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Moving Forward Chapter 5 Affinity Online

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Moving Forward

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Connections to Practice and Design

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Tal is a sixth grader who enjoys writing and drawing and playing games, particularly Minecraft. She is also a student at Quest to Learn in New York City, a unique public school codesigned by educators and game designers, including one of the authors of this book, Katie Salen. Tal learned about Minecraft at school and quickly became attached to it because it allows her to build and be creative within a multiplayer social online environment. In Minecraft, players mine and craft items, use blocks to build structures, and organize a wide range of activities that are both collaborative and competitive in nature. Tal started playing Minecraft at her cousin’s house and eventually helped start a Minecraft club at school. Given the school’s support for games-based learning, educators embraced the club and set up a server so the students could play together and access their online world from both home and school. Unlike the other learners whose stories form the basis of the research for this book, we learned about Tal through an environment specifically designed to support connected learning, Quest to Learn.

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Nov 25
Kara Bethea (Nov 25 2020 2:08PM) : This paragraph reminded me of LRNG out of Chicago that allows students to be interest driven and are connected to mentors they need in the community and in their interests. They learn by earning badges online, anytime, anywhere.
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Nov 30
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 30 2020 5:35AM) : Yes, I think the LRNG project is built on the ideas here, and there are connections to the authors, I believe
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Nov 26
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Nov 26 2021 3:27PM) : I've been building a library of Chicago tutor/mentor and learning orgs for 20 years. I keep learning of new resources. I had not heard of LRNG before.
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Nov 26
Ms. Sarah Stice (Nov 26 2020 5:11PM) : A question or two more

This seems like such an interesting and well-thought-out idea. My only concern with this is in regard to how other schools might respond. For example, in my school, we have a policy that students cannot at all be on their computers for any other purpose than school-related activities. Even if they take their computers home, they are not supposed to use other resources or play games. If we are so quick at shutting down these types of exploration, are we missing out? How practical is it to incorporate more of these games and activities in a school that isn’t fully designed around connected learning?

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Nov 30
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 30 2020 5:36AM) : That's a great insight and question -- school policies often get in the way of Connected Learning practices because activities are seen as "non-school" related, even if they are deep learning experiences
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Nov 30
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Nov 30 2020 8:10AM) : Policies more

I hear you. Policies that are as draconian as these show us who generates the problem and who owns it. Policymakers generate, everybody else owns the consequences. The question is this: reform or revolutions. I hate these false dilemmas, so I would value other paths. I know you are looking for them.

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Nov 24
annie mcintyre (Nov 24 2021 6:52PM) : I can see where you are coming from the same challenge is present in my school. It is very difficult to integrate connected learning if it isn't even given a chance due to preconceived notations about what is considered valid in the curriculum.
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Nov 26
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Nov 26 2021 3:29PM) : To give a youth a computer and access to the Internet then limit where they can go to learn seems very counter productive to me.
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Dec 1
Shea Ross (Dec 01 2020 11:43PM) : Its interesting to see that others have seen a decline because I have three younger siblings and they are always playing Minecraft. I have never personally played it but from what I have seen it looks engaging and exciting!
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:02AM) : Since some of us started to annotate this chapter (some time back), I too have noticed a new interest in Minecraft with my students. Fascinating how some platforms come, go (not quite disappear but ...) and come around again.
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Dec 11
Ms. Hannah Rossiter (Dec 11 2020 7:36PM) : Quest to Learn more

I truly love when experts within different fields come together to create something that doesn’t only benefit the students but also the community. Quest to Learn has given Tal more opportunities than most students. The best part is that they are focusing on her passions and not just the standards. I would personally love to learn how to create a learning environment like that within my classroom

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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:03AM) : Passion is the key. As a teacher, balancing both a school district's expectation and students' interest and creativity can be tricky (depending on where you work and who your boss is).
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Nov 21
Bryan Westman (Nov 21 2021 1:35PM) : This game is a great example of something that can be done in a group or individually which adds to its appeal and learning opportunity.
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:03AM) : Yes, I agree. It has a lot of possibilities. I suppose that's why it still has resonance for many people, including young people.
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Mar 16
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 16 2019 5:51AM) : This is the first year I have noticed a sharp decline in Minecraft with my sixth graders. During our game design unit, I ask them to share their favorite games. MC has long been near the top. Now it has mostly vanished.
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Mar 17
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Mar 17 2019 8:30AM) : Yes, ephemeral, that is nature of digital life. All life. more

Just like a video on Tiktok. Here. Gone. Even the platforms are often just ephemera.

