Thank You!

credit: jen collins on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
credit: jen collins on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Happy beautiful Sunday!

Thank you all for being connected learners throughout this semester and congratulations on your hard and good work. The active questions you’ve all taken on around connected learning – both what does it mean to you as learners and teachers and how do we achieve equity for all learners in connected ways – are active and critical questions and I applaud your commitment, creativity and participation throughout the semester.

Also … YoUr MAKES aRe INSPIRING! … and I am so excited to see the ways you further engage this work in the world. And as Kathy said so nicely on Wednesday evening, let this not be your last make! Please stay in touch and tweet, post, share updates as you go.

I also want to send a personal thanks as I’ve gained so much from each of you, as well as the group of you, as a learner and as a teacher. I plan to share and highlight those learnings in an in-progress make of my own that I will post to my blog and cross-post to our community. It is my intention to follow-up with you on your self-assessments by the end of this week.

Finally, here are a few things I would recommend in terms of staying connected in this work and to the larger movement:

  1. Sign up for Educator Innovator and follow @innovates_ed
    Educator Innovator is both a blog and a growing community of educators, partners and supporters. If we want to educate a generation of young people to be innovators — to create, build, design, and use their talents to improve their world — we need to value the creative capacity in the mentors and teachers who support them. Educator Innovator gathers together like-minded colleagues and organizations who value open learning for educators and whose interests and spirits exemplify Connected Learning.
  2. Join the 3rd Making Learning Connected, aka CLMOOC starting June 18
    This summer educators from the National Writing Project and partners from Educator Innovator will be running the third CLMOOC from mid-June through July and we hope that you will join us! CLMOOC is not a course but a “collaboration” and therefore you can come and go or stay as long as you please. Sign ups open May 15; follow @clmooc and #clmooc to find out more about what’s in store for this coming summer.
  3. Post your make at NWP Digital Is with the tags #clequity, #connectedlearning
    Your final “makes” are important resources that I encourage you to use and to share beyond this community. I encourage you to post them via your social channels and in your local communities and among colleagues with the tags #clequity and #connectedlearning. Also please consider posting/cross-posting them at NWP Digital Is.

    • (Note that this site is open and you can just join to post a blog; there are also other ways to participate).

Have a playful and maker-filled summer ahead!

Meme by Kira Baker-Doyle shared during CLMOOC Summer 2014

In connected learning solidarity,

ps. I lost the game. Oy!

Designing for Equity and Possibility

The marsh lungs will breathe again by Tolka Rover CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The marsh lungs will breathe again by Tolka Rover CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all. — Helen Keller

When we enlarge our view of the world, we deepen our understanding of our own lives. — Yo-Yo Ma

Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe. — John Muir

To know the world one must construct it. — Cesare Pavese

Happy Monday!

Wow … what a semester. From getting started with our online presences to exercising our voice and agency as teachers and learners, to making map, memes, badges, bedazzlement and pop-ups … it’s been super exciting to engage with you all this semester.

As we start to get to the end, you are probably wondering about your final “make” and also assessments. Below this email are some details that I will also update in the syllabus. We can talk about both of these things on Wednesday’s gathering and feel free to email questions/comments you might have. I’m happy to talk it through.

In thinking about this week though I realize that I wanted to go back to articles we have already looked at to help us move towards our final “make” … and when I looked up those articles, I realize I sent them to you all during our week of “Playing with Playful ways of Knowing and Thinking” which is actually perfect! So let’s go with that – let’s continue in the playful pop-up mode we started this past week and continue to grow our collective knowledge and resources about equity and connected learning.

(I lost the game, btw.)

To dive back into play, don’t forget that we have our gathering with Chad Sansing to refer back to:

As well as John Seely Brown’s keynote focused on the role of play in being an entrepreneurial learner:

And there was also Howard Rheingold’s interview with Kylie Peppler about the role of playing and tinkering with new tools and materials in understanding how to be a change agent in our world today:

(Note: To tap into more resources related to e-textiles and systems-thinking via Scratch and Gamestar Mechanic, the new curriculum series Kylie is talking about is called Interconnections: Understanding Systems through Digital Design.)

