ED677: Seeking Equity in Connected Learning and Teaching

New institutions and new practices, as they arise in a highly unequal and stratified society … will take on those inequalities unless they are actively combated.
—Juliet Shor, Connected Learning Research Network

I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.—Lily Tomlin

Connected Learning is an approach that sees learning as interest-driven, peer supported, and oriented toward powerful outcomes for youth. It also encourages production-centered learning in openly network environments within communities of shared purpose. ED677 then, with a specific emphasis on equity, has been explicitly designed to support participants in exploring connected learning by engaging in a range of connected practices themselves as learner and creators, both on and offline. In this way this course strives to be a connected course about connected learning.

Why equity? Why connected?

The quote above from Juliet Shor comes from a webinar called Connected Learning As Pathway to Equity & Opportunity where the primary question is “How does connected learning combat the growing gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in education…” and was prompted by discussions in the larger field such as this EdWeek article about the “unclear road” to equity. Equity is a key value of connected learning … but how do we get there? How can we engage in connected learning principles and practices in equitable ways in our learning and our teaching? What kind of equitable ecosystems can we build together? What critical questions are raised?

In terms of the connected nature of this course, a core way that educators in the National Writing Project network explore new ideas is by engaging in those ideas ourselves as learners first. This is therefore a key theory of action of this course. It also has been influenced by my work with educators at the NWP and more recently from our open online collaborative summer opportunity called Making Learning Connected. As well as by Lily Tomlin.

The objectives of ED677 therefore are:

  • To learn so that we can teach: In order to teach in connected ways we must ground ourselves in what it means to be connected learners ourselves.
  • To critically examine what we are doing and why: In order to support connected learning in social, participatory and equitable ways for all learners, we must challenge ourselves to critically investigate what we are doing and why.
  • To learn new things through playing, creating and reflecting as a community of learners: In order to expand our experiences as learners we need to play, create and reflect together with new tools, techniques, ideas, materials and communities.
  • To connect and contribute to a larger field of learning: In order to be connected learners we will need to connect as peers as well to the larger field of learning.

ED677 is offered through Arcadia University Graduate School of Education. It is a core course in the Connected Learning Certificate Program.

In addition to DS106 and #connectedcourses, this course is greatly influenced by Making Learning Connected (also known as CLMOOC) and the work of educators of the National Writing Project. This is a WordPress site hosted at Reclaim Hosting.

Please direct questions or comments to cantrillc at arcadia.edu

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