Working in digital spaces – particularly open digital spaces – can help you see connections across contexts. For example, aggregating student blog posts in a course “bloggregate” (see this from Collaborative Curiosity) can make it easier-faster for you to make connections across your colleagues’ emerging ideas. Capturing all of a your assignments in one digital portfolio (or blogsite) makes it easier-faster for you to see your own improvement, growing sophistication, or connections across your work.
When I think of connected learning as an instructional designer, my mind immediately goes to the DML Research Hub connected learning framework, which encourages instructors to incorporate active, social, digital, and experiential learning into course design. Instructors create these sorts of environments so that students might have opportunities to make connections. But what does this actually mean? Among other things, it’s a way to privilege holistic and social ways of learning and being. Connected learning means examining how new ideas fit into the bigger pictures of personal lifelong learning trajectory as well as their positions within the learning community.
Connected learning is about more than seeing connections; it’s about documenting connections – making them visible for immediate and future examination. Vannevar Bush wrote about these as associative trails. Similarly, Seymour Papert spoke about making thinking visible so that it can become sharper through concrete representation and social discourse.
Hyperlinking and embedding materials are great ways to create connections through your work. Making a hyperlink or embedding an image or video are concrete acts – not just fleeting thoughts. They take time and, in doing so, make you work harder and think longer on exactly what you are trying to achieve. By hyperlinking and embedding, we have opportunities to reveal patterns, to understand how coursework is relevant to us and our lives, to reflect on how far we have come, and to make plans about where we are going. We document these paths – not only for ourselves but for our audience so that they might understand our perspectives a little better and comment on our paths.
There are a variety of reasons why a connected learner should take a moment to connect across their own work. Here are some great examples that have emerged recently from Collaborative Curiosity.
1. To draw connections within coursework.
2. To draw connections across modalities.
3. To draw connections across personal contexts.
4. To draw connections across digital platforms.
Finally, here’s an example of Serra hyperlinking in a Twitter chat to her blog post – she used it very effectively to make a point/provide an example; however the act also allowed her to very explicitly make connections between the class conversation on Twitter and her recent work on her blog posts.
— sjtdea (@sjtdea) June 9, 2016