Mar 06 2012

Connected Learning: Education Reimagined

Connected Learning

At the DML conference in San Francisco last week, a new model of learning called “Connected Learning” was introduced.  This work is based on extensive research led by Mimi Ito, cultural anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in youth and technology, and one of the principal investigators in the new Connected Learning Research Network (funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative).

The core values of Connected Learning:

  • Equity — when educational opportunity is available and accessible to all young people, it elevates the world we all live in.
  • Full Participation — learning environments, communities, and civic life thrive when all members actively engage and contribute.
  • Social connection — learning is meaningful when it is part of valued social relationships and shared practice, culture, and identity.

How do we achieve this?  By integrating the learning that occurs across three main areas for youth: their interests, their peers and friendships, and academics.

We know when kids have distinct interests and passions, they can be driven by a burning desire to learn more, AND achieve more robust learning outcomes.  We need to be better about helping them develop those pathways towards success.

When learning with friends, young people also thrive, by actively contributing and sharing feedback with one another.  But they also welcome adult participation, so we need to get better about joining their party.

We recognize the importance of academic achievements, but need to be better about connecting peer culture and interest-driven activity so youth can understand the relevance for greater awareness.

Connected Learning

At Hive NYC, we already embody many of these principles and practices (go us!).  Youth get involved with Hive projects via their proactive participation with our member organizations that provide them with the types of learning opportunities they crave.  Engaged peers, smart mentors/advisors, relevant tools/technology/resources – it’s the right set of circumstances to help them become makers of what drives them.

In regards to how we connect with the academic part of the equation – and this question was asked of us several times at DML – many of our members have existing relationships with local schools, where they provide content and expertise to a broader group of students than might typically engage with them.  Also, we’re working with the National Summer Learning Association to bridge connections with Hive members and their programs with public schools in NYC – summer offers an opportunity to develop and build some innovative programs and we’ll have more to share on that in the coming weeks.

Please visit for more information and to access their new weekly webinar series.

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