Calendar / Readings


Class 1 [Monday May 11] Issues

Issues in Digital Technology & Education 

  • Introductions & Issues
  • Syllabus Tour and Course Expectations
  • Introduction to First Readings.

Production 1 / Creating Your Course Website

Production 1: Website: Power Up

Class 2 [Wednesday May 13] Contagion!

Learning Through Serious Play: The Affordances of Digital Games for Deeper Learning

In a plague-ravaged land, ignorance reigns supreme.” Contagion (game)

Can games, simulations and modelling prepare us for uncertain futures? What can ‘good games’ teach us about deeper learning both in and outside of games? What lessons can we learning from digital games about learning and ‘knowledge’? What and how do people learn differently in games, why do they persist, and what do the authors argue about the affordances of “good games” for rethinking educational practice and what counts as ‘learning’ an ‘knowledge’ (in and outside of digital spaces and virtual worlds)?

  1. de Castell, S. & Jenson, J. (2007). Digital Games for Education: When Meanings Play. Intermédialités / Intermediality, (9), 113–132.
  2. Gee, J. P. (2008). Cats and Portals: Video Games, Learning and PlayAmerican Journal of Play, 1, 2, 229-235.

Contagion is set in a futuristic world, Pyramidea; a socially stratified city-state on the verge of a terrible epidemic. As the name would suggest, Pyramidea is a large vertically partitioned city divided into three segments, each of which serves as the home and starting point for one of the game’s three main characters. The pyramid itself purposely invokes the metaphor of a socioeconomic hierarchy, set-ting the stage for the conflicts the players will encounter on their journey through the various layers of the city.”

Production 2: A Reflection on Games & Learning during Covid 19 (due with website by start of class 3).

— Victoria Day [Mon May 18 ] No Classes / Meeting —-

Class 3 [Weds May 20]  System Change

Transforming Learning and School Culture in Ontario
Case Study: Please engage readings as a ‘set’ for rethinking and enacting ‘system change’ in Ontario schools where 1) new technologies and 2) innovative inquiry-driven pedagogies for ‘deep learning’ are in play together.

The school initiative in Article 2 was based (in part) on a theories and practical touchstones outlined by Michael Fullan (Article 1). As you read, your job is to map out relations between A Reach Seam and Transforming School Culture: identify links and (dis)continuities, and consider critiques or other opportunities for envisioning further innovations in learning.

What are the critical problems, challenges and stakes confronting mainstream educational institutions today (as identified by the authors)? How is technology theorized and how are actor roles (re)understood? How are traditional pedagogies and assessment forms challenged? What is the ‘model’ (and mechanisms) for system transformation being advocated?


  1. Fullan, M. & Langworthy (2014).  A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. London: Pearson. (Read Chapters 1-4)
  2. Thumlert, K., Owston, R. & Mulhotra, T. (2018). Transforming school culture through inquiry-driven learning and iPads, Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 3 Issue: 2, pp.79-96.

Production 3: Transforming Education / Engaging the Arguments & Models

Class 4 [Mon May 25]  Video Works

From ‘Cellphilms’ to Embodied Inquiry / Documentary Films

Mapping Relations: What’s are differences and similarities between cellphilm making and “embodied inquiry”? Recursion: What are the links and relationships between theories and practices discussed in these week’s articles and theories and practices from the preceding readings?

  1. Macentee, K., Burkholder, C. & J. Schwab-Cartas (2016). What’s a Cellphilm? Integrating Mobile Phone Technology into Participatory Visual Research and Activism (Introductory Chapter).
  2. Doerr-Stevens, (2107). Embracing the Messiness of Research: Documentary Video Composing as Embodied, Critical Media Literacy, English Journal, 106.3 (2017): 56–62.

Objects to Think With: Working with Ideation Decks  (Game-Like Systems for Design Thinking, Creativity and Making). Examples:

Production 4: Card Decks, Video Works and Cellphilms

Class 5 [Weds May 27] WikiJam / What If?

Speculative Fictions, Critical Literacies & Imagining (Alternative [educational] Futures / Pasts / Presents)

Most articles about using Wikimedia are rather dry, positioning Wikimedia tools in relation to established Wikipedia uses/functions. Rather than read about conventional ways of using wikis in education, we are going to look at the opportunities of speculative fiction for collaborative world-building and for developing critical literacies: a means of exploring the opportunities of Wikimedia tools while leveraging ‘speculative fabulation’ for a literary re/imagining of educational ‘realities’ – or for creating ‘encyclopedias’ for possible futures, counter-factual pasts, and alternative presents).

  1. Truman, S.E. (2019). SF! Haraway’s Situated Feminisms and Speculative Fabulations in English Class, Studies in Philosophy and Education, (38), p. 31–42.

Please read the following “handouts” from Brittany Tomin (C).

I will be providing a demo for the wikimedia but this tutorial video should help if you have additional questions.

Guest Speaker Brittany Tomin, York University, PhD Studen

Wikimedia Speculative Fiction Workshop

Class 6 [Mon June 1] Project Work Day

Come up for Air: No readings or class meeting.

