civic engagement

What Is Connected Learning?

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Summary: This webpage offers a perfect introduction and framework to explain how principles of connected learning can inform environments and practices that engage adolescents. This resource is a springboard for discussion of additional related materials that offer illustrations of teaching with connected learning principles in mind.
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Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education of the 21st Century

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Author: Henry Jenkins

Summary: This resource challenges teachers and schools to have conversations about the social skills, technological access, and cultural competencies involved in a connected-learning approach to learning and literacy. Written by Henry Jenkins and members of Project New Media Literacies, it describes “new literacies” that rely on collaboration and networking, and argues that schools have been slow to develop pedagogies that support youth in participatory culture, with its potential benefits of “peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship.” Without school involvement, Jenkins argues, groups of students will be left behind in developing the new skills and competencies needed to succeed “as full participants in our society.” For teacher leaders who want to offer ideas and help their colleagues understand and embrace participatory culture in school settings, this resource is a place to begin the conversation.
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Community Literacy: Can Writing Make a Difference?

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Author: Linda Flower, Lorraine Higgins, Wayne C. Peck

Summary: This resource describes the process emerging from a Community Literacy Collaborative (CLC) initiative that enabled youth to use inquiry and writing to enter into a policy discussion about increases in school suspension and for their university mentors to enter into the discourse of urban teens. The approach is designed to promote intercultural discourse across race, class, gender, age, and economics barriers. Remarkably current (the school to prison pipeline comes to mind), this piece provides real world examples undergirded by a strong theoretical rationale and could be a useful resource for those framing community-based projects aimed at advocacy and civic engagement.
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Youth Writing Contests: How Sites Inspire Writers and Increase Visibility of NWP Work

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Summary: Are you looking to grow the youth programming and visibility at your site? If so, this collection highlighting seven NWP sites’ creative, and often revenue generating, programs and opportunitites for youth could provide the spark and ispiration you need. Several unique partnerships with the Scholastic Arts & Writing contest are shared, as well as out of school work with refugee students and a Saturday showcase and publication day for teens.

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Metaphors, Frames, and Fact (Checks) about the Common Core

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Author: Anne Elrod Whitney and Patrick Shannon

Summary: This article offers a critique of the Common Core State Standards by examining its political history and the controlling metaphors on which it is based. It would be of particular interest to a study group or as a resource in a professional development program exploring the politics of mandated curricula as well as the practical and political implications of the Common Core.
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Students Take a Stand

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Author: Scott Glass

Summary: Are you looking for resources to help teachers to use digital media in safe and positive ways in their classes? This teacher’s brief essay describes the curriculum he created to support his students to develop a productive digital routine, craft a positive online identity, and use social media to be generous, kind, and thoughtful. As they developed skill using YouTube Editor, WeVideo, and iMovie, they addressed a real-life tension with anonymous, bullying posts on Yik Yak by leveraging social media in a positive way. The video they developed, as a class, is embedded in the article.
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Evolving the Research Paper

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Author: Jack Zangerle

Summary: This blog post describes an alternative research-writing project: developing public service announcements (PSAs). This resource may be helpful as a model for any instructors who want their students to develop PSAs for civic engagement or for the development of digital skills and message-making. This digital “making” event could also be used during summer youth writing camps. A student-created PSA is included with the blog post.
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Protest and Student Voice

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Author: Kathleen Hicks Rowley

Summary: This article describes how a teacher introduces her students to liberatory practices and protest movements as a framework for year-round readings, writings and curriculum. Based on the understanding that part of a teacher’s role is to help students make connections to moral responsibility within the world, the teacher/author designs curriculum that includes a classic novel like Lord of the Flies with its themes of injustice and places it alongside a study of trauma and mass incarceration. Reading/writing connection ideas like this are relevant to educators seeking curriculum that explores critical literacy and concepts of injustice. Community youth writing projects could also use this resource.
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Subversive Acts of Revision: Writing and Justice

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Author: Heather Bruce

Summary: Bruce explains how revision can be taught as a tool to critique unjust texts. She writes, “We must …speak back to those who would take our power from us and continue a legacy of damage to our students.” Reading this piece could spark powerful conversations about teaching for social justice while supporting students as critically active readers who write as a way to resist and/or advocate.
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Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom

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Author: Antero Garcia, Christina Cantrill, Danielle Filipiak, Bud Hunt, Clifford Lee, Nicole Mirra, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, and Kylie Peppler

Summary: This collection of compelling firsthand vignettes written by NWP educators illustrate “connected learning principles” and depict teachers designing opportunities for all students to have access to, participate in, and thrive within the ever-shifting demands of the twenty-first century. This resource will be exciting for teachers looking for inspiring curriculum design that is based in solid research and theory about teaching and learning while engaging the affordances of new media and networked technologies. For further reading, visit Educator Innovator.
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