My book Don’t Go Back to School: A Handbook for Learning Almost Anything, based on over 100 interviews with learners, will be out in April 2013. I’m currently running the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Learning project for journalist-developers and civic data news hackers.
As an independent learning activist, I research, write and speak about the current situation and future of learning outside school.
I write fiction. I talk to strangers. I’m interested in cultures of generosity, the way humans relate to technology—and to each other, mediated by technology—and I teach at NYU’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
On top of 15 years experience in interactive advertising, I’ve consulted for startups and large companies helping them think about their users, particularly in the area of stranger interactions. I’ve done extensive community field research for technology projects, including Area/Code’s much-lauded game Macon Money and a series of games in other communities. I’ve enjoyed speaking about relational technology at conferences around the world. I’m a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and did doctoral work at Yale University’s American Studies program, where I focused on the history of science and medicine, urban studies, and underground economies, and then dropped out.
In addition to my first novel Follow Me Down, my fiction has been published in Joyland, Swink, and Fictionaut. I’ve written about feminism, NYC night court, the history of documentary, graphic novels, failure and my favorite saints for The Nation, Killing the Buddha, Feed, Lime Tea and other publications and wrote the introduction to Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots, a collection of vernacular police photography. I once spent a racetrack season in Miami interviewing old thugs for my dissertation.
I was born in the French Hospital, where the poet William Carlos Williams once worked. You know the way that cities go. The hospital is still there, but it is now an apartment building.