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Mar 29
Karen LaBonte (Mar 29 2019 1:11PM) : What are they playing instead? Any consensus?
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Nov 26
Megan Reetz (Nov 26 2019 5:42PM) : Fortnite is still a favorite, but many of my students prefer to play cool math games or other silly strategy games. I know that these games are important, but it appears that the games these kids are playing are just mindless and don't require much skill
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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:52AM) : Maybe they become a launch pad for something deeper and more critical .. ideally, the playing of games leads to the making of games, and then the haring of games into larger networks (audience)
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Nov 30
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Nov 30 2020 8:23AM) : VR and AR [Edited] more

Watched a recent episode of Adam Savage’s YT channel where he was extolling the latest iteration of Oculus Rift. I am wondering if we are beginning to see among more privileged families the use of VR in gaming. Ready, player one? or two?

Here’s the Savage YT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ0WE4JkROA&t=717s

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Nov 26
Megan Reetz (Nov 26 2019 5:39PM) : It's funny that you should comment on the decline of Minecraft. When my students have free time, most of them choose to play cool math games or watch youtube videos. I have mentioned Minecraft and many of them said they occasionally play, but not often.
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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:53AM) : This school year, interestingly enough, I have seen a resurgence of interest in Minecraft with some of my students -- I think some new versions of MC with themes has caught their attention again.
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Dec 1
Mitchell Ary (Dec 01 2019 10:37PM) : rise in younger kids. more

I have seen a decline in older students. But at the same time I have seen a rise in interest in minecraft with younger students (Pre-K to 5th). I don’t see a lot of kids interested in middle school.

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Dec 1
Shea Ross (Dec 01 2020 11:45PM) : Why do you think there is this decline? Are students interested in another game? Is it age? I would be curious because my siblings of different ages all play it so It would be interesting to see why!
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Dec 1
Satie Walker (Dec 01 2019 10:59PM) : Fear around Minecraft more

I think a decline in Minecraft activity is seen both at home and at school mostly because at school, many teachers either lack the time or fear the unknown. I don’t know a single teacher in my building who uses Miinecraft for educational purposes in their classroom, I am assuming this is due to fear of the unknown. And at home, if parents are like me, I kick my kids out of the house for the first hour we’re home (weather permitting) and then we have homework, after school activities, and other things to tend to leaving no time for gaming. I don’t know much about Minecraft fading in popularity, mostly due to lack of experience with it, but I do know it has never been a big deal in my family life/teaching career so maybe this is why educators are seeing a decline in interest?

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:55AM) : Maybe. I hope families are doing more to get their kids outside, playing in unstructured time. more

Personally, although I teach game design in my sixth grade ELA, I don’t use Minecraft because it is now bundled within Microsoft ecosystem. We don’t use Microsoft in our school.

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Dec 2
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Dec 02 2019 10:46AM) : Minecraft - Webheads learning group more

I’ve seen many comments about Minecraft. There’s a group of educators on-line called Webheads in Action who have been discussing Minecraft for a few years. Here’s a link to one of their sessions. http://evo2019proposals.pbworks.com/w/page/128808498/2019_EVO_Minecraft_MOOC

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Nov 28
Jenny Shrank (Nov 28 2021 12:07PM) : The design of the game lends itself to the development of 21st century skills. Minecraft could be a great tool to incorporate into everyday learning to promote these skills without having to spend time creating something new.
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Nov 13
Dr. Mark Karugarama (Nov 13 2021 4:21PM) : One of my key takeaways from this class so far is the importance of stories in the making, gaming, and design-thinking process. Most things do not happen in a vacuum. There is often a trigger. A story. An Inspiration. In this case, a game. [Edited]
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:04AM) : I am with you on this. The central facet of storytelling for game design (which I do with my sixth graders) is what gives the video games a center, an anchor.
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Nov 25
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Nov 25 2021 8:01AM) : Other resources more

If you haven’t already, you need to read Matthew Dicks’, Storyworthy. He has a different and very useable take on what is central: “the big moments are all about the little moments.”

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Nov 18
Levon Curtis (Nov 18 2021 11:34AM) : I've noticed that recognition of some sort is a key function of driving student engagement. more

I’ve noticed that recognition of some sort is a key function of driving student engagement. Recognition, to me, is anything that validates that the student’s efforts are worthwhile as it relates to their community. If there is a low barrier to entry, then some sort of validation that the student can be successful early and often is esssential.

