Archive for Connected Learning

Teens Hang Out in “Networked Publics”

In Dana Boyd’s recent book, It’s Complicated (released February 25, 2014), she explains one reason why teens actively seek out networked lives: “What’s novel for teens is not the technology but the public life it enables.”

Boyd is the Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and co-author of Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out:  Kids Living and Learning With New Media.

Between 2005 and 2012, Boyd interviewed and observed teens from 18 states representing a broad cross-section of socioeconomic and ethnic communities, conducted 166 interviews and spoke to a variety of professionals who work with teens.

It’s Complicated highlights Boyd’s discoveries about teens’ online lives, and more importantly, her work debunks myths, misunderstandings and fears that the adult world holds about teens and their online lives.

She introduces us to the term “networked publics,” referring to “…a space constructed through networked technologies and … the imagined community” that is a result of the convergence of people, technology and practice.

Boyd wraps up her book with a conversation around literacy and firmly reminds us that we need to guide and coach youth in becoming media literate, which not only includes vetting information, but it also entails understanding how the web works, how networks function — web literacy.

It’s Complicated is a must read for any educator, parent or professional who works with youth or shapes the lives of teens now and into the future.  How about a faculty summer read?

Badges: Connectors in Connected Learning

badges-connectorsDigital badges are the “connectors” in a connected learning environment, helping to create opportunities for youth to follow their passions through academic learning within a peer community. (Image inspired from a slide from the Reconnect Learning 2014 Open Badges Summit.)

From tuning into the livestream from the Summit, I had the opportunity to hear MacArthur Foundation’s Connie Yowell speak about the power of badge learning.  She reminded us that digital badge learning is grounded in current research that portrays how youth interact with digital media.  Principles of Connected Learning support youth in”hanging out,” “messing around,” and “geeking out” or (HOMAGO).    Badges serve as feedback in the learning journey, mark milestones and provide multiple pathways.  Powerful learner/mentor relationships are a cornerstone of the badge learning experience, where adults coach learners in their quests to learn.  Badge learning supports multiple purposes, but the connected learning framework is at the heart of the design, which provides highly engaging, purposeful and accessible learning opportunities for youth.  To explore some of the livestream sessions from the Summit , go to the Moziliarian Blog. Read more