March 2, 2020

Connected Learning in Teaching Practice: Resources for Educators

Category: Connected Learning
Educator and students looking at ipad

The Connected Learning in Teaching Practice page offers a curated set of resources for educators interested in learning more about connected learning through the lens of teaching and from the viewpoint of teachers. The page highlights teacher networks and teacher narratives, which support connected learning in practice.

When I first explain connected learning to the future teachers I work with, I often start with John Dewey in 1907. Every few semesters, I return to Dewey’s 113 year old lecture, “The School and the Life of the Child,” in order to share Dewey’s ideas, and hopes, with these future educators. The lecture opens with Dewey describing his efforts “trying to find desks and chairs which seemed thoroughly suitable from all points of view — artistic, hygienic, and educational — to the needs of the children.” He laments his failure in acquiring the furniture he needs, but importantly, also shares the insight he receives from one of the furniture dealers: “I am afraid we have not what you want. You want something at which the children may work; these are all for listening.” Inevitably, the conversation that follows the reading begins by all of us stating the obvious: our fear that not much has changed in the institution of schooling. Students’ ideas stay behind in the traces of their seats where they’ve listened quietly.

For those of us who study education, who think about learning, we know that educational change means reimagining the possibility space of school, even though this reimagining is situated in spaces where desks, pencils, worksheets–with histories of use–live. The possibility space is often constrained not only by the material conditions of school, but perhaps more importantly, by our own imaging of what is possible in our classrooms.

Connected learning principles offer a way for teachers to design educational spaces within these school histories. At the core of connected learning is equity, social connection, and participation. In my own teaching, the connected learning framework is a constant reminder to reflect on the structures, the activities, even the configuration of the classroom, as I design for learning. And, while the research that initially informed connected learning looked at youth participation in networks outside of school, we now have a strong and growing network of educators who apply what youth taught us to our school settings.

The resource page invites you to do a deep dive or to dabble in spaces where connected learning educators live: you can read first hand narratives from teachers across grade levels in Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom or read blogs from fellow connected learning teachers like Christina Cantrill, an instructor at Arcadia University, and Kevin Hodgson, a 6th grade teacher in Massachusetts. You can join the Connected Learning in Teacher Education network or follow the #CLinTE hashtag on social media like Twitter (for background on the #CLinTE network, see “Connected Learning in Teacher Education: Come Make With Us”; “Teacher Educators Living the Connected Learning Life”). Or, find spaces to publish your connected learning teaching experiences in The Current from Educator Innovator. We invite you to enter or extend the conversation around connected learning through the Connected Learning in Teaching Practice curated resources.