Designing for Equity, continues …

It’s funny how life takes us on journeys we neither dreamed of nor thought possible. So now, it’s my turn to help my students begin journeys that they too neither dreamed of nor thought possible!

A Moment of Reflection, Live. Laugh. Love. Teach

I would love to have an art app that isn’t about old artists, art history and techniques. I would like one where both art students and teachers could use it as a current library for the latest and hottest artists from all over the world but is geared towards students and teachers.

Pop Art Portfolio App, L.B.I. Art Ed

They were excited with a small amount of confusion with their freedom.

A Small Move in the Art Classroom, Katie’s Blog

A peer from my class posted this article (thanks Kristin!!). This first sentence sums up much of the conversations that I have with administrators at colleges (Just providing the technology for classrooms is not enough…)

ED677 Week 8 s6s, brentarcadia

My brother is very intelligent, though you would not necessarily know it by looking at his report cards growing up. He thinks differently and is stimulated by real-world problems, not the facsimiles produced in classrooms.

Finding Our Shared Purpose, Learning to Connect

Find something they like
Something important to them
And push their limits

A Series of Small Move Haikus, Danny C – Connected Learning

One of my biggest struggles is that my students want answers instantly without having to do much thinking on their own. This teacher shows how to let the students draw their own conclusions from simply scaffolding the discussion.

Six Small Move Finds, Brianna’s Blog

The Adventures of CL Girl, Connected Learning

So many classrooms are equipped with technology that is being used because it is technology (ie. putting a worksheet on a google doc instead of printing it), not to engage learners in the active use of technology which can further students’ learning, understanding and development.

Search Seven Sunday, finally fifth

I think it would be interesting for students of all ages to be able to see how the words they use can be interpreted (or perhaps misinterpreted) into a geometric figure, equation, graph, inequality, etc. By allowing students to correct their work and visualize the misunderstandings, they are able to better understand how to communicate mathematically.

Say What? Math Edition, Strengthening Connections

There were many speeches made at the various marches that were publicized nationally. However, other students also made a strong impact with speeches that we didn’t get the chance to hear.

Relate and Rally: App for Equity, Learn with Miss Stern

This app would include the free download of the book, books on students reading levels, and the nearest library of where the book can be rented . Last, the app would share Philadelphia students reviews of the book.

My app that benefits the community, Michael Kodush – Impact I can make

This week, I decided to take the topics we have been discussing in our connected learning class and discuss them with my students. Since we have been discussing topics like equity, interest learning, student choice, and technology, I decided to listen to what my students had to say!

Student Talk, Teaching While Learning

What poses are central to connected learning…what makes it different from what I am doing or have done in the past…which poses do I wobble between transitions and what poses do I flow between?

Connected Yoga, Do to Learn, Learn to Do

You all = Awesome.

This week, please continue to work on your final makes as per last week’s post. Please make sure to sign up for one of these evening gatherings or email me so that we can discuss an alternative plan (note that we can’t have everyone present the last day, so works-in-progress that first evening next week are also fine and if you can switch to next week with that caveat in mind, please do).

Nice work on our Equity in Connected Learning presentation! We have one more addition and then we will be ready to share. Keep an eye out this week: I’ll send a short URL and some suggestions for sharing it with our larger networks.

And as you work on your final make, don’t forget to check in on your own assessment of your progress with the ED677 Self-Assessment Guide. Also, anyone else doing a Data Detox? I am finding it pretty fascinating I’ve got to say and my colleague Andrea Zellner, @andreazellner, is doing it with me too.

In connected solidarity,


Designing for Equity

If you were educated on Earth, you have background in course-like learning and you might feel the temptation to reflect on your making and learning as would suit a course. In the same way, just as you are susceptible to Earth’s gravity, you are susceptible to associate learning with courses. Instead, consider your learning in a way you might consider your learning after a camping trip, after a visit to the museum, or after a dance that leaves you sweaty, laughing, and looking for a drink of water.— Joe Dillon, CLMOOC 2014

As we enter our final two weeks of class, I encourage you think about your learning in the way that Joe Dillon so beautifully describes … did your hands get any less cold and sweaty as you got used to hitting the “submit” button on your blog? Were you able to find a way to balance your weekly findings with your need to get the laundry in and rest after a week of teaching? Have you made any new connections with students or colleagues that have propelled your thinking forward?

These are essential learnings and it will look different for each and everyone of us. There is no one way.

A key thing to remember are our objectives here at ED677: we have been connected learners in order to ground ourselves in what it means to teach in connected ways. We have also been working to critically examine what we are doing and why in order to support connected learning in social, participatory and equitable ways for all learners. And we’ve been learning new things through playing, creating and reflecting as a community of learners both within and outside of ED677.

Embrace what you have learned and wondered about throughout this journey and use all of that to inform your final work ahead.

The weeks ahead …

I believe connected learning principles can provide a vocabulary for teachers to reclaim agency over what and how we best meet the individual needs of students in our classrooms. … — Antero Garcia (2014)

With your own learning as the focus, take this week to reflect back on what you have been working on this semester. Reread your blog. Visit the blogs of your classmates. Look at the things that you made — from maps, to annotations, to connections with others. What are the small moves you made along the way? What are some of the big ways they supported you in being a connected learner this semester? What have the implications been for your agency as a teacher?

With the learning of your colleagues as part of our shared purpose too, take this week to spend some time with our shared Equity in Connected Learning presentation. Make sure everyone gets some feedback on what they are working on and thinking about; respond when you get feedback; talk together about what we should do with this presentation – with whom should we share it, why and how?

