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What is the Connected Learning Experience?

Learning, sharing, and creating knowledge for better comprehension of how youth explore and learn in digital and communal environments.

The “What is the Connected Learning Experience” Workshop is an integrated professional development opportunity for Hive NYC members to connect their organization’s Digital Media Learning activities to the larger framework of Connected Learning. The workshop combined the digital and media literacy expertise of The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project), the pedagogical expertise of Bank Street College, and the goals and network of Hive NYC to investigate and integrate the theories, practice and principles of Connected Learning. The goal was to help members integrate knowledge of adolescent development, digital participatory culture, and Connected Learning to frame their work with youth.

A series of four workshops were held from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014, in which participants engaged in directed readings, group discussions and data and program analysis to gain an understanding of digital culture as an environment, how youth live and learn there, and how they as educators might best integrate these understandings into their work. Each workshop had a particular pedagogical and design focus moving participants along a trajectory of identifying basic connected learning principles to putting those principles in action to develop assessment rubrics and connected learning-integrated program design. Through in-person workshops and an online community forum, the workshop attempted to create a community of practice to address key issues, concerns and topics relevant to connected learning and to deepen knowledge on an ongoing basis.

An important result of this collective work was the design of an Connected Learning Assessment Rubric to be used by Hive members to evaluate the implementation of Connected Learning goals in their programs. This tool, formed out of the workshop discourse, provided participants with a method for creating objectives based on Connected Learning and a rubric for measuring the outcomes. The rubric was also helpful in aligning program design elements with key Connected Learning principles, such as peer- and adult-supported sharing and feedback, interest-powered learning, and academic opportunities. Participants did this by examining themselves and their youth as learners/makers, exploring Connected Learning principles and selected elements, creating tools for assessment using the Connected Learning rubric, and applying a Connected Learning-focused pedagogical framework to their existing programs.

Participant Feedback

It [The Connected Learning program] did make me think a little more about how we talk about some of the elements of Connected Learning especially those that talk about peer feedback and learning.

The elements that we identified as a group–Interest driven, peer/adult mentor supported, academic/civic connections–have stayed on my mind as I’ve crafted long and short term projects for students to engage with in our programs. These elements are not quite serving as a checklist for me, but do provide a useful framework. They also help me frame what our organization already does in terms of language that academics and others in the field are using to help us be part of broader conversations in professional circles.

Organizational Impact and Discovery

The goals of the workshop were to examine how youth interests and needs are aligned with Connected Learning, to identify how programs can enact Connected Learning principles, and to design programs to meet the needs of participating youth. Given the relatively few sessions, we made an early decision to focus on pedagogy. This focus did provide an opportunity for participants to bring in their experience with production-centered strategies and tools. Participants were engaged, shared insights and collaborated together to use Connected Learning principles. The project team discovered that participants incorporated ideas and tools from earlier workshops as they progressed in the series, culminating in the assessment tool each designed.

Bank Street is continuously examining its practices and considering ways in which new tools or strategies can be implemented within a progressive pedagogy. This series of workshops highlighted for us the ways in which Connected Learning is congruent with the developmental-interaction approach, Bank Street’s approach to education. We also learned how valuable this kind of work was to Hive NYC members. Stepping back from the daily work to consider and apply a theoretical framework seemed to add depth to the participants’ experience of their programs.
~Steven Goss, Director of Online Education, Bank Street

Lead Organization:
Bank Street College

Partner Organizations:
The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project) , Hive NYC

Project Goal:
To investigate Hive NYC member learning experiences and those of their youth participants using Connected Learning principles to assess their own programming.

Project Tags:
Media Literacy & Production, Professional Development, Youth Development & Leadership

Project Portfolio