Taking a take a prompt directly from Kylie then, let’s practice playing and being designers ourselves in a way that leads us to creating what we need to take equity and connected learning forward from ED677 into your learning and teaching spaces. Mitch Resnicks’  “kindergarten approach to learning” provides us guidance in this design cycle:


What did you create, play and share this semester? Reflect on these in the context of the Connected Learning principles and values, including equity. Use your inquiry question/s to take these reflections even further.

Considering all that, what do you start to imagine and re/imagine?


This week ahead →

Wednesday: We will be gathering again at 8pm ET on Wednesday and do some short-design thinking activities to support us in imagining forward. We will also talk about the final “make” and a self-assessment process (see more details below about this).

Our make(s) this week: Work on your final make.

Seeking/Searching this week: Find six to seven things this week that support your thinking about your final make—from our community/class, from your readings, from your own work, etc.—and share how you feel that impacts the way you are thinking about equity in connected learning moving forward.

In connected learning solidarity,


Final Make
Due the week of April 20-26

Final “makes” should be something that you design that emerges from your inquiry and supports you in building towards equity and connected learning beyond ED677. This make can relate to your work with youth and/or in your personal/professional practice. When you share your final make, I’d also like you to also reflect on and then describe what connected learning principles inform your make as well as how it addresses or impacts questions of equity. Including at least 3 of the principles in this reflection/sharing plus equity.

Please note that do you do not have to start from scratch— you can continue, remix, remediate something you or your classmates have already started in this class (or in any other). That said, I’d like you to take whatever you do to its next level and consider it as something you are creating that can help make connected learning and equity a reality in the world (in a big or small way).

Please complete your make and share it, with your reflections during our final week April 20-26. You are welcome to share your make on April 22nd during our 8pm gathering if you are ready.

Due the week of April 20-26

I’d also like you do a self-assessment of your learning and connecting in this class that I will take into full consideration in my own assessment process as the instructor. If you look back at the syllabus, the performance expectations that I had for all of you in January included (how this breaks down into a grade is also on the syllabus btw):

  1. Exploring key ideas of connected learning (within weekly topics and cycles).
  2. Contribute to our classroom community in some way each week.
  3. Engage with another community outside this course each week.
  4. Document your journey as you go in support of your own assessment and reflection, with specific attention to issues of equity.
  5. Design a framework for a project you will take forward past this class
  6. Share/demonstrate/perform some aspect of this for community input/feedback.

Copy this list in your blog (if you want to share it publicly) or in a Google document that you share with me (if you want to only share it privately), reflecting on these things:

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

Please share your self-assessment after you complete your final make, ie. also during our final week April 20-26.

ps. I will also be asking for feedback on the course overall and how it did or did not support you in meeting these expectations as well as your thoughts on the expectations themselves. That will be done anonymously, however, and will not impact your grade in anyway. I appreciate your feedback and input and thank you for whatever time you can also put into it and just fyi that I will send that next week.

Academically-oriented and Community Connected

Piano on the pier by Ed Yourdon via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Piano on the pier by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

“Learners flourish and realize their potential when they can connect their interests and social engagement to academic studies, civic engagement, and career opportunity” (Ito et al. 2013:8)

This will be our final week with Garcia, et al. in Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Please start on page 39 this time to think with Antero, Janelle, Larissa, and Nick about academically-oriented teaching within connected learning.

Also don’t miss Antero and others you’ve met along the way talking about Inspiring Students to Engage in Transformative Civic Learning

A few related resources in NWP Digital Is:

And a word from “Brother” Mike Hawkins on Mentorship and connected learning.

This week ahead →

Wednesday: We will be gathering again at 8pm ET on Wednesday and I hope to have a couple colleagues “pop” in and join us … stay tuned!

Our make(s) this week:This week let’s make a pop-up!

Why pop-ups? Well … first, it’s been a long winter so let’s celebrate the things that are popping-up, like crocus and daffodils, etc. And then there are also many things that can pop-up … like an orchestraa library, a card, a gallery, a video, books, fractals, a museum, pianos, a dancing city, poetry, electronics, maker spaces, a park, even tools for democracy!

