Openly-Networked Learning

I’m not asking for some all holy savior to come and coddle us
into equality
I’m asking for you to understand our struggles and our hardships
To understand that if we have to learn with each other we should also learn about each other so we can bring each other up
– Excerpt from ‘Bored in 1st Period’ by Obasi Davis

Knowing how to read, write, and participate in the digital world has become the 4th basic foundational skill next to the three Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic—in a rapidly evolving, networked world – Mozilla Foundation

Both youth and adults have a lot to learn. – danah boyd

The week ahead

Awesome making everyone! So inspired.

In this week ahead, let’s also touch on what it means to be “openly networked,” both on and off-line. Start with your own experience with open — what does openly networked mean to you? … Write down a list of all the ways you hear or experience openness in learning and in networking. Next to that list, write out what questions you have.

Next let’s listen again to the voices and thoughts of youth: Check out what youth are sharing at Hear Me and Youth Voices.

Then return to Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom (TITCLC) and read Chapter 5 edited by Bud Hunt starting on page 71.

Meet Bud along with Antero Garcia and Janelle Bence, plus several of Janelle’s students, in this webinar called Classrooms as Community Hubs: Developing Open Digital Networks.

Here is another vialogues version to annotate if you so choose:

Let’s also visit (the freely distributed) It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. If you work with teens — personally or professionally — you might want to go further into this book. For this class though, read the introduction for context (pgs 1-28) and Chapter 7 titled “literacy: are today’s youth digital natives?”

As connected learners and teachers, let’s also think about ourselves and our open practices on the web and otherwise. What does that even look like in an ever-shifting technological and political ecosystem? What does it meant to read, to write, to participate online? What’s important to know, to share, to practice, to protect?

Here are a few resources to explore:

And finally, in truly openly connected spirit, there was another recent Marginal Syllabus annotathon last week around this Colorlines article by Chris Emdin, How Can White Teachers Do Better by Urban Kids of Color?

The article is actually an excerpt from the book I mentioned last week, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education. I offer this as a continuation of a conversation during last week’s gathering re: about getting to know the learners we work with (urban kids of color, or otherwise). Feel free to jump into this conversation and tag your comments #ED677 to keep us connected (both to annotations as well as to responses).


In the conclusion of Bud’s chapter on being openly-networked in TITCLC he writes:

Embracing the connected learning principle of openly networked learning is manageable. It does require, however, that teachers and other facilitators of learning make small moves toward openness and connectivity. Making a move, like Gail, to invite teachers exploring similar topics to do so together is not difficult, but it does require an awareness of what others are doing. Gail’s position as a district employee provided her this perspective. Mike chose to reach out to others online and to reconsider his museum practices. Jenny and Adam reached out to experts in the community who had expertise that could help their students. Small moves, but with powerful impact.

Which makes me wonder: What kind of small moves can we make in our practice to further open our networks, on or off-line?

Let’s play a bit with this idea of “small moves” and what these moves can be … This week put together a short narration or a poem about a small move you have made, plan to make, and/or would make with your super-powers in support of the learners you teach. Your narrative or poem could be based on your experience or fictional — it could be written, or drawn, created in something like Comic Life, done with Flash Cards, or simple be a set of images you compile in something new-to-you like Haiku Deck (free trial version available) or Voicethread (I understand if you register, you can use up to 5 for free).

To help you get started with your story, you might want to brainstorm a few things — drawing from the vignettes shared in our reading, in what ways do you become aware of what others are doing? How and in what ways do you reach out to others to support your practice, either on or offline? What connections do you make (or want to make) with experts or expertise in your community in support of connected learning?

Find 5/6/7

This week, I encourage you to find a set of openly networked ways of learning that support your inquiry question.

In connected learning solidarity,


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