… With learners as the focus, teachers can rely on connected learning as a way to pull back the curtain on how learning happens in schools and agitate the possibilities of classrooms today. — Antero Garcia (2014)

And now, with learners as your focus, turn your attention to the implications of what we’ve been doing together this semester; what is important about it and why? Blog this week about the implications for learners you specifically work with. Ask them to be part of this reflection if you can; if you can’t, allow yourself to use what you know to imagine.

After all this, start to think about your final “Make” for the semester. The next two weeks will focus on doing this work and getting prepared to share it with others.

Our Final Makes

Final “makes” should be something that you design that supports you in building towards equity and connected learning beyond this course. What you make can relate to your work with learners and/or in your professional learning.

Go back to your inquiry question/s and see where that leads you. 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 (i.e. a new audience or purpose) and consider it as something you are creating that can help make connected learning and equity a reality in the world (in big or small ways).

When you share your final make, I will ask you to reflect on and describe what connected learning principles inform your work as well as in what ways your make supports equity. So just fyi about that for now.

Here are the dates for the Final Makes and sharing:

  • This week: start on final makes
  • Next week: continue to work on final makes
  • Gather to share; sign up to present either on Thursday April 26th or Thursday May 3rd at 7:00pm ET (note your date preference here)
  • Final makes (public share on your blog and/or with class) and self-assessments (private share directly to me) are due anytime during finals week at Arcadia.

As inspiration, here are some examples of final makes from ED677ers in the past. We also discussed these at our gathering last week: here is the recording and the related document.

Our Final Self-Assessments

You also have the next two weeks to work on a final self-assessment of your learning and connecting over the course of this semester. I’d like you to take your time with this and integrate this into your final making process. (Please do not submit this to me until after you share your final Make, however.)

My recommendation is to take this first week to review the performance expectations from the syllabus, the questions for the self-assessment and then jot notes to yourselves about your work in this course as you review it. Put that aside and continue to work on your final make. … The following week, after you present your final make, return to what you wrote and review it. Then you should start to write it up your self-assessment and share with me.

ED677 Self-Assessment Guide

Note that these are the same assessment questions we stopped to work on mid-semester.

Data Detox

All semester we have been using the Internet to search for things, to sign up for things, and we’ve been posting content about ourselves, our interests, our questions, etc. We have been participating. And, if you look at these Mozilla web literacies standards regarding participation, you will see there are several skills and competencies that we need to address, including: Connect, Share, Contribute, Open Practice and Protect.

Protection, ie. the Managing and maintaining the privacy and security of your digital identity through behaviors and digital tool settings, is one of these skills and competencies. And in a moment where the use of Facebook data to feed Cambridge Analytica, and the acquisition of EdModo by Net Dragon, is making both popular and ed-tech headlines, let’s think about our data and privacy and do some spring cleaning.

Learn more about data privacy through these privacy protect activities  (scroll down to see) created by Mozilla; or work alongside me this week and do a Data Detox. Data Detox, is a 8-day process meant to support you in having a “healthier and more in-control digital self.” Check it out and if you are interested, follow me as I blog about my data detox process.

Happy Making in the week ahead! I’m happy to talk with you if you want a thinking partner as you move forward with your makes and/or detox processes.

In connected learning solidarity,


Shared Purpose

Shared purpose is perhaps one of the most urgent aspects of the connected learning framework, in that the relationships that drive it are essential for motivation and, in turn, feeling and experiencing love in the classroom. – Danielle Filipiak, Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom


This week our focus is on shared purpose — a principle of connected learning that I find particularly interesting as well as complex. What are examples of shared purpose you have seen or experienced? What does it mean to learn with a shared purpose? And what are the implications for teaching and for equity?

Let’s start with some recent work in the news and our connected networks. What is the role of shared purpose in these projects?

  • Student Voice “brings students voices into the education conversation.” Check out their Student Bill of Rights and other projects they are working on.
  • In this timely Educator Innovator webinar from last year, educators come together to talk about media literacy and ways youth can create and interrogate the recent “fake news” phenomenon. Also see a related 22×20 campaign.
  • You’ve heard me mentioned this project I’ve been working on at the NWP with various national partners – Writing Our Future: American Creed. Check out what some of the youth have been publishing. And look for insights into the work happening in classrooms under Resources/Visit Our Classrooms.
  • Share Your Learning is a “national movement to transform schools into places where students can communicate, collaborate and contribute.” Visit their website to see what they are up to and why.
  • Teachers are striking or getting ready to strike across the country; What are you hearing about it all? What are the shared purposes in the mix?

Let’s now turn back to Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom and read Danielle Filipiak’s Chapter on Shared Purpose, starting on page 87. This final chapter frames the three vignettes in this chapter with the idea of resistance, resilience and relationships. Read alongside Danielle, Jennifer Woolven, Robert Rivera-Amezola, and Bryce Anderson-Small and their learners.

Add to this a conversation with Danielle when she connected online from NYC in 2014 with preservice teachers in Cindy O’Donnell-Allen’s class at Colorado State (start around 5:10 to tap into this discussion):

Finish Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom this week by reading the conclusion by Antero and the Afterword that I wrote (note that “NWP Digital Is” is the former name of The Current).


Since our shared purpose in this class is to explore connected learning and equity, let’s make a collaborative presentation about our work that we can ultimately share with others.

Here’s the prompt: “Equity in Connected Learning and Teaching. We’ve been seeking it. Here’s what we’ve been finding …”

Here’s the slide show; how-to is on slide #2.