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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:05AM) : I find that giving student game designers a way to share their games with a wider audience is a powerful motivator.
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Nov 23
Joshua Shoeman (Nov 23 2021 6:52PM) : This makes me wonder about the moderation and control of the server from a school perspective. If negative actions happen in the server such as name calling, will this have a consequence in the real world? Could it simply be removal from the group?
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:05AM) : Great question. I don't know. That might be a decision determined by school, project, etc.
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Mar 16
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 16 2019 5:53AM) : Which is important to state, since this particular school (is it charter? I'm not sure) is very different than most public schools, as it is focused and designed around game design/game theory. The entire school has game-design philosophical foundation.
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Mar 16
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 16 2019 5:53AM) : link to Q2L: https://www.q2l.org/
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Mar 17
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 17 2019 9:43PM) : As we've noted before, this research is highlighting the advantages affluent, privileged, kids have. more

Would be great to see group like Nerdfighters emerge with passion and goal of making learning opportunities like this available to more kids, especially those in lower income areas.

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Mar 18
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 18 2019 6:31PM) : I agree. I am thinking of some of the annotation readings for the the Marginal Syllabus project and the Connected Learning projects funded by John Legend, and how there is a socio-economic element to those ventures, and I wonder if they dovetail here?
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Mar 19
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Mar 19 2019 6:16AM) : Emergent more

I love the idea of emergence. In education we are subject to fits and frenzies where we take a great idea like Nerdfighters and paper it over an existing frame. We cover over the chance to help new, slightly different affinity groups to emerge. In fact, I would argue that all affinity groups are emergent groups. Anything that limits one, limits the other.

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Mar 29
Karen LaBonte (Mar 29 2019 1:13PM) : One could argue that Nerdfighters reflects a privileged audience-- at least, one that has regular internet access.
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Mar 30
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 30 2019 8:57AM) : I think you are right, to some degree. Daniel brings hit up a lot, as he should -- who is privileged and who is not, and how does that open up or close off opportunities ...
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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:29PM) : Connecting rich, middle class and poor in strategic, on-going actions has been my goal more

I understand that the luck of birth gives some people privilege and advantages that others don’t have. Thus, my efforts have tried to draw these people into the lives of kids in poverty, via tutor/mentor programs, then educate them about challenges kids, families and schools in these areas face. Then motivate them to use their advantages to bring needed resources into high poverty areas. That’s not happening enough.

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Apr 2
Karen LaBonte (Apr 02 2019 2:24AM) : I appreciate your aims, Daniel.
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Nov 22
Natasha Floersch (Nov 22 2019 1:24PM) : agency, poverty, input [Edited] more

Technology, digital tools, and affinity networks offer a great opportunity to keep the tutors / mentors and the community members on equal footing. The community members know best what they need, but so many have a long, negative history of outsiders acting “on” them, not “with” them. These tools have a lot of promise for collaboration.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:56AM) : Moving from promise to action is key ...
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Dec 2
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Dec 02 2019 10:17AM) : Volunteers can help open doors more

I encourage you to view this concept map showing supports kids need as they move from preschool to work, over a 20+ year period. In lower left I show a role of volunteer tutors, mentors. Kids in high poverty areas don’t have same range of resources so organized programs that draw in volunteer from beyond poverty can help make more of what’s needed available. I’m not sure that many share my perspective.
https://cmapspublic.ihmc.us/servlet/SBReadResourceServlet?rid=1247940590625_680793758_145917&partName=actualhtmltext

In addition to being active in the school’s Minecraftclub and server, Tal was also part of the kinds of online affinity networks that we have studied for this book. She learned from open online resources for Minecraft, which include massive numbers of YouTube videos, forums, wikis, and other server communities. Based on ideas gleaned from these online resources, Tal was inspired to write scripts for her friends at school to perform and record as animated plays in Minecraft. One of her teachers, recognizing the creativity and learning potential of Tal’s scriptwriting, encouraged her to share the work in class, and she was interviewed about it for the online school newspaper. With the support of her peers, family, and teachers, Tal continued to pursue her writing interest and began writing every day, eventually enrolling in a summer program for writers so she could continue writing during her break. For Tal, online affinity networks were linked to a broader network of intergenerational, local, and institutional supports, resulting in powerful learning as well as expanding her educational opportunities.

