Learning together: Catching up on the adventures of connected learners and teachers via ED677

Over three years now, during the spring, I have taught ED677 at Arcadia University’s School of Education, a “connected course” focused on seeking equity in connected learning and teaching. Final projects for ED677, or what we call our final “makes,” are something we design that emerges from our inquiry and supports our work beyond the 15 weeks of the course. The goal is that each project explicitly focus on building towards equity and connected learning, building off the framework of Connected Learning, and contributes to making interest-driven, production centered and connected opportunities for all a reality in the world (in big and small ways).

These projects have been great and there is much to learn from what folks end up designing to support connected learning in their context. And I was curious to learn what happened since! Therefore this past semester, I invited several folks who participated in the past to come and share with my current class about their work and reflections on Connected Learning and teaching. I also had a chance recently to hear from several of past ED677ers in a panel discussion at Arcadia University in relation to a meeting on Connected Learning in Teacher Education. Below then is a set of compiled thoughts, notes and quotes from this work and those discussions.

Robert Sidelinker, a teacher at Warwick Elementary, participated in ED677 in 2016 and now teaches his students in a 1-6 STEM class called QUEST (Questioning and Understanding through Engineering, Science, and Technology). Throughout his time in ED677 he blogged about an inquiry project he was working on throughout the semester, a making and game design/play unit he co-designed with his students and colleagues. What I like the best about his posts are the ways power shifts to the students as he describes the unfolding of this project:

It’s funny.  Weeks ago, as my team and I created the inquiry questions that would help lead us into this unit of study, the questions seemed to be directed at us, the teachers.  Now that our students have begun their work, it seems that the questions apply to them, not the “educators.” …

… Throughout the experience, students have been blogging about the game and blogging about ways to persuade teachers to allow their students to play.  

In a reflection on this work he writes “As a teacher, I don’t think I’ve ever attempted a learning activity that is so social.  Students are now making original creations that were born from commonly shared ideas!”  

Now a couple years later, and while participating in this recent panel discussion, Robert continues to think about this work and how best to support his colleagues from his position as a QUEST teacher and educational technology coach at his school. In a reflection on his own journey in becoming a more connected teacher, he says that moving from a deliverer of content to a facilitator/manager has had one of the biggest impacts on him. And so in his role as a coach, he works to support his colleagues from where they are in this process. He reflects that “a lot of teachers are really uncomfortable with not knowing the answer … but in today’s society the answer [to not knowing] should be “let’s look it up” .. you’re not forfeiting their authority; you are preparing [students] for the future.”

Shayla Amenra has served as an educator and artist in schools and afterschool programs and now operates HAPPISPACE; an education services company specializing in out-of-school time (OST), mobile makerspaces, and curriculum development. During her participation in ED677 Shayla was also participating in an inquiry group with TAG (Teacher Action Group) Philly. Her work with other iTag educators focused on developing an African-American history curriculum. Since the focus on ED677 is to connect our work in class with work we are doing in the world, she submitted the website that she made as part of her final make that semester.

As an educator and an artist, Shayla actively integrates her making work (she is a jeweler; see HAPPIMADE) into the way she thinks about learning and education, always working to connect her networks, her interests, and available resources. During the recent panel discussion, she talked about how this supports her connecting her students to those things that they are interested in – a focus that she puts front and center to all of her teaching.

… when you are student focused, student centered, and you are connecting them to what they are interested in, they show up! They are interested, they are engaged  … they ask those questions [that] even you [as an educator] are taken back – Wow, I didn’t even think of that! … For me it’s always amazing. There hasn’t been a project that I haven’t done where allowing students to talk and explain where their interest is within their project where I’m not surprised by the end … I map out every single thing, I’m a super planner; I’ll have every scenario for every scenario, and then the student will still find that one thing that I hadn’t even thought of. And it’s amazing. It’s always about the students for me.

