Connected Learning

Making Learning Matter in the Digital Classroom

Thursday, February 04, 2016 Comment collage#2

In a recent blog post, I discussed the noteworthy success of a web-based course launched by a research university in a high-profile initiative that emphasized online access as much as digital education. As I pointed out, student evaluations are almost never universally positive about large courses, particularly required courses with many drafts due for projects that can feel like “busy work” to skeptical undergraduates. I interviewed the course instructor, Alexandra Sartor, in this blog post and wanted to follow up with the instructional designer, Ava Arndt, as well. A disclaimer is probably in order here, since


What Failure? Supporting a Succeeding UC Online Course

Thursday, January 14, 2016 Comment collage_v03

I’m certainly no starry-eyed uncritical worshipper of online learning. In fact, I have something of a reputation as a very frank critic, which was solidified with my book The War on Learning. This status as a skeptic is likely to be further reinforced with my new edited collection about “the MOOCs moment” that is slated to appear soon from the University of Chicago Press. So, it’s not surprising that I regularly get sent news items about bone-headed failures from people chortling about the obvious shortcomings of instructional technology in higher education. What has been disconcerting is


How Unplanned Learning Led to Online Book Group

Monday, January 11, 2016 Comment mooc-hr

Learning by stumbling upon things — and cultivating the ability to recognize when you’ve stumbled onto something valuable — can be amplified manyfold if you regularly look where people in your personal learning network are pointing. Focused, systematic, pre-planned learning is still a powerful tool in the learning toolbox but, sometimes, you need to put yourself into the position of stumbling upon and dipping into learning that you had not planned. Autumm Caines, for example, participated in focused, systematic learning as a master’s student (now graduate) at Ohio State University and associate director of academic technology


The Spread and Evolution of Learning Labs

Monday, January 04, 2016 Comment AMX big stage.2

For much of its duration, the Digital Media and Learning (DML) initiative has made a serious investment in not only reimagining learning but also remaking the kinds of institutions and places that support learning. This effort has come in many forms including the design of new kinds of spaces for children and teens to learn and cultivate the skills that are relevant in a knowledge-driven economy. One of the enduring outcomes of the initiative, for example, has been the design of learning labs across a number of cities. What are Learning Labs? The report, Learning Labs in


The Learning Village of Our Hybrid Reality

Thursday, December 24, 2015 Comment 18777075852_56254224a6_k

If you are reading this, you have a hybrid life. There are things that you encounter and find meaning in or meaningful both offline and digitally. The device you are reading this from is part of your offline world even as the words you are reading are a digital artifact. Think about the way you found this post, the device you are reading from, and the physical location in which you presently exist. Many, if not all of these things will be different for each individual who accesses this post, just as if, where, and how


What the Connected Learning Research Community Can Learn from YPAR

Monday, December 21, 2015 Comment Council of Youth Research

Last month, the two of us (along with our mentor, Dr. Ernest Morrell) celebrated the release of our book, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Youth. The book tells the story of the UCLA Council of Youth Research (YPAR), a long-running youth participatory action research program that mentors young people from South and East Los Angeles to develop research questions about the educational and social challenges they recognize in their communities and then conduct rigorous inquiry into those questions for the purposes of fostering empowerment and action for social justice. We


Selfie Pedagogy IV: Diversity, Netprov and Service Learning

Thursday, December 17, 2015 Comment selfie3

We profiled Mark Marino of the Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS) Lab at USC on this blog five years ago in a post about innovative approaches to service learning. In 2015, we wanted to return to his digital pedagogy in the college writing classroom as part of a four-part series on teaching with selfies. National and international news organizations have been reporting on his recent work at the University of Southern California, but unfortunately this coverage has sometimes reinforced generalizations about the supposed superficiality, narcissism, and anti-intellectualism of young people, stereotypes that he had hoped to dispel. In


Seeking Meaning Through Connected Learning

Monday, December 14, 2015 Comment cosmos

As we close out 2015, I would like to engage the notion of “connection” for a moment. What does this word mean to all of us in the Connected Learning community? Exactly why do we pair the word “connected” with learning? What essential role does “connecting” play in expanding what is possible in learning, and how does connecting open the gateway for all of us to envision a better world? This blog post is dedicated to the transformative aspiration of connecting that buttresses the Connected Learning movement. And that aspiration is indeed spiritual at its core.


Learning The Terms of Digital Literacy

Monday, December 07, 2015 Comment terms

Often when we talk about digital literacy, we are speaking about giving students the tools they need to be successful in a digitally-augmented world. In learning digital literacy, students also learn the social protocols, expectations, and risks that come along with engagement in digital devices, something I’ve written about many times before. Recently, I’ve been working closely with faculty members and asking them a simple question: “Have you read the ‘Terms of Service’ of any of the digital tools and platforms you are using?” More often than not, the answer has been, “no.” This is not


Blended, Hybrid, Flipped, Online: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Thursday, November 26, 2015 Comment hybrid-600

This is my second post in a series exploring my journey to develop and teach a graduate “Multimodal Literacies” course for pre-service and in-service teachers based on the connected learning framework. You can see the first post here and my original inspiration here. Now that I have a sense of the conceptual and thematic organization of my course and have decided upon some focus texts, I am confronted with the task of setting up weekly structure and my methods for communicating content. Several of my colleagues have asked me whether, considering the multimodal subject I am