Monday, December 12, 2011

Mobile Money, Digital Learning, and the Virtual State

This year I finished up another round of guest blogging for the Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion, which has received a four million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support research on how new forms of e-commerce and e-finance are transforming (or sometimes not transforming) the developing world. You can check out the IMFTI Blog to see stories from IMFTI researchers about mobile money in Palestine, Kenya, Uruguay, Ghana, India, Tanzania, The Philippines, and many other countries. Given my work on digital expressions of the virtual state and the importance of informal learning practices in connection with distributed networks and computational media, I feel this annual experience always improves my scholarship by orienting my own work more to other reference points in the world.

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Can Public Education Co-Exist with Participatory Culture?

At Mobility Shifts: An International Future of Learning Summit Henry Jenkins (Team Cultural Studies) and Elizabeth Losh (Team Critical Theory) offer a progress report on whether and in what ways the public schools and universities are going to be able to absorb or meaningfully deploy what Jenkins calls “participatory culture.” Rather than an abstract discussion of a theoretical construct drawn from their supposedly opposite positions studying fan culture and institutional rhetoric respectively, the two will discuss concrete experiences of young people acting appropriately or not, inside or outside the classroom. What might a participatory learning culture look like? What policies make it hard for even supportive teachers to achieve in their classrooms? What stakeholders would need to be engaged in order to change the current cultures of our school? How might participatory learning take place beyond the schoolhouse gates? What is everyone afraid of?

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