Helga Porter was also a participant in this same panel discussion. She is a math teacher and since her participation in ED677 in spring 2015, has become the S.T.E.M. liaison for her building, “encouraging teaching and learning with a social conscience for all” she writes. As an advocate for increasing S.T.E.M. in the classroom, she is an active member of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee with a specific focus on their transformative curriculum pathways work.

During the panel discussion, Helga talked about the ways that the schools she works with are using the framework of Connected Learning to describe and talk about the work they are doing. She describes the framework as helpful language that helps modernize what they were already striving for in the district. She also shared how projects they have started, such as a mobile makerspace cart for each school building, are becoming sustainable as they use them. After upfront costs, she explains, … students bring things in to add to it. “They’re realizing they don’t need money - they can do something with the materials they already have.”

Helga reflected on her experience in the program at Arcadia and described how its loose parameters really challenged her:

I tried to figure out what [the instructors] wanted. Then we realized [the looseness] was all by design - they’re evil people. We were supposed to learn this is what our students and colleagues are experiencing. We need to take risks, too. We’re not just facilitators. That was the aha moment for me. Learning about ourselves, learning to take risks, fall, fall forward, and recover.

“They were evil in how they did it, but we forgive you.” she added, looking with a smile at me and Meenoo Rami, the two instructors of the main connected learning courses at Arcadia. Several others concurred! (Oy.)

Kathy Walsh was another participant in this panel and also came to visit my class during the spring of 2017. She took ED677 with Helga that first “evil” spring semester, and during that time she set up this blog space and related maker-activities. Although she didn’t continue the blog itself past that one semester, she does continue to support her students in blogging and connecting to others in ways that allow them to create their own pathways forward. For example, this past semester she describes working working on a unit of study about chemical reactions where students blogged about their interests and research while Kathy worked to connect them to experts in the field.

Kathy is currently a teacher at Building 21 in Philadelphia and the founder of Youth Engineering and Science where she organizes summer youth STEM programming for youth. During a visit to ED677 this past semester she declared “Connected Learning, to me, is all about social justice.”

I work in a public high school in North Philadelphia and we do project-based learning and so one of the most important things is trying to find a way to make the work relevant for students and the best way to do it is to connect them to what really is going on in their community, in their future employment and future college and career pathways. So this is what I try to do in all my projects. … Becoming a connected learning [myself] has been essential because I can do it now. I have the tools.

While Lana Iskandarani, an Arabic language instructor at a local university, was in ED677 during the spring 2016 when she shared what she described as a small move in her classroom that had big consequences on a class she was teaching at the time:

When I assigned projects to my students last semester and the years prior, they were  individual pieces of work. I gave them some freedom to choose what they want to learn about, but not completely. There were some rules and constraints to follow in completing their work. Every student worked privately on their project and they had their own presentation in the classroom. The only audience for those pieces of work were my students and I. The students reflections were done orally after every presentation.

This semester, by implementing the connected learning principles and making small changes every week, I prepared my students to be more flexible with collaboration inside and outside the classroom. It became evident they were responsible and curious about the subjects at hands, more able to do their research, and more open to share their work with peers and other interested people out of the classroom. The final projects were examples of their improvement, and the  results came out phenomenal.

This idea of small changes, or “small moves” as we also referred to them and as per our core text Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, was very influential on Lana. And ultimately Lana’s experience and description of the ways she thought about these moves, was very influential on me. Lana has since described her work making Connected Learning framework a key piece of her curriculum project as she finishes her graduate work as well as a core part of her classroom and still references the ways that small changes can make a significant impact in her classroom, even with a fairly structured language learning context.

Tracey Dean is a high school Art teacher in the Radnor Township School District and also created a website as part of her final make in ED667 during this past spring 2017. This site focuses on the work created by students she works with and underscores Tracey’s frequent moniker “Art Matters.” In the recent panel discussion, she continued to emphasis this direction:  

Connected Learning needs to involve everyone. Our students did art in the halls so everyone could see. It initiated conversations. Bringing art out of the classroom. Art students shared their digital portfolios with teachers of other subjects, because sometimes teachers only know what their students are like in their single class.