What would you like to pop-up?

Here’s one way to start … this week start with your seeking, ie. find 6/7 things this week that “pop out” to you when you think about seeking equity in connected learning. These things could be connected to your inquiry, could be things that others have talked about and share, or from our readings/watchings, etc. From there take one of these things and make them “pop-up” in some way … you can do this literally or you can do this figuratively. Maybe you create a spontaneous learning/teaching event, maybe you create something on paper, maybe you take a space and use in a completely new way … how you pop-up something is entirely up to you.

Seeking/Searching this week: 6/7 things this week that “pop out” to you when seek equity in connected learning … and then thoughts on how we can design for it.

This week’s tech tips →

In connected learning solidarity,


Peer-supported Learning

Happy Sunday.

It’s peer-supported learning time. And we’ve been peer-learning all along … so you might be thinking, what else is there to say about it?! Take this week and try to dig further into this question … what does peer-based learning have to do with learning in schools? Outside of schools? And what are the implications for equity?

Once again, I encourage you to go back again to Garcia, et al. 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 (starting on page 25).

This is also a helpful 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 potential new folks and organizations like Kristen Swanson of EdCamp and Mimi Ito of the Connected Learning Alliance.

Mimi Ito’s research, 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.

I was also looking for some stories by youth themselves about how peer-based ways of learning, connected to larger networks and opportunities, supported their goals and interests. Here are three I found at the CLTV website; can you find others?

And since portfolios came up last week take a look at the hot-off-the-press research briefs published by the Maker Education Open Portfolio Project. I thought you might, in particular, be interested in:

This week ahead →

Wednesday: We will be gathering again at 8pm ET on Wednesday. And, as I mentioned, I am welcoming connections with Diane Waff’s class at the University of Pennsylvania — they are interested in learning more about connected learning and so, in a peer-based way, I am inviting them to join our gathering on Wednesday.

Our make(s) this week: This week I encourage you to curate … something for your peers. Not just for museums anymore, curation has become a way of working and organizing work online where resources are abundant and supporting others in seeing/understanding your pathway along the way or the nodes you connect with, can be a powerful way of creating and sharing knowledge online.

Read Curation: Creatively Filtering Content by Sue Waters for more.

I’d encourage you to curate looking forward or looking backward … or a combo of the two. Looking forward, for example, you might want to curate together some things you think you might useful in thinking about connected learning beyond ED677 and share with us your reflections on why. On the other hand you might find it’s more helpful to you to look backward again and curate some of the things you’ve been thinking about along the way here at ED677 and connecting that explicitly to your inquiry.

terrifictinkerer Instead of Finding/Seeking: I would argue that our weekly #F5F and #S6S are actually curations that we’ve been doing all along, without calling them that. So this week, since we are already doing curations, I’m  going to switch this up … this week I encourage you to apply for each others badges at P2PU!

inquisitorBadges do require that you gather up some evidence of why you should receive this badge so use this time you normally would find or seek to experiment with doing this instead. Also, if you made a badge, please also post a link to it in the Arcadia Connected Learning Network Community on G+ so we all know where to look.

And if you don’t find a badge you want to apply for, make one!

This week’s tech tip →

Many many tools can be used to curated, from the blogs you already have, to twitter, to screencasts on YouTube, etc. Here are a few more that are specifically meant to support online content curation that I noticed have been reviewed by educators at Graphite:

In connected learning solidarity,

Unpacking Interests

Happy Spring!

I hope everyone had a relaxing spring break. We are now entering the last five weeks of class and I wanted to encourage us all to continue to be reflective and look back while also thinking and moving forward. Here are a few questions to get us all going again and support writing on your blog this week.

First question: how do you plan to spend your next five weeks of this class? What are your goals? What inquiry questions have you come up with in relation to equity and connected learning? What can you build now that will carry you forward once we hit the end of this class in five weeks?

Second question: since this week is about “unpacking interests” in interest-driven learning, go back to the first week of class where you wrote about something you had an interest in as a youth. Think now about that story again in light of your path so far in seeking equity and connected learning. Does your story surface any new insights for you personally? Does it raise new questions about your own teaching and about equity? How might interests that you and your students have impact your teaching forward?

