[iDC] Learning Ecologies

elana langer elana.langer at gmail.com
Wed Apr 7 15:55:37 UTC 2010

Hey IDC'ers

Trebor, thanks for inviting me to IDC!

I wanted to introduce myself. I'm Elana Langer, and I've been involved
in education, commercial media production, and technology for the
non-profit sector for the past ten years. I currently teach in the
Media Studies Department at the New School University, am developing a
new media intervention strategy for the polio eradication campaign in
Nigeria, and a program to get youth participating in a form of visual
apprenticeship programs in Brooklyn. I've worked across Canada, the
US, Africa and Asia trying to innovate opportunities for learning
through media. The most identifiable program I worked with, was One
Laptop Per Child, where I worked with the 'learning team' to develop
an educational infrastructure for the laptop in countries like

Introducing educational ideas or practices in the developing world
forces one to reflect on the system that is being exported. I am
hoping to generate a discussion around the system, structure, and
assumptions that we are exporting. If we look at the state of our
institutions, we are seeing bodies that have literally outgrown the
system. With a growing number of learning and anxiety disorders in
young learners appears to be a result of the clash between brick and
mortar education and the "real life world."

Is our fear of changing the system contributing to the anxiety of the
learners within those institutions? Is there an opportunity for
collaborative constructionist educational alternatives between
learners in the US and other countries? What would they look like or
will we always be imposing one system on another?

More soon --
Elana Langer

On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 9:48 AM, Trebor Scholz <scholzt at newschool.edu> wrote:
> Dear all,
> After The Internet as Playground and Factory, we are now moving the
> discussion to the next event in the conference series The Politics of
> Digital Culture.
> Our exchanges over the coming months will focus on digital media and
> learning from a global perspective, a set of topics that we discussed on
> this list before.
> While research about learning with digital media in the United States
> has received significant attention, a critical international angle is
> still largely missing.
> Concerns for the upcoming iDC conversations will include:
> - The International Political Economy of Learning
> - Dispelling the Myths of the Digital Native
> - Global Perspectives on Learning with Mobile Media
> - Informal Learning and the Pedagogical Turn in Art (Institutions)
> - Learning to Learn with Open Educational Resources
> - New Media Literacies
> - Educating Journalists
> - Histories of Learning, Writing, and the Book
> - Policy Making for Education in a Digital Age
> - The Future of Learning
> Let's start by welcoming our first guests who will kick off this forum
> with a few questions about the export of American education. I'm glad to
> welcome Elana Langer, Julian Daily, and Michael F C Moreland. Today,
> technologies and bodies are often out of sync with educational
> institutions and the growing number of learning and anxiety disorders in
> young learners appears to be a result of the clash between brick and
> mortar education and the "real life world." Our guests argue that
> schools struggle to become relevant to learners who would be more
> comfortable clicking through pages than physically turning them. Health
> care providers try not to buckle under the weight we have gained because
> of our fast food diets and our financial structures have collapsed under
> the pressure of bottomless consumerism. How are these tensions reflected
> in the ways in which the US is exporting its learning opportunities?
> Consequently, Langer, Moreland, and Daily ask if a change of American
> educational institutions can really be brought about from within and to
> what extent informal learning can be the answer.
> About the iDC Guests for April 2010:
> Elana Langer, Julian Daily, and Michael F C Moreland
> Elana Langer
> As a learning development consultant for, and part of One Laptop per
> Child's (OLPC) Learning Team, Elana has worked to incorporate computer
> technologies into existing educational systems in Asian and African
> countries. She has worked both at the grassroots and policy levels to
> ensure that Ministry officials find pragmatic solutions that will
> improve education nationally. Most recently Langer has returned from Nigeria
> where she conducted an assessment of the polio eradication
> communication strategy for the Center for Disease Control and is in
> the process of implementing innovative socially media based interventions.
> Prior to working at OLPC and CDC, Elana worked with the Future of
> Learning Group
> at the MIT Media Lab to design a system for reorganizing, enhancing and
> distributing the Telesecondaria archives in Mexico, as well as
> designing a multimedia learning environment that leveraged the city's
> shoe industry. Elana was a Media Arts professor at Nassau College
> (SUNY), and taught in the faculty of education at Acadia University.
> Elana has developed and implemented media-based educational projects in
> various countries
> including 'A Living Archive' funded through the University of Prince
> Edward Island. Elana is an accomplished writer/producer for
> educational television shows and documentary film. She has developed
> television series for networks including Spike TV, Oxygen and BBC, and
> has served as writer and producer on several internationally based
> documentaries. She currently teaches at The New School University.
> Julian Daily
> Julian Daily is an impassioned leader, entrepreneur, and community
> servant. He provides leadership and direction for g8four including the
> management of internal operations, marketing, business development,
> and strategic partnerships. In the nonprofit sector, he has worked
> with recruiting and retention programs for the Massachusetts Institute
> of Technology, as a Big Brother, and as part of One Laptop per Child's
> (OLPC) "Learning Team." Within the academic community, Julian
> supported and encouraged students' personal growth, provided outlets
> for managing stress, and facilitated positive interpersonal
> relationships while living in their undergraduate dormitory.
> Michael F C Moreland
> Michael Moreland is strategy director of SEEDR L3C and SEEC INC, a
> technology commercialization incubator. With SEEC, Michael has designed
> strategy for domestic and international technology transfer, start-up and
> expansion business and capital-structure planning, and new product
> development.
> His research on "Social Enterprise & Internal Revenue Service Reform,
> A Comparative Cross-System Analysis of Alternative Hybrid Organizational
> Models,"
> and "Hybridism as a Tool for Local Economic Development" explored the
> strategy and policy landscape at the intersection social
> entrepreneurship and technology.
> Michael has also consulted with several local and international
> nonprofits such as Habitat
> for Humanity and the US Fund for UNICEF on matters of capital campaign
> and grant
> writing strategies, and program development.
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