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,


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