Third question: throughout the past ten weeks you’ve also been working with a community of other learners. We’ve been blogging, sharing, gathering and finding things together. And we’ve been connecting with other communities outside of ED677 too. Considering these communities, what has been important about them to you? How have they supported your interests? What has been challenging? And what are ultimately some implications for connected learning, teaching and equity?


This week, go back again to Garcia, et al. Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom to explore interest-driven learning with educators Nicole Mirra, Christopher Working, Chuck Jurich, and Meenoo Rami (starting on page 10).

A related webinar Multiple Paths to Success: Promoting Peer-Supported Learning Grounded in Student Interests can also be found at Connected Learning TV … or watch it here at Vialogues where you can add comments.

(FYI that you will meet some Philadelphia students from Science Leadership Academy talk about their work creating their own youth-focused magazines: check out Nexus and Stash..)

When thinking about interests this week too, let’s turn for a moment to Ben Kirshner, a scholar from University of Colorado Boulder, who frames the word “interest” in relation to civic engagement. In a panel discussion at the DML Conference in 2013 he said:

… when we think about the word interests … we think about the hobbies, the passions, things that we like to do, things we enjoy, which is one kind of interest … but another kind of interest that I heard the presenters from LA speak about is a more political type of interest, meaning a sort of need, demand, a kind of self-interest … in other words, what are my interest in this game, what do I have at stake here? And what do I need from my community, what do I need from myself, what do I need from my government? What are my political interests?

The “presenters from LA” that Kirshner refers to here includes a teacher, Laurence Tan, along with a group of students involved in the Council for Youth Research and the Watts Youth Collective. Here is a video about their work.

Constance Steinkuehler is a games-based learning scholar from the University of Wisconsin and in this interview on Interest-Driven Learning published to Edutopia she describes how her work with games-based learning led her into a focus on interest-driven pedagogy.

Interests and passions are often talked about synonymously. I’ve heard Mimi Ito distinguishes them this way, however: if a youth is passionate about reading and writing Manga they might develop an interest in learning Japanese, for example. … But whether the work comes from interests or passions, let’s further explore these ideas with Joy Kirr, a librarian from Illinois, and a set of teachers she interviewed for her K12 Online keynote on Passion-based Learning (don’t miss her list of resources too).

And finally, a Mind/Shift article that Tahira shared awhile back on her blog: Connected Learning Tying to Student Passions to School Subjects.

This week ahead →

Wednesday: We will be gathering again at 8pm ET on Wednesday. Paul Allison, a technology liaison from the New York City Writing Project and founder of Youth Voices will join us to talk about open badges at Youth Voices.

Our make(s) this week: Open Badges! In celebration of our interests — personal, professional, political — this week we will start to create badges that represent what we’ve most valued as we look forward and back over our connected learning process during this semester.

Here are a few resources to provide some context for our gathering this week:

Saturday/Sunday Seeking: This week, I encourage you to find 6/7 that you value as you look forward and backward over your connected learning process during this semester (pssst! you can use these to start your badge-making even :).

This week’s tech tip →

Badges: Open Badges Designer is a helpful tool for the actual badge creation and design.

Blogs: Having trouble blogging or finding the exact words? Then switch it up a bit! Writing does not just mean text — you can write/compose in many mediums.

Here are a few thoughts …
  • Do an “vlog” — ie. put a video in front of you or walk and record your thoughts/ideas/reflections.
  • Do an audio recording and share it on your blog (use Soundcloud for example).
  • Interview someone else about connected learning, equity and learning in open networks.
  • Annotate a videos (try Vialogues) and then embed that into your blog as a reflective/responsive piece.
  • Create a comic or another sequential representation of your thinking (for digital comics you can try Bitstrips or Pixton or Toondoon, etc).
  • Other ideas?

Terms of Use/Privacy: That all said, remember to check your Terms of Use and Privacy policy when signing up for new tools: Terms of Use: Didn’t Read is a helpful resource.

Using Apps: When working with students in using new apps, Common Sense Media’s Graphite can be a place to look for reviews and suggestions.

