Peer-supported learning

Rich learning experiences …  are alive and well in classrooms organized around the principle of peer-supported learning. – Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom

This week let’s think together about the role that peers play in learning … both in schools as well as outside of schools. What are the implications for equity?

Since we are almost mid-semester, it is also a good time to check in and do a quick self-assessment. This self-assessment is the same one that I will ask you to complete, and turn in to me, at the end of the semester. This mid-semester one is not a requirement to turn in, but simply meant to be a tool for your own learning and reflection. Details are below.

Finally, this is our last week before Spring Break. And to kick off the break,  we have a group hangout this coming Friday, March 10 at 7:30pm.

The week ahead …

This week I’d like us to start with a focus on youth and the ways they are working together in communities of peers. Start by reading the introduction to By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism and then focus on chapter 4, “Between Storytelling and Surveillance: The Precarious public of American Muslim Youth” by Sangita Shresthova.

Then return to Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom to think about peer-supported learning with Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, Katie McKay, Lacy Manship, and their awesome students.

Watch this webinar discussion about peer learning called Connecting to Something Bigger: The Power of Open, Peer-to-Peer Learning that brings in a few people you met already from the NWP as well as some new folks and organizations like Kristen Swanson of EdCamp and Mimi Ito of the Connected Learning Alliance. Here’s a vialogues version if you are interested in annotating.

Some of you found/mentioned this before … Mimi Ito’s research which several of you have mentioned already, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (often referred to as HOMAGO) is referenced in the video above and underscores some of the critical elements of peer-based learning.


This week, I encourage you to “make” something new that goes beyond blogging with words; this week I’d like you to Make A Map!

What is a map? According to Wikipedia, “map” comes from the early 16th from medieval Latin mappa mundi, literally ‘sheet of the world,’ from Latin mappa ‘sheet, napkin’ + mundi ‘of the world’.

Start to make a map, or a world napkin, of your learning and thinking so far about connected learning and equity … a map could show a path you’ve taken or one you are thinking about, it can show places you’ve been and artifacts you’ve collected, it can pick up dreams you’ve had or ambitions you are fostering, or a map can support another in finding a way. Your map can start anywhere … and end anywhere … and like these educators from CLMOOC 2013, your map can be on paper, can be made with watercolor, it can be digital, it can be interactive, it can be textual, it can be chronological. It can even be a collage or a mash-up.

How and why you make your map is completely up to you.

Once you made your map, you can blog about what you made, how you made it, and what you notice about your journey so far. What the the implications for connected learning and teaching and equity? What role do peers play in your learning and connecting?

Find 5/6/7

Find 5/6/7 things that inspire you about the maps made by your peers.

Mid-semester Self-Assessment

As I mentioned above, this self-assessment is the same one that I will ask you to complete, and turn in to me, at the end of the semester. This mid-semester one is not a requirement to turn in, but simply meant to be a tool for your own learning and reflection.

Feel free to get this done anytime over the next two weeks, having completed it before we return from spring break. The questions for the self-assessment include:

  • How well do you feel you met the participation expectations for ED677 this semester?
  • Where do you think you could have improved?
  • How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your connected learning and teaching moving forward?
  • What else do you want me to consider when assessing your participation over the past semester?

And here are the participation expectations as outlined in the ED677 syllabus at the beginning of the semester:

  • Explore the key principles of Connected Learning, with specific attention to issues of equity, as demonstrated through weekly making, reflecting and sharing.
  • Contribute regularly online and to the work of your fellow classmates.
    Engage with others (another community, students, colleagues, etc.) outside this course and sharing that work with us.
  • Document and reflect on your journey in support of your own assessment and reflection.
  • Create and share something to support your work as well as others in thinking about connecting learning in equitable ways beyond the life of this course.

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