After you work on this, share your thinking on your blog and reflect on the implications of us having a shared purpose in this class. What other examples of shared purpose you have seen or experienced? What does it mean to learn with a shared purpose?And what are the implications for teaching and for equity?


Find examples of shared purpose in this class or beyond. Again, look for this in our readings, your classmates blogs, and through resources we’ve been connecting to, such as Edutopia, The Current, Teaching Channel, … maybe also add some more favorites, ie. Maker Education, DML Central, New York Times Learning Network, KQED Education, Teaching Tolerance, Rethinking Schools, etc. (Clearly, these are some of my favorites; what are yours?!)


For those of you who couldn’t make it to our gathering last week here is a recording and the related document.

Please also note: During our call we talked a bit about the final Make for the semester and then schedule two online gatherings to share these makes with one another. We decided to do the last two final gatherings will be scheduled for April 26th at 7pm and May 3rd at 7pm. Please let me know immediately if neither of these will work for you; and otherwise please add them to your calendar.

I’ll send out more information about our final makes the week of April 16.

In solidarity,



I’m not asking for some all holy savior to come and coddle us
into equality

I’m asking for you to understand our struggles and our hardships

To understand that if we have to learn with each other we should also learn about each other so we can bring each other up

– Excerpt from ‘Bored in 1st Period’ by Obasi Davis


In this week ahead, we will explore what it means to be “openly networked,” both on and off-line.

Start with your own experience with networking — what does being networked mean to you? How does the idea of “open” networking change or shift that? … Write down a list of all the ways you hear or experience openness in networking and in learning. Next to that list, write out what questions you have about it.

Then return to Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom and read Chapter 5 by Bud Hunt starting on page 71. I’d like you to notice in what ways we network to learn in our face-to-face spaces as well as online this week. What are the “moves” that teachers in these chapters are making? And what are the implications?

Also, what does it mean to openly network the classroom and connect with a local public park? Check out National parks turn into classrooms to turn a new generation into nature lovers. What are the moves that the educators are making here? What are the implications?

Knowing how to read, write, and participate in the digital world has become the 4th basic foundational skill next to the three Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic—in a rapidly evolving, networked world – Mozilla Foundation

Now let’s turn to online networks, specifically. Networks in general can be complicated; the digitally connected ones are no exception. They are also very new and we are still learning what it means to work in networked public spheres. The Mozilla foundation has therefore put forward a framework for being literate on the web that describes the 21st century skills necessary to read, write and participate online: Web Literacy Framework.

Click on the different pieces of the pie chart and explore different aspects of web literacy. What does it mean to read in a webbed context? To write? To participate? What’ skills are necessary and how do you foster those in your own work? And in work with your students?

For an analysis of the relationship of these skills to current K-12 standards, read What Web Literacy Skills are Missing from Learning Standards? by An-Me Chung and Iris Bond Gill.

Both youth and adults have a lot to learn. – danah boyd, Data and Society

There is a lot to think about when it comes to learning that’s connected to digital environments. Last month via Marginal Syllabus, for example, educators across the country read an article that takes on media and media literacy questions in these environments called The Stories They Tell: Mainstream Media, Pedagogies of Healing, and Critical Media Literacy (2017) published in English Education. Not just for english educators, the stories told in the media have great impact on our lives and the lives of our community; what do you notice here in this article and along the margins? What are the questions about the role of media and networks that this raises?

Another direction to take this is the role of algorithms and how they impact our lives through search engines, social media and the like. The work of Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble is important here, especially in an equity conversation. For more, check out her blog for more.  Another person to check out is Cathy O’Neil who wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction and blogs at

Let’s bring this back to schools. In what ways are algorithms, data collected in digitally networked environments impacting formal education? What are the questions we as educators need to be asking? Read through Monica Bulger’s article on Personalized Learning: The Conversations We are Not Having. What resonants with you here? What questions are raised related to your thinking regarding connected learning and equity?

Finally, let’s get some perspective on what youth know, and maybe don’t know, about these digital networked public spheres. Let’s check in with danah boyd and her influential book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. For this class, start with the  introduction for context (pgs 1-28) and Chapter 7 titled “literacy: are today’s youth digital natives?”

Then, if you still have the energy, spend some time with the newly launched KQED Learn that I mentioned last week. What do you notice here about the ways that these educators are supporting youth to work on their inquiries in openly networked ways online? What does it make you wonder about the possibilities?


While there is a lot to say and think about in a focus on open networking, I want to focus in on a quote in the conclusion of Bud’s chapter on being openly-networked in TITCLC he writes:

Embracing the connected learning principle of openly networked learning is manageable. It does require, however, that teachers and other facilitators of learning make small moves toward openness and connectivity. Making a move, like Gail, to invite teachers exploring similar topics to do so together is not difficult, but it does require an awareness of what others are doing. Gail’s position as a district employee provided her this perspective. Mike chose to reach out to others online and to reconsider his museum practices. Jenny and Adam reached out to experts in the community who had expertise that could help their students. Small moves, but with powerful impact.

Which makes me wonder: What kind of small moves can we make in our practice to further open our networks, on or off-line?

Let’s play a bit with this idea of “small moves” and what these moves can be … This week put together a short narration or a poem (it’s is National Poetry Month after all!) about a small move you have made, plan to make, and/or would make with your new connected learning super-powers in support of the learners you teach. Your narrative or poem could be based on your experience or fictional — it could be written, or drawn, created in an online comic-making tools, etc.

To help you get started with your story, you might want to brainstorm a few things — drawing from the vignettes in our Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom readings and spend some time this week catching up on your classmates blogs.


Just a reminder that we will be gathering on Thursday April 5 at 7pm ET.