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Nov 29
Mary Curfman (Nov 29 2020 7:48PM) : school support [Edited] more

I still have a hard time believing that schools are supporting students and partnering with them in these ways. I think it is amazing! Tal’s school definitely has their priorities in the right places by giving their students this level of support. This does have me wonder about the school itself. Is it Public or tuition based?

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Nov 30
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 30 2020 5:37AM) : Good question -- some schools may have more flexible policies and more flexible budgets (and maybe less focus on standardized testing) to allow for activities like this.
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Nov 30
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Nov 30 2020 8:32AM) : Desire paths can be laid over mandatory paths. [Edited] more Tags: desire path

I taught 8-12 for ten years and one of the ideas I used in every class was to show learners how to apply something we did in class that day to their own “desire path” (https://99percentinvisible.org/article/least-resistance-desire-paths-can-lead-better-design/) I do this with super conventional teaching tools like the much despised research paper. I try to make the learner’s desire path form the core of the “road” they have to walk as they complete their projects. They choose the research question they want to answer as well as the format they want for answering it. Their desire path flies over the same set of tracks we oftentime regard as the only way. Not. This idea is not new to me, I have been practicing it in my own freshman comp classes. I have three students this semester who are choosing to answer their research questions via podcasting. That’s their desire path.

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Dec 2
Shea Ross (Dec 02 2020 12:07AM) : Online resources are great. It is just so important to monitor these students. To help them navigate these online resources.
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Dec 1
Mitchell Ary (Dec 01 2019 10:43PM) : youtube more

Mine interest is not particularly game based but it is application based. I learn so much from youtube. With my hobby of fly fishing I have been able to look up how to tie flies and research certain techniques. I have also research fly fishing forums for reports on certain rivers based on threads. In addition I share an affinity space with other fly fisherman in colorado on facebook groups. I also learn from this social network as well. If I had not done all of this I might not be as effective as I am today.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:57AM) : There is an amazing wealth of knowledge on YouTube, and niche spaces for interests to be nurtured and connected .. no doubt about that ....
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Nov 26
Ms. Sarah Stice (Nov 26 2020 5:16PM) : Youtube more

Kevin, I absolutely agree with you that there is so much knowledge on YouTube. Many of my students will say that Youtube is their “favorite show” to watch. There are videos for a wide variety of interests, many how-tos, and many educational videos. My concern with Youtube stems from nannying some younger children over the summer. Some of the more famous Youtubers for kids (like Stephen Sharer) seem to only promote consumerism. They’ll have all these videos where they are literally just unboxing gifts and showing them off.

To me, that’s a very toxic side of Youtube that we need to make sure we monitor. Just like any other website or affinity network, moderating some of the content with younger students is a good idea. And, if they begin wanting to make and post their own videos, that should come with moderation as well. But, it would be very cool to see such a passion built within a student that they would want to make and share videos on their own as well.

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Nov 30
hannah t (Nov 30 2020 10:15PM) : Youtube content more

Hey Sarah,
Thanks for bringing up the side of Youtube with regards to promoting consumerism. I have spent some time on Youtube the past few days searching for content for my Genius Hour project and realized exactly what you are describing above. Even with some of the advertisements that appeared, I would want to make sure the content is appropriate. I agree wholeheartedly that it is cool to see such passion exhibited by students.

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Dec 1
Shea Ross (Dec 01 2020 11:52PM) : I appreciate your comment because it is all true. There are great sides of youtube but there are also negative and toxic sides. It is important to monitor students as well as assist them in learning how to understand the online world.
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Dec 2
Sarah Honeychurch (Dec 02 2019 10:53AM) : Youtube is great for skills acquisition more

I knit, and when I need to learn a new technique I find youtube so useful.

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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Nov 30
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Nov 30 2020 1:08PM) : Attitudes over aptitudes [Edited] more

YouTube is my go-to for DIY, but more than that it is my inspiration for having a proper learning attitude. Here is a great example of that, Salvage Workshop: https://youtu.be/cbJPUWTLEXI
In this episode, the mechanic continues on a long-standing renovation of an old dozer. He is learning how to use an oxy-acetylene torch to heat up frozen bolts and nuts to get them off. In text annotations throughout he returns to the idea over and over about how he wasn’t born knowing how to use tools. He had to learn and he shows how having the attitude that others can help you and teach you is profoundly helpful. And it is. I am always telling my students how the most important skill I can help them with is creating a network to help you. I