In connected learning solidarity,

Openly Networked Learning

Snapshot by @seecantrill from installation at Creative Dissent: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings, Bryn Mawr College February 2015. Images share a common title “Of Course …” by Ganzeer.

Happy leap-forward Sunday!

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.”

Next I’d like you to look at some of Dr. Kira Baker-Doyle’s work on the very human side of networks and social capital. She brought a group of us together to think about this on a webinar a few months back “Social Capital and PLNs: Discovering, Building, and Cultivating Networks of Learners.” Her book on The Networked Teacher is also a great source (I’ll send a PDF of a short reading from that later this week).

Technological networks, like human ones, also have many levels of complexity. I would say we still barely understand the human ones, let alone the technological! Audrey Waters is an educational journalist who focuses on educational technology and writes a kick-ass blog (excuse … but it is!) I highly recommend called Hack Education. She looks at issues such as the commodification of student data in these networked spaces: check out this talk titled “Student Data is the New Oil” as one important example.

Last week I also posted a MOOC (a Massive Open Online Course, or in this case, Collaboration) event that colleagues of mine are running as a collaboration between the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Tar River Writing Project, the Sacrificial Poets.  “MOOCs” are forms of professional learning that you might hear a lot about – the more course-like ones are being run through Coursera and the like (proprietary online forums). The collaborative kind that my colleagues are running is not proprietary, however, and is running on the open web (similar to this course). Explore Remix, Remake, Curate a bit when you have a moment … what do you notice about this kind of open learning opportunity?

Finally, do we even know what these technological networks are that we use everyday and how they work? The Mozilla Foundation is committed to supporting web literacy, and part of that is understanding how the web works. This beta-activity called Ping Kong is meant to support youth in learning about the web — but I think it could be useful for us all! Take a look … and if you want to try it out with others (youth or adults), this could be your make for the week just FYI!

This week ahead →

Wednesday: We will be gathering again at 8pm ET on Wednesday.

This week I will be connecting to you from SXSWedu in Austin, TX and I hope that I will be joined by Jose Vilson who is also here co-leading a session called “Diversity Needed in Education Technology”. And, if you want to follow what’s happening at SXSWedu, check out the hashtag #sxswedu for more.

Our make(s) this week: Building on three “makes” that I am asking folk here at SXSWedu to do, here are some ideas. Note that while they aren’t all digital each requires you to capture something digitally and share it via social media in an “openly networked” way:

  • Poetry Flash Make: Find a favorite poem; perform it publicly; capture your public performance; tweet to #clmooc #clequity
  • Animate Make: Gather a few things that you can mold and/or move; animate them & digitally capture your animation (either use still frames together or use one of many animation apps you can find online. Vine or Instagram short-form video can work too); tweet your animation to #clmooc #clequity.
  • BeDazzle Make: Put a wide piece of tape (masking or duck) around your wrist, sticky-side up; Gather things in your vicinity to decorate your bracelet; share your new bedazzled jewelry by tweeting to #clmooc #clequity

Alternative ideas:

  • Play a game of Ping Kong (see above); share what you learn as well as feedback and/or edits you would make on this activity to #teachtheweb #clequity
  • Share your “Meme with a Mission” with a community that has a shared purpose around that mission.

Saturday/Sunday: This week, I encourage you to find 6/7 openly networked ways of learning that you believe do (or could) support your inquiry question.

This week’s tech tips →

There are many tools that might support you in using Twitter by helping you organize and follow the things you really want to follow. I use a tool called Tweetdeck, for example (there are others — just search for Twitter tools to find many more).

If you’ve recovered fully from our first Twitter chat together, maybe it’s time to try another? There are twitter chats for educators all the time and across a range of shared purposes and interests. Check them out … you can always “lurk” (ie. read) before jumping in.

In connected learning solidarity,

Shared purpose

Meme by Beth O'Connor, CLMOOC 2014
Meme by Beth O’Connor, CLMOOC 2014

Happy Sunday!

