Connected Learning

Watchworthy Wednesday: Spreading Storytelling Through Photography and Connecting Educators

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Comment Student takes a photo with a mobile device

As a documentary photographer, Andrea Birnbaum is a storyteller. But, she emphasizes, “I am very aware that I cannot tell other people’s stories for them. I can only show my perspective on what I see in the world.” So, when she discovered Phonar Nation, the online photography class immediately appealed to Birnbaum, also an educator, as it teaches students how to tell their own stories. Designed by award-winning photographer, Jonathan Worth, Phonar Nation was built to be taught from a mobile device for a mobile device user, and it’s an open course that any student can


Watchworthy Wednesday: Connecting Hip-Hop and Coding

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Comment teen codes hip-hop dance move

How can young people use coding to express their interests in areas such as hip-hop dance? To explore this question, Progressive Arts Alliance and the MIT Scratch team will host the Hip-Hop and Scratch Coding Summit, a two-day workshop for educators and program leaders to learn about creative pathways into computing. The summit, to be held Oct. 21-22 in Cleveland, Ohio, will bring together a diverse group of people who lead programs for young people, especially for youth in underserved communities. Forty participants will be chosen on Sept. 5, so there’s still time to apply. The summit


A Learning Life: How Connected Learning Might Work Over Time

Monday, August 15, 2016 Comment Korean pop group sings on stage

In my last blog, I talked about Learning Identities, Education and Community: young lives in the cosmopolitan city as an example of an attempt to study connected learning in action — catching the process of travel across learning sites and focusing on the process of building a learner identity. In that study, we paid particular attention to how participants in Oslo in Norway constructed narratives about themselves to suggest an almost existential meaning for the choices they made about education such as which school to attend, what courses to follow. How individuals “storied” themselves, what forms of


Watchworthy Wednesday: Expounding on Educational Equity

Wednesday, August 03, 2016 Comment cla equity banner students looking at aquarium

Schools are just one place where learning takes place. Education can also be had at libraries, after-school programs, summer camps and online. In fact, today’s abundance of technological resources provides myriad learning opportunities. But, not all youth have the chance to take part, due to barriers such as access and cost. This Connected Learning Alliance video addresses educational equity and how connected learning can help close the access gap. It’s based on research evidence, proving that “we need a learning ecosystem that challenges inequality by empowering people to create opportunity together. The tools of the digital


From ‘Connected Learning’ to ‘Learning Lives’

Monday, August 01, 2016 Comment kids walking to school

It’s too late now but having worked with the Connected Learning Research Network for some time now, I wonder whether the concept of connected learning should really have been called connecting learning on the basis that our interest is about forging links, crossovers and travel across and between the activity of learning rather than thinking of learning as a static body (or bodies) of knowledge. Finding ways to capture and theorise the linking process or activity is, of course, not easy. At the same time, as I have worked with the Connected Learning Research Network, I have been


Digital Media as Interactive Textbook

Monday, July 25, 2016 Comment museum patrons using tablet in museum.

Recently, I was a guest on the Meanwhile in the Future podcast on an episode titled “Flash Forward,” speaking about digital media and education. While speaking with Rose Eveleth, the host, I said something that’s sort of stuck with me in terms of thinking about what the roles of media and communications are in digital media. I do not believe that it can ever replace the classroom space and I worry about all the edtech efforts that are so heavily invested in the attempt to do just that. Loss of other senses and effect on critical


Watchworthy Wednesday: Music-making Revolution

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 Comment Girl creating music on Looplabs

Today’s stars are born on YouTube, Vine, Instagram and SoundCloud, and people are expressing themselves more than ever through social media using the written word, photographs and video. Musical expression, however, remains massively underserved, according to Craig Swann, co-founder of Looplabs, a cloud-based music studio that offers a free online collaborative production platform that allows anyone to create anywhere with an internet connection. Looplabs’ mission “is to help the world create, share and discover music together,” Swann said. “We’re quickly approaching 100,000 users since launching late last year in public beta. We have top users from 8


Connecting Digital Media to Civic Learning

Monday, July 04, 2016 Comment two men with headsets sitting and looking at multiple screens at broadcast work station

Since the printing press, communication media and citizen political engagement have been intertwined. Now that we have a global generation of young people who have printing presses, broadcasting stations, and organizing tools in their pockets, educators see ways to connect young people’s enthusiasm for Tumblr, Snapchat, YouTube with civic learning. I’ve been interested personally in the use of social media to encourage civic engagement among young people since the olden days of 2008, when I contributed a chapter on “Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement” for an MIT Press volume: Civic Life


Addressing School Leaders’ Connected Learning Concerns

Thursday, June 23, 2016 Comment Empty desks in classroom

I recently had the opportunity to talk about technology, equity, and learning with a group of administrators, coaches, and support staff in an urban school district during their end-of-year leadership summit. My morning presentation offered Connected Learning as a framework for instructional design that takes advantage of the possibilities for amplification, dissemination, and (of course) connection afforded us by digital media tools. I used a quote attributed to 20th century American philosopher William James to establish my thematic focus – the need for learning experiences that recognize and capitalize upon the interconnectedness of citizens within a


Research Shows Connected Learning Works

Monday, June 20, 2016 Comment girl with headphones on and laptop

Does connected learning — particularly in disadvantaged communities and for underrepresented youth — work? The answer is important to students, educators, and parents. It’s also of great interest to institutions such as the MacArthur Foundation, which has a multi-decade commitment to improving educational outcomes. After years of granting millions of dollars to schools, the foundation started a broad initiative that was based not strictly on educational institutions, but also on the extra-curricular learning environments that were emerging as more and more young people became immersed in digital media: “In 2004, we decided to consider alternative paths.