Category Archives: Technology

Special Issue of Learning, Media and Technology: New Narratives for Solidarity, Resistance, and Indignation


I am excited to announce the publication of the latest issue of Learning, Media and Technology – New Narratives for Solidarity, Resistance, and Indignation: The Intersections of Learning, Technology, & Politics in a Climate of Fear, OppressionThomas Philip and I proposed this issue in the early months of 2017 expecting to highlight research of a passing moment. 20 months later, it is clear that the urgency around the themes for this issue has only increased.

The ten articles in this collection point to necessary scholarship exploring what learning and technology mean within the contexts of violence pervasive in recent years.

Our opening editorial essay for this issue, “Smoldering in the darkness: contextualizing learning, technology, and politics under the weight of ongoing fear and nationalism” attempts to situate the present moment within broader historical trends. It is freely accessible here. (And it quotes Rihanna.) Here’s a brief excerpt:

We write this acknowledging that the vast majority of educational—particularly classroom-specific—research is conducted now without acknowledging the sociopolitical contexts that press on the lives of youth today. As students sit in schools within the U.S., they are presented with reminders that youth are presently in cages, are victims of violence and unarmed deaths, and are foisted into debates of the morality of alleged sexual assault. To consider improving student learning outcomes, we must first acknowledge the substantial damage that is being incurred by both the blindness of schools to the healing needs of youth (Zembylas, 2007) and the normative approaches of educational research on vulnerable communities (Tuck, 2009).

Further, we note that the words, policies, and violence prevalent in global contexts is not bound to the whims or motives of individuals; we see today’s political actions—internationally – shaping the landscape of learning and technology long after the administration of individual leaders. As a result, the papers in this issue explore the broader landscape of the current political climate, rather than focusing exclusively on specific figures and events. It is our hope that they provoke renewed conversations
about the intersections of learning, engagement, and resistance.

We edited this issue because there is not a more important focus for us to center in educational research than the lives of individuals continually living under the threat of oppression and autocracy. Our contributors are interrogating this topic in powerful, imaginative, and hopeful ways. Please take a look at the full table of contents here.

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Announcing Good Reception!

I am thrilled to announce the release of my newest book, Good Reception: Teens, Teachers, and Mobile Media in a Los Angeles High School. Published by MIT Press, this book synthesizes nearly a decade of research that began in my classroom as a teacher in Los Angeles and continues through various work today.

Here’s a description of the book:

A year in the life of a ninth-grade English class shows how participatory culture and mobile devices can transform learning in schools.

Schools and school districts have one approach to innovation: buy more technology. In Good Reception, Antero Garcia describes what happens when educators build on the ways students already use technology outside of school to help them learn in the classroom. As a teacher in a public high school in South Central Los Angeles, Garcia watched his students’ nearly universal adoption of mobile devices. Whether recent immigrants from Central America or teens who had spent their entire lives in Los Angeles, the majority of his students relied on mobile devices to connect with family and friends and to keep up with complex social networks. Garcia determined to discover how these devices and student predilection for gameplay, combined with an evolving “culture of participation,” could be used in the classroom.

Garcia charts a year in the life of his ninth-grade English class, first surveying mobile media use on campus and then documenting a year-long experiment in creating a “wireless critical pedagogy” by incorporating mobile media and games in classroom work. He describes the design and implementation of “Ask Anansi,” an alternate reality game that allows students to conduct inquiry-based research around questions that interest them (including “Why is the food at South Central High School so bad?”). Garcia cautions that the transformative effect on education depends not on the glorification of devices but on teacher support and a trusting teacher-student relationship.

I’ve taken the years since first completing the analysis at the heart of this book to look at how my work can shift the landscape of educational equity in the U.S. As a result, I’ve had a chance to extend the research that first began as my dissertation in this book. At the same time, I’ve tried to fill this book with as many resources for teachers, researchers, and game designers as possible. The appendices has resources for structuring game design for K-12 contexts as well as frameworks for meaningful integration of technology in schools.

If you want to get a better sense of this work, Henry Jenkins recently ran a three-part interview with me describing some of the key ideas in the book. Take a look at parts one, two, and three.

