From Connected Learning to Connected Teaching: A Necessary Step Forward


I am lucky to know some amazing teachers. I know teachers who are throwing open the doors of their classrooms and partnering with community organizations, libraries, and museums to expand students’ learning opportunities. I know teachers who are flipping the hierarchical teacher-student relationship on its head to allow students to take the lead in their learning. I know teachers who are linking their students to networks that discuss and take action on the most pressing issues of the day. When I ask these teachers why they are making these innovative moves in their practice, they tell

It’s the Relationships, Stupid: Connected Camps Mid-Summer Report


Two years ago, Connected Camps and Institute of Play launched Minecraft Summer of Learning, piloting a new model for in-game virtual summer camps. We’ve served over two thousand families since then, and are mid-way through summer 3.0. This year’s camps reflect a ton of learning and iteration, but what has stayed constant is our focus on relationships. Through our summer camps, kids are developing close relationships around shared interests, and are able to stay connected with our community year-round. Deep and Close Friendships As I wrote back when we were about to launch, the engine for

Watchworthy Wednesday: Underrepresented Represented in Code.org Courses


At it’s core, connected learning is about educational equity, and Code.org, which runs Hour of Code, is a shining example. The nonprofit organization recently announced the results of a new survey of the young people it serves. And, the news is good: underrepresented minorities make up 48 percent of Code.org’s students in their courses and girls make up 45 percent. Code.org, designs its courses with equity in mind. This month, it released a new free computer science course for 7th- through 9th-graders. Called “CS Discoveries,” the year-long course compliments Code.org’s existing courses, “CS Fundamental” (for primary

Connected Learning in Teacher Education: Come Make With Us


A couple of years ago, I worked in the summer to build Connected Courses with some amazing colleagues. I dabbled in the work of connected learning prior to this invitation, but this was my first real attempt to put the principles into practice. Our goal with Connected Courses was, and remains, to support faculty who are “developing online, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.” At some point in the middle of our week of building, Mimi Ito made a comment, an aside, that stuck with me.

Networked Narratives: Designing for Emergence


In our last script published here, we approached our Networked Narratives course (@NetNarr) in an emergent fashion. This next installment considers how students explore digital identity via a number of role-play activities, influenced by a few outside mystery characters. Designing for Emergence, The Screenplay, Part 2 Act 2: Scene 1 (A slow dissolve into a view over Alan’s shoulder in a video call with Mia. It’s the summer of 2017, and he sees the bright light coming through the window behind her in New Jersey. Likewise, the warm Arizona light coming in his window lights up

Watchworthy Wednesday: Announcing the 2017 DML Schedule


It’s here! The schedule for this year’s Digital Media and Learning Conference has been released. Among the highlights: The keynote address by danah boyd, founder and president of Data & Society, a research institute focused on understanding the role of data-driven technologies in society. She also is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a Visiting Professor at ITP at New York University. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, society and policy. She presently is examining questions related to bias in “big data” and artificial intelligence, how people negotiate privacy and publicity, and the social

Disrupting The Silicon Valley Department of Education


Over the last couple of years, increasing numbers of journalists and researchers have begun to focus on Silicon Valley as the epicenter of education reform. Silicon Valley companies, entrepreneurs, engineers and venture capitalists have embarked on ambitious efforts to innovate in education, from creating apps and platforms to establishing completely new schools. Recently, for example, the Financial Times magazine ran a piece on “Silicon Valley’s classrooms of the future.” “Having disrupted the world,” it claimed, “the tech community now wants to prepare children for their new place in it. Leading venture capitalist Marc Andreessen predicts a

Promoting a Global Community of Educators


Wouldn’t it be great if someone could find, convene, and facilitate educators and futurists to map the ideal future of education, then grow a global community of educators who could bring the ideals of that map into the realities of educational institutions? Someone already has started this process, and he is indeed both an educator and futurist — in Moscow. Pavel Luksha’s Global Education Futures effort started in Russia and is now active on every continent except Antarctica. We’ve walked and talked in my (geographic) neighborhood several times, and Professor Luksha and his family joined me