Connected Learning and 21st Century English Teacher Education


Much of the current rhetoric about technology and education relates to devices and software programs — what types schools should purchase, how much money districts should spend on them, how they should be integrated into classroom learning, and what return on investment they should produce. The implicit message communicated by this rhetoric is that technology transforms education through the medium of specific tools — that these tools are what structure and produce powerful teaching and learning. Give teachers and students laptops and Google Classroom accounts and magic will ensue. Over the past several years, a group

Amplifying Student Voice Through Digital Resources, Part 2


“Our stories that we tell are so powerful because when we are the one’s telling it, we have control over our stories and the messages that we are sending.” — Alejandra Ramirez Bermudez I am regularly in awe at the goodwill our students extend faculty, myself included, as they attempt to make sense of and successfully complete our idiosyncratic assignments. Too often, students hear faculty respond to any confusion students might have by telling them to “read the syllabus” or “read the assignment,” as if none of the faculty have ever tried to put together an

Schedule Unveiled for Aug. 1-3 Connected Learning Summit at MIT


The eagerly anticipated schedule of the inaugural Connected Learning Summit has been unveiled. The Aug. 1-3 event, to be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, features keynote and plenary sessions by leaders in academics, industry and nonprofit organizations; presentations on innovative learning projects and research; interactive workshops on technology research and design, games and other media; a lively “hall of failure,” featuring honest postmortems on projects, programs and products; smart, fast, performative “ignite” sessions; a community showcase evening event for working papers, tech demos, and ideas; and fireside chats with luminaries across fields.

Creativity is Fundamental for Lifelong Learning


Creativity is for everyone, according to Mitchel Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, where he directs the Lifelong Kindergarten research group. “It’s fundamental. It’s not just about personal expression. Having creative ways of thinking will be important in the workplace, but it’s also important in your civic life. If you really want to make a real contribution to your community, you need to be thinking creatively,” he explained in an online conversation with Mimi Ito, director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California,

Reteaching Teaching: Pedagogy and Teacher Training for the Digital Age


Digital media and networks, like blackboards and post-it notes, are tools whose effectiveness depends on how they are used. Whether you call it “connected learning” or a “new culture of learning,” deploying the tools depends on changing the mindset of educators. Connected learning elements are openly networked, interest powered, production centered, peer supported, shared purpose, academically oriented. Educators and trainers of educators are leading the way by experimenting with pedagogy that engages students by connecting their academic curriculum with their personal interests, involving the networked world that students live in, encouraging collaboration and peer support, scaffolding

Making Is a Stance Toward Learning: Combining Learner Agency with Tinkering, Debugging and Project-based Learning


The tyranny of correct answers masks a vital and essential element of learning — the practice of debugging. When you make something, however, especially something that involves code and/or electronic or mechanical components, it is to be expected that your project will not work the first time you turn it on. Coding and making involves a great deal of systematic problem-solving to find and eliminate bugs. There’s nothing like the feeling when the last bug has been squashed and your creation beeps or moves or lights up. This kind of learning isn’t confined to tangible DIY

10 Connected Learning Lesson Plans from the Remake Learning Network


For me, one of the greatest joys of teaching is the chance to learn from other educators: the opportunity to peek under the hood at all the moving parts behind a dynamite lesson plan, a thriving classroom, an effective teacher. When I started teaching history, my more experienced colleagues were my greatest resources. They recommended discussion questions for starting class, activities for getting my students engaged, and multimedia resources that I never would have found on my own. When I moved to Pittsburgh, I saw some especially effective educators in action through my work on the

Learner Agency: Sharing Control of the Classroom Agenda


When I reflect on the 10 years I spent teaching at UC Berkeley and Stanford, and look back over the 127 interviews I did with innovators in digital media and learning, “learner agency” was the first thought that came to mind when I asked myself about what still seems important. What I mean by this phrase: students are explicitly addressed as learners (better yet: co-learners); students are allowed to use their own interests and networks to explore issues that matter to them (scaffolded by teachers with the curricular knowledge that will make more sense to students