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No Such Thing: K12 Education in the Digital Age

A podcast about the promise and reality of learning with technology

The show is about learning with technology, but it's not the same old EdTech or "STEM" preachery. It's about the realities and exciting potential, but it's also about youth and the practitioners who support them: youth d... More
Latest Episode
2019-8-22

From an Unlikely CA Zipcode, A Digital Nest Emerges

Ep. 65

Jacob Martinez is a social entrepreneur, tech educator, keynote speaker and cutting-edge community collaborator. Martinez believes technology has the potential to break down socioeconomic barriers and unlock economic growth for youth and their communities. As the founder and executive director of Digital NEST (Nurturing Entrepreneurial Skills with Technology), Martinez turned a vision into reality by creating a modern, collaborative workspace for local youth to receive high-tech training.


The opening of the first Digital NEST in 2014 garnered national attention as a model for bridging the digital divide experienced by youth living in low-income, rural communities. Today the NEST continues to expand, with more than 1200 members at two regional centers; its main location in Watsonville, CA and since April 2017, a Digital NEST pilot in Salinas, CA.


Martinez’s inspiration for Digital NEST is built on more than a dozen years of experience and research in teaching tech as a way to overcome economic disparities and achieve equity for Latinos and girls. His early work focused on promoting careers in STEM for youth through an award winning after-school program teaching middle-school girls to create computer games. The program serves hundreds of students in 15 Santa Cruz County schools.


Martinez has presented his work and research to the National Science Foundation, to technology companies Google, Mozilla, and Infosys; to the Computer Science Collaborative Project, the University of California, and the National Girls Collaborative Project. Martinez spoke in 2015 at the first White House Tech Meetup and was named by TechCrunch as one of 2014’s Top 10 Men in the Country Supporting Women in Technology.

Martinez has been widely recognized for his work as a community leader developing innovative approaches to solving social problems across diverse populations. Martinez founded the Santa Cruz County Ag-tech Meetup, co-founded the Watsonville Film festival, is a Community Advisor for Opportunity Fund and hosts a podcast focused on the intersection of agriculture and technology.


He is a frequent speaker at technology and educational conferences and symposia, and has been honored by business, community, and educational institutions for his innovation and leadership. He was named the 2015 Santa Cruz County Entrepreneur of the Year, has provided thought leadership on the impact of tech and underserved student populations, and also received a recommendation letter from former United States Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.


Martinez graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and received his Master’s in Instructional Science and Technology from California State University, Monterey Bay.


Links from this episode:

Digital Nest: https://digitalnest.org/

Jacob Martinez: https://digitalnest.org/oldsite/?page_id=2847

Better Schools Won't Fix America, Nick Hanauer, Atlantic Monthly: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/education-isnt-enough/590611/

2019-8-22

From an Unlikely CA Zipcode, A Digital Nest Emerges

Ep. 65

Jacob Martinez is a social entrepreneur, tech educator, keynote speaker and cutting-edge community collaborator. Martinez believes technology has the potential to break down socioeconomic barriers and unlock economic growth for youth and their communities. As the founder and executive director of Digital NEST (Nurturing Entrepreneurial Skills with Technology), Martinez turned a vision into reality by creating a modern, collaborative workspace for local youth to receive high-tech training.


The opening of the first Digital NEST in 2014 garnered national attention as a model for bridging the digital divide experienced by youth living in low-income, rural communities. Today the NEST continues to expand, with more than 1200 members at two regional centers; its main location in Watsonville, CA and since April 2017, a Digital NEST pilot in Salinas, CA.


Martinez’s inspiration for Digital NEST is built on more than a dozen years of experience and research in teaching tech as a way to overcome economic disparities and achieve equity for Latinos and girls. His early work focused on promoting careers in STEM for youth through an award winning after-school program teaching middle-school girls to create computer games. The program serves hundreds of students in 15 Santa Cruz County schools.