This week, I encourage you to find and not a range of small moves that other educators have made that seem to support more open and connected learning in classrooms and extended networks (for themselves and/or the youth they work with). Look for this in our readings, your classmates blogs, and through resources we’ve been connecting to, like Edutopia, The Current, Teaching Channel, and the like.

In connected learning solidarity,


Production-Centered: Agency, Voice, and the “Maker Movement”

“The educational makerspace is based on student ownership of their learning.” @LFlemingEDU


In a week of amazing youth leadership, let’s make something inspired by young people. Check out Youth Radio and then also check out the resources also at Teach Youth Radio.

Then let’s try this fun experiment — What if we could use our devices and design a mobile App that allowed you to create more of these kinds of connections for the youth we work with … What would it do? … How is it awesome?!

Youth Radio provides this DIY Toolkit: How to Come Up with Your Own Mobile App. The example here is about making public art more visible. What if our apps here at ED677 were instead designed to support youth in being college, career and community-ready? And also designed to create socially and culturally meaningful contexts of youths’ lives within academic spaces? What if they provided supportive mentors and mentorship and took into account youth interests, both personal and political? And also connect to their peers? What roles would all these people and relationships play in your app’s awesomeness?

In other words: With our shared ED677 goal to create equitable connected learning opportunities for youth … what would kind of App would you design and why?

Do some imagining and playing this week with this idea and share on your blog — you can be as practical or fantastical as you like. Share your App ideas and tell us about it while also reflecting on the implications for equity in connected learning and teaching.


Let’s start by hearing from the youth themselves at Youth Radio. Pick out something here to focus on. What are they saying? How are they saying it? What are they making in order to say it? … Notice that Youth Radio’s mission is to launch young people on career and education pathways by engaging them in work-based learning opportunities, creative expression, professional development, and health and academic support services.

This week our focus is on production-centered teaching and connected learning with a return to Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Read Chapter 4: Production-Centered Classrooms by Clifford Lee alongside Jason Sellers, Christian McKay and Danielle Filipiak.

Let’s also look at the “Maker Movement.” Some of you have studied making in a previous class — what do you recognize in this overview with Erica Halverson and Kimberly Sheridan via The Maker Movement in Education?

I served on a working group with Erica for Maker Ed related to a research about portfolio assessment and making. In our conversation on March 22nd we started to talk about assessment and making, and, as Erica and Kimberly write:

… perhaps the greatest challenge to embracing the maker movement in K–12 schools, especially in our current accountability environment, is the need to standardize, to define “what works” for learning through making. … 

Given the importance of this topic for us to consider, here is a link to the resources that have emerged from this research project: Maker Education Open Portfolio Project. Take a look at what’s here; what can we learn from making practice both in and outside of schools that support us in thinking about connected learning and youth agency?

… democratization may only be accomplished if we move beyond conceptualizing making exclusively as a series of activities that can help improve K–12 students’ formal schooling knowledge. If we believe that making activities and maker identities are crucial for empowerment, then it is, in part, our job to set up situations whereby all learners have the opportunity to engage. (Halverson and Sheridan)

Next I encourage you to watch Leah Buechley, mentioned in the Halverson and Sheridan article. Here she  is considering all learners and in doing so brings a more critical eye to the popularized and branded “Maker” movement and talks through its key promises and equity challenges: Thinking about Making. What stands out to you here as you think about equity in your own context?

Eyeo 2014 – Leah Buechley from Eyeo Festival // INSTINT on Vimeo.

Kim Jaxon, a writing project colleague and composition scholars, also offers a “cautionary tale” in Connected Making Designing Composing. What can you offer from your disciplinary perspective to add to this conversation?

As we move to a focus on design and making in education, we should consider how design or making is woven throughout the disciplines and consider how making and design emerge from disciplinary problems. We could learn a lot from the years of research in writing across the disciplines that could inform more thoughtful infusion of design thinking and making across our curriculum.

As Halverson and Sheridan also tell us, this “movement” is not new and has its roots as far back to Dewey (as you might remember from our reading of a chapter from School and Society). So let’s tap into a bit of the history of making and learning: start with Seymour Papert — a mathematician, scientist and educator from MIT — who is known as the father of “constructionism.” Papert and Harel’s introduction Situating Constructionism from the 1991 book Constructionism gives a good overview. And then, here are some collected resources from a recent book titled Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom.

Finally, check out these stories about making in two Philadelphia schools:


This PDF is provided by Youth Radio to support the process of making an App — and it suggests that designers put together three questions and then interview three other users as part of a user research process on the way to creating the App:

User Research allows you to understand your users’ wants and needs. Figure out the users’ problem, and how they might like it to be addressed. Or figure out the opportunity your users have, and how the app can help them achieve it. This is also the best time to get ideas.

Instead of finding 5 this week, interview 3-5 people to support your own “user research” for your App idea. You can pick others in this class or others, including youth, colleagues, neighbors, friends, mentors, etc.


If you missed the gathering on March 22, here is a recording. We had two presenters and started some good conversations; food for thought when working on your reading/reflecting above. Here is our shared document with some interesting reflections too.

Next gathering? April 5 at 7pm ET. Hope to see you there!

In learning and connecting solidarity,


Academic, Civic, Community and Career Connections

“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)

“It is important to consider the context of academic learning being framed: educators must push to integrate the socially and culturally meaningful contexts of youths’ lives with the academic expectations of today’s classrooms.” (Garcia, 2014)

During a recent gathering, one of us asked for a definition of “Connected Learning.” The graphic above is one way that Connected Learning has been represented, ie. with youth interests in the center of a larger connected ecosystem of learning.

