Leading Thinkers: Introduction & Interviews: Howard Rheingold & Constance Steinkuehler

Zachariah James Watson

The opening introduction of this particular reading begins with a statement about how digital media is changing the ways in which the modern generation (young people) is learning due to the undeniable influence that it possesses. According to research by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur foundation beginning in 2005, the ultimate result is a “moving feast of ideas and means of engaging children, teenagers, and young adults though digital media.

The interview with Howard Rheingold focuses on we are able to use technology as a means to take learning into our own hands. This is a man who has been part of the ongoing development of the internet since it first came into being (around 20 years). He discusses how digital technology can be used to address particular issues in regards to social media (identity, presentation of self, community, collective action, the public sphere, and social capital). He also addresses how media technology is mainly about day-to-day experiences as well as his life’s journey toward becoming a leading professor and teacher in the study of digital media.

The interview with Constance Steinkuehler addresses the functions of “Games in the Classroom.” Steinkuehler is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madision who co-directs the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery. According to her, digital media can be used as a means toward engaged learning and exploration. She also believes that it is important to form partnerships/relationships between game designers and academics through investment.

http://ccce.com.washington.edu/projects/macArthurDML.html

http://clalliance.org/rheingold/

http://spotlight.macfound.org/featured-stories/entry/games-in-the-classroom-should-be-about-exploration-not-answers-constance-st/

Discussion Questions:

1) What is your personal position on what it most important role of digital media?

2) In what ways do you believe that games can or cannot be used as a means of exploration and engaged learning?

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