I am really excited to see Tracey’s work unfold in the coming year. During this same panel discussion, she described a discovery over the last semester that has made her rethink how she wants to organize her classroom in the coming fall. Whereas previously she felt she was giving her students choice in their work, a value she expressed as critical to connected learning, the students shared that they didn’t feel that they had real choice in her class. After puzzling the disconnect for a bit in ED677, she then talked about the way she is moving towards setting up makerspace and stations in her classroom instead of doing whole class instruction followed by choice, which is how she had things previously organized.

The questions and tensions exist in this however, and Tracey talked about the ways that it can be really scary:

I guess my biggest fear with this whole thing and where it could go wrong, I am expected to present this work at District Art Month in in March. .. What’s the work going to look like? .. That’s where it’s terrifying to me about it. Also those conversations at home: ‘What are you learning? Oh, whatever we want – Ms. Dean is letting us chose this year.’ I don’t want them saying that at the dinner table! So those are the two things I’m going to have to figure out.

After a third semester of ED677, and the chance to have follow-up discussions with the educators above, my attention now turns to the ways that they can continue to take leadership in the Arcadia Connected Learning program as well as ways we can continue to network ourselves together to support this challenging but ultimately critical work. We are in this together.

Thank you to Robert, Shayla, Helga, Kathy, Lana and Tracey for sharing their work and learning. Wishing you all the best in your endeavors forward … and looking forward to learning more with you along the way.

Annotation and Connecting Our Learning

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This is my third year of teaching ED677 at Arcadia University, a course titled “Seeking Equity in Connected Learning and Teaching.” There always so much to record, document and share along the way. Always true in the dynamics of teaching; always challenging to accurately capture.

Let me start with some thoughts about the power of annotation so far this semester.

Over the years, I have been learning from educators I work with about the power of annotation and new tools that support online annotation/social reading. These tools have included Google, Vialogues, Now Comment, Soundcloud, Genius and Hypothes.is. I have dabbled here and there, jumping into conversations that have been organized or creating a new thread in one of the various tools or forums myself. I’ve also been fascinated by the power of annotation historically and across disciplines, worked with Hypothes.is on projects like Letters to the Next President 2.0, and am interested in the power of projects like Climate Feedback to support scientific accuracy and reporting.

It wasn’t until this semester though that I focused on the ways that participants in ED677 were encouraged to annotate – and the results, so far, have been noticeable and encouraging.

I started this process really during the first week when I asked the participants in my course, who are both inservice and pre-service teachers, to use the commenting feature of Google docs to highlight things they noticed and that raised questions for them on the ED677 Spring 2017 syllabus. Publicly visible, the comments show me where the group’s interests and questions are within the framework that I have created for the semester. I have also found that reviewing the syllabus carefully like this created a shared understanding of ED677 that, previously, has required many individual conversations to support as the semester got started. The structure of ED677 is fairly different than other courses and requires the individual participants to set their own timing and priorities and therefore it is important that everyone reads and understands the goals and resources of the course right at the beginning.

The next step we took with annotation came during our second week together. After we get oriented to the course and introduce ourselves to each other, I encourage us in week 2 to move into thinking about the larger context of this course, ie. the rapidly changing technological landscape in which we are thinking about learning together. In the past I asked everyone to engage in recent work by John Seely Brown and the authors of the Connected Learning Design and Research Agenda while also reading the first chapter of School and Society by John Dewey, a publication of lectures he gave at the turn of the 20th century.

In the past, the Dewey piece has got short shrift from participants in my class and I kept wondering about it – maybe it was less interesting or relevant than I think it is when I read it. So I read it again. No, I decided – this article, despite a few archaic words and gendered descriptions, is still interesting and relevant today, 100+ years later. And JSB, in his 2012 keynote, directly challenges us to tackle Dewey’s ideas in the context of flowing on the tides of change today. So I decided to try something new this time around, and I turned to my colleagues Joe Dillon and Remi Kalir who were working on a fascinating project called Marginal Syllabus and asked them if we, as ED677, could join in.

