at UC Irvine and a new virtual destination,, the Center will support emerging research on digital media and learning by hosting international conferences, facilitating workshops and working groups, and bringing together researchers, practitioners, policymakers, industry leaders and others working on related projects. It will also house related research initiatives of the MacArthur Foundation’s digital media and learning initiative. Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the nonprofit research group, FutureLab, are partnering with UC Irvine on Hub activities.

“At this time of extraordinary transformation, it is critical to harness and coordinate research that provides insight into the impact and applications of digital media for learning,” said Connie Yowell, director of MacArthur’s education grantmaking. “MacArthur has long been committed to improving public education in the U.S., and we see the emerging research and practices in the field of digital media and learning as holding the potential to transform the way we prepare our young people to be engaged citizens and to compete in the 21st century workforce.”

Two MacArthur initiatives are already active at the Hub. They are bringing together researchers and practitioners to explore 1) the transformation of learning and assessment in the 21st century and 2) the unprecedented ways in which technology is enabling youth to participate in the political and public sphere. These investigative efforts, lead by Mizuko Ito and Mills College professor and researcher Joseph Kahne, respectively, are major initiatives of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the system-wide UC research center for the humanities and social sciences, based at UC Irvine. More information about the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub can be found at

About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. In 2006, MacArthur launched its digital media and learning initiative to explore how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life and what that means for their learning in the 21st century. More information is available at
Jeff Brazil
p: 949.824.9956

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NCTI Technology Innovators Conference: UDL, Accessibility, Reaching All Learners

If you are interested in universal design for learning, accessibility, and reaching all learners, the upcoming NCTI Technology Innovators Conference, held in Washington, D.C., Nov.16.2009 - Nov.17.2009, is not one to miss!
(Thanks to the Able Gamers Foundation website for the information below!)
The 2009 NCTI Technology Innovators Conference, Educational Futures — Powered by Technology, will focus on how learning and assistive technologies can supercharge education for all students.
With “must-attend” keynote speeches, engaging panel discussions, powerful presentations, and the extraordinary opportunity to network with fellow leaders and innovators representing exciting programs across the country…this is YOUR conference!Register now.
Over 200 nationally recognized leaders from academia, corporations, government and the media will examine the big ideas that have emerged to strengthen teaching and learning through the effective use of technology. The presentations will focus on best and emerging practices to ensure that all students, particularly struggling learners, fulfill their academic and social potential.

Invited Speakers


The Madison Hotel -
1177 Fifteenth St. NW
Country: us

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upcoming Interactive Events and Webinars on Classroom 2.0: Adolescent Literacy, Learning Teachnologies, and More!

Here is a letter from Steve Hargadon, the founder of Classroom 2.0, the the social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education.

A message to all members of Classroom 2.0

Monday, October 19th, 1pm PDT (US):  Angela Maiers' leads a panel discussion with Carnegie's "Time to Act Adolescent Literacy Panel."

Tuesday, October 20th, 5pm PDT (US):   Judi Fusco and Patti Schank from the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) join us
to talk about the Tapped In network, educational social networking, and the future of electronic communities in education.

Tuesday, October 20th, 6pm PDT (US):   Rushton Hurley hosts the Next Vista Digital Dream Team discussion on video projects and ideas.  LearnCentral Link:

Wednesday, October 21st, 11am PDT (US):  The Ambient Insight "Learning Technology Innovation" series presents "Innovation In Educational Technology: The Virtualization Of K-12 And Higher Education" with Sam S. Adkins.  LearnCentral Link:

Wednesday, October 21st,  1pm PDT (US):  Middle School Portal 2: Math & Science Pathways (MSP2) presents Mindy Johnson on Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  LearnCentral Link:

Wednesday, October 21st,  5pm PDT (US):  I interview Esther Wojcicki, a Journalism/English teacher at Palo Alto High School and the current board chair of Creative Commons, on "Creative Commons and Open Education."

Wednesday, October 21st,  6pm PDT (US):  Maria Droujkova hosts another Math 2.0 session on the Guarantech math video community.  LearnCentral Link:

Thanks for your attention, and see you online!  Be sure to let me know if you're interested in starting your own Webinar series!


Steve Hargadon
Founder, Classroom 2.0

Visit Classroom 2.0 at:


Time to Act:  An Agenda for Advancing Adolescent Literacy for College and Career Success (pdf)
(Final Report from Carnegie Corporation of New York's Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy)

International Reading Association Publications

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Kindle in Education? Problems with usability and accessibility.

