Category Archives: Uncategorized

Imagining the future of museums: winners from the AAM contest


Bryan Alexander

What will museums become in the future?
Center for the Future of Museums logoTo explore this question the Center for the Future of Museums sponsored a story competition.  Creators had to imagine what the future of education could look like, with museums playing a leading role: “Tell us a story…about a future of education in which museums play a starring role.”

(Full disclosure: I helped judge the contest)

The resulting narratives imagined diverse futures, including multiple generations using virtual reality, autonomous historical characters, a megadatabase, augmented reality gallery installation testsa new form of robotic displays,   One peered into an inbox 25 years from now.  Click here to see the winners, along with all of the other creative submissions.  That’s a lot of imagination and innovation at work – go explore!

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Non-conformists as change agents


Minding the Workplace


ProPublica, the non-profit public interest news organization, recently did a neat little feature on Dr. Adam Grant’s (U.Penn/Wharton) new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (2016). Here’s the lede by Cynthia Gordy:

In his new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant examines the circumstances that give rise to truly original thinkers and groundbreaking ideas. Throughout Originals, the Wharton School of Business professor shares stories from the fields of business, politics and sports, and his chapter exploring the psychology of speaking truth to power – whether it be federal whistleblowers, or a middle-level employee with an innovative idea – holds several lessons for investigative journalists and the people on which they report.

The feature includes a podcast with Dr. Grant interviewed by ProPublica reporter David Epstein. Here are some of the highlights:

  • On lower-level workers facing backlash for making suggestions: “People often confuse power and…

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This week’s Forum features Jim Groom and radical digital learning


Bryan Alexander

Jim GroomThis Thursday on the Forum we have the one and only… Jim Groom.

If you don’t know Jim, he’s one of the first and longest-running edubloggers, having written at Bavatuesdays for more than a decade.  There you can find his thoughts on the intersection of education and technology, with a strong helping of culture high and low. At the University of Mary Washington Jim inspired the edupunk movement, and then invented and taught the famous digital storytelling counter-MOOC DS106.  He also kicked off the Domain of One’s Own movement.  And now he’s moved to Italy, where he helps run the innovative and excellent Reclaim Hosting company.  A brilliant man, a ferocious innovator, a generous collaborator, and a good friend.

I plan on asking him about the Domain of One’s Own idea and practice, which should lead to a discussion of Reclaim Hosting, and from that point on to…

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Threat to openness: managing access to public archives


Thoughts on management

Portrait of Henri Bergson by J.E. Blanche 1891... Portrait of Henri Bergson by J.E. Blanche 1891 to illustrate Henri Bergson article. Uploaded from (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In November 2015, I attended the Threats to Openness conference held at Northumbria University. The conference had a specific aim “discuss the growing threats to citizens’ rights to access public archives across the digital world.” Although we did not discuss what was meant by openness, it was understood mainly to be defined by the right of access or the right to access public archives. However, this provides only a limited sense of how openness was used during the conference. Participants and speakers regularly referred to difference between access and openness noting that they were often confused. One does not always imply the other. As openness can be understood differently, the threats to it will vary with responses that can potentially conflict with efforts to help with access. What was missing…

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Beware Educational Alphabet: ADHD, RSD, ASD, OSD, EAA


radical eyes for equity

What do a medical diagnosis and education reform have in common?

Two things: (1) complex matters reduced to a few letters, and (2) failing children.

First, consider ADHD. Below are some readings to help interrogate how this diagnosis has many significant problems, misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis among them, some of which are related to the high-stakes accountability movement in education:

Next, a growing list of alphabet (toxic) soup is assaulting our schools and students under the umbrella of “state takeover” approaches, targeting mostly high-poverty and racial minority schools.

RSD, ASD, OSD, and EAA—among others—have gained political momentum built on propaganda and not results. Below is a reader addressing the failures…

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Digital vs. Information Literacy


Designer Librarian

Have you ever wondered just what the difference is between digital and information literacy? Or how they are connected to each other? Those are important questions because for librarians, the conversation is almost always about information literacy, and digital literacy sometimes takes a backseat to that. In this post, I’m going to talk about the integral relationship between the two and how we can’t even think of teaching information literacy without also recognizing digital literacy (along with all the other ‘literacies of information’).

First, I think it helps to understand the concept of literacy in general. Digital and information literacy (and all the other literacies) are rooted in the sociocultural view of literacy as a set of social practices. If you want to learn more about that, I recommend reading The New London Group’s A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures, an article that appeared in the Harvard Educational Review…

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10,000 Characters



How many words might that add up to? How many pages? How many minutes of reading would that entail?

Like many other Twitter users I have some feelings about the lifting of the 140 character limit and potentially expanding it to up to 10,000. I had and have feelings about the shift from favorites as stars to hearts indicating a “like.”

I read the articles and posts describing Twitter’s downfall, death, corruption and fight for survival because this is the social media space that best meets my needs so far. And every time I feel myself about to say something sentimental about how and why I “care” about Twitter, I slap myself upside the head and remind myself that like hundreds of other corporations this is one more that is aiming to generate shareholder profits via my ongoing display of “care”: filling their platform with thousands of data points per…

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Fine podcasts for 2016: a mega-list of what I’m listening to


What a treat! I’ve caught the podcast habit and have been bookmarking online radio and podcast link bundles. This is a most welcome addition to the collection.

Bryan Alexander

Editing in Audacity, by Laura Blankenship2015 saw a rebirth of interest in podcasts, and 2016 may well see an even larger podcast world.  This is very exciting, and heartening to long-time podcast obsessives like myself.

In that spirit let me share which podcasts I’m listening to, updating my 2013 list.  Now I’m arranging these into headers: current podcasts, archived or dormant shows, followed by a note on my current listening technology and practice.  The first category gets sub-headers, under which are programs in alphabetical order for convenience (yes, maybe my habit is out of control, and this is less a post and more a plea for help).  I note unusual features when they appear, like published transcripts, and I’ll try to note which ones I’ve been on.

What’s not on here: music podcasts, which are different creatures.  Most NPR podcasts, because everyone talks about them.  Old-time radio (OTR), because although I adore it, this…

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Learning: It’s All About the Connections


User Generated Education

I’ve written about connections before in It’s All About Connection.

Today, though, I was thinking about all of the connections important for learning. Connection has a lot of meanings and connotations:


Here are some of the connections I thought of that can/should be part of both formal and informal education:

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A Tribute to Ihab Hassan


an intellectual hero and influence on both my writing and how I teach it

The Antioch Review Blog

The Antioch Review published several articles and stories by Ihab Hassan during his life, beginning in the Summer 1982 issue, with an essay on the writer, Saul Bellow. That was followed by “Ma’lesh” in the Summer 2011 issue and “Australia Ascending: In the Mirror of David Matlouf” in the Spring, 2014 issue. His latest essay in the Antioch Review, “The Educated Heart: The Humanities in the Age of Marketing and Technology,” in the Fall 2015 issue, came out shortly before his death on September 10, 2015. Following is an article that appeared on the blog of a former student, Kevin Lynch, who had the honor of studying with Hassan at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where Hassan taught for over forty years. Lynch has given us permission to reprint his tribute to one of America’s leading thinkers. All of us at The Antioch Review mourn the loss of…

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