Why “marginal”? The creators explain:

  • our conversations will engage authors and their texts, topics, and perspectives that may be considered marginal to dominant conventions of schooling and education.
  • conversations associated with The Marginal Syllabus will occur in the margins of online texts through practices of open web annotation.

They then write that “The Marginal Syllabus is collaborative and emergent attempt to create a new sociotechnical genre of educator professional development in which authors and readers, the practices of amplified marginalia, and learning technologies begin (re)marking on equity and education.”

Perfect, I thought. Here at ED677, we are all about new sociotechnical genres to support equity in learning and teaching, so I decided to barge my way in. And not only were Joe and Remi welcoming, they seemed excited and promptly made a space for Dewey’s 1907 text and created an annotation “flash mob” event to support us during that week. Amazing. Going back to ED677 then, my only job then was to invite the class. I did so by introducing them to the project, adding related scaffolding between the texts and supportive approaches (for those who might be new to this or nervous about doing the work publicly), and an opening annotation of my own, which read:

In 2012 I heard John Seely Brown give a keynote at the DML Conference where he said that “perhaps John Dewey (and Marie Montessori) were 75 years ahead of their time” when driving models of education that brought the learner into the flow of what they were learning. Maybe, he posits, “their intuition was right but their toolset was wrong." See: http://dmlcentral.net/the-global-one-room-schoolhouse-john-seely-brown/

I was so excited by this thought and have been wondering it ever since. So how might we do what JSB does in his speech and recast some of John Dewey’s work here from 1907 in today’s networked age?

The results of this experiences, and the differences in the ways we engaged with this older text, were significant. Not only did almost all of ED677 participate and contribute their significant knowledge as teachers and learners into the mix, but their reflections that week posted to their own blogs were filled with connections they made between Dewey’s work, John Seely Brown’s, and the research report/agenda for Connected Learning. They also quickly made important connections between to their own work and with their classmates through their shared blog posts. Eric, a graduate student in education aspiring to teach math, wrote “I feel like a conspiracy theorist… I’m finding connections everywhere!”

I should mention that ED677 is an entirely online course taught in the open, meaning that all of the activities and readings we engage in, and our writing and reflections about this work, are posted to our own blogs which are then aggregated together at our shared blog (Domain of One’s Own inspired). While we meet via video every other week, I have found that it always takes time to develop a sense of ourselves as a community and that this sense develops as our comfort with being a community of educational bloggers begins to grow. What I think I am noticing this time around, however, is that this kind of online social reading activity seems to have been a significant jump-start to that sense of belonging to a community, both within the course and beyond it. And since the goal of this course is to be connected learners ourselves, as educators, in order to support equitable access to connected learning and teaching with the youth we work with, this jump-start could have significant implications.

This week we are diving back into annotation as a way to explore the idea of “wobble” as in Pose/Wobble/Flow, and thinking about that idea within communities of other connected educators. I look forward to seeing where this all brings us.

Final Make Reflection

ripple_in_the_water-resized-600.jpeg

For my final make, I followed the outline I laid out here.  The final product is this new site:

https://pamathhelp.wordpress.com/

There are 3 key principles of connected learning at work with the site: The site is academically oriented, production centered, and openly networked.  The primary motivation of my final make was to provide a place where students from different schools and learning environments could work together to improve their collective and individual performance on standardized tests.  I thought that standardized tests were in the dark ages in the context of connected learning, and felt they were the perfect place to apply what we’ve learned this semester.  Through my investigation, I found a dearth of online resources that students could use to prepare for the test.  The materials that I did see in schools and online had to be purchased, which created an inequity based on school funding.  Text book and resource inequality is a real problem, and I wanted to find a way to work around current shortcomings and inequities by creating a cheap alternative to constantly changing and pricey test prep materials to help student across the state improve their academic performance.