Instead, use this time to work on your cellphilms/video projects and/or your wiki-media speculative fiction project or other course-related productions.

Class 7 [Weds June 3] M-Learning

Mobile / Multimodal / Multilingual: Rethinking Language Learning within Networks & New Media Ecologies

  1. Lotherington, H. (2018). Mobile Language Learning: The Medium is ^not the Message, L2 Journal, 10(2), pp. 198–214.
  2. Reinhardt, J. (2019) Gameful Second and Foreign Language Teaching
    and Learning, New Language Learning and Teaching Environments (skim for main ideas / points of interest)

Guest Speaker: Dr. Heather Lotherington, Professor, York University. Dr. Lotherington will speak about a current research project:

Production Pedagogies for Language Learning in Mobile Digital Environments: a project aiming to: 1) Research linguistic and multimodal language interactions that are enabled by new media and mobile digital devices (towards designing innovative language-learning pedagogies that leverage the affordances of new media). 2) Look beyond apps that ‘gamify’ language learning in order to develop ‘mobile’ pedagogies for learning in situated/authentic contexts using multiple tools (as just-in-time resources). These tools include smartphones/tablets, cameras, audio recording apps, graphic text-making apps, GPS / language trails, translation apps, digital games, online communities, and learning with voice-activated AI digital agents (e.g., iPhone’s Siri). Our research looks to document the opportunities and constraints of working with multiple language-learning tools and new media.”

Production 5: Multimodal Making (L2/ELL & Mobile-Learning)

Class 8 [Mon June 8] Twine Works

Learning with and from games, virtural worlds and simulations.


  1. Gee, J.P. (2007). Are Video Games Good for Learning? In Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Game Research. New York. (Short)
  2. Nissenbaum / Flannagan, et al (2001) Grow a Game: A Tool for Values Conscious Design and Analysis of Digital Games Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play (Short)
  3. New York Times Article (2014): Twine: The Video Game Technology for All

Being There: Identify connections between Gee’s article (learning principles) and Dede’s discussion of MUVES. Map out relation between learning in games/simulations and Twine game making (learning through game design). Make recursive connections  with previous readings.

Twine Workshop: Simulations, Empathy Games, and Experimental Adventures in Coding and Narrative

Production 6: Twine Works

Week 9 [Weds June 10] Sounds/Music

Music-making as a communal activity has been drastically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and learning about ways to make sound and music independently and virtually, and finding novel ways to collaborate and share music/sound works, is an important consideration in our post-Covid world. The class/workshop is designed to help us start thinking about the skills and resources needed to adapt to the changing world of music-making in the foreseeable future. Personal expression and the reward of creative work through sound- and music-making also has mental health benefits.

  1. Thumlert, K., Nolan, J., Harley, D. (In Press). Sound beginnings: Learning, communicating and making sense with sound. Music Educators Journal (Short Article)
  2. Matthews, C. (2019). Towards Disabled Artist-led Music Technology
  3. Check Out Afrorack and VCV Rack (Download for Free)

Sound Inquiry: A VCV Rack – “Modular Thinking” – Workshop with Heidi Chan (York PhD Student, Ethnomusicology)

Modular Synthesis (VCV Rack) / DAWS (Digital Audio Workstations)

Unlike traditional forms of music education that limit learners to conventional instruments, standardized Eurocentric curricula and developmental/technical standards (which may be ableist and exclusionary), modular synthesis is interdisciplinary, and novices/learners can approach music learning and sound design from diverse fields, with idiosyncratic learning goals and purposes. Modular synthesis is unique in that it affords multiple access points and pathways for engaging sound/music learning—from traditional arts and aesthetics to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) fields.”

GarageBand (Apple) DAW
Soundation (Online / Free / Browser-Based DAW)

Resource for STEM/STEAM learning

Production 7: Deep Listening / Sound Inquiry

Week 10 [Mon June 15] Critical Literacies

Critical Literacies & Critical Remix in the Age of Fake News, Algorithmic Culture and (Covid 19) Dis/Mis/Information

Situated Learning: Technology, New Media and Production Pedagogies
Learning through Making, Design and Creative Production.

  1. Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2007). Critical media literacy, democracy, and the reconstruction of education. In D. Macedo & S.R. Steinberg (Eds.), Media literacy: A reader (pp. 3-23). New York: Peter Lang Publishing
  2. Jocson, C. (2013). Remix revisited: critical solidarity in youth media arts, E–Learning and Digital Media, Volume 10, Number 1, 2013.

Production 8 Critical Media Literacies

Week 11 [Weds June 17] Project Work Day

Check In with Course Instructor.

I will schedule Zoom “check-in” meetings with individuals and/or project groups to discuss progress, provide support, and speak to expectations for the Week 12 project sharing

Week 12 [ Mon June 22] “Work-in-Progress” Project Sharing

  • Zoom Final Day for Sharing Course Projects / Presentations
  • Final Discussions and Take Away Points

Final Projects Due June 27