Another way look at it is in this image above where Connected Learning happens at the intersection of youth interests, peer culture, and opportunities (whether these be academic, community, career, etc.).

This week, as we return from spring break, let’s dive into this opportunity aspect of Connected Learning, also known as the “academic principal,” which ultimately connects academic opportunity to the civic, community, and career connections that are important in being a truly connected learner.

And, since we are all situated in this academic circles, let’s up the ante a bit and do our making alongside a set of students and their teacher from Philadelphia.


Kathy Walsh is a science teacher at Building 21 in Philadelphia and an alumna of Arcadia University (who also took ED677 in 2015). Last semester she and her 9th grade students were exploring the question “What are the chemicals we are exposed to in our everyday lives?” The students researched this question after choosing a topic that was of interest to them and then created blogs to share their findings.

Kathy tells us this about the problem frame and the context:

Problem Frame: Since we are exposed to so many chemicals and take these chemicals for granted when we use products, we consume products without a lot of knowledge about the chemicals involved.

Context: As part of an introduction to chemistry in a Grade 9 (first year of high school) as part of a physical science class, my students were supposed to pick a topic or consumer product they use and inform people about the chemicals that are involved in the use of that product to help them make more informed decisions.

Kathy asked that our ED677 class look at, read through, and respond to the students’ work. They have these blogs shared with the world but have not yet gotten much response. And, as many of you are new bloggers yourselves, I thought you could relate and might want to support the kids with some input and feedback. And given this is our “academic” week, it seemed like a perfect connection!

Here is a document that links to all 31 of these blog posts. In order to make sure that all the students hear from us, here is my suggestion for a process:

  1. Pick 4 of these blog posts to read this week.
  2. Add your name next to the post if you are reading it so we can spread out.
  3. Draft one Flipgrid video response for the 4 students you read (no need to respond individually).
  4. Create a Flipgrid response that we can share with the students here:

Here are some suggestions for how to organize your Flipgrid:

  • Start by introducing yourself as an educator, blogger, etc.
  • Then say something encouraging about their work that you connect to and/or were excited about (I noticed that … I was excited to see … You got me curious about …)
  • Add something you are wondering about to prompt the students to respond back (see Kathy’s recommended list of questions below)

Here are Kathy’s recommended questions you can use to connect with the students about their experience creating the website:

  • What was your goal in creating this web page?
  • What problem were you trying to solve by creating this web page?
  • What questions were you trying to answer by creating this website?
  • Who was your audience that you would impact with your website?
  • How might your web page help someone?
  • What do you expect someone reading your web page to come away with?
  • What have you learned about creating web pages?
  • What would you do better if you made another website?
  • What was the hardest part of this project?
  • The next time you create a web page what would be the goal?

I made this Flipgrid three-minutes long; let me know if that seems like enough time for this kind of response.


Let’s start our reading this week by returning to Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Chapter 3: Academically-Oriented Teaching starts on page 39 and as you will notice, Antero Garcia asks what is “academic” in the first place. He then introduces us to Janelle, Larissa, and Nick and their students.

Reflect on these questions as you read these chapters and the blog posts from Kathy’s class:

  • How are youth able to bring the socially and culturally meaningful contexts of their lives into the academic expectations of these classrooms?
  • In what ways are youth in these examples being college, career and community-readied?

Extending our thoughts about what is means to be “community-ready”, Joe Kahne posits in this Washington Post opinion piece, Getting kids “college and career ready” isn’t enough.

Young people know and care deeply about many things. And the way to revitalize our democracy is to provide supports and opportunities for youth to connect to the issues they care about in informed and effective ways.

Holding onto Joe’s call for civic participation and community-readiness, let’s dive into this important article that has been part of Marginal Syllabus the past semester by two people you’ve been reading a lot from already, Nicole Mirra and Antero Garcia. I encourage you to read and/or write annotations along the way: Civic Participation Reimagined: Youth Interrogation and Innovation in the Multimodal Public Sphere.

Finally, let’s also return to the Educator for Democracy in a Digital Age collection at the Teaching Channel and dive into the discussion around the teachers’ questions: How do I further students’ civic knowledge and understanding?


In thinking about digital equity at a meeting this week, I was reminded of the ambitions of the US Department of Education’s updated National Educational Technology Plan that they released under the previous administration in 2016. In that plan they focus on both equity and accessibility; and in the commitment to these two things, bringing us to a focus on the “digital use divide.”

Here’s a quick infographical description:

This week, I encourage you to look for a) active (vs. passive) uses of educational technologies in your learning and teaching communities and/or link to examples you find online. And then b) reflect on these questions again in relation to the examples you find:

  • How are youth able to bring the socially and culturally meaningful contexts of their lives into the academic expectations of these classrooms?
  • In what ways are youth being college, career and community-readied?


We will be gathering again online this Thursday March 22nd at 7pm ET. If you weren’t able to make it to our last gathering, here is the recording and the related document; please take the time to watch and catch up with the groups’ conversations.

This week will be exciting! First, Kathy Walsh from Building 21 will be joining us to talk about this chemistry research/webwork and her connected learning goals for her students. Second, our classmate Mary John will also be sharing some of the work by her kids influenced by her Maker Education class in the previous semester.

Please take extra efforts to join this week if at all possible; looking forward to connecting.

A few additional resources:

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been at a few events and ran into some resources I thought others might be interested to some of you, including:

#stayinteaching: Colleagues of mine from the Northwest Arkansas Writing Project have kicked off an initiative called #stayinteaching for early career teachers. For those of you early in your careers I though this might be of interest as a place to connect/share: follow the for more.

