Research

Introducing UCI’s Connected Learning Lab

Thursday, March 30, 2017 Comment students at UCI

Spring is a fitting season to announce the launch of our new Connected Learning Lab (CLL) at UC Irvine, an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to studying and mobilizing learning technologies in equitable, innovative, and learner-centered ways. I am humbled to serve as the founding director, and to be working with our founding faculty, Richard Arum, David Theo Goldberg, Bill Maurer, Kurt Squire, and Constance Steinkuehler. I am looking forward to expanding our ranks with more faculty, postdocs, students, and community members as we get our efforts off the ground. The founding of CLL is motivated by


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: Survey Analyzes Plugged-in Parents

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Comment parent screen time

While 8- to 18-year-olds are clocking in lots of screen time, their parents are doing the same if not more, according to a new survey, measuring parental media use. The study by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that provides parents, educators and youth with information to help with navigating media and technology, found that parents of teens and tweens spend more than nine hours a day looking at their screens. Of those parents surveyed, 78 percent believe they are good media and technology role models for their children. “The great news is that the report shows


Watchworthy Wednesday: Brokering Learning Opportunities

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Comment Brokering

A new initiative — Building Youth Pathways in Computer Science and Digital Making (CS-Paths) — has been launched in an effort to support teens in computing and digital making programs. CS-Paths, a partnership between the Hive Research Lab (HRL) and the Hive NYC Network, asks: “How might we support young people to pursue computing and digital media pathways that go beyond a single program experience?” The answer: through brokering learning opportunities. This kind of brokering is the practice of a caring adult such as a teacher, counselor, peer, librarian or volunteer helping a young person connect


Research Shows Connected Learning Works

Monday, June 20, 2016 Comment girl with headphones on and laptop

Does connected learning — particularly in disadvantaged communities and for underrepresented youth — work? The answer is important to students, educators, and parents. It’s also of great interest to institutions such as the MacArthur Foundation, which has a multi-decade commitment to improving educational outcomes. After years of granting millions of dollars to schools, the foundation started a broad initiative that was based not strictly on educational institutions, but also on the extra-curricular learning environments that were emerging as more and more young people became immersed in digital media: “In 2004, we decided to consider alternative paths.


Designing Youth Participatory Action Research Pathways: Bringing YPAR to DML

Monday, April 04, 2016 Comment graphic design for DML Geekout Day workshop, Designing Youth Participatory Action Research Pathways

Sometimes when you are immersed in a community and surrounded by friends with like-minded interests, beliefs, and ideas, you begin to forget that an entire world that does not understand your lingo or share your experiences exists outside that community. I re-learn this lesson often in the context of the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) community. I feel so fortunate to have been invited to share my YPAR experiences across multiple audiences over the past few weeks. I participated in an Educator Innovator webinar alongside several members of the UCLA Council of Youth Research to discuss


What the Connected Learning Research Community Can Learn from YPAR

Monday, December 21, 2015 Comment man speaking on stage at Council of Youth Research

Last month, the two of us (along with our mentor, Dr. Ernest Morrell) celebrated the release of our book, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Youth. The book tells the story of the UCLA Council of Youth Research (YPAR), a long-running youth participatory action research program that mentors young people from South and East Los Angeles to develop research questions about the educational and social challenges they recognize in their communities and then conduct rigorous inquiry into those questions for the purposes of fostering empowerment and action for social justice. We


Game Impact: New Report on Field Cohesion

Thursday, May 21, 2015 Comment different ages of kids using phone and ipad to learn and play games

After more than a decade, the field of social impact games may be mature enough to step back and investigate how “impact” is understood. To start the conversation, Games for Change has released a new report, published by ETC Press. (The report was co-authored by myself, Nicole Walden, Gerad O’Shea, Francesco Nasso, Giancarlo Mariutto and Asi Burak.  Our advisory group included game scholars and designers like Tracy Fullerton, Debra Lieberman and Constance Steinkuehler.) Right now may be an inflexion point in the evolution of games in the public interest — from civic learning to fighting asthma.


Using Design Research to Support Youth Programs

Monday, April 06, 2015 Comment Dixie Ching teaching 2 students a project in classroom

Rafi Santo and Dixie Ching are figuring out how youth programs in New York can best support young people in learning whatever interests them. Santo, a doctoral candidate in learning sciences at Indiana University, and Ching, a doctoral candidate in educational communication and technology at New York University, are the project leads of the Hive Research Lab, an applied research partner of the Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network. The network is a citywide lab where educators, technologists and youth-development experts from more than 70 organizations, museums, libraries, after-school programs, code clubs and others come together to build innovative, connected


Explaining the Research of Connected Learning

Monday, June 02, 2014 Comment group of adults sitting in circle at connected learning research meeting

The idea of “connected learning” encompasses a way of theorising and describing the kinds of learning that take place against the grain, as it were, in places where we might not usually expect to find it, in communities where traditionally it is not always recognised, and amongst individuals who frequently appear to be on parallel tracks to those customarily valued by the mainstream. It describes communities of practice that have sprung up in virtual and informal spaces inhabited by young people and around activities and interests often ignored by conventional schools. However, whilst the idea of