“Connected learning environments are populated with adults and peers who share interests and are contributing to a common purpose. Today’s social media and web-based communities provide exceptional opportunities for learners, parents, caring adults, teachers, and peers in diverse and specialized areas of interest to engage in shared projects and inquiry. Cross-generational learning and connection thrives when centered on common interests and goals.” – from connectedlearning.tv
An all too common assumption is made as one generation laps another: that young people simply know more about technology and media than adults.
Engagement with the digital realm has changed who we think of as teachers and students. At it’s foundation, the development of the web has been a project of shared interests where everyone is both a consumer and potential producer of knowledge. Connected Learning explores how learning can be designed as an experience of shared-purpose that minimizes the dichotomy of student-teacher or youth-adult.
“Connected Learning is for me, the opportunity to connect a young student with someone else who has had a life experience that they might identify with.”
The National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago creates experiences of shared purpose through art exhibitions and education programs. Their goal is to create a dialogue between Veterans and young people that addresses common issues like war and violence, military service, or dealing with family members who are in the military.
“Connected Learning is for me, the opportunity to connect a young student with someone else who has had a life experience that they might identify with.” –Christine Bespalec-Davis, National Veterans Art Museum
A rare connection between two generations occurs when a veteran shares his experiences with a group of teenage boys who were probably not much younger than he was when he went to war. Or when a veteran asks the audience of young people who has family members serving in the military and almost half of the students raise their hand. These conversations are uncommon today, but when connections like this are made they are striking and make one wonder: how can we make this happen more?