KQED Learn: Just launched! KQED Learn “puts media literacy front and center” and supports 13+ students in connecting with each other to do investigations and develop the inquiry and writing skills they need to be successful in today’s world. Check it out:

Recrafting Mathematics Education: I shared this with Katie but I thought others might appreciate it too (mathematicians and artists alike!). More about this project and a link to their blog

In connected learning solidarity,



What characterizes classrooms where peer-connected learning takes place? – Cindy O’Donnell-Allen in Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom

Happy Monday!

A few months back, teachers in the Mendon-Upton Regional School District in Rhode Island were introduced to connected learning by educator and the director of Technology Integration Dave Quinn (@EduQuinn) . Dave wrote that “we are looking for insights from the connected learning community on how to implement this approach a school setting. In 90 seconds (or less), can you share one big idea or simple action step to begin creating a connected learning classroom?”

Check out some of the results gathered here:

This week let’s continue to learn with and alongside our peers – this time connecting beyond just each other and meeting some educator/learners at UC Denver in a graduate level teacher inquiry course. The instructor, Julia Kantor, will invite them to make with us and then share what they make on a new flipgrid that we will share.

Make, Part I

This week, I encourage you to “make” something new that goes beyond blogging with words; this week I’d like you to Make A Map!

What is a map? According to Wikipedia, “map” comes from the early 16th from medieval Latin mappa mundi, literally ‘sheet of the world,’ from Latin mappa ‘sheet, napkin’ + mundi ‘of the world’ (genitive of mundus ).

Start to make a map, or a world napkin, of your learning and thinking so far about connected learning and equity … a map could show a path you’ve taken or one you are thinking about, it can show places you’ve been and artifacts you’ve collected, it can pick up dreams you’ve had or ambitions you are fostering, or a map can support another in finding a way. Your map can start anywhere … and end anywhere … and like these educator-made examples, 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.

How you make your map is completely up to you.

Make, Part II

Once you have made your map, let’s also try to share it, and your reflections on it, in a new way. I have created a Flipgrid: that I have also shared with other educators studying at the University of Colorado Denver.

I love the design of Flipgrid and find it relatively easy to use if you have a microphone/camera set up to your computer (you’ll see I tested it). First, start by clicking the big green + button, then to record click on the red camera. You can record and re-record until you are satisfied. Follow the green “next” to continue.

Once you understand Flipgrid, use it to share your map with us. Tell us what you made, how you made it and what you notice about your journey so far exploring connected learning and equity. Remember that you are sharing this with peers – in our class as well as other educators also interested in learning more about equity in connected learning and teaching. Flipgrid is also publicly available, so please keep that in mind when sharing.


Now I’d like us to shift our focus to youth and the ways they are working together in communities of peers. Start with Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom this time and think about the implications of peer support and peer culture with Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, Katie McKay, Lacy Manship, and their awesome students.

Have you heard of the Harry Potter Alliance? I learned about the HPA through colleagues who were working on understanding the intersections of fan interests and civic action and saw HPA as an example of youth-led connected learning. In regards to the peer-supported aspects of this work they write,

[HPA chapters] … see themselves not only as organizations with civic goals, but also ones that are constituted on social relationships. HPA mandates that there are at least two chapter organizers to share the burden. Chapters often begin with the organizers bringing together a group of their friends … Group activities can often be purely social in nature, like going ice skating or out for hot chocolate. Organizers stress the strength of the social relationships between members, and often friendships extend well beyond the official activities of the group.

What’s the outcome? In 2015 the Harry Potter Alliance made national headlines with this article in the Washington Post about How ‘Harry Potter’ Fans Won a Four-Year Fight Against Child Slavery. And today, I notice HPA continuing its work; one part of which is helping to organize other fans, such as those emerging around the blockbuster movies Black Panther and Wrinkle In Time. See a recent Black Panther focused twitter chat at #fanactivistcon.

Let’s continue this focus on civic and community engagement and think about the complexities of this work with Sangita Shresthova in her chapter 4, Between Storytelling and Surveillance: The Precarious public of American Muslim Youth from By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism and then focus on chapter 4. (An annotatable version is also available.)

End this week’s reading/watching with Brother Mike, formerly of the Digital Youth Network, as he talks about the role of mentors, including teachers and “near-peers” in growth and learning.


Find 5/6/7 things that inspire you made by your peers (and near-peer/mentors).

Mid-Semester Self Assessment

Since we are almost mid-semester (and into Spring Break), it is also a good time to check in on your work in this course and do a self-assessment. This self-assessment is the same one that I will ask you to complete, and turn in to me, at the end of the semester.

This mid-semester one is not a requirement to turn in, but simply meant to be a tool for your own learning and reflection. I have also included a link for you to give me feedback as the instructor.

See the ED677 Self Assessment Guide.

In Connected Solidarity,


I [am] reminded of just how revolutionary it is to say out loud that learning should be shaped by what our students are interested in. Amplifying the Teacher Perspective on Connected Learning, Nicole Mirra, DML Central

… 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 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? Thinking about Interest-Driven, quoting Ben Kirchner, presentation DML 2013

As we start our transition into the second half of the semester we begin to dig into Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom which we will use a main guiding text for the next six weeks. This text is divided into six chapters, organized around the six Connected Learning design and learning principles, and draws together work and reflections by educators.

During these six weeks, I encourage you to follow your inquiry question throughout (and continue to focus if you have multiple questions). This week, for example, ask about the role of interest in connected learning and equity; and how does that relate to the questions you have about your own work and practice?

