Mimi Ito & Katie Salen – The Essence of Connected Learning Environments

January 15, 2013
10:30am - 11:30am PST
By Educator Innovator

Where did connected learning’s principles come from and how can they be applied to create effective learning environments?

Key Questions and Comments:

  • (06:58) The interdisciplinary nature of the [Connected Learning Research Network] team is quite unusual in the sense that everyone is bringing a really different perspective to the table. And everyone is in this state of mind that we don’t have the answers, but what we’re really trying to do is synthesize sets of best practices across a set of fields, and put forward some ideas about what might be possible, and then invite…people to begin to evolve that model.
  • (12:42) I was wondering if you could speak to the opportunities and challenges of working with a model in the environments that you’ve been designing for, and how it’s similar or different from other kinds of design models or guidelines?
  • (16:56) Buffy, you’ve been a friend of connected learning for a while and I’m curious if you have any war stories to share about trying to implement this in the library context?
  • (18:07) I’ll never forget one student commenting, “Well, nobody ever asked me what I thought.” That sounds so simple, but I think it was a very profound indictment on the kinds of learning experiences, sadly, that this student had.
  • (20:38) LeAnne, you’ve done a lot of work also at interesting hybrid interfaces between play and learning and so on; I’m wondering if you’ve seen similar–or, maybe, different–kinds of dynamics in your working with young people?
  • (25:44) How do you begin to orient parents to a connected learning model within schools? Mimi, could you talk a little bit about the parent piece, and what some of the opportunities and challenges might be around bringing parents along with us on this journey?
  • (29:33) I feel like the online world is this huge opportunity space that not all parents are quite comfortable with seeing as a learning opportunity. There is this big gap between young people seeing the online world as a lifeline to exploration, social connection, and knowledge, and parents thinking that their role is to monitor screen time and keep them away from the online world.
  • (31:32) I think there are some questions about how connected learning is different from other forms of youth-serving and learner-centered progressive approaches. I was wondering, An-Me, if you might want to comment just because you’ve had so much involvement in a lot of educational reform efforts…
  • (36:40) The reality is that it’s so critical that our public institutions and schools are also part of providing these on-ramps and opportunities, because what we’re finding is that it’s the privileged and digitally-savvy families that are taking up these opportunities and that these opportunities are being privatized.
  • (38:02) What are some of the concrete strategies for trying to get parents and teachers on-board and supported?
    • (38:28) Parents are used to classrooms look a certain way…when you begin to bring connected learning into a classroom where you have a certain emphasis around peer-based learning…and inquiry- and production-based learning where…the teacher is not necessarily leading by direct instruction all the time…that just looks really, really different from what a lot of parents think school should look like.
  • (41:32) In a context like that where the learning is messy and non-standardized, how do you get around the demands of a more formal assessment accountability?
  • (45:52) People who are really successful learners in life…they often narrated these experiences when they were really into something…they were able to have that exploration and inquiry and actually make a productive contribution to a social collective in a supportive way where they had friends and mentors, but they were also going deep into knowledge and expertise-based activity.
  • (52:42) What I love about the [connected learning] model is that is that I think it’s incredibly inclusive. And it’s inclusive in a sort of distributed, crowdsourced nature which says that “Actually, the project of learning is a responsibility of many, many, many different types of people and many different types of institutions.” It’s moving beyond a siloed model that says school is the place that owns the learning of a young person.

View the Conversation
During the broadcast, the conversation also took place on Twitter using the hashtag #connectedlearning.

Guests for this webinar included:

  • Mimi Ito – Moderator/Guest Speaker. Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist of technology use, and is Professor in Residence, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, and the Research Director of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California, Irvine.
  • Katie Salen – Guest Speaker. Katie Salen locates her work in the field of game design and serves as the Executive Director of a non-profit called the Institute of Play that is focused on games and learning. She is also Professor of Games and Digital Media at DePaul University. Both Mimi and Katie are Principal Investigators in the Connected Learning Research Network project Leveling Up, which investigates the learning dynamics of interest-driven online groups that support academically-relevant knowledge seeking and expertise development.
  • LeAnne Wagner
  • Buffy Hamilton
  • An-Me Chung

Resources for this webinar:

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