I also recently was featured on Stanford Radio talking about the key ideas in the book and you definitely want to listen to that too, right?:

Good Reception is a project I’ve spent a long time refining my thinking about. I began this research a few years prior to one of the largest one-to-one debacles in the U.S. and concluded my analysis only after co-designing a school based on some of the principles featured in the book. Further, this work in the book has shaped how I have been studying project-based learning, tabletop gaming, connected learning, teacher professional development, “analog” and “gaming” literacies, research methodologies, and alternate reality games. Though I write about a lot of this stuff in a lot of different journals, Good Reception is where I’ve tried to be most accessible in my writing for a more general and public audience. I hope you give it a look!

(And since you’re here, I’m just gonna go ahead and put these awesome book endorsements down here too!)

A rising star in the Digital Media and Learning realm and a gifted storyteller, Antero Garcia combines an embedded perspective as a classroom teacher facing the challenges and opportunities of bringing mobile media into the public schools with a theoretically sophisticated grasp of contemporary pedagogical theories (Connect Learning, the New London Group, games-based education, and Paulo Freire, among others). This book could not be more timely or more urgent as schools confront a growing disconnect between their normal practices and the ways youth are processing the world around them.

Henry Jenkins, coauthor of By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism

As technology sweeps into classrooms, adults commonly regard it either as a magic bullet to deepen student engagement or as a hard-to-handle and persistent distraction to be put away. Instead, Antero Garcia, a gifted teacher, presents in Good Reception, a nuanced, alternative, and illuminating perspective, based on listening to the students themselves about their relationship with technology.

Jane Margolis, Senior Researcher, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA; lead author of Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing

I’m really excited to have this work out in the world. If you’re reading, talking, or wondering about this book or the ideas within, please feel free to get in touch!

WHO’s Calling the Media Literacy Shots? (Thoughts on the New Dr.)

As an admittedly non-Dr. Who fan, I had some thoughts about the new doctor and classroom implications:


Call for Papers: The Intersections of Learning, Technology, & Politics in a Climate of Fear, Oppression, and Nationalism

I am co-editing an upcoming special issue of Learning, Media and Technology alongside Thomas M. Philip with the theme noted above. The full CFP can be found here and I am also pasting the details below.

Abstracts are due in a bit over a month and I an hoping that many of you reading this might consider how your scholarship aligns with the call. Please get in touch if you have questions about this work. (If you’re at AERA this week, shoot me a tweet and we can connect and talk there!)

Proposals are invited for papers for a special issue of the journal on the theme of The Intersections of Learning, Technology, & Politics in a Climate of Fear, Oppression, and Nationalism

This special issue will present research exploring how the current nationalist and oppressive sociopolitical environment–seen globally–shapes youth identities and learning practices in both formal and informal environments. We want to interrogate how learning and the role of technology are affected by a political climate that sees a rise in global far-right movements, as evidenced by the wake of prominent recent events like Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As guest editors in the U.S., we are particularly cognizant of a localized context in which a successful presidential campaign can be built on foundations of racism (Kendall, 2016), religious intolerance (Rosenberg & Ainsley, 2016) sexual assault (Burns, Haberman, & Martin, 2016), misogyny (Khazan, 2016), xenophobia (Sargent, 2016), and a disregard for science and the environment; we see today’s political actions shaping the landscape of learning and technology long after the administration of individual leaders.  As a result, the papers in this issue will explore the broader landscape of the current political climate, rather than focusing exclusively on specific figures and events.  They will offer new understandings and narratives of learning, engagement, and resistance.

The intersections of learning, technology, and politics are pervasive in the lives of young people; exploring how information and technology shape the contours of the spaces in which learning takes place, we seek to center the voices and needs of youth. Further, this issue underscores that these shifts are happening globally and we are specifically interested in looking at how nationalism and far-right movements affect youth learning and engagement in myriad, global contexts. We also see broader civic, educative, and social-emotional concerns arising at the same time that one-to-one digital device initiatives and emphasis on STEM learning claim to be ushering in equitable learning opportunities for all youth regardless of socioeconomics, culture, race, or gender. In considering how issues of capitalism and neoliberalism underpin both the educational shifts in classrooms and the ushering in of a nationalistic political paradigm, this issue will highlight the fundamental role that media and technology play in this specific moment. We are mindful that the contexts of learning are part of the current political moment and tied to neo-liberal capitalist practices.

