I’ve been researching connected learning for my connected learning badge, and got to sit down with Antero Garcia yet again, a contributor to Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. We were able to discuss what Connected Learning actually looks like in the classroom with modern students’ interests.
Antero discussed his extensive experience with the connected learning model of education, and how he was able to actually apply it to engage students in content. He talked about how these resources, or the interests of the students, are hobbies that the kids are already doing outside of class, teachers need to simply facilitate a community within their class that the students are able to learn in. He used the examples of Minecraft, other video games, sports, or knitting clubs.
Students are already engaging in these outlets of creative expression, to transform this into connected learning, you just need to have them share the experience with others so that it is a collaborative learning experience in which students might learn content relevant from their studies in school.
Although teachers need to create these communities, they must also know the limits of their role in connected learning. They do need to step back at some point and leave the active learning to the students. This gives them a sense of creativity and freedom that they usually don’t have in the school setting.
Connected learning requires some teacher facilitation, but it is mostly left up to the students to explore their own capacities and create original work.