(If you missed our hangout last week, we focused on our inquiry questions. See the recorded archive and the related document.)

I also am going to suggest a shift in process … while I think most of us get trained in (grad) school to read/watch something and then respond to it, I want to encourage us to go the other way — ie. let’s make something first this week, reflect on what we make, and then start our readings/watchings to expand our connections.


When we first started this process of connecting our learning here at ED677 we took the time to honor our interests. This week we are focused on unpacking interests — personal, professional, political — and thinking about their implications for learning. What does it mean for learning to be driven by one’s interests? What is, as Nicole says above, revolutionary about it? What are the implications for teaching and for equity?

This week, write a letter that expresses your ideas, makes an argument, or otherwise advocates for something that matters to you and that you are passionate about. Choose an audience for your letter; this can be a hypothetical person, a real person, a group of people, an open letter to a more public community, etc. Choose a purpose for your letter; what do you want to express, share, advocate for, question? Your letter can also be made with or include multiple media, including text, images, drawing, video.

Need inspiration? Visit NWP’s Letters to the Next President 2.0, a project from 2016 where youth 13-18 were asked to write a letters to the next U.S. president (before the election) about matters that mattered most to them.

You can publish your letter on your blog or else just share an excerpt of it or a highlight with us (no need to share if it’s personal/sensitive … again, please make your own decisions about this). After you write your letter, take some notes about your process reflecting on the how, why and what of your letter, as well as consider the implications of this kind of making for connected learning and equity.


Start this week’s dive into interests by being inspired by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida as they choose to participate around an issue of immediate importance to them and their community.

Let’s think about these interests and check out a Teaching Channel “Deep Dive” called Educating for Democracy in a Digital Age. Read the overview blog here and then dive into their resources related to student voice with a core question: How can students voice their perspective on issues that matter to them?

Remember this video that we watched a few weeks ago? Small kids have interests and things that matter to them that they want to share. Check out the work of some other teachers and young students who are documenting and sharing what they care about with their community in Bastrop, Texas (note this is posted on the blog of, a web tool and ed-tech vendor; you can find  educator reviews of Buncee and similar ed-tech tools at Common Sense Media.)

What matters here? Dan Meyer says that this is “such an underdeveloped question in math curriculum.” (And I’m curious what the math educators in this class think too.)

As you can see, tapping into interests aren’t just cultivated in civics and the humanities; check out Dan Meyer’s very successful blog dy/dan as well as The Youth People’s Project, an initiative of Civil Rights leader Bob Moses’ Algebra Project, to see ways that youth and educators alike are making connections between youth voice, questions and leadership through math and math education.

Then, going back to our discussion about around play and games, 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.

Finally, this week you should download a copy of Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom which we will use over the next six weeks. Please read the Introduction by Antero Garcia along with Chapter One: Interest-Driven Learning by Nicole Mirra along with educators Christopher Working, Chuck Jurich, and Meenoo Rami.


This week find and share inspiring work created by youth that to speak to their interests.

Final note

Check out a new project NWP is just launching on Tuesday called Writing Our Future: American Creed (the related documentary is showing on PBS on Tuesday the 27th at 9pm ET).

Have a great week ahead!

In connected learning solidarity,


Practitioner Knowledge and Networked Inquiry

“… It is the questions, after all, that make real learning possible.” Allen & Blythe, 2004

Fine wobbling this past week everyone. Keep it up and take notes for yourself as you go. These wobbles raise questions. And the questions will support us in connecting our learning in new and different ways.

The week ahead …

Let’s start first with some additional inspiration for our flowing and connecting: What, for example, can we learn from the genius of Hip-Hop?

More here with Chris Emdin about Hip-Hop in education:


Let’s take this week to focus on ways of staying fresh, learning from each other, and being resourceful. How do we do that? One way is by continuing to notice where we wobble, to ask ourselves questions about these moments, and begin to take a stance of inquiry around our practice. Read At Last: Practitioner Inquiry and the Practice of Teaching: Some Thoughts on Better by Susan Lytle.

Using the notes from your pose/wobble/flows, and the questions that emerge from them, I would like you to start identifying an inquiry question (or set of questions) that will guide what you do the rest of the semester. Inquiry questions tend to be the kind that keeps you up at night (or wake you up in the morning) … ones that emerge when you as you pose/wobble/flow… that which you seek to make “better”. What keeps you up, in your context, when you think about designing for connected learning and equity?

Again, make notes to yourself — In what ways do you see this educator-blogger wobbling? What are the ways they are doing this in public networked spaces? What are the implications?

Learn more from youth and teachers about the power of inquiry: Revolutionizing Inquiry in Urban English Classrooms: Pursuing Voice and Justice through Youth Participatory Action Research

And through educators’ stories posted at The Current:

Optional: 10 Self/10 World

One exercise you can use to find inquiry questions comes from an educator-created youth blogging site called Youth Voices. (Learn more about Youth Voices here.)

This activity is called 10 Self/10 World and I have adapted it for our context (a bit) and made it into a playlist via the National Writing Project’s Teachers Teaching Teachers forum. This is a brand-new forum for us, so this is really an experiment; and I welcome your input.

This playlist has 3 activities, or “XPs” — once you submit the requested work for each XP you can submit for an “open” badge. I will review your work and approve the badge or request revisions. Give it a try if you’d like!


Blog this week — using text, drawing, video, sound, collage, etc. — about the inquiry questions that start to surface for you as you pose/wobble/flow your way around being a connected learner or about connected learning and equity.

