Connected Learning

This idea of connected learning seems idyllic. The inherent tension in the lines between my PLN and yours. The lines interconnecting. What is omitted? What remains to be cataloged or discussed in these networks? If all experience is potential source material for gleaning, appropriating, learning, instructing, and implementing, what would a PLN comprised of heartbreak or anxiety look like? The interstellar neural pathways that constitute how the brain uses and shapes information to learn.

Hearkening to tribal language, to the call for connection in an isolating network of HCI. As communication increasingly involves various technologies, we want to dream the invisible wires gives us direct access. Do they?

The possibilities for global communications are unprecedented and expansive. Do we feel connected?  According to Jenkins, “the core of connected learning [involves] three values: equity, full participation, and social connection.” Typically, these principles guide us in our individual knowledge pursuits as autodidacts navigating and augmenting our PLNs. We cull and curate and consume and create; we build a tower of Babel; we build a circus of content.

What fun to engage in a collaborative practice of sharing these ideas and interests. To develop networks of life-minded individuals is an aspiration. What happens when schools, museums, libraries, and archives unite to promote a new model of learning rooted in these collaborative principles, and reject the traditional model of greed, debt, and competition? Maybe I’m having a hard time separating the two, but it seems connected learning allows for a transformation not just of learning environments, but of whole educational systems.


Jenkins, Henry. (2012). Connected Learning: Reimagining the experience of education in the Information Age. Retrieived from

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New Culture of Learning


There’s a buoyant and palpable joy communicated through the writings of Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown in their book A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. It seems like an opening, like permission to create and learn through play whatever, wherever, whenever. It’s like Homeschooling for Library Dummies or something.

While I am typically resistant to the current zeitgeist of “Books are bad, m’kay” and thinly veiled critiques of the limitations of the tradition of books as critical technologies disguised in writings about the benefits of current emerging technologies, I found myself opening to the concept of a “reading practice” that incorporates and integrates various media to teach, to convey, to convene, to connect.

Facilitating learning through any media necessary is the surest way to encourage curiosity in the learner, which subsequently promotes greater aptitudes for lifelong learning. Agency is the key. We know that rote regurgitation on standardized anything does not promote cognitive transfer or recall. Intrinsic motivation does. As such, learners that become truly engaged desire more knowledge, become immersed in the knowing of a thing.

With a little ingenuity, libraries can be makerspaces, workshops, laboratories, and reading rooms. Libraries that seek to integrate traditional and emerging tech to foster discovery environments for their collectives and communities convey that they promote access to all while also meeting a plethora of learner needs. Why go elsewhere if users can create, share, learn, play, read, and also engage with peers? Joining with an active and participatory community to create and share “content” allows all to collaborate in new ways of learning.

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Teaching Tech

LIBR 281_Week 4 DT _Wordle for Blog Post

Teaching and learning are necessary compatriots, and I’m excited to learn alongside our group’s Learning 2.0 program participants at 4LCS. While I see my role as more of a program facilitator than teacher, I recognize how this program potentially catalyzes greater understanding of various tech tools, in part because of peer-to-peer and collaborative learning opportunities.

Also, I’m thrilled to have a justifiable excuse to play with tech tools like Zotero and Instapaper. Instapaper is shaping up to be my new favorite. Despite its seeming innocuousness and lack of tagging or labeling conventions, it presents information junkies like me with something more useful: a single source for myriad pages of variegated content from everywhere and all wheres to retrieve and read later. This simple concept allows users to gather and store articles, tweets, posts, and links, while otherwise working online without fear of falling down the Facebook rabbit hole to realize another hour has passed. Freedom, indeed.

This attitude appears to be the source of my hesitation to embrace too many “emerging” technologies. Balance is key, and every so often I need to look people in the eye without twitching from staring at a screen all day. Purposeful and meaningful tech appropriation allows me to catalyze new learning, and engages me to consider new ways of thinking about design and best practices in meeting user needs.