Several months ago, I was invited to speak with the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Social Work on the theoretical foundations of connected learning as we practice and promote it at VCU’s Academic Learning Transformation Lab. By way of review, you can find the slides and notes on slideshare.net.
If you review the slides, you’ll observe that the way ALT Lab interprets connected learning is heavy on the “openly networked” principle of the DML connected learning framework. In fact, I really prefer to call what we are doing “the exploration of the intersection of open education and connected learning,” but of course that takes up a lot of characters. If you would like to take a deeper dive because sometimes it’s hard to get what you need from just looking at slides, I’ll refer you to my “deconstructed dissertation:” a website based on my now successfully defended dissertation that breaks down the dissertation content into more digestible and applied pieces.
If you flip through the slides, you’ll also see a concept map that attempts to illustrate the relationships between the VCU Quality Enhancement Plan , pedagogical theory and research, educational approaches, and instructional strategies (such as blogging). I’ve worked on the concept map a bit since January, so I’m going to offer you a newer version.
I’ve been invited back to the School of Social Work, this time to talk about the instructional strategy level – how does “blogging” fit into this big picture? Here’s the teaser:
Personal learning networks and e-portfolios are two distinct but potentially synergistic teaching and learning strategies that are theoretically supported at the intersection of connected learning and open education. Personal learning networks are the personal relationships that support information and resource sharing and dissemination. They provide feedback, voice amplification, and additional learning opportunities for learners. E-portfolios are a digital approach to the portfolios frequently seen with progressive education environments: when you see “portfolios,” think reflection, think learning as process, think assessment as and for learning.
However, digital approaches to portfolios (read that in our VCU context as “BLOGGING”) have certain interesting advantages over paper-based portfolios – one of which is that blogging, when public (because blogging doesn’t have to be public), allows for students to use their blogs as personal launchpads for their personal learning networks.
“Edu-Blogging: A launchpad for connectivity, metacognition, and personal learning networks” will situate student blogging in public learning communities in the context of the emerging pedagogical strategies of personal learning networks and e-portfolios. We will review definitions and existing research prior to moving to examples from VCU students that illustrate the power of public blogging. Then we work together to answer questions and concerns around student blogging in public and strategize on ways to adapt this approach for the social work context.