Finding 5/6/7

In addition to writing a blog about your inquiry above, find 5/6/7 resources that might relate to the questions you are asking about connected learning and equity. Take the time and go back through what you have referenced or gathered so far, tap into the sources I’ve been drawing from each week for our shared readings/watchings, as well as each others blogs. Richness abounds!

In connected learning solidarity,


Learning (and Wobbling) in Connected Community

As the 12-year olds tell us in Mitch Resnick’s article:

Start simple
Work on things that you like If you have no clue what to do, fiddle around
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Find a friend to work with, share ideas!
It’s OK to copy stuff (to give you an idea)
Keep your ideas in a sketchbook
Build, take apart, rebuild
Lots of things can go wrong, stick with it

Excellent job doing these things over the past week. For those who missed our gathering, we had an excellent conversation about play and games, so make sure to watch the recording (starts around 5:00).

Here is the related document we were using; find our spectrogram as well as  a link to a consent form for participating in a Connected Learning Study that Dr. Kira Baker-Doyle talked to us about.

Let’s bring these ideas into our work ahead … thinking about how we might not just play but also play along, playing with, play around, playing off of, etc. as we pose, wobble and flow together this week ahead.


This week, let’s continue to play and learn alongside colleagues, with a focus on what it is like to learn, and to wobble, in connected communities. And what are the implications for learning and for equity?

What does it mean to wobble? Let’s start to think about this by doing some social reading (and writing) with Antero Garcia and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen using their chapter What it Means to Pose, Wobble, Flow from Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction.

… we offer a framework we call Pose, Wobble, Flow, which will prompt you to maintain the continual focus on personal reflexivity and professional growth that is so necessary for acknowledging how privilege and cultural positionality shape one’s practice.

This chapter has been shared on the Marginal Syllabus project and therefore you can annotate and also see the annotations of others from a previously scheduled annotation event (Please use the tag #ED677 when you annotate so we can find/see each others comments).

A second reading is titled “Globalization, Localization, Uncertainty and Wobble: Implications for Education” by Bob Fecho. (Note: If you can’t get this article with your Arcadia account, let me know.)

… As the field of education struggles to catch-up with ever-burgeoning technology that brings the world and our uncertainties about the world to our fingertips, this article theorizes the role of uncertainty in the classroom, particularly as it occurs at the intersection of the global and the local.

And then, stop by a site that Bob created with others called Storri at Teachers College at Columbia University. This is a site where teachers courageously share their stories of wobble. Pick out 2-3 stories from across the different categories to focus on. Makes notes to yourself — What issues were causing wobble for these educators and what complexities are discussed?


Note: this may take you more than just this week to accomplish, depending on when you start.

This week, check out the set of provocations that Antero and Cindy offer at the end of their chapter (page 14 of What it Means to Pose, Wobble, Flow):*

  1. Keep a journal or diary (digital or nondigital) and begin listing the areas of your practice that you continue to struggle with. Prioritize those areas that require the most in-depth scrutiny. [slight edit] Do you think any of these are poses? If so, make notes to yourself about this.
  2. Try jotting brief notes in your daily lesson plans or recording a few words on sticky notes that will later jog your memory about classroom events related to your wobble. If it’s easier, you can even record voice memos on your phone or computer and listen to them on your way home to reflect on how your teaching went that day. As you interrogate your wobble by inquiring into your practice, what insights are you finding? Where are you experiencing flow?
  3. Use the same process above to reflect on your students’ work. Seeing this as data for meaningfully informed wobbling, what are your students producing, and what does their work say about your classroom’s culture, your teaching practice, your understanding of who your students are? Don’t forget that your students are the best source of information about their own learning. Talk to them and try to find common ground.

Try these suggestions for one week. And then share a reflection on what you learn in the process of doing these things. If you are comfortable sharing notes you took along the way, feel free (but please make your own decision about this; you should always consider the public nature of blogging before posting). Keep those notes so that you can look back and reflect on them throughout the semester.

Remember in your reflection to come back to our main questions, ie. what is it like to learn, and to wobble, in connected communities? What are the implications of wobble for connected learning and equity?


The 12 year olds above tell us to “Find a friend to work with, share ideas!” Antero and Cindy also ask us to “Seek out allies and mentors” and write:

… even though the model as we’ve described it above often sounds individualistic, we don’t intend for it to be. In fact … we have found that we go through P/W/F cycles most successfully when we collaborate with colleagues who provide moral support and at the same time challenge our thinking.

This week, start to identify some allies and mentors for yourself or others who you might support you when you wobble. Are they people you work with or connect with through school? Are there networks to connect to, professional alliance or organizations that can be supportive? What about some of the new connections you’ve been exploring, both on and offline? Where do you as an educator find moral support while challenging your thinking?


Finally, if you are up for it, it is Valentine’s week after all and love is in the air. Why not share with the world what it is you love about teaching! Check out #loveteaching to learn how.

New to Twitter? Many educators are using twitter to connect with colleagues and also to engage in discussion about education as professionals in the field. If you are interested, the Studies of Literacies and Multimedia (SLAM) Assembly of NCTE ran a webinar (yes, that is the same Antero Garcia and Nicole Mirra you’ve been reading!) on Learning to Tweet. Check it out.

Also, as we discussed on our hangout last week, there are other ways beyond blogging that we might want to connect/share at #ED677. To do so, tag things with #ED677 and then invite us to follow-along. For example:

#ED677 via twitter
#ED677 via

Where else do you already hangout out online and want to start a discussion with us … Instagram? Others? Make suggestions as part of your Find 5s if you think it can be supportive.

In learning and connecting solidarity,