connected learning

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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Tech Tools for Teachers, by Teachers: Video Game Design in the Classroom

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Author: Greg Kehring

Summary: What can the writing process teach students and teachers about video game design, and how can game design expand our understanding of writing genres? Read about this middle school teacher who used Gamestar Mechanic to engage his students in digital writing and connected learning. From “creation” to “peer revision” and finally publication on a gaming website where others played the games and offered feedback, he and his students discovered the power technology can have in understanding composing and creative processes and providing new avenues for writing. For teachers who are reluctant to engage in digital work (or who are ready to take some new steps), this article can provide encouragement, guidance, and testimony about how students learn and respond to such experiences.
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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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The Relationship of High School Student Motivation and Comments in Online Discussion Forums

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Author: Chris Sloan

Summary: Although online discussions have become more and more ubiquitous, there is a dearth of research that has looked at relationships between students’ commenting and motivation to learn. Course and program designers wishing to better structure discussions in online learning communities to take into account traits of comments students find most valuable may be interested in mining this research study of 12th graders. Discussion posts and comments composed on http://youthvoices.live helped to identify ways to enhance motivation to learn.
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A “Connected-Learning” Style and Fashion Program for Adolescents Leads to Career Opportunity

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Author: Kiley Larson, Erin Bradley, Tonya Leslie, Bryan Rosenberg, and Nathan Reimer

Summary: This case study features two Hive Fashion hubs, in Chicago and New York, in a youth program for adolescents interested in fashion as a career field. The program design is built on the recognition that young people need relevant personal relationships and career-relevant opportunities for their learning to make a difference in the real world. The youth viewed their work through the lens of social justice by incorporating social, political, economic, and cultural perspectives into their projects. From ideas to production, teen designers leveraged digital technologies to write posts on social media and to produce their creations. Useful to gain ideas for similar youth programs and to develop ideas related to connected learning, out-of-school literacies, and career education, this resource takes readers to the hubs with photos, detailed descriptions, and a video.
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Oakland Writing Project’s Literacy Webinar Series: Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces with a Focus on Revision

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Summary: In partnership with the Oakland School District, the Oakland MI WP developed and hosted an online webinar series focused on revision. Links to all of the webinars, resources, and related readings for the 2015-16 series (Revision: the Heart of Writing) and 2014-15 (Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces) are available here. The strong line-up of presentations gives a deep look into both revision and digital literacy. Individual webinars could be great additions to professional development sessions that have a revision or digital literacy component. Additional workshops and webinars are also posted on this site.
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Introduction: Why Digital Writing Matters

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Author: National Writing Project, with Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks

Summary: What does it mean to write digitally? What does it mean to be a teacher of writing in a digital age? In this introduction to the book, Because Digital Writing Matters, the authors provide an overview in response to these questions. They include a review of historical perspectives on writing, of expanding definitions of digital writing, and of the impact of the integration of technology on the teaching and learning of writing. In addition, they explore what digital writing might look like in classrooms including a discussion of the new media Literacy tools, strategies, skills, and dispositions that are necessary to operate within our expanding participatory culture. This chapter and related resources may be especially useful for study groups, as well as those planning professional development or developing grant proposals focused on digital literacy.
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Because Digital Writing Matters: A Conversation with the Authors

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Summary: The NWP book, Because Digital Writing Matters, examines what teachers, administrators, and parents can do to help schools meet the challenges of digital writing and to equip students with the communication skills they need to thrive in an information-rich, high-speed, high-tech culture. It provides a roadmap for teachers and administrators who are implementing digital writing initiatives in their classrooms, schools, and communities.
Offering practical solutions and models for educators and policymakers involved in planning, implementing, and assessing digital writing initiatives and writing programs, Because Digital Writing Matters examines such questions as the following:

  • What is digital writing?
  • What happens in an effective digital writing classroom?
  • How does digital writing support learning across disciplines?
  • What are fair ways to assess digital writing?
  • How can schools create effective programs to prepare teachers and students to succeed in a digital, interconnected world?

The authors make the case that digital writing is, more than just a skill, a complex activity and mode of thinking that entails, in all grades and disciplines, interfacing with ideas and with the world.
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Professional Development in the Digital Age: A Virtual Conference on Digital Literacy

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Author: Kim Douillard

Summary: This short article on the 4T Virtual Conference on Writing could be the perfect starting point for sites/leaders looking to integrate online learning into a program or those ready to make the jump to a fully online conference/professional development experience. Key to the success of the 4T annual online conference, which is hosted by the University of Michigan Schools of Education and Information and the Oakland Schools, has been the 15 hours of training all presenters and facilitators receive on effective interactive webinar facilitation and moderation.
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Math Blogs: Fostering Voice, Ownership, and Understanding Online

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Author: Howard Rheingold

Summary: This article describes how a mathematics teachers became a connected educator, and how he and his precalculus students in Winnipeg began blogging. Students took turns with daily scribing — reflecting, summarizing, and connecting with each other locally and, serendipitously, with others beyond their school, e.g., a 5th grader in Georgia. Other forms of social media provided opportunities for their teacher to share student strategies and resources through live tweets with teachers and other students across the globe. This practical piece provides inspiration and wisdom for educators seeking ideas to jump start and support digital learning in mathematics.
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