This week, please return to the ebook Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom in order to focus this time on Danielle Filipiak’s Chapter on “Shared Purpose” (starts page 87). She frames the three vignettes in this chapter with the idea of resistance, resilience and relationships. Use these ideas of shared purpose to continue digging into your inquiry and making this week.

Our guest this week, educational blogger, author and activist José Vilson, is another source of thinking for us around shared purpose. In his most recent blog post he writes “It’s pedagogy over everything. How do we have better conversations on what works?” José is also a blogger at Edutopia.

Here are a few additional resources that I think link to opportunities where students and/or educators are engaged around shared purpose:

The week ahead:

Wednesday: We will gather via Google Hangout from 8-9pm ET and José Vilson will be our guest.

Our make this week: Create a “Meme with a Message”:

Blogging prompt idea: What are you most passionate about when it comes to connected learning and inquiry? What really matters to you? What is your inquiry?

*If you are still looking for your inquiry, I encourage you to go back at your 10 self/10 world questions and do some related free-writing around a question you have there to help yourself clarify and/or deepen your focus.  Youth Voices is again a resource as they have a mission around this you use/remix called Freewriting, focused sentences, and generative themes: Finding your niche.

Seek and Search on Saturday or Sunday: Seek 6/7 things that support and/or help you deepen your inquiry.

Tech tip:

Learn more about KQED’s Do Now and check out their Media-Making Tutorials in support of youth responding to current issues via social media.


In learning and connecting solidarity,

Agency, Voice, and the Maker Movement

Documenting my make: Koreung curry making 02/15/15 @seecantrill cc-by-sa
Documenting my make: Koreung curry making 02/15/15 @seecantrill cc-by-sa

Happy Sunday!

Over the course of the next six weeks I’d like you to keep following your questions and inquiry as we focus on each of the learning and design principles of Connected Learning one at a time. Throughout we will use the text by Garcia, et al. Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom as one of our guides. This text is divided into chapters, by principle, and draws together work and reflections by educators who originally shared their inquiries at the Digital Is website.

To start this off then I encourage you to first go back to the introduction to this collection by Antero Garcia called “Teacher Agency and Connected Learning.” Remember that I put a version of this introduction into Genius too — you can annotate it there (here is a screencast to get you started) while you also read this week’s primary reading: Chapter 4 by Clifford Lee about “Production-Centered Classrooms”.

I also encourage you to dive into some theory, going back to Seymour Papert — a mathematician, scientist and educator from MIT — who is known as the father of constructionism, a production-centered theory of learning made most famous in his book Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas. His computer language LOGO (which I used when I was a kid) is often also referred to as the forefather of Scratch which is designed to be a constructionist tool for learning and creating.

Papert and Harel’s introduction “Situating Constructionism” from the 1991 book Constructionism gives a good overview of constructionist theory. If you are interested in reading more by Paper, the authors of Invent to Learn have curated a set here: Papert and Constructionism.

Today you are also likely to hear about the “Maker Movement.” Stephanie West-Puckett writes a nice overview of it here at Edutopia, ReMaking Education: Designing Classroom Makerspaces for Transformative Learning and Leah Buechley, formerly also of MIT Media Lab, looks at this movement with a critical lens and talks through its key promises and equity challenges: Thinking about Making.

Eyeo 2014 – Leah Buechley from Eyeo Festival // INST-INT on Vimeo

Finally, when you have some time to listen — maybe while you are washing the dishes, or something — tap into this hour-long Educator Innovator webinar called Making Space and Time for Student Agency and Voice @ Educator Innovator. We hear from a range of educators here about ways they are creating the time and space to support their youth in being makers.

And then, when you are done, take a moment to sit and watch the story of Caine’s Arcade. (Even if you’ve seen it before, I highly recommend watching it again!)

The week ahead:

Wednesday: We will gather via Google Hangout from 8-9pm ET on Wednesday. I’m still hoping some of you will share things that you made and I’ll be ready to model by briefly sharing something too. If we give 10 minutes per person who volunteers, that’s just enough time to show what you made and say a few words about why and how.