Martinez has presented his work and research to the National Science Foundation, to technology companies Google, Mozilla, and Infosys; to the Computer Science Collaborative Project, the University of California, and the National Girls Collaborative Project. Martinez spoke in 2015 at the first White House Tech Meetup and was named by TechCrunch as one of 2014’s Top 10 Men in the Country Supporting Women in Technology.

Martinez has been widely recognized for his work as a community leader developing innovative approaches to solving social problems across diverse populations. Martinez founded the Santa Cruz County Ag-tech Meetup, co-founded the Watsonville Film festival, is a Community Advisor for Opportunity Fund and hosts a podcast focused on the intersection of agriculture and technology.


He is a frequent speaker at technology and educational conferences and symposia, and has been honored by business, community, and educational institutions for his innovation and leadership. He was named the 2015 Santa Cruz County Entrepreneur of the Year, has provided thought leadership on the impact of tech and underserved student populations, and also received a recommendation letter from former United States Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.


Martinez graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and received his Master’s in Instructional Science and Technology from California State University, Monterey Bay.


Links from this episode:

Digital Nest: https://digitalnest.org/

Jacob Martinez: https://digitalnest.org/oldsite/?page_id=2847

Better Schools Won't Fix America, Nick Hanauer, Atlantic Monthly: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/education-isnt-enough/590611/

2019-7-26

Onramps to Computer Science

Ep. 64

This conversation is with a group of founders designing novel learning experiences to engage learners. The conversation explores each approach, and what values they bring to what they design and build for learners. How does "engagement" relate to what skills, identities, and dispositions these experts hope that learners attain including but not limiting to computer science.


Armando Somoza is a new media artist, technologist, social entrepreneur, and educator. He is committed to the creative application of immersive learning experiences, cultural entrepreneurship, and digital technologies as an agent of provocation and change. He holds an MFA in Emergent Digital Practice and a BA in Ethnic Studies. He is a career educator, artist, and technologist currently serving as a graduate level Adjunct Professor at NYU Steinhardt and CEO & Co-Founder of Rapport Studios, a creative agency that exists to disrupt, awaken, and reorient people’s relationship to knowledge and culture. Our product, CodeSCTY, leverages original hip hop music and youth culture to teach computational thinking and coding - like Schoolhouse Rock for coding.


Chenits Pettigrew is an accomplished musician, educator, entrepreneur and creative director. Through innovative curriculum development, live performance, multimedia creation and master classes, his work aims to foster sustainable change. He has worked with arts and community organizations domestically and internationally in pursuit of this mission. He is the co-founder of Soul Science Lab, a music and multimedia production company and Chief Creative Officer of Rapport Studios, a creative education agency. At Rapport he is focused on building dynamic content for CodeScty, a product that uses original hip hop music to teach computer science concepts. Chenits holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from Pennsylvania State University and an interdisciplinary Master’s in Music Business & Tech and Art as Activism from New York University.


Leandra Tejedor and her cofounder Alexandra Diracles are proving that the best way to teach teens, especially girls, computer programming is go where they live: social media videos. It's a Javascript coding curriculum that can be used as a stand-alone course or a unit within a CS course. Vidcode has reached over 150,000 students (62% girls) in 113 countries, and recently partnered with Snapchat to help enable teens to code their own snapchat filters. Tejedor holds a degree in design and interactive media from Ramapo College.


We often forget how rare it is that any of us as learners truly stumbles upon a deep motivation, a love for a topic, or enthusiasm for new skills out of nowhere. And yet, so many of the approaches we take through institutional learning make the assumption that you - empty vessel awaiting relevant knowledge - are eager to dive in.  Today especially, we're obsessed as a country with "readiness." For the future, for jobs, for the challenges of tomorrow, but nobody every got ready for anything by having others shove it cram it down our throat. As many of you are aware, thoughtful, well-designed onramps can be the difference between pushing through an already cracked door, and feeling around aimlessly for a secret opening in a library wall like in a scene from Harry Potter. You get what I'm saying - meet everyone...


