Openly Networked Learning

Image from slideshow at Freer|Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC. Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan, March 5, 2016 – January 29, 2017

I appreciate the shared purpose I sense in the blog posts this week. Although we are all working on our own inquiries, I think the larger shared purpose of thinking together about connected learning and equity shines through. Here are a few things I’ve seen come in so far this week that have stood out.

I noticed Shayla sharing an experience of creating “an interest wall” from her own after school space – an interesting design idea that seems to have led to some important results. She writes about the impact of this experience among both her colleagues as well as herself as the teacher:

What made it better was having some of their teachers come downstairs to see students they would describe as ‘problematic’ or ‘disinterested’ often being the leaders in the discussions and in the group work. Through this project I was also able to learn so much more about the neighborhood and their families as well.

Lana writes about shared purpose experiences in professional learning with colleagues …

As educators, we all were attending the workshop to accomplish the goal of improving our teaching methods by practicing how to teach Arabic language without using English in the classroom, and how to engage our students by implementing the 5Cs in our teaching.

… and then does her own research and shares what she finds with us.

In the course of her Find 5s this week, Lacey started wondering about an important set of questions “Where are the model schools that WORK …?” Her find fives lead her to blog posts by Chris Lehmann, principal at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). Holly’s find 5 also links to a recent book by Chris and Zac Chase called Building School 2.0.

Tom wrote about the shared purpose he has experienced as a member of sports teams while also sharing some interesting thoughts about shared purpose and how it might differ from other approaches to learning:

… I think shared purpose is about changing the nature of a classroom.  Shared purpose uses big picture projects in the community to engage students to make a difference, and create learning opportunities organically.

Daryl shared a description of a recent shared learning experience in her school, along with things she learned from the students while beautifully describing the grins on their faces throughout the day. In her Find 7 she adds this note:

After this week, I would like to add to my exploration that I want to investigate how I can use the principle of shared purpose to develop class assignments that honor and give voice to my students’ unique expertise.

And thank you Khalia for your thoughtful questions and for sharing the equality/equity infographic. As Daryl responded:

These words we use so frequently as part this course sound so similar, but in order to identify answers to the questions we raise as part of this course, we MUST use them correctly!

Robert is then sharing a project-in-process where he and his colleagues have a clear shared purpose to learn together, alongside the kids. Can’t wait to learn more from this endeavor Robert!

All of this and we are beginning without a firm plan as to where this will lead, but with guiding inquiry questions, respect for rigor, formative assessment, collaboration, feedback, and outcomes that students will present and share with their peers and adults.

Oh, and if you haven’t checked out the #ED677 Flipgrid: Shared Purpose yet — it’s pretty cool. (Including a well-timed photo bomb and flash card response!) Looking forward to hearing from you here too.


The week ahead …

Reading/Watching: So far we’ve explored making and production as well as shared purpose in connected learning. This week we’ll dive into what it means to be “openly networked.” We’ll look at this from a few angles — human as well as technological, the possibilities as well as the challenges.

Start by reading Bud Hunt’s chapter in Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom which begins on page 71.

You then can also meet Bud (also known as @budtheteacher and, as well as Antero Garcia and Janelle Bence, plus several of Janelle’s students, in this webinar called Classrooms as Community Hubs: Developing Open Digital Networks.

You will hear Janelle’s students referencing “Do Now” in the video above. Do Now is a weekly activity for students to engage and respond to current issues using social media tools like Twitter. Do Now aims to build civic engagement and digital literacy for young folks.

Take some time this week to learn more about Do Now and related resources. In what ways can a project like this potentially support connected learning and equity?

Finally, this recent EdWeek article highlights some recent work that presents a range of important questions for educators to think about together moving forward, particularly as industries continue to grow digital networked (open as well as not) tools and environments: The Future of Big Data and Analytics in K-12 Education.

Making/Blogging: In the conclusion of Bud’s chapter 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 about a small move you have made, plan to make, and/or would make with your super-powers in support of the youth you teach. Your narrative 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 like Haiku Deck.

Inspired by Gail Desler’s work in Voicethread, I created a VT narrative that is both about small moves we can take in ED677 to further openly connect our work. What do you think? (Note that you are welcome to respond right in Voicethread.)

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 youth learning?

Or, do you need some pressure-free creative inspiration instead? Try your image-making narration powers at Five Card Flickr.

Find 5: This week, I encourage you to find a set of openly networked ways of learning that you believe do (or could) support your inquiry question.

In connected learning solidarity,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *