“Connected learning environments are designed around networks that link together institutions and groups across various sectors, including popular culture, educational institutions, home, and interest communities. Learning resources, tools, and materials are abundant, accessible and visible across these settings and available through open, networked platforms and public-interest policies that protect our collective rights to circulate and access knowledge and culture. Learning is most resilient when it is linked and reinforced across settings of home, school, peer culture and community.”
– from ConnectedLearning.tv
In Chicago the openly-networked principle of Connected Learning is embodied by the Chicago City of Learning website and STEAM Studio. The Chicago City of Learning website brings together learning programs and activities from organizations throughout the city and provides an interface that makes all of the opportunities visible to young people and parents and allows them to search for opportunities based on their interests.
“The more you give people to invest in, the more they will be open to it, and the more they will generally like it.”
Zoe Parks, student
STEAM Studio translates the network principle into a real-world program by bringing together different partners together to collaborate on a two-week workshop around young people’s interest in design and fashion. Digital Youth Network (DePaul University) taught digital design, FUSE taught 3d modeling & printing, local businesses Sir&Madame and Christopher Duquette Jewelry served as real world design “clients”, the Chicago Cultural Center provided space for a pop-up studio and trunk show exhibition space, Burberry offered an internship for winners of the design challenge. In STEAM Studio’s networked approach to learning, each partner was a different resource to help young people explore design and produce a project. For the partners it meant being able to focus on a particular role, while also contributing to a larger learning experience made possible only through connection and collaboration.