In order to do this, I wanted to make the site production centered, so that students could get out of the drill and repeat mode that test preparation can become.  The site is intended to be full of student created math problems and videos that will aid in their own learning as well as their peers’ learning.  By creating math problems that resemble those on the Keystone exam, students may better understand how and why certain problems have tripped them up in the past.  They will also be able to think about creating math problems rather than just solving them.  By creating videos, students will hopefully engage with their content in a more engaged way, think as a teacher, and incorporate their interests in order to teach others how they were able to solve a given problem.  I think the end result of this production centered approach will be a growing resource of student generated content that will help students across the state.

In order for the results of this student work to reach beyond my classroom, I have set up my site to be as openly-networked as possible.  While it takes time to create a network, I tried to find a number of ways to connect to others with as few barriers as possible.  I set up the site itself, which is public and shareable.  I set up a Youtube channel  and a Twitter feed, both of which are very easy to share and connect to other schools, students and teachers, and can be accessed using nearly any connected device.  I set up an email account, so that people could reach me directly in an additional format.  While the site is a work in progress, I have designed it to scale as I get additional followers and student submitted work.  Currently, the work on the site is created by me (technically a student) but that work just serves as a model/sample for future student work.

In reflecting on this final make, the biggest takeaway was how, as I built my site, every new idea led to more possibilities, like ripples on a pond.  There are so many ways to connect (should I have an Instagram account?  or Facebook?), that it is hard to stop once you decide to build up a network of learners.  I’m looking forward to populating the site with more student work once I start my student teaching this fall, and I’m sure once the site is in use, a new set of ideas and conflicts will emerge, expanding the ripples even further.


Self Assessment

ourkidsmatter:

How well do you feel you met these expectations this semester?

This has been such a wonderful, yet crazy semester.  I am one who believes in full transparency so I decided to share publicly my self assessment and critique.  This semester I truly embodied the spirit of this course, even when not posting always on time (smile).  

Issues with equity have always been important to me and this course has given me several new ways to interact with communities of learners and activists that feel like I do.  This course has truly made the world smaller, yet helped me see where my voice can be an addition and truly contribute to the body of work from practitioners.  

I also took my conversations and resources offline.  There were plenty of videos and resources I shared with my teachers and colleagues.  I really learned a lot about the type of learner I am and I realized that I am not a true online learner, but that was worth the journey as well.  


Where do you think you could have improved?

I found the weekly blogging very laborious, but really enjoyed reading the posts and comments from others in the class.  I watched all the videos and visited all the sites suggested, but I didn’t always get to post my views and reactions.  If I had to do all over again - I would change that.  

How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your connected learning moving forward?

It is very easy when becoming overwhelmed to disconnect - this is the perfect time to connect with the world even more.  Isolation helps you to focus on you and the world is so much bigger than your life issues.  I will continue to look for ways to connect and once finish my doc program I would really like to blog.  I felt it therapeutic to reflect and share with others.  

What else do you want me to consider when assessing your performance and participation over the past semester?

I would like you to consider my effort, my contributions and also my attempts to pay it forward.  I was able to pilot a program (Class Dojo) that is making a difference in the classrooms of true teachers.  The lessons and resources I was afforded were paid forward and chased back into classrooms of real children.  I had to think of a catchy # for this course that represented how I felt about education in this day and age.  #ourkidsmatter shows the evolution of self.  Black lives matter absolutely.  The more I work in the field of education the more I realize that the issues that plague little brown children are relevant to little yellow and white children of the same socio-economic class.  This semester has been hard - final semester of course work for my dissertation, first  year principal in a turbulent high needs elementary school in an urban epicenter with 8 vacancies thus far for the year and a senior in high school who is on her way to college… however, I would not trade this experience in for the world.  Thank you for connecting with me for this semester!

Self Assessment

ourkidsmatter:

How well do you feel you met these expectations this semester?

This has been such a wonderful, yet crazy semester.  I am one who believes in full transparency so I decided to share publicly my self assessment and critique.  This semester I truly embodied the spirit of this course, even when not posting always on time (smile).  

