Antero Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University where he studies how technology and gaming shape both youth and adult learning, literacy practices, and civic identities. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Antero was an English teacher at a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. His most recent research studies explore learning and literacies in tabletop roleplaying games Dungeons & Dragons and how participatory culture shifts classroom relationships and instruction. Based on his research focused on equitable teaching and learning opportunities for urban youth through the use of participatory media and gameplay, Antero co-designed the Critical Design and Gaming School--a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. Antero’s research has appeared in numerous journals including The Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, and Reading and Writing Quarterly. His most recent books are Good Reception: Teens, Teachers, and Mobile Media in a Los Angeles High School, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Students (with Nicole Mirra and Ernest Morrell), and Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction (with Cindy O'Donnell-Allen). Antero received his Ph.D. in the Urban Schooling division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Schools and school districts have one approach to innovation: buy more technology. In Good Reception, Antero Garcia describes what happens when educators build on the ways students already use technology outside of school to help them learn in the classroom. As a teacher in a public high school in South Central Los Angeles, Garcia watched his students' nearly universal adoption of mobile devices. Whether recent immigrants from Central America or teens who had spent their entire lives in Los Angeles, the majority of his students relied on mobile devices to connect with family and friends and to keep up with complex social networks. Garcia determined to discover how these devices and student predilection for gameplay, combined with an evolving “culture of participation,” could be used in the classroom.
Garcia charts a year in the life of his ninth-grade English class, first surveying mobile media use on campus and then documenting a year-long experiment in creating a “wireless critical pedagogy” by incorporating mobile media and games in classroom work. He describes the design and implementation of “Ask Anansi,” an alternate reality game that allows students to conduct inquiry-based research around questions that interest them (including “Why is the food at South Central High School so bad?”). Garcia cautions that the transformative effect on education depends not on the glorification of devices but on teacher support and a trusting teacher-student relationship.