We invite papers for this issue of Learning, Media and Technology that come from a variety of research methods, theoretical approaches and country perspectives. We are particularly interested in papers that are authored, co-authored, or take into account the voices and perspectives of those most vulnerable in the present political moment not limited to youth of color, women, members of a religious minority, and individuals that identify as LGBTQ. Papers might explore such questions as:

  • How are youth identities being shaped by the current landscape of nationalism, exclusion, and symbolic violence, particularly through new media?
  • What role does technology play in reinforcing and/or resisting hurtful discourses?
  • In what ways can empirical research around learning and technology take up an emphasis of solidarity and/or resistance to exclusionary educational and social policies?
  • How does symbolic violence in social media shape feelings of nationalism and identity, particularly for youth?
  • How are digital tools, artificial intelligence, and machine learning shaping global contexts such as the election of Trump and Brexit?
  • How are youth learning about, responding to, and unpacking the contexts of neoliberal society in both formal and informal environments? What tools are leveraged in this discourse?
  • How are contemporary social science and educational methodologies illuminating or occluding dominant hegemonic discourses within the work conducted in schools?

Submission Instructions

We are currently soliciting abstracts for proposed papers for the special issue. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and be accompanied by up to six keywords.

Deadline for submission of abstract: 1st June 2017
Successful authors informed: 1st July 2017
Deadline for submission of full papers: 15th January 2018

Full papers are expected to be between 6,000 and 8,000 words (please refer to the journal website for full ‘instructions for authors’). All papers will be subject to the usual blind reviewing and refereeing processes.

Please send abstracts and keywords to the guest editors by 1st June 2017:

Email: Antero Garcia & Thomas M. Philip

Please put ‘abstract Learning, Media and Technology’ in the subject.
Burns, A., Haberman, M., Martin, J. (2016). Donald Trump apology caps day of outrage over lewd tape. New York Times.

Kendall, B. (2016). Trump says judge’s Mexican heritage presents ‘absolute conflict’. Wall Street Journal.

Khazan, O. (2016). The Lasting Harm of Trump-Style Sexism. The Atlantic.

Rosenberg, M. & Ainsley, J.E. (2016). Immigration hardliner says Trump team preparing plans for wall, mulling Muslim registry. Reuters.

Sargent, G. (2016). Trump returns to his old standbys: Xenophobia, hate, lies, and yes, mass deportations. Washington Post.


Beyond “Dead Channels”: Technology in Education Conference and Expo Keynote

If you happen to be in Western Massachusetts, I am giving the keynote at the Technology in Education Conference and Expo tomorrow, January 14th. With this year’s conference theme focused on Connected Learning, I am looking forward to engaging in conversations about the role of educators in shaping the contexts of connected learning in schools. In particular, I hope to focus on youth understanding of civic and social nuance of how they learn in participatory environments.

I’ll also be signing copies of Pose, Wobble, Flow and Doing Youth Participatory Actions Research.

If you’re at the conference, please say hello!

Invisibles: An Audiobook


I just finished listening to the audiobook of Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion by David Zweig.

Recommended by Bud Hunt, I appreciated the delicate attention to unseen craftsmanship that entire industries are built upon. From Radiohead’s lead guitar tech to someone devoted to making way-finding in an airport an intuitive process to the interpreters that the United Nations rely upon, the role of invisibles offers us as readers a framework for how to be mindful and curious in the work we do.

In the final chapter of the book, Zweig reflects on the tension between the inflated ego of having his first book contract but not chipping away at the words needing to be written and being in the flow-like process of deep analysis of an interview for the book. Zweig illuminates a shift in perspective that can empower readers to rethink their work and find fulfillment in the curiosity before us.


(Isn’t there always a however?)

While I appreciate the sentiment of how Zweig can pivot from an ego-filled sense of being a fuddy duddy author to a silent craftsman of words for an audience, the lens of hearing about this via an audiobook was striking. While I listened to Zweig’s words I became immediately aware that there is another largely invisible expert delivering these words.

Earlier in the day, chatting with Bud via Slack (is this “slacking”?), he typed, “I dig the narrator.” I did too.

