Connected Learning

Though i never had a name for it, connected learning it the kind of learning that i like to do. Connected learning stems from the core values of equity, social connection, and full participation. A connected learning classroom or environment focuses on student involvement, collaboration, production, and the integration of technology, outside resources, and student interests. Connected learning uses six principles of learning and design to guide lesson plans and content.

Learning Principles

  1. Interest-powered
  2. Peer-supported
  3. Academically oriented

Design Principles

  1. Production-centered
  2. Openly networked
  3. Shared purpose
One of the aspects of connected learning that i think is particularly important is that student work is production-centered. As a student and a teacher, i think that a hands-on-approach and the active involvement of students is key to lasting learning and full absorption of knowledge. I think that students’ automatically become more engaged when asked to physically participate in learning. Whether it’s building something with your hands, writing something that others will read, creating art, practicing new skills and strategies, or performing, students will enjoy the chance to produce and share their own content.
Though some students may not be comfortable sharing their voice, performing in front of their peers, or not feel like they are capable of creating, providing students with variety in both style and content of the activity can help improve student moral. Let students choose a topic that interests them. Instead of assigning Charles Dickens, let them choose between Shakespeare, Dickens, Chaucer, J.K. Rowling, and other prominent British authors. Let students choose their partners for a group project, or let them choose between writing an essay or performing a skit.
The lessons that i remember most, the teachers that spoke to me, and the classrooms that i loved being in from my public school days all stemmed from the principles of connected learning, whether or not i or the teacher realized it at the time. Connected learning advocates that students should be involved in their own education. Students’ should learn things that a relevant and interesting to them, students should produce content, and share that content with their teachers, peers, and those that matter to them. Classrooms that integrate multiple perspectives, use student input, drive social connection, and teach physical skills that are relevant and useful, will only help to improve student moral and their drive to learn and create.
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