Designing for Equity

If you were educated on Earth, you have background in course-like learning and you might feel the temptation to reflect on your making and learning as would suit a course. In the same way, just as you are susceptible to Earth’s gravity, you are susceptible to associate learning with courses. Instead, consider your learning in a way you might consider your learning after a camping trip, after a visit to the museum, or after a dance that leaves you sweaty, laughing, and looking for a drink of water.— Joe Dillon, CLMOOC 2014

As we enter our final two weeks of class, I encourage you think about your learning in the way that Joe Dillon so beautifully describes … did your hands get any less cold and sweaty as you got used to hitting the “submit” button on your blog? Were you able to find a way to balance your weekly findings with your need to get the laundry in and rest after a week of teaching? Have you made any new connections with students or colleagues that have propelled your thinking forward?

These are essential learnings and it will look different for each and everyone of us. There is no one way.

A key thing to remember are our objectives here at ED677: we have been connected learners in order to ground ourselves in what it means to teach in connected ways. We have also been working to critically examine what we are doing and why in order to support connected learning in social, participatory and equitable ways for all learners. And we’ve been learning new things through playing, creating and reflecting as a community of learners both within and outside of ED677.

Embrace what you have learned and wondered about throughout this journey and use all of that to inform your final work ahead.

The week ahead

I believe connected learning principles can provide a vocabulary for teachers to reclaim agency over what and how we best meet the individual needs of students in our classrooms. … — Antero Garcia (2014)

With your own learning as the focus, take this week to reflect back on what you have been working on this semester. Reread your blog. Visit the blogs of your classmates. Look at the things that you made — from maps, to annotations, to connections with others. What are the small moves you made along the way? What are some of the big ways they supported you in being a connected learner this semester? What have the implications been for your agency as a teacher?

With the learning of your colleagues as part of our shared purpose too, take this week to spend some time with our shared Equity in Connected Learning presentation. Make sure everyone gets some feedback on what they are working on and thinking about; respond when you get feedback; talk together about what we should do with this presentation – with whom should we share it, why and how?

… With learners as the focus, teachers can rely on connected learning as a way to pull back the curtain on how learning happens in schools and agitate the possibilities of classrooms today. — Antero Garcia (2014)

And now, with learners as your focus, turn your attention to the implications of what we’ve been doing together this semester; what is important about it and why? Blog this week about the implications for learners you specifically work with. Ask them to be part of this reflection if you can; if you can’t allow yourself to use what you know to imagine.

After all this, start to think about your final “Make” for the semester. The next two weeks will focus on doing this work and getting prepared to share it with others.

Our Final Makes

Final “makes” should be something that you design that supports you in building towards equity and connected learning beyond this course. What you make can relate to your work with learners and/or in your professional learning.

Go back to your inquiry question/s and see where that leads you. Note that do you do not have to start from scratch— you can continue, remix, remediate something you or your classmates have already started in this class (or in any other). That said, I’d like you to take whatever you do to its next level (i.e. a new audience or purpose) and consider it as something you are creating that can help make connected learning and equity a reality in the world (in big or small ways).

When you share your final make (or make in progress) next week, I will ask you to reflect on and describe what connected learning principles inform your work as well as in what ways your make supports equity. So just fyi about that for now.

Here are the dates for the Final Makes and sharing:

  • This week: start on final makes
  • Next week: continue to work on final makes
  • Gather to share (works-in-progress are fine); meet either on Thursday April 27 or Friday April 28 at 7:30pm ET (note your date preference here)
  • Final makes and self-assessments due to me anytime during finals week at Arcadia.

And as per a request, here are some examples of final makes from ED677ers in the past.

Our Self-Assessments

You also have the next two weeks to work on a final self-assessment of your learning and connecting over the course of this semester. I’d like you to take your time with this and integrate this into your final making process. Please do not submit this to me until after the final gathering to share on the 28th.

My recommendation is to take this first week to review the performance expectations from the syllabus, the questions for the self-assessment (also below) and then jot notes to yourselves about your work in this course. Put that aside and continue to work on your final make. … The following week, after you present your final make, then you should start to write it up your self-assessment and share with me.

Note that these are the same assessment questions we stopped to work on mid-semester so please refer back to your notes then and also review your blog and all of the work you’ve done this semester to support this process.

Performance expectations for this course have included:

  • Exploring the key principles of Connected Learning, with specific attention to issues of equity, as demonstrated through weekly making, reflecting and sharing.
  • Contributing regularly to our class discussions.
  • Engaging with others (another community, students, colleagues, etc.) outside this course each week and sharing that work with us.
  • Documenting and reflecting on your journey in support of your own assessment and reflection.
  • Create and share something to support your own work as well as others in thinking about connecting learning in equitable ways beyond the life of this course.

Here are the self-assessment questions:

  • How well do you feel you met these expectations this semester?
  • Where do you think you could have improved?
  • How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your connected learning moving forward?
  • What else do you want me to consider when assessing your performance and participation over the past semester?

Happy Making in the week ahead! I’m happy to talk with you if you want a thinking partner as you move forward.



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