I don’t always repost interviews others have done with me, but since this one is behind a user account, and they called me a “changemaker,” I wanted to share it here. The original was done by Kate Meersschaer and can be found on the New Learning Times site, a Columbia University webzine which describes itself as “a mobile publication about today’s learning landscape covering the latest innovations in education and learning.” Enjoy!
Barry Joseph is known as a changemaker who is passionately devoted to envisioning new ways digital media can “address significant personal and social issues.” Since 2012 Joseph has worked as the Associate Director For Digital Learning at the American Museum of Natural History. In his current position Joseph has created programming ranging from Digital Learning Week to an augmented reality-enabled museum guide (and many, many other initiatives in-between). From 2000—2012 Joseph was the director of Online Leadership at youth development organization, Global Kids, Inc. Joseph has also held roles in digital media and content creation ranging from writer to associate producer and was one of the co-founders of the NYC based Games for Change Festival. Joseph holds Masters Degrees in American Studies from both New York University and Northwestern University.
Question: How did your educational trajectory and past professional experience shape your current work?
Answer: My high school years were spent at a Friends School on Long Island. In Quaker schools education is dedicated to both academic learning but also developing students into engaged citizens who pursue and nurture a wide range of interests. When I graduated from college, people walked in alphabetical order by their major, so I walked first, and alone. My major was “ad-hoc,” as I had created my own, to focus on cultural studies. I also received a certificate in Integrated Arts, where we watched music videos, learned how to design in Hypercard – this is pre-Web keep in mind – and how to combine the visual, aural, and movement arts. When I speak about how I got to be where I am today professionally, I usually focus on my informal learning. But my formal learning deserves credit for teaching me to identify emerging patterns within digital learning, connect the dots, and explore, through practice, disruptive innovations.
Question: How do you hope your work will change the learning landscape?
Answer: Digital media holds the potential to transform a learner’s relationship with their own mind, with their own ability to strategize their learning pathways. It holds the potential to change when we learn, how we learn, where we learn. Whether our work contributes to our understanding of games-based learning, or mobile learning, or badge-motivated learning, or whatever, the hope is we can all better identify and understand the successful methods that advance this potential and increase the possibility space for such work.
Question: What broad trends do you think will have the most impact on learning in the years ahead?
Answer: I don’t believe in the often used concept of the “digital native.” I think youth and children need thoughtful, informed adults to help them develop their abilities to effectively use new and emerging digital media – for research, for socializing, for developing ethical behavior, and more. But they have more to teach us about how we can enhance our lives through the effective integration of digital tools and media. That literacy, that ease, that expectation, that blurring of the line we often like to hold between the “real” and the “digital,” will shift the ground beneath our feet.
Question: What are you currently working on & what is your next big project?
Answer: Exploring lots of interesting questions. How can digital media create new, dynamic pathways for visitors to connect with museum content? How can youth collaborate with the Museum in the co-development of digital educational tools? How can games-based learning create new ways to engage youth with informal science learning and support those already engaged to go deeper? How can digital badges support a community of science-identified youth learners? What does digital fabrication afford for informal science learning within an object-based museum?
Question: Who are the most interesting people you are following on Twitter?
Answer: I have my Twitter account organized into the following lists, which are all public: AMNH, Big Thinkers, Digital Science Folks, DML (Digital Media and Learning) Advocates, Gaming, and Museum Advocates. Check them out!