Drowning in a Sea of Expectations

As much as i love connected learning, it is extremely hard for me to wrap my head around how to implement it into my classroom. Maybe i’m just putting too much pressure on myself, maybe i’m putting the wrong kind of pressure on myself…to be honest, i’m not sure. What i do know is that i’m currently drowning. Drowning in a sea of my own expectations, the expectations of others, and the expectations that i have assigned to others. What i mean by that is that i feel i must meet expectations that others may not have directly said, but implied, a certain level of excellence, going above-and-beyond, etc. Although that last one has always been a problem for me, i’m always placing my expectations too high, too close to perfection, for any real sense of personal ability to remain in my mind. It’s not that i can’t meet these expectations, it’s just that it’s scary. It’s scary to fail. So in order to learn how to swim in this sea of myriad expectations, i am going to do two things. The first is to create a checklist/idea/reassurance list for every principle of connected learning. The second, is to continue to learn how to fail forward and to continue practicing a growth-mindset. As i’ve discussed the latter two topics in previous posts, i will focus on the first point here.

1. Interest-Powered

  • group same interests together
  • allow a variety of interests, or a variety of options within an interest
  • provide resources for students to develop expertise in a given interest
  • meet student’s in their territory and develop a personal interest in what student’s are interested in. – note that doesn’t mean you have to fake it –
  • In fact DON’T FAKE IT! student’s will know, express genuine interest in their lives and ask questions about what they find interesting so you can incoporate it into your classroom

2. Production Centered

  • Access to digital and physical production tools
  • remix, add on, grow others work – don’t necessarily have to create own from scratch
  • products are visible, tangible in some way – SHAREABLE
  • products don’t have to represent the content, but rather involve skills, ideas, themes, strategies, etc. learned in content are. Transferable skills
  • sharing products, give students an opportunity to show-off and feel pride in accomplishments

3. Peer-Supported

  • give opportunity for students to contribute expertise, ideas, and questions
  • give opportunity to share work – see above
  • opportunity to give feedback – online and digital
  • places to socialize and hang out – online and digital
  • give students a chance to collaborate, bounce ideas, and share
4. Shared Purpose
  • group students, give shared goals for groups or for class
  • accountability, students must help each other out to reach goal
  • everyone participates
  • cross-generational purpose as well as individual goals. Make it applicable
  • authority is given to students and teachers alike.

5. Academically-Oriented

  • connect interests/activities to academic/institutional domains
  • visible outputs
  • what is “academic” – what counts and to whom?
  • participation
  • skills gained, ideas thought, concepts attained

6. Openly-Networked

  • peer-peer contact in class and outside of class
  • groups are fluid and purposeful
  • multiple/easy ways to connect/coordinate
  • many ways to participate and succeed
  • share work, products, edits, comments, etc.

One thought on “Drowning in a Sea of Expectations

  1. I think you will find Connected Learning easier to understand when you have a chance to actually use it. I used portions of it when working with my students as a TA for a course here at CSU and I found it much easier to understand when I had seen it in action. I also have worked in classrooms where this approach has been taken. Our class is a Connected Learning class if you really look at it! Focus on each portion a little bit at a time, and I think you’ll find it a lot easier to get your head around.


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