Digital Media and Learning Conference 2017

Today marks a milestone for me! I have officially submitted my first ever proposal to present my doctoral dissertation ideas at a conference, Digital Media and Learning, held at University of California, Irvine.

Here’s the proposal:

STEAMHAMLET = Culturally Responsive Computing + Disruptive Technology

STEAMHAMLET is a dissertation currently in process that will present a study of the burgeoning field of Culturally Responsive Computing (CRC), its historical context and need, educational use computer software design, and “The Digital Divide”, in order to propose the creation of an experimental classroom use software that flexibly responds to its users, reconnects fragmented curriculum, and counters traditional industrial-age schooling frameworks.

The title “STEAMHAMLET” comes from a desire to integrate artificially disparate subject areas and use the STEAM curricula ideation plus a similarly integrated approach to the humanities. Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, History, Art, Music, Language, English, Theater = STEAMHAMLET. Instead of focusing on external goals and expectations determined by dominant culture norms, the heart of this software design and use is to explore alternative learning mechanisms in search of a more socially just world.

Art appears twice not by accident but to emphasize the importance to teach and see and create aesthetics in our efforts.

STEAMHAMLET is a vision for a new curriculum, a new pedagogy, a new assessment, a new school, a willingness to always change in service of a more just world — this is a disruption of traditional K20 schooling.

This dissertation study will add to a growing body of work about the Culturally Responsive Computing (CRC) theoretical framework as well as link to a historical body of education and computing work that comes from the founders of Artificial Intelligence (AI), LOGO software, Advanced Research Projects Network (ARPANET), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (M.I.T.) Media and Learning Lab.

This newly proposed educational software online environment will use Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and allow students to explore and play with ideas, with concepts, with wisdom, with artifacts, with machines, with multimedia, with formulas, with principles — essentially, anything that is or could be or will be in Wikipedia. As fast as you might, in your mind, imagine a conceptual overlapping of sounds and images and concepts, this software will allow you to have an immersive experience with that brainstorm and test its usefulness or feasibility or purpose. This software will have implicit creative and practical uses that will alter how we perceive our experiences offline.

STEAMHAMLET Software Proposal

This is the first attempt I have made to quickly show what the software STEAMHAMLET will tackle as part of its existence on planet Earth. Please take a look and give me feedback! Thanks!

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”bryan-sanders-presentation-on-crc-disruptive-k20″]

When people own their computers

When people own their computers they can control and choose which ideas to engage in and when and why. This idea comes from Seymour Papert’s landmark text Mindstorms, which inspires me on every page! Written in 1980, it came before the proliferation of not only the actual computer devices but the Read/Write Web that we know so well.


Seymour Papert, 1980, Mindstorms
Seymour Papert, 1980, Mindstorms

And it’s the WikiPower that makes owning our own computers transformative in nature. We can make our own servers, our own web hosts, our own software engines, and we can invite others to join in and interact and interface there. We can create our own Internet-connected spaces to work and skip over any commercially-owned content provider or online forum, although we likely won’t completely opt out there because we all have friends and family posting items of interest elsewhere. And truly, unless we are going to generate our own electricity to run our own server farm, we cannot unhitch ourselves from the central brain (and only a few call for that approach).

img_4554_2Seymour Papert called upon us to think WITH computers. To learn WITH computers. Our 2016 privilege to have a vast array of devices available for processing and working at lightning speed is often coupled with a fear that computers will take over. That fear was alive and well many years ago. We continue to make the error of handing over the job of teaching to a computer and pride ourselves on the computer that sits in a corner for a student to learn FROM. The computer takes over because we assigned it the function of taking over the job of instruction.

Further, the software designed for educational usage is often “edutainment” and combines a narrowly defined data set with some gaming or artistic principles that capture attention long enough to deliver the information to the student. This counters the research which demonstrates that students best learn when they experience the material and play with the material in an open and expansive or boundless manner.

STEAMHAMLET encourages students “to bang their heads against the world”™ and innovate new concepts, theories, and mechanisms.

Seymour Papert, you are with us.