Browse all articles

Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom

Paul Oh | April 1, 2014

Educators are designers of learning ecosystems for youth.

That’s just one of the many revelations in the newly published ebook Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Freely available as a downloadable PDF, the volume brings together practitioner stories from the National Writing Project’s Digital Is space, stories that chronicle the ways in which educators are designing and implementing learning opportunities based on kids’ academic pursuits, their digital interests, and their peer culture -- collectively described as Connected Learning -- for young people in K-12 settings.

Read how Larissa Pahomov, a teacher at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, decided to "hack" the traditional, formal essay to create the 2Fer, a two-page analytical paper her students complete every two weeks on any topic they choose. Larissa's students respond to the question, "Why is the world the way that it is?" replacing "the world" with a topic of interest to them, all the while using Google Docs as an online collaborative writing and portfolio system.

Learn how Jason Sellers, a San Francisco teacher, leverages the literacies involved in coding and his kids' interest in video games to help them create interactive fiction using the Playfic site.

Follow Lacy Manship as she places a digital video camera into the hands of her kindergartners so that they can freely document the "underlife" of the space in which they co-exist each day -- their classroom -- thereby giving Lacy a glimpse into their perspective as members of the classroom community.

These stories of practice are undergirded by the set of principles known as Connected Learning, which focus on digitally mediated learner pathways fueled by interest, creative production, peer interaction, and shared purpose. This ebook makes plain to educators that we can and should cultivate our kids’ desire to create –- zines, games, and, yes, essays -- and leverage that desire to make school relevant, from 9 to 3 and beyond.

Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom was published by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and supported by grants from the John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation.