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

Taking Control of Digital Identity


My college freshmen, all 84, are deep into a study of digital cultures and digital literacies as we head toward Week 4 of our semester. I designed this first-year comp class so we could weave the practices of academic writing — research, citation, revision, editing, etc. — while also working toward, in a nutshell, simply being more awesome at using the web. I am deeply committed to cultivating the democratic potential of an open web, still believing in the possibility that our most marginalized students can be heard and their ideas amplified in ways that traditional distribution

Networked Publics: Learning and Creating as Global, Interconnected, Interactive Community Enterprise


“Openly networked” is one of the connected learning principles because learning always has been as much or more of a social than a strictly individual enterprise — and because the age-old human proclivity for operating in social networks has been vastly amplified by digital media and networks. Consider the difference between writing an essay for the teacher and maybe getting a gold star or a good grade, and publishing the same essay online and receiving comments from people around the world. In the old days, student presentations had a critical audience of one. These days, presentations

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

Co-Learning: Modeling Cooperative-Collaborative Learning


Moving the classroom chairs in a circle had radical effects on the way we all looked at our learning: As I told my students, if we transported a warrior from 1,000 years ago to a present-day battlefield, he would die quickly; if we transported a surgeon from 1,000 years ago to a modern operating room, he wouldn’t know what to do; but, if we transported students and a teacher from 1,000 years ago to most contemporary classrooms, everyone would know where to sit, who was in charge, who would speak, and who would remain silent. In

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

Connecting Making, Designing and Composing


In her closing keynote at FabLearn a couple years ago, Leah Buechley turned a critical eye on the maker movement. If you don’t know Buechley’s work, she is arguably one of the maker movement’s central players, founding the former High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab and inventing the LilyPad Arduino, among many other contributions. She is a champion of making, which makes her all the more thoughtful in her critiques. Buechley asks us to consider who gets to make and who is represented in the maker movement. I thought about her keynote a lot