Connected Learning

Avoiding ‘Dark Pits of Yuck’: Connected Learning for Military Spouses

Thursday, March 23, 2017 Comment

“We moved nine times in 14 years…It wore me down. Anything I started and developed on my own got taken away.” — Joanna McGuffey, founder and CEO of Unconventional Works I met Joanna in 2015 at Nucleus CoShare, a coworking office in Dayton, Ohio that serendipitously opened not long after we both moved there to accompany our service member spouses at their new duty locations. She was a seasoned Air Force spouse, having moved nine times in 14 years and I was brand new. Joanna told me that she joined the coworking office because she was “in


Watchworthy Wednesday: Meet 10 Women Championing Connected Learning

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 Comment 10 women connected learning scholars

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, let’s turn our attention to 10 women scholars making their mark as champions of connected learning. (Connected learning calls for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven and oriented toward educational, economic or political opportunity. It is based on evidence that the most resilient, adaptive and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support.) As connected learning advocates, these 10 scholars, among a number of others worldwide, argue that new media broadens access to opportunity and meaningful learning experiences that can happen anytime, anywhere.


The Power of Digital Writing and Connected Learning

Thursday, March 16, 2017 Comment Terry Elliott

“Sharing power in a system rooted in not sharing power is a pretty tough go,” was the first thing Terry Elliott said when I asked him about his longstanding work in student empowerment — from unschooling his own, now grown, children, to encouraging high school students to blog about a real local issue (bus safety) way back in 2002. These days, in addition to the systemic obstacles to real student empowerment, Elliott faces the challenge of teaching writing to students who, for one reason or another, have difficulty writing. He starts by asking students to “think


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Book Focuses on Teacher Leadership and Connected Learning

Wednesday, March 08, 2017 Comment Survive and Thrive quotes2

Kira J. Baker-Doyle’s new book, “Transformative Teachers: Teacher Leadership and Learning in a Connected World” (Harvard Education Press) offers insight on the pulse of teaching and teacher leadership today. In the first chapter, she introduces readers to Samuel Reed III, a public middle school teacher in Philadelphia who she says “helped to initiate a change in my understanding of transformative teacher learning and leadership in the digital age.” He writes for the Public School Notebook blog “about his work in the field and the classroom, often advocating the idea of ‘flipping the script,’ challenging others to


The Importance of Connected Learning Leadership

Monday, February 27, 2017 Comment

At the beginning of our conversation, Emily Vickery cautioned: “I can’t talk about being a connected educator without talking about teacher leadership.” In addition to teaching English at Pensacola (Florida) Catholic High School, Vickery also serves as a “21st Century Learning Specialist” who designs and delivers professional learning for teachers on curriculum design, pedagogy, assessment, learning management and the use of digital tools. “I kind of backed into it — I was a reluctant teacher leader,” she was quick to add. Coming from “a family of teachers, preachers, and farmers,” Vickery swore she would never become


Epic Learning: Large Class as Intentional Design

Thursday, February 23, 2017 Comment Jumbo class

Last October, I gave an Ignite talk at the Digital Media and Learning Conference called “Epic Composition.” Below, I offer a more extended look at the design and structures of my “jumbo” first-year writing course at California State University, Chico. Walking into our “jumbo” first-year writing course as an outsider can be a bit intimidating. The room is packed with people: 90 students, nine writing mentors, and the instructor. Students sit in new desks: rolling chairs with a bottom “saucer” for storing backpacks, a moving tray designed for a laptop. Students have nicknamed the chairs “George


Watchworthy Wednesday: Celebrate Digital Learning Day Feb. 23

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Comment kids using tech to figure out a puzzle

Students and educators nationwide will be taking part in Digital Learning Day (DLDay) tomorrow, focusing on innovative ways technology enhances teaching and learning. “In some classrooms and out-of-school programs across the country, educators are doing some pretty amazing things with technology,” according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. “Yet, these pockets of innovation are confined to a small number of schools and communities. Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.” As part of


Safely Guiding Students on Learning Journey

Monday, February 20, 2017 Comment classroom with teacher and students

I remember the first year I started teaching. It was exhilarating and confusing and led me to a mini-existential crisis of sorts that I imagine often when you walk into a class with a bunch of faces staring at you who assume you have all the answers and the key to their future. Why else would they be there? I had a conversation with a dear friend and I asked her the point of teaching. She said: “To remember that students don’t know what they don’t know, but that they are in that space to learn


Engaging Parents in After-School Programs

Thursday, February 16, 2017 Comment kids in after-school program

As part of the Leveling Up: Parenting study, a project of the Connected Learning Research Network at the DML Research Hub, I and my fellow researchers wondered: How can we help interest-driven after-school programs better engage with parents? Though we had spent a lot of time in these spaces interviewing and observing students and their families, we realized we hadn’t systematically talked to the educators and administrators in these spaces to get their perspective on what works and what doesn’t. We’ve just finished interviewing educators and administrators at a dozen interest-based after-school enrichment programs in Orange


Watchworthy Wednesday: Creating Connections Through Music

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 Comment concert

A simple informal invitation brought musician Laura Ritchie and a few of her University of Chichester students to California two years ago to perform and teach a few impromptu music lessons. She returned last year with different students and is back this month with three undergraduate music majors, delivering more formal performances and workshops for students of a high school and an elementary school in Santa Maria as part of their study. “We co-create the entire program, from writing the handbook, to deciding the hand-in dates, and planning the scope of the trip, and it’s different