Our make this week: Make what you want to make! So far we’ve made several things … so this week you can choose to:

    • Build on what you started — remix it; revise it; take it to a new level …
    • Finish something you didn’t quite complete … or start something you meant to begin …
    • Make something new! (The Make Bank @ CLMOOC  and the DS106 Assignment Bank has lots of potential making ideas for you to explore.)

Blogging prompt idea: What are you making? And what you noticing about your making? What questions does it raise re: connected learning, equity, and teaching?

Seek and Search on Saturday or Sunday: Seek 6/7 things that inspire you to make and create.

Tech tips:

Scratch is not the only “visual programming” software out there — it is just the most robust in many ways. However there are other similar programs that work on tablets and are particularly geared to younger children, such as Tickle (in beta – you need to request access) and Hopscotch. Webmaker tools supports you in understanding web “coding” including HTML, CSS and Javscript. You can find more tools gathered for a range of coding at the Hour of Code website.

Genius is not the only annotation tool out there — others include Now Comment for documents, Vialogues for video, and Soundcloud for audio. (Note: Webmaker Popcorn can also be used to support multimodal annotation.)

Screencasts are a great way to show what you are doing on your computer to others. The tool I used above is called Jing but there are many others you can look up too.


In learning and connecting solidarity,

Practitioner knowledge and networked inquiry


Happy wintery Sunday!

Building off the theme of learning in community, this week the focus will be on the role of practitioner knowledge and networked inquiry.

I’d suggest starting with a reading from Susan Lytle, a professor from UPenn and seminal scholar in the field of practitioner/teacher research (see Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation and Inside/Outside Teacher Research and Knowledge both written with Marilyn Cochran-Smith for more). In this essay At Last: Practitioner Inquiry and the Practice of Teaching: Some Thoughts on Better, Susan picks up on the idea of inquiry across practice, building from Atul Gwande’s description of what it means to get “better” as a doctor and surgeon and thinking about this from an educator’s perspective.

From here I suggest you check out this collection at Digital Is called From Professional Development to Professional Practice curated by Stephanie West-Puckett of the Tar River Writing Project. Although Stephanie does not use the term “inquiry” explicitly, she is engaging with a group of teachers in a professional setting where the mantra is “make, share, connect, reflect, and repeat” (which you might recognize a little bit of in ED677 too). She provides some context for this work and then points to resources created by those educators as they engaged in this kind of inquiry process together.

Then we turn back to a book titled Reclaiming the Classroom: Teacher Research as an Agency for Change edited by Dixie Goswami and Peter Stillman. I will send you the chapter I’m suggesting.

Looking Forward …

Based on the idea then that we all have key questions that drive our practice, as well as important knowledge to contribute to the field, we want to tap into those questions to help us think about connected learning and equity. And I would like you to start identifying a specific inquiry question that will guide what you do the rest of the semester.

Building off the “10 Self/10 World mission” from, here’s one activity to try when thinking about the questions you really care in the context of connected learning and equity:

  1. Write 10 questions that you have about yourself as a connected learner and 10 questions that you have about connected learning and equity.
  2. Next, pick one question and write about it as though you are the expert. Write about why it is of interest to you and all that you already know about it. Write about what you would like to know about it that you don’t already know.
  3. Now find a focused sentence from this writing and do some freewriting. Use this freewriting to take you a bit deeper with your question (or surface a new one!)
    1. Note: You can keep going between #2/#3 to keep going more deeply with your questions and use that for blogging (See Freewriting, focused sentences, and generative themes: Finding your niche for more.)
  4. Next, search online for discussions that might relate to the same topic and pull together a set of things you might want to follow-up on and people and/or communities you might want to start to connect to.

… Looking Back

I’d like you also to take this week to do some looking back at your own work so far in this class.

  • What has your journey been so far?
  • How does this inform where you might be going and what you’d like to do ahead?
  • What does it make you think about related to connected learning and equity?

I’d like to you to do this for two reasons: 1) I’d like for you to practice assessing yourself and your own progress in this class; and 2) because our make this week is to Make a Map and your journey as a connected learner, so far, might be good material for this.

The week ahead:

Wednesday: We will gather via Google Hangout from 8-9pm ET. We will looking back and forward, tapping into our journeys and inquiries.