Issues with equity have always been important to me and this course has given me several new ways to interact with communities of learners and activists that feel like I do.  This course has truly made the world smaller, yet helped me see where my voice can be an addition and truly contribute to the body of work from practitioners.  

I also took my conversations and resources offline.  There were plenty of videos and resources I shared with my teachers and colleagues.  I really learned a lot about the type of learner I am and I realized that I am not a true online learner, but that was worth the journey as well.  


Where do you think you could have improved?

I found the weekly blogging very laborious, but really enjoyed reading the posts and comments from others in the class.  I watched all the videos and visited all the sites suggested, but I didn’t always get to post my views and reactions.  If I had to do all over again - I would change that.  

How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your connected learning moving forward?

It is very easy when becoming overwhelmed to disconnect - this is the perfect time to connect with the world even more.  Isolation helps you to focus on you and the world is so much bigger than your life issues.  I will continue to look for ways to connect and once finish my doc program I would really like to blog.  I felt it therapeutic to reflect and share with others.  

What else do you want me to consider when assessing your performance and participation over the past semester?

I would like you to consider my effort, my contributions and also my attempts to pay it forward.  I was able to pilot a program (Class Dojo) that is making a difference in the classrooms of true teachers.  The lessons and resources I was afforded were paid forward and chased back into classrooms of real children.  I had to think of a catchy # for this course that represented how I felt about education in this day and age.  #ourkidsmatter shows the evolution of self.  Black lives matter absolutely.  The more I work in the field of education the more I realize that the issues that plague little brown children are relevant to little yellow and white children of the same socio-economic class.  This semester has been hard - final semester of course work for my dissertation, first  year principal in a turbulent high needs elementary school in an urban epicenter with 8 vacancies thus far for the year and a senior in high school who is on her way to college… however, I would not trade this experience in for the world.  Thank you for connecting with me for this semester!

Final Make

ourkidsmatter:

My Final Make carrie on my theme of equity in education.  This experience with connected learning has opened my world to what educators around the country - and sometimes in a global sense are doing with technology and the ability to connect and share ideas.  As an educator who has spent my last nineteen years in urban education the inequities and disparities are highlighted from one school to the next as well and often one classroom to the next as well.

I have worked hard to close the achievement gap with holding a high standard for academic achievement.  There is a need to make sure our students are getting the best they can from practitioners.  In the research I am doing for my dissertation I am clear that in high needs districts the disparity in resources is vast and the biggest is in terms of the teaching staff.  The schools who need the most highly qualified teachers are often inundated with the less qualified.

In my final make I wanted to look at something that would help the community I serve.  There is a need to have my families and my teachers interact in positive ways.  As a new principal the community asked for more communication and that translates to full transparency for me.  We have experienced staff turnover that is usual for this community, but very alarming for me.  The lack of professionalism or connection that adults have that allow them to leave children halfway through the year is disappointing.  

A simple behavior tool can’t solve the huge issues plaguing my school, but can begin to build trust and relationship between families and their teachers.  Class Dojo is a easy to use, low tech option to help families begin to connect intimately with families and build a relationship.  It was important to do this as a pilot that had participants that were carefully selected.  We will continue this pilot for the remainder of the school year.  This was an excellent way to connect home and school… culture and climate!

Check out my Final Make: http://slideonline.com/presentation/145694-finalmakedojo-ppt

Final Make

ourkidsmatter:

My Final Make carrie on my theme of equity in education.  This experience with connected learning has opened my world to what educators around the country - and sometimes in a global sense are doing with technology and the ability to connect and share ideas.  As an educator who has spent my last nineteen years in urban education the inequities and disparities are highlighted from one school to the next as well and often one classroom to the next as well.

I have worked hard to close the achievement gap with holding a high standard for academic achievement.  There is a need to make sure our students are getting the best they can from practitioners.  In the research I am doing for my dissertation I am clear that in high needs districts the disparity in resources is vast and the biggest is in terms of the teaching staff.  The schools who need the most highly qualified teachers are often inundated with the less qualified.

