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Connecting Youth Interests Via Libraries

July 31, 2014

As libraries across the country reimagine themselves, patrons, particularly young ones, are finding them more relevant in today’s technological age. Examples of innovative projects, tapping into the power of the Internet, include the Chicago Public Library, which offers a free Maker Lab, with access to 3-D printers and milling machines; and two branches of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), where underserved kids are learning to code and tell stories through photography this summer. Many other l Read More...

Rapid Tech Change Requires Rebranding to Recruit Talent

July 7, 2014

A few months ago, I met the city of Austin’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and we soon discovered that we had several mutual interests, especially related to young people, technology, and a rapidly evolving economy. Intrigued by our conversations, we recently convened a meeting with several leaders from the city’s Information Technology team (CITT) that included the Austin Independent School District, Austin Fire Department, Austin Public Library, financial services, and public utilities. We also in Read More...

Explaining the Research of Connected Learning

June 2, 2014

The idea of “connected learning” encompasses a way of theorising and describing the kinds of learning that take place against the grain, as it were, in places where we might not usually expect to find it, in communities where traditionally it is not always recognised, and amongst individuals who frequently appear to be on parallel tracks to those customarily valued by the mainstream. It describes communities of practice that have sprung up in virtual and informal spaces inhabited by young people and aro Read More...

P-Tech Schools: The Remaking of Career, Technical Education

May 30, 2014

For nearly four decades, economists have been discussing what is generally referred to as skill-biased technical change. That is, the degree to which technological transformations — computerization and automation — privileges high-skill workers over low-skill workers. Schools are under increasing pressure to design classrooms, curricula, and learning experiences that help students develop the kinds of design, engineering, and creative skills that are a better fit for innovation economies. One model of s Read More...

Changing the World with Media Literacy: the UNESCO Forum and Declaration

May 30, 2014

Researchers, educators and a broad range of stakeholders met in Paris at the first UNESCO Media and Information Literacy (MIL) forum on this week (May 27-28) to agree on and adopt a declaration with ambitious and far reaching aims – to create a ‘future proof’ strategy for MIL, towards a more civically responsible networked media landscape in twenty years’ time. By Sonia Livingstone and Julian McDougall Read more Read More...

Support the n00bs: Community Design for Inclusivity

April 11, 2014

A common topic of discussion among our team of Leveling Up researchers is how communities maintain different barriers to entry. Every community, be it an online forum for Worldwide Wrestling enthusiasts, One Direction fangirls, or Starcraft II players, has its own etiquette and sets of rules for entering the community and becoming a full participant. But for platforms that wish to continually attract a new and engaged user base, designers must think through how to minimize barriers to entry. In essence, lea Read More...

The Powerful Combination of Interests and Peer Culture

April 5, 2014

The connected learning model emphasizes the importance of peer culture and interests in fueling members’ participation and learning in the rich activities and opportunities these communities create. In interest-driven communities, it is the passion or interest that leads people into joining the community (Gee and Hayes 2010). As a researcher who has focused on interest-driven communities, I sometimes take this for granted. But the depth of what this means to members - that they are able to find a communit Read More...

Supports for Help and Feedback in Peer-Supported Communities

March 3, 2014

As I’ve described in a previous post focusing on the professional wrestling community, the Wrestling Boards, help and feedback are key ingredients to an active peer-supported community. Peer-support is one of the three main spheres of the connected learning framework. But what enables help and feedback? Analysis of the Leveling Up case studies suggests two major supports for help and feedback: community design and community culture. Community design refers to the way in which online communities intentiona Read More...

Tracking “Interests” in Interest-Driven Learning Communities

February 19, 2014

Why the interest in interests? Learning researchers have long posited that when animated by passion, learning can be rich, relevant and resilient (Hidi, 1990; Renninger, 2009). The connected learning model, building on part of this research, focuses on supports and mechanisms for building environments that connect the spheres of interests, peer culture, and academic life. Alignment between these spheres is echoed in the learner biographies from our case studies of online communities. Our learner biograph Read More...

What It Takes: All of Us

February 11, 2014

This has been a groundbreaking year for the field of youth mentoring. With little fanfare, two large-scale, rigorous evaluations have been released, both of which suggest mentoring relationships have meaningful impact on young people. First, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada announced a very ambitious, ongoing study. Although still early in the study, researchers David DeWit and Ellen Lipman have found preliminary results that show children with mentors exhibi Read More...