Connected Learning

Connected Learning: Unlocking Potential

Monday, February 11, 2013 Comment 2 students sitting on high school steps using their cell phones

One of the more interesting assertions of connected learning is the need to create new approaches to education that recognize the vitality of learning and the fact that it happens in many different ways.  There is widespread agreement among researchers from sociology, economics, and education that the academic achievement gaps in the U.S. are attributable to both in–school and out-of-school experiences.  While there is widespread recognition of the former, there is a tendency to gloss over the importance of the latter, out-of-school learning. What young people from upper income households do with their time out-of-school varies

Some Thoughts on Interest-based Pathways to Learning

Monday, January 28, 2013 Comment interest based pathways for learning graphic colorful honeycomb design

I have a confession to make. It’s a shameful, dark secret that I fear may be common to many adults around the world. And, when I was teaching, it was certainly one that I saw shared by many students I came into contact with. It’s something you don’t tend to admit to — especially as an educator. What is this thing that I’m reticent to admit? I’m not sure how I learn best. Do I learn best by listening to podcasts? What about by studying diagrams? I seem to find those useful. I dropped out half-way


Monday, January 21, 2013 Comment infographic illustration explaining what a mooc is

MOOCs, it seems, are driving us to distraction. The objects of so much current investment, fiscal and psychological, if MOOCs (massive open online courses) haven’t reached you yet, they are just a click away, coming to a screen near you soon. Cathy Davidson caused a stir last week by arguing that, if humanists are unable to convey compellingly to various publics what we do and why it is important, we will be replaced by a screen; she had MOOCs in mind. It turns out that the challenge has had a longer history in cultural consciousness: “mooc,”

Connected Learning: Interdisciplinary Researchers Recommend Core Changes

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Comment 2 young students building a project structure

It has been almost a year since the release of the connected learning principles in March 2012 on For the Connected Learning Research Network, this has been a year of digging into our research agenda for connected learning, and testing our hypotheses with ethnographic case studies, design experiments, and the deployment of a national survey. In tandem with these new research activities, we have also been involved in the collaborative writing of a report which synthesizes what we see as the current state of theory and empirical research underlying the connected learning model. We are


Friday, January 11, 2013 Comment Colette Cassinelli quote learning how to learn

Does the information age free us to pursue learning centered on individuals and not institutions? Does each of us have a part to play in the possibility of education? Can a broader definition and responsibility for education bring us all closer together? Those are questions tackled in this short film by “soul biographer” Nic Askew. We commissioned Nic to help explore the underlying thinking of connected learning. Here is what he had to say in his introduction to the short film: This film is about the possibilities of change in education. As are the others in

Creativity: A Literacy?

Thursday, January 03, 2013 Comment creativity graffiti tagged on brick wall

You could make the argument that of all the ills perpetuated by the industrial age approach to education the worst is conformity. Originality had no place in a factory production line. Or so it was thought. Likewise, standardized education and testing has all too often promoted a numbing uniformity. But, our networked society and the information age want, need, and prize something altogether different when it comes to creativity. This commissioned film by “soul biographer” Nic Askew (part of a series of films on connected learning) asks: 
‘In this rapidly changing world might creativity need to

Mentoring: The Gift of Validation

Thursday, December 20, 2012 Comment colorful graffiti of word teach tagged on building

This short film explores a fundamental ingredient of learning and human potential: mentoring. Its potential is arguably even more pronounced today because of our ability to connect with others who share our interests through the internet and social media. The film asks: 
‘Might we all have the opportunity to mentor another?’
 ‘How powerful is a single moment of validation to a young imagination?’
 ‘Might your influence travel further than you might imagine?’ 
’Teacher or not, might you have a part to play in the education of another?’ The interview subject is Brother Mike, YouMedia coordinator and

Community Innovation Lab: Mashups of Youth, Activists, Technologists, Policymakers

Monday, December 17, 2012 Comment what is upham's corner poster on side of building

If you seek examples of civic engagement by young people, look no further than the Community Innovation Lab, a mashup of Harvard students and faculty, the city of Boston, and established neighborhood associations. The core of this town-gown-local government hybrid is a course jointly taught by Harvard Graduate School of Design professor Michael Hooper and Harvard Kennedy School professor Susan Crawford. The Lab is the activist portion of the course, which also includes weekly seminars taught separately by each professor. Crawford’s syllabus on ”Solving Problems Using Technology” and Hooper’s syllabus on “Advanced Workshop in Participatory Urban

Making + Playing + Understanding = Learning

Friday, December 14, 2012 Comment 2 young female students focused on their phones texting

We commissioned filmmaker Nic Askew to make a series of short films that explores the underlying thinking of our six principles of connected learning: interests, peers, youth as producers, networks, shared purpose and academics. Together, the six offer a framework for learning anchored in research and a deep understanding of how people learn, but they also tap the new possibilities of the internet, social media and the information age. This particular film (below) examines a fundamental human experience and key component of connected learning, ‘play,’ and explores whether it has been underestimated and whether, as a

To Hasten Equity…Scale the Individual

Monday, December 10, 2012 Comment infographic timeline of a quiet virtual revolution IDEC 2013

Public education could be the most accelerating venue for social change. Rather than waiting for any of the incredible [past, current and ongoing] innovations in redefining public education to scale, imagine we scale the individual. Imagine a new (old) narrative that can start anywhere because it begs no prep or training. Imagine we trust simplicity enough to give it a go. Imagine hastening equity and ongoing sustainability. IDEC is an annual global conference that circulates to the US every 10 years. From August 4-8, 2013, it will be hosted at CU-Boulder. We’re taking advantage of this