Links from this episode:

Kiki Dance Challenge

VidCode

CodeSCTY

Mark Guzdial, University of Michigan:




2019-7-12

A Research and Tech Unboxing

Ep. 63

Brian Sweeting is a Digital Publishing Manager and Content Strategist for New Learning Times. He manages a team of writers whose goal is to create and curate compelling digital content that deepens an understanding of forward-thinking learning, teaching, and research.


This episode, Brian and I consider a sort of "unboxing." He brings us four recent articles covered by New Learning Times. It's the first I've heard anything about them, and you get to come along as we unwrap the story - my understanding of the story - as we go. 


As always, my thanks to Brian and the talented team at New Learning Times. I hope you'll go check them out.


The New Learning Times (NLT) provides daily coverage of the transformation of learning opportunities in the information age for those shaping the future of education. NLT is produced at the EdLab at Teachers College, Columbia University.


The editorial frame for NLT is governed by our understanding of three major trends, which we have termed “The New 3R’s.” Far beyond mere reform, the education sector is undergoing a major Reformation, a profound reconfiguration of the customs, institutions, and relationships that together constitute the foundations for learning opportunities around the world. Spurred by rapid developments in communications and computation, the education sector is also experiencing a Renaissance of new ideas, processes, and possibilities to support learning across the lifespan. The rapid introduction and convergence of these emerging political, technical, and artistic forces is creating the conditions for a Revolution in what is becoming the new learning sector. The New Learning Times seeks to chronicle the major transformation in learning possibilities.


Links from the episode:

New Learning Times: https://newlearningtimes.com/

Kinful Lets Students Learn Social and Emotional Skills Through Play, by Melanie Hering: https://newlearningtimes.com/cms/article/6302/kinful-lets-students-learn-social-and-emotional

Learn Chemistry in Virtual Reality With HoloLAB Champions, by Sara Hardman: https://newlearningtimes.com/cms/article/6224/learn-chemistry-in-virtual-reality-with-hololab

Ideally, I Want It Al, by Rebecca Sullivanl: https://newlearningtimes.com/cms/article/6293/ideally-i-want-it-all



2019-6-25

Human Centered Learning Experience Design

Ep. 62

Guest Bio: Bernard Bull

My work focuses upon educational innovation, learner-driven communities, futures in education, social entrepreneurship in education, and the intersection of education and digital culture.


Dr. Bull most recently served as Chief Innovation Officer, Vice Provost of Curriculum and Innovation, and Professor of Education at Concordia University Wisconsin. There he led a University-wide effort to refine and expand low-residency and online learning opportunities for adult and post-traditional learners.


Now President at Vermont's Goddard College, Dr. Bull is a widespread and active voice in the K-12 and higher education landscape regarding alternative and experimental education; emerging practices in grading, assessment, and credentials; self-directed learning; nurturing learner agency and ownership; and the intersection of education and digital culture.

He is the author of several books, including Missional Moonshots: Insight & Inspiration in Educational Innovation, What Really Matters: Ten Critical Issues in Contemporary Education, and Adventures in Self-Directed Learning.


Links from this episode:

Austin Kleon: https://austinkleon.com/

Martin Seligman, Flourish: https://www.amazon.com/Flourish-Visionary-Understanding-Happiness-Well-being/dp/1439190763

What Is In The Air: https://whatisintheair.com/

RESLE, Boise State: 

Chris Haskell, Boise State: https://dochaskell.com/

Barry Fishman, U. Michigan: http://www.soe.umich.edu/people/profile/barry_fishman/

90+ Education Documentaries to Challenge & Inspire: https://etale.org/main/2014/03/18/45-education-documentaries-to-challenge-inspire/

To Know For Real, edited by Benson and Adams: https://www.amazon.com/Know-Real-Pitkin-Goddard-College/dp/0912362200


2019-6-13

Recommended Resources for Maker Educators

Ep. 61

Here's a cool episode for you. Before I get started let's talk about these tracks. It's easy to overlook, when we talk about Maker Ed, that a lot of the greatest maker educators I know are makers themselves. Lou Lahana is also known on the interwebs as Techbrarian, and he wrote and produced tracks at the beginning and end of this episode. He's a great inspiration to remind us all, as Tasker Smith from MIT reminds us in this episode - we need stay inspired...consider it like facing turbulence on an airplane...put the mask on ourselves first.


