Teach the Web

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Week 2: Connected Learning in Practice

MAKE Project this week: Explore the awesome makes from last week, choose one, and remix it. Then share your make with the G+ Community and be sure to +mention the person whose project you remixed.

Other Makes to try:

  • Go to the DML Hub or Connected Learning sites find a resource (video, blog, webpage, graphic, image) and remix or comment to/on it using Webmaker or other production centered tools.
  • Create a resource (media, web, blog) about how you use Connected Learning in your practice, work mentor relationships. Use Webmaker or other tools
  • Write a guest blog post for the Hive NYC blog or for Digital Is
  • Prototype the NWP’s “Make a Beautiful…” Thimble series…OR help take their ideas for these and build them into projects:
    • Make a Beautiful Haiku
    • Make a Beautiful 100-Word Story
    • Make a Beautiful Where I’m From Poem
    • Make a Beautiful This I Believe Statement
  • Start connecting with your peers and dive into their work!

 

Last week we explored “Making as Learning”. We’re proponents of the idea that people learn best through making, but we also believe that making and learning are social activities. It’s a bit like the old idiom “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If you make and learn, but don’t share and gather feedback, have you really learned? How do other people’s perceptions influence how we understand the world around us? How does being connected change the very fabric of our world?

A lot of people are thinking about how to connect learning. Last year, MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative released a new learning model called “Connected Learning”. This model proposes a framework for organizations and individuals to collaborate in an openly networked way and to take advantage of changes in technology and connectivity.

Connected Learning

These principles state that education in the modern world needs to be:

  1. Interest-powered – the researchers state that “learners who are interested in what they are learning, achieve higher order learning outcomes.” This requirement brings a certain degree of relevance to educational models. Organizations that follow the connected learning principles create programming that allows the learner to explore their own interests.
  2. Peer-supported – Connected learning also has an element of socialization as a required function in learning. Allowing learners to interact with each other and teach each other in various forms of group work helps learners make connections not only with the materials they’re learning, but with their peers as well. Creating learning spaces where peer to peer learning is encouraged leads to deeper cultural exploration and understanding.
  3. Academically oriented – The third principle proposed by the Connected Learning Model proposes that academic success is an important underpinning for intellectual growth.

The Connected Learning model further describes design principles and values for modern education that have their beginnings in the philosophical ideas and information presented during the Reform Pedagogy and Progressive Education movements.

A connection between the theories circulating at the end of the 19th century and those educational theorists are calling for as a solution to problems existing in the modern educational landscape are not very different from one another. The revival of an interest project-based approach to all educational endeavors is at the heart of the “Making as Learning” approach.

Read more about the Connected Learning Model here.

But what does this mean IN PRACTICE?

There are a variety of networks that seek to put these principles and values into practice. Connected Learning is an innovative way of creating peer groups from different parts of world for the sake of learning & sharing knowledge, so all over the world groups of people and organizations are beginning to use the model to help them design learning opportunities for their local communities.

In NYC, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Toronto the Hive Learning Network is composed of non-profit organizations—museums, libraries, after-school clubs and informal learning spaces—that create Connected Learning opportunities for youth. These organizations have regular meetups and a designated online space where the conversation around their various initiatives never stops. In addition, these organizations share resources, partner on programs, do outreach with and for each other and share everything online, so that anyone can see what a particular Hive is up to.

The National Writing Project uses partnerships and its internal network to support a variety of youth programming and educator professional development, bringing people from across the US together. More than 300 locales are connected to national NWP initiatives and partnerships, meaning that thousands of educators have access to local sites. Through their Digital Is site, the NWP helps educators stay connected and improve on their own practices.

These are just two of many kindred networks that use the Connected Learning model. In these two examples, the practice of Connected Learning manifests itself both online and offline. These networks design work and learning with the idea that sharing and openness is required for connected learning, and they design their programs to take place both in the real as well as in the virtual world.

In practice, it would seem that both hyper-local aspects as well as global connections play an important role in Connected Learning.

MAKE Projects this week:

  • Explore the awesome makes from last week, choose one, and remix it. Then share your make with the G+ Community and be sure to +mention the person whose project you remixed.
  • Go to the DML Hub or Connected Learning sites find a resource (video, blog, webpage, graphic, image) and remix or comment to/on it using Webmaker or other production centered tools.
  • Create a resource (media, web, blog) about how you use Connected Learning in your practice, work mentor relationships. Use Webmaker or other tools
  • Write a guest blog post for the Hive NYC blog or for Digital Is
  • Prototype the NWP’s “Make a Beautiful…” Thimble series…OR help take their ideas for these and build them into projects:
    • Make a Beautiful Haiku
    • Make a Beautiful 100-Word Story
    • Make a Beautiful Where I’m From Poem
    • Make a Beautiful This I Believe Statement
  • Start connecting with your peers and dive into their work!
Other tasks you might want to try
  • Join our Twitter Chat on Thursday at 5pm UTC, 1pm EST, 10am PST using #teachtheweb
  • Comment on G+, Twitter or on blog comments at least 5 times this week
  • Attempt to connect and expand your personal/professional learning network by sharing your social media profiles and linking to others
  • Join the Connected Learning G+ Community
  • Share 1 reflection about yourself when interest driven learning was powerful for you
  • Share 1 reflection about yourself when social learning was powerful for you
  • Share 1 reflection about yourself when a mentor helped you on a learning path
  • Share a resource that the #teachtheweb community needs to know about connected learning, that exemplifies connected learning or challenges connected learning
  • Contribute to planning Week three of #teachtheweb as that is truly Connected Learning in action
Reflection

Choose one of these questions (or make up one of your own), and write a blog post on it. Then share your post in the G+ Community or using #teachtheweb on Twitter.

  • How do you connect, collaborate, and network with people around the world?
  • What kinds of connected learning networks exist in your area?
  • How do you expand your knowledge and skills through the input of others?
  • How do your online connections influence your offline life?
  • How is your participation in #teachtheweb connected learning?

Small Sampling of Readings and Resources

Special Thanks

The following is a list of people who contributed their thoughts to the planning document for this topic. Want to help plan topics? Check out the Planning page on the #teachtheweb site.

  • Laura Hilliger (@epilepticrabbit)
  • Chris Lawrence (@chrislarry33)
  • Paul Oh (@poh)
  • A couple others who, unfortunately, didn’t add their names to the planning document :)