New institutions and new practices, as they arise in a highly unequal and stratified society … will take on those inequalities unless they are actively combated.
—Juliet Shor, Connected Learning Research Network
I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.—Lily Tomlin
Connected Learning is an approach that sees learning as interest-driven, peer supported, and oriented toward powerful outcomes for youth. It encourages production-centered learning in openly networked environments within communities of shared purpose. ED677 is therefore designed to support participants in exploring equity in Connected Learning design and learning through engaging in these same practices. In this way this course strives to be a connected course about connected learning.
Why equity? Why connected?
The quote above from Juliet Shor comes from a webinar called Connected Learning As Pathway to Equity & Opportunity and was prompted by discussions in the larger field such as this EdWeek article about the “unclear road” to equity. Equity is a key value of connected learning … but how do we get there? How can we engage in connected learning principles and practices in equitable ways in our learning and our teaching? What kind of equitable ecosystems can we build together with youth as well as colleagues? What critical questions are raised?
The assumptions of this course include:
- We are all learners and educators.
- In order to design connected learning opportunities for the youth we work with, we need to be connected learners ourselves as educators.
- In order to support connected learning in social, participatory and equitable ways for all learners, we must challenge ourselves to critically investigate what we are doing and why.
- In order to expand our experiences we need to play, create and reflect together with new tools, techniques, ideas, materials and communities.
- In order to be connected learners and educators we will need to connect as peers as well to the larger field of learning and teaching.
Images by Christina Cantrill and licensed cc-by-sa. Photo collage on bridge underpass from Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.