Sean Pratt. I had to look up who just read the nearly 10 hour production. His crisp delivery – like that of many other audiobook readers does its best when it gets out of the way of the content I am passively consuming in my car or while walking dogs. Sure, Pratt’s name is mentioned in the fleeting credits of the audiobook, but it’s fluff I usually disregard. It’s part of the digital paratexts that succeeds largely when it is invisible.

Years ago, I was listening to the audiobook of Nancy Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion. At the book’s conclusion, Farmer conducts an interview with the audiobook’s reader Raul Esparza. What should have been an engaging peek behind the curtain was too dissonant for me. I’d just spent hours hearing and trusting a voice to act as a conduit of Farmer’s words. That this voice was anchored to an individual, that it had agency, was too strange an effect. I was hearing the voice of a book reflect on being a voice of not just one but many other books Esparza has read.

There’s probably something to be said about the most un-invisible of audiobook readers, Jim Dale, and about the allure of celebrity authors and readers of works. Last month, I spent a week with Kim Gordon’s voice. As she discussed the painful encounters that led to her divorce from her partner and Sonic Youth bandmate Thurston Moore, my mind oscillated between wondering what it was like for Gordon to read and re-read passages of her life out-loud and also feeling comforted to know that she safely harbored her words to me, rather than an intrusive middle-person.

Consuming audiobooks provides an added layer of text which we must analyze and consider. Rather than simply a lazier way to consume media content, Zweig’s metacognitive reflection, read by Sean Pratt, highlights the ways audio adds to text.*

*As I type this, Mark Z. Danielewski’s The Familiar sits on my desk and reminds me that it (like his other works) are largely impossible to translate into an audiobook. The multimedia possibilities of print media are often taken for granted in the digital age.

New article on the Council of Youth Research in Reading & Writing Quarterly

I have a new co-authored article detailing the Council of Youth Research in the current issue of Reading & Writing Quarterly. Titled “The Council of Youth Research: Critical Literacy and Civic Agency in the Digital Age,” you can access the article here.

I’m excited about extending and sharing further work around the Council of Youth Research in a future publication as well (stay tuned!). As always, I am indebted to my amazing co-authors: Nicole Mirra, Ernest Morrell, Antonio Martinez, and D’Artagnan Scorza. Thank you. I am sharing the abstract to the article below.

This article explores the relationship between critical literacy practice, digital media production, and civic agency in the Council of Youth Research, a youth participatory action research program in which Los Angeles high school students conduct research and create dynamic, multimedia presentations as leaders of a growing youth movement for educational justice. We examine theories of critical literacy to articulate a vision of literacy that is tied to societal power structures for the purpose of personal and social transformation. In order to bring critical literacy theory into practice, we explore the ways in which critical pedagogy and participatory digital literacies structure the work of the Council. We use ethnography of communication and visual sociology to analyze literacy events from 1 year of the Council’s work to highlight ways in which student digital literacy production manifested powerful civic agency. We conclude by discussing the implications of this work for classrooms and further grounded research in pedagogies of participatory media.

Catching up with the Connected Learning Classroom

A few updates regarding the recently released report/ebook Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom:

Most timely, tomorrow–and every tuesday in April–I’ll be participating in the ConnectedLearning.TV webinar series focused on the major principles highlighted in the book. Tomorrow’s event is titled “Networked Classrooms: Providing Equitable Access to Connected Learning” and I encourage you to check out the  hashtag #wherewelearn in preparation for the webinar.

We have some amazing guests scheduled throughout the month. Our final webinar in April is an unHangout where you can more directly join in on the conversation. Be sure to join us! (A special shout out to Nicole Mirra who has been doing the brunt of the organizing for this series. She also wrote this post about the series. If you aren’t reading her blog, Revise and Resubmit, do so now.)

Two weeks ago we hosted a related webinar about the report for Educator Innovator. You can rewatch the discussion here:

A few reviews of the book have been trickling in here, here, and here. (If you are interested in reviewing it, please pass along the link!)

Finally, the ebook is now available for the Kindle here. While that’s great and all, the file costs $.99, which is exactly $.99 more than the pdf version of the same material. Full disclosure: I don’t have any control over this cost (and none of the authors or curators of the book–myself included–gain from this).

It’s been thrilling hearing the many ways educators have been engaging with this work – I hope you have had a chance to dive in!