21st Century Learning & Literacies: Where to Start

Below are links to a handful of people, sites, and ideas, a starting place into digital pedagogy, learning, literacies, and culture.

Andrea Lunsford’s Op-Ed “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast”

James Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. 

Digital Is website and link to article about “Beginning the Digital Journey.” Website sponsored by the National Writing Project with funding from MacArthur. Digital resource for teachers. Full of examples from k-college teachers.

90+ Videos for Tech & Media Literacy (curated by Alec Couros)

“Digital Media-New Learners of the 21st Century.”  This aired on PBS in 2011. Highlights innovations in teaching and learning related to Digital Literacies. Also introduces some of the key researchers in digital culture and literacy: Mimi Ito, Henry Jenkins, James Gee, John Seely Brown, Katie Salen, among others.

Archive of articles focused on digital pedagogy from Hybrid Pedagogy.

Howard Rhiengold’s short article “Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies.”

John McWhorter’s TED talk “Txtng is Killing Language. JK!!!” 

Mike Wesch’s lecture on technology and teaching

“Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.” Mike Wesch’s fabulous talk and research presented to the Library of Congress. Students really like this talk and it’s a great model for doing research related to social media.

“The Machine is Us/ing Us” Mike Wesch’s first short video about Web 2.0.

Hybrid Pedagogy Journal

Cyborgology Blog

Spigot. Great curated resource for learning, technology and youth.

Cathy Davidson, Founder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaborative), describes a new course in 21st Century Literacies.

Spotlight On Digital Media and Learning (resources/articles). Online texts/books related to digital learning from MIT Press. From their site: “The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning examines the effect of digital media tools on how people learn, network, communicate, and play, and how growing up with these tools may affect people’s sense of self, how they express themselves, and their ability to learn, exercise judgment, and think systematically.”

Digital Media and Learning website

danah boyd’s website. Boyd is a researcher who writes prolifically about youth and digital culture. Links to most of her articles here. Many of these I have used with students.

Short video from the MacArthur Digital Literacies website about the 21st C learner.

Short video from the MacArthur Digital Literacies website about digital media and learning.

Lawrence Lessig TED talk on Laws That Choke Creativity.

My daily ScoopIt focused on support for our iPad implementation at CSU, Chico. Resources and articles related to the iPad.

Kim Jaxon and Chris Fosen’s “Not Your Grandmother’s Comp Class.” BlogTalk Radio broadcast related to the teaching of writing in a large class and the role of digital platforms.

 Google Doc with Game Design Resources (multiple articles and links)

 Digital Platforms and Tools (for getting started)

Ways I think about using these platforms in terms of participation can be found HERE

Google Docs

At CSU, Chico: http://www.csuchico.edu/google

Google Docs and Google Sites are part of the Google Apps for Education set of tools. At CSU, Chico, students can get to Google Docs and Sites from their Wildcat mail log in screen. They do NOT need a separate gmail account. Google Docs function like typical office tools: you can create documents, forms, and presentations. These documents can be private or shared with others or completely open to the public.

Here is an example of group annotation from my literacy studies class: http://tinyurl.com/scribner-annotate

Great insights and advice for collaborating with GoogleDocs from Hybrid Pedagogy: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/files/10_Tips_for_Google_Docs.html

 ePortfolios using Google Sites

At CSU, Chico: http://www.csuchico.edu/google

Students can upload, revise, and give feedback in Google Docs and link these documents to their Google Site. Students can curate their portfolio in Google Sites and share the link with their instructor.

Example Google Site from my student Janeal: https://sites.google.com/a/mail.csuchico.edu/jhall-english-333/


Diigo is a social bookmarking tool. The site is useful for sharing links to articles, videos, webpages, etc. with a group of people. Students can create a large database of sources for use by the class.

Example group from my first-year comp class: http://groups.diigo.com/group/jaxon130_fa11


Tumblr is a blogging platform. Students can blog using text, video, audio, images, links, etc. Tumblr can function like a digital notebook (like a science notebook and an artist’s sketchbook). I use Tumblr for reader responses, short summaries, a place for students to trace what they are learning.

Example Tumblr Blogs from various classes:

Grad Students: http://engl634.tumblr.com/page/5

Juniors and Seniors: http://engl332seven.tumblr.com/page/2

Freshmen: http://130psix.tumblr.com/page/2

“Featured Blogs” site; our Tumblr Review Board (made up of students in the first-year writing class) chooses model posts from our team blogs each week to share with the class: http://130pwinning.tumblr.com/page/4


Twitter is a micro blog. Twitter can be used as a way to create community inside and outside of class. There are a ton of resources and professionals on twitter to follow.

People to follow on Twitter:

Also, nice resource about using Twitter from a teacher: http://stumpteacher.blogspot.com/2010/12/twitter-tutorial.html

An article from Hybrid Pedagogy, “The Twitter Essay,” by Jesse Stommel


Prezi is a presentation tool; free on the web. Allows for a less linear approach to presentations. I think of it as a giant piece of paper where I can sketch ideas and connect those ideas later.

Example: http://prezi.com/uqqleoolt6mo/who-i-amwhy-i-write-digital-stories-as-participation-in-learning/


DropBox allows you to share files among multiple computers and devices. It also allows you to invite other people to folders so you can share documents more easily.


Remind101 allows you to text announcements and reminders to students without sharing cell phone information with each other. You can also schedule reminders to be sent at a later time.

Film Resources

This link takes you to a google doc with a variety of film resources my colleagues and I have collected over the past couple of years.


This site allows you to make long URL’s smaller. It also allows you to create a custom URL. I find this site very useful for generating shorter links to share on twitter or custom links for students.