Our make this week: Make a Map!

  • I’d like to encourage you to start to map your learning and thinking so far … a map could show a path you’ve taken, places you’ve been and/or stopped along the way in your thinking/sharing/connecting.
  • And, while you continue your journey, I encourage you to mark spaces or spots where you run into questions/concerns about equity.
  • Like these educators from CLMOOC last summer, 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. Your map is up to you.

Blogging prompt idea: What do you notice about your journey so far? What inquiry question/s is motivating you forward?

Seek and Search on Saturday or Sunday: Seek 6/7 things you find within or outside our community that you feel will support your inquiry.

Tech tips:

Here is a very imperfect How-To use Twitter that I made. Note that this is just a few ways I use twitter … would love you to share tips and tricks you find useful too.


In learning and connecting solidarity,


Learning in Community


Happy Sunday!

As I mentioned in G+, this class has been hacked … and now you can choose to Seek 6 Saturday (#s6s) or Search 7 Sunday (#s7s). Hopefully this will give us all a bit more time and space for our explorations! Another request was that I send out the email earlier in the week — Sunday evening will be my goal.

Let me know what you think of these changes and if they are helpful.


In the week ahead, while always keeping equity and playful ways of working in mind, I’d like to focus on what it means to learn in community.

As you know my background is with the writing project which is a peer-based network educators based at local writing projects which themselves are networked “communities of practice.” Therefore, I have invited a third writing project colleague to join us this week – Christina Puntel from the Philadelphia Writing Project.

Christina is a Spanish teacher at the Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice and she brings with her a long history of working alongside other teachers and her students to look at and learn from the work that youth are producing. Christina writes about this work at a resource published at the NWP Digital Is website titled Looking with Heart: Celebrating the Human in the Digital.

Christina’s work is also featured in an upcoming book called Assessing Digital Writing: Looking at Student Work (forthcoming TCPress).

NWP’s Digital Is itself is a rich source of vignettes and stories shared by teachers in a larger community. There you can also find stories of learning in community, such as:

And then this article asks: What happens when students become the teachers, and teachers the learners? and links to youth-led webinars where they are taking the lead with the support of communities of mentors and educators.

The week ahead:

Wednesday: We will gather via Google Hangout from 8-9pm ET with Christina Puntel.

  • Please read Looking with Heart before our gathering. If you have time, the introduction from Assessing Digital Writing will provide additional background too.

Our make this week: Create a “how-to guide” this week! What is something you know “how-to” do that you can create a guide for to share with others?

Blogging prompt idea: Where do you learn in community? It what ways is learning supported in these communities? What does this mean for connected learning and equity?

Seek and Search on Saturday or Sunday: Seek 6/7 things you have learned from our community and other communities you are a part of.

Tech tips:

As seen on G+, here are some tips for being social via social media:

  • When you mention each others blogs or posts, link to them! This is really important because:
    • it tells your readers what you are talking about;
    • on some blogs, like WordPress, you get “pingbacks” if someone links directly to something you wrote in their blog post (therefore allowing you to “comment” via your own blog);
    • it is an informal, but important, way to attribute online;
    • it is what makes the Internet a web;
    • hyperlinks are a rhetorical devicehyperlinks are a rhetorical device … Note: we can see Eric using them, here, strategically.
  • When you post a blog post you should also cross post it to other communities you are a part of. In ED677 you should cross-post to our G+ Community as Jingru did with her post titled Play, and …
  • … you can tweet it out using the hashtag #clequity as @TeachBonnie did with her hack of Cinderella.
  • @TeachBonnie also stepped it up a twitter-notch by including #connectedlearning and #Cinderella in her tweet, connecting to others who use those same hastags (who knew so many others were also tweeting about Cinderella :).
  • If you mention someone in your blog post, and then tweet it out, including their @handle in your tweet! I did this with @inspiredminds15 and her x-ray goggles post and a conversation followed with @inspiredminds15 and @thornet who saw my post via #teachtheweb.
  • When I post this email at G+ I will also tag +Kathleen Walsh and +Helga Porter to show how tagging works via G+ too.


In learning and connecting solidarity,