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Joan Becker and 6 of her students.

Vol. 3, No. 2

Spring 2014

Your Source of Information for Staying Connected, the e-magazine of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education

Second Annual Research Colloquium

By Dr. Adele Eskeles Gottfried, Professor and Director of Research Enhancement

Dr. James Paul Gee

Dr. James Paul Gee, Professor, Arizona State University

The Second Annual Research Colloquium of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education was held on October 8, 2013, and we were honored to feature renowned researcher and professor, Dr. James Paul Gee, who spoke on Digital Media and Learning in a Dangerous Age.

The colloquium attracted many faculty, students, and alumni from both within the College of Education and across the university. Dean Michael Spagna and Professor Miguel Ceja, Director of the Ed.D program in Educational Leadership, sponsored the colloquium. This annual colloquium is a function of the Research Advisory Committee, headed by Dr. Adele Eskeles Gottfried, Director of Research Enhancement and Professor of Educational Psychology and Counseling.

Dr. Adele Gottfried, Dr. James Paul Gee, and Dean Spagna

From left: Dr. Adele Eskeles Gottfried, Director of Research Enhancement, Dr. James Paul Gee, Research Colloquium speaker, and Dean Spagna at the Second Annual Research Colloquium

According to Dr. Gee, massive inequality and interactions of high-risk complex systems threaten our progress. These include global warming, environmental degradation, toxic waste, the global economy, the workings of casino capitalism, global migrations of people, and ideological, civilizational, and religious wars. He contends that drastic change is on the horizon in part because we humans, often in the name of greed, have waited too long to deal with too many of our problems. It is time to end business as usual and to rethink the role of digital media and learning in and out of schools. Dr. Gee discussed where we might go and what we might do in the face of transformational change.

In his talk, Dr. Gee advanced the view that because current educational methods do not engage learners, we need to harness the power of digital media to attract and develop affinity groups through autonomous actions of individuals, not tied to specific organizations, but to those with shared interests. Knowledge will be built by developing shared meanings associated with these activities. Examples include burgeoning writers who bypass traditional publishers to write books and attract a fan base on their own and groups that are discovering planets in galaxies beyond our universe by affiliating with others of like interests. Non-experts are becoming as good as credentialed experts in their fields. Such knowledge may exceed that produced in traditional settings. Dr. Gee referred to this activity as the Maker Movement.

Dr. James Paul Gee is the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University and a member of the National Academy of Education. His book Sociolinguistics and Literacies (4th Edition, 2011) was one of the founding documents in the formation of the New Literacy Studies, an interdisciplinary field devoted to studying language, learning, and literacy in an integrated way in the full range of their cognitive, social, and cultural contexts. His book An Introduction to Discourse Analysis (3rd Edition, 2011) brings together his work on a methodology for studying communication in its cultural settings, an approach that has been widely influential over the last two decades. His most recent books have dealt with video games, language, and learning. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2nd Edition, 2007) argues that good video games are designed to enhance learning through effective learning principles supported by research in the learning sciences. Situated Language and Learning (2004) places video games within an overall theory of learning and literacy and shows how they can help us in thinking about the reform of schools. His other recent books include: Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays (2007); How to Do Discourse Analysis (2011); Woman as Gamers: The Sims and 21st Century Learning (2010) and Language and Learning in the Digital World (2011), both written with Elizabeth Hayes. The Anti-Education ERA: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Media appeared in 2013. Professor Gee has also published widely in journals in linguistics, psychology, the social sciences, and education.

For additional information about Dr. Gee's work, please see the link below to access one of his articles. Moreover, during the Q & A session at the colloquium, Dr. Gee referred to other authors and their work. These additional resources can also be found on the Eisner College research website, which features the research colloquium at

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