iRemix: A Personal Introduction


I consider it to be a classroom success when my students routinely log into iRemix without being told, at the beginning of each lesson. They know that this is where to find daily instructions, upload their weekly deliverables, and connect with digital artists and peers throughout Chicago. But how do they get to this point? And, how do we, as educators best utilize the design of iRemix for our own means and ends in and out of the classroom?

My own experiences suggest that iRemix plays vital roles in teaching Chicago’s youth 21st century production and participation skills. In addition, the design allows them to critically examine their own online identities as they share media and create personas in the social network. These aspects of iRemix, media production, cultural participation, and identity creation, compose an online space teaming with opportunities to teach 21st century issues of online ethics and have students engage in traditional (or non-traditional) school material through peer-to-peer learning and collaborative problem-solving.

DYN Video Class

My two years of experience using iRemix in- and after-school have allowed me to experiment with the various designs and establish a set of best practices, which help me teach video production and fan fiction courses to middle school students. While different users across the K-12 spectrum will surely develop their own sets of best practices, this blog will serve as a way for me to share my iRemix experiences and open up a dialogue for teachers to discuss the potential roles of social learning networks for education in general.

My work with iRemix began when I was hired as a teaching artist for the Digital Youth Network (DYN). At that point, my skills as a documentarian and previous work in the media literacy/education field were useful to DYN’s new after-school initiative. Employing their finely tuned “Record Label Curriculum,” DYN sought to introduce podcast, video, graphic design, and music production to five middle schools across the south and west sides of Chicago.

DYN Graphic Design

Within weeks as an after-school mentor it became clear to me that the power of iRemix was its ability to foster an artistic culture of media production and socialization that extended beyond the two-hour time slot I was face-to-face with students. I began to use its design to create a community. The “group” feature was used to centralize conversations and the ability to post comments allowed me to model feedback and critique. I even used student’s profile pages to build their interests into my own classroom lessons. These features, among others within the design of iRemix, are useful and creative tools that help me strategize how to engage students in both classroom activities and foster learning beyond the traditional school day. Moving forward with this blog, I will dive further into the design of iRemix, dissecting its obvious and nuanced features for uses in and out of the classroom.

iRemix Groups

If I have learned anything as an in- and after-school DYN mentor, it is that today’s students learn just as much, if not more, through the emerging media environment than traditional education. If schools are to keep up, then we as educators need to co-opt this new media ecology, make it our own. We don’t just need to bring technology into education we need to push education out to technology. While the current design of iRemix is a fine starting point, it is only the tip of the iceberg. I have had to overcome both problems with the design of iRemix and the context of use within schools. My hope is that this blog will not only help others use iRemix in resourceful and engaging ways, but it will also help the designers accommodate the diversity of learning environments that we, as educators create day-to-day.

Banner Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Design Credit:



Social Learning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • Anne

    We have to speak to students in a voice they clearly understand. Technology and social media are an important part of their world. Using them to convey information and ideas in a classroom setting is, in my opinion, much more effective than tired methods used for generations.

  • Emmitt Macdougald

    Wow! Thank you! I continually wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I take a portion of your post to my site?

  • Felica Ambeau

    Howdy just stumbled upon your blog from Google after I entered in, “Remix Learning – iRemix: A Personal Introduction” or perhaps something similar (can’t quite remember exactly). In any case, I’m relieved I found it simply because your content is exactly what I’m looking for (writing a college paper) and I hope you don’t mind if I gather some material from here and I will of course credit you as the source. Thanks.