When e-readers first were released to the world, I thought I'd be the first on the block to run out and get one.  But I wasn't, and I didn't.  Why not?   

  • They are too expensive.
  • They don't provide me with the text/content/concept/nonlinear/multimedia interaction I want (not useful for my purposes.)
  • Issues regarding usability, accessibility, and universal design have yet to be resolved.
Read more:
Problems with Kindle in Education:  Looks as if Amazon forgot to do usability and accessibility homework!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Looking for Free Online Resources for your Interactive Whiteboard?

The majority of teachers at one of my schools now have interactive whiteboards, and the last few will get theirs very soon.  Teachers are smiling a lot, and so are the students with special needs that they teach.

I'm amazed at how quickly everyone has intuitively adapted to this technology in just a few weeks.The school has access to some fee-based resources, such as United Streaming Video, TumbleBooks, and Clicker 5,  as well as the resources provided by SMARTTechnologies and Promethean Planet.  Even so, there are plenty of free on-line resources the teachers are sharing and discovering.

Everything is better on an interactive whiteboard!  The students focus their eyes intently on the screen, and listen carefully to the on-line stories.   They get up in front of the screen and manipulate items, completing academic tasks that would not be possible using paper and pencil activities or folder tasks.

This post was created as a resource for my colleagues, but I'm sharing it on my blog since I know that many teachers are looking for good interactive content for their students.

I welcome comments and links to other resources!

Resources and Links

Imagine interacting with this content on a huge screen in front of you?  The activity below is from the free Starfall website:

Zac Web Browser
The Zac Web Browser was designed by a grandfather of a young boy with autism. It is free and can be accessed via the web or downloaded to you computer. It even works with a Wii mote controller! The following video clip demonstrates the application- you'll have to wait through the short ad at the beginning:

I experimented with the ZAC browser on my HP TouchSmart and it worked well with touch interaction. Below are a couple of  screen shots of the browser:

Video Portal

Storybook Portal

HelpKidzLearn is a website with free software and resources from Inclusive Technology:

Most young people love animals.  Animal webcams from various zoos make an interesting focal point for learning and sharing, no matter what age or ability level.  The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is a great place to start!

I especially like the Amazon River Cam:

Zoos Worldwide is a great portal to the zoocam world.  If your students are learning about nocturnal animals, simply link to a webcam from a zoo that is in a time zone 12 or so hours away.

Other websites that are great for interactive whiteboards:
National Geographic Kids

Discovery Kids
PBS Kids 
NASA Kids' Club

National Gallery of Art Kids
Smithsonian Kids
Kids Gov   Kids Gov Fun Stuff
Natural History Museum Kids Only (UK)
e-Learning for Kids
This website has loads of learning games and courses covering math, science, health and life skills, English language, language arts, and computer skills.

"Established in 2004, e-Learning for Kids is a global nonprofit foundation dedicated to fun and free learning on the Internet for children ages 5-12  with courses in math, science, reading, health, and computers. A volunteer staff consists of education and e-learning experts and business professionals from around the world committed to making a difference."

Count Us In:  Games designed to help children understand basic number concepts.  The games were created in Flash and can be downloaded for off-line use.

Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs 
Free Online Activities for Intensive/Multiple Special Needs
(recent post and links)
Kids Online Resources
Vicki Blackwell's Website
Blackwell's Best
Teachers Love SmartBoards (SMARTTechnologies blog)
Teacher LED:  Interactive Whiteboard Resources for Teachers

Teacher LED's Interactive Clock

The AESOP for Children (on the Teacher LED website)
(This is a flip book that allows students to turn virtual pages on an interactive whiteboard.)


The students at Wolfe like Clicker5  activities. Imagine these screenshots on the SmartBoard:

 Clicker 5 was developed following the guidelines of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). It includes high-quality speech with highlighting, sentence writing grides, writing frames to help scaffold writing, and on-screen talking books that highlight words automatically as they are read.  Clicker allow students to create their own talking books, record their voices, and with Clicker Paint, illustrate their creations.

Even students with little or no speech can use Clicker using customized grids.

Clicker offers a variety of active learning support options for struggling readers, such as the Planet Wobble series of talking books and related on-screen activities:

Teach Town
"TeachTown: Basics is a research based solution for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs. The service brings together parents, clinicians, teachers and students in one comprehensive package. Subscription includes on-computer lessons, off-computer generalization activities, data tracking and communications tools that keep the whole team connected."

Screenshot of the TeachTown walkthrough:

TeachTown Research

I'll update this post as I collect additional resources.