It's a different format: in this episode I reached out and asked some of my favorite Maker Educators to send me recordings where they just jam into the mic a bit about resources that they often recommend to other educators, or folks just interested in what they do. I'm so grateful to a rockstar group of five featured in this episode, and hope that we can make it a more regular thing.


My thanks (in the order that you hear from them) to:


Lori Stahl-VanBrackal: linkedin.com/in/lori-stahl-van-brackle

Tasker Smith: linkedin.com/in/taskersmith

Jennifer Latimer: linkedin.com/in/jennifer-latimer-31219b6

Dr. Matthew Farber: linkedin.com/in/mattfarber

Dr. Lou Lahana: Techbrarian.com


Links from this episode:

Innovators Mindset, George Couros: https://www.amazon.com/Innovators-Mindset-Empower-Learning-Creativity-ebook/dp/B016YTBZKO

Laser Cutters (Universal Systems): https://www.ulsinc.com/

Make Magazine: https://makezine.com/

Instructibles: https://www.instructables.com/

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/

Prototyping Library: http://prototypinglibrary.com/

Epilogue Laser Sample Club: https://www.epiloglaser.com/resources/sample-club.htm

Invent to Learn, Martinez and Stager: https://inventtolearn.com/

Connecting Gaming, Kafai and Burke: http://www.yasminkafai.com/connected-gaming

AdBusters: https://www.adbusters.org/

2019-6-5

College Admissions - Beyond Headlines

Ep. 60

My guests are experts in this space that you wouldn’t have seen quoted in recent coverage but maybe should’ve. Davin Sweeney is an independent college counselor with Collegwise who worked for ten years as an admissions counselor at the University of Rochester. He also hosts a podcast called “The Crush” featuring interviews with people who have interesting perspectives to share on the college and college admissions landscape. Leia Petty is a HS Guidance Counselor of ten years and social justice activist living in Brooklyn, NY. And Luke Nonas-Hunter is a high school senior in NYC's High School for Math Science and Engineering, recently released from the arduous process of college admissions - he'll be a freshman at Olin College in September.


My guests are experts in this space that you wouldn’t have seen quoted in recent coverage but maybe should’ve.


Links from this episode:



In the News

  • Link, New York Times: Operation Varsity Blues
  • Link: HuffPost Stanford Accepts No One: Just to be clear: Bruni’s column was satire, a jokey riff about how colleges and universities take outsize pride in trumpeting how many applicants they reject. In reality, Stanford announced last week that 2,063 high school students have been admitted to the class of 2020, giving the Bay Area school an acceptance rate of 4.69 percent — not zero percent.



2019-5-17

Discussing Women of Computer History

Ep. 59

A discussion with Kate McGregor of Mountain View’s Computer History Museum about women we should all know from computer history.


Kate McGregor: Kate is a STE(A)M advocate, museum educator, content developer and curriculum designer striving to help students, families and educators to explore concepts of problem-solving and innovation through the lenses of computer science and computer history, with activities that encourage critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. At the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, Kate manages Family & Community guided and self-guided programming, events and activities for diverse intergenerational audiences. She leads the Museum’s efforts to expand program offerings through onsite and offsite family and community programming, in order to create meaningful points of engagement for visitors of all ages, backgrounds and knowledge bases. Kate developed and leads the Museum’s flagship Design_Code_Build program which engages middle school youth from all parts of the community.


From their website:

The Computer History Museum is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs, oral histories, and moving images.


Links from this episode:

Computer History Museum: https://www.computerhistory.org/

COBAL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COBOL

Reshma Saujani: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reshma_Saujani

WoGrammer: https://wogrammer.org/