In my final make I wanted to look at something that would help the community I serve.  There is a need to have my families and my teachers interact in positive ways.  As a new principal the community asked for more communication and that translates to full transparency for me.  We have experienced staff turnover that is usual for this community, but very alarming for me.  The lack of professionalism or connection that adults have that allow them to leave children halfway through the year is disappointing.  

A simple behavior tool can’t solve the huge issues plaguing my school, but can begin to build trust and relationship between families and their teachers.  Class Dojo is a easy to use, low tech option to help families begin to connect intimately with families and build a relationship.  It was important to do this as a pilot that had participants that were carefully selected.  We will continue this pilot for the remainder of the school year.  This was an excellent way to connect home and school… culture and climate!

Check out my Final Make: http://slideonline.com/presentation/145694-finalmakedojo-ppt

Final Make

Technology use is particularly important in the STEM field as it could have implications for workforce development. Because of this, maintaining a citizenry that is well versed in the STEM fields is therefore a key element of the United States’ public-education agenda.

For my “Make” I have created a STEM action plan to address challenges and harness opportunities associated with the transformation of the STEM higher education landscape brought forth by digital learning technologies. Connected Learning is a model of learning that embraces the possibility of re-imagining the experience of education in the information age. It draws on the power of today’s technology to fuse interests, friendships, and academic achievement through experiences that incorporates hands-on production, shared purpose, and collaboration.

Based on the vision and objectives from my action plan, I have also developed a summer pathway program. Using two of the connected learning principles; shared learning and interest-powered, this program will create a pipeline to recruit, retain, and graduate STEM degree seekers utilizing various online platforms. This Initiative operates in an agile, start-up mode to foster and support strategic digital learning activities for STEM students.

You can view my “Make” using the links below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2OS5cvxf03PZ05heDB1M1NJVWc/view?usp=sharing

http://prezi.com/uxohodiyeygf/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Final Make

Technology use is particularly important in the STEM field as it could have implications for workforce development. Because of this, maintaining a citizenry that is well versed in the STEM fields is therefore a key element of the United States’ public-education agenda.

For my “Make” I have created a STEM action plan to address challenges and harness opportunities associated with the transformation of the STEM higher education landscape brought forth by digital learning technologies. Connected Learning is a model of learning that embraces the possibility of re-imagining the experience of education in the information age. It draws on the power of today’s technology to fuse interests, friendships, and academic achievement through experiences that incorporates hands-on production, shared purpose, and collaboration.

Based on the vision and objectives from my action plan, I have also developed a summer pathway program. Using two of the connected learning principles; shared learning and interest-powered, this program will create a pipeline to recruit, retain, and graduate STEM degree seekers utilizing various online platforms. This Initiative operates in an agile, start-up mode to foster and support strategic digital learning activities for STEM students.

You can view my “Make” using the links below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2OS5cvxf03PZ05heDB1M1NJVWc/view?usp=sharing

http://prezi.com/uxohodiyeygf/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Final Make & Inquiry Questions

My inquiry questions are listed below:

How can I assess for my students’ personal interests to ensure that opportunities for learning are student-interest centered?

In what ways can I incorporate connected learning practices into my 5th grade English/Writing curriculum?

What resources are available to me, i.e. technology/community outreach/literature, that will allow me to provide opportunities for my students to connect with each other, the world around them, with me, or with topics on a deeper level and reflect same in their writing?

The question listed in bold is the one that I centered my thinking around for my final make. In short, my final make ended up being something I discovered through my research on connected learning projects called a “Penny Harvest”. Basically, the students have a role in selecting local NPOs to raise money “pennies” for in order to support causes that they truly care about. It is certainly a student-driven project. 

By reviewing the PPT I created for my final make, I list all of the ways my students’ interests are collected and valued, thus establishing a shared purpose, interest driven learning experience. 

This certainly goes way beyond the bounds of Ed677 being this concept is supported by national organizations, such as the Young Philanthropists Organization.