Watchworthy Wednesday: Awards Available for Scholars to Study Connected Learning Data

Digital media and learning scholars interested in analyzing connected learning data are being invited to apply for awards from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and UC Irvine.

The data comes from the Connecting Youth: Digital Learning Research Project, led by Richard Arum, dean of UCI’s School of Education, and postdoctoral scholar Kiley Larson. They gathered data on nontraditional educational practices employed by innovative schools, museums, libraries and community centers.

“The project focused on studying a set of educational innovations that integrated digital media with progressive pedagogy,” Arum said. “Given the extent to which formal schooling has failed to provide engaging educational opportunities for youth, particularly in economically disadvantaged communities, the promise of these alternative educational practices was compelling. We studied their successes and limitations in practice.”

As conditions, such as the character and availability of technology, change, “it’s imperative that researchers explore how youth experience and are affected by educational interventions,” he said. “This data allows for independent researchers to ask questions of student experiences and to identify the extent to which connected learning educational practices are associated with improved educational outcomes.”

Connected learning is an approach to learning and program design that supports experiences for youth that are participatory, socially connected, interest driven, and oriented toward educational opportunity. Examples include using video games to teach academic subjects and offering making opportunities based on interests such as fashion design, storytelling through photography and coding and engineering through games. The Hive Chicago Learning Network is one of the program providers that participated in the Connected Youth Project. Its myriad programs include the STEAM Studio:

Arum said the research data already collected from his project followed students as they participated in the programs through the years and they were repeatedly surveyed about their educational experiences, attitudes and social relationships.

Scholars selected for a Digital Media and Learning Data Training Award will conduct secondary analysis of the longitudinal data collected by the Connecting Youth Project. Up to five scholars will be chosen for the $1,000 awards. Application information is available online. For questions, send email to dmlhub@hri.uci.edu.

Editor’s note: Watchworthy Wednesday posts highlight interesting DML resources and appear in DML Central every Wednesday. Any tips for future posts are welcome. Please comment below or send email to mcruz@hri.uci.edu.