Openly-Networked

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

Read/Watch

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 mathbabe.org.

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?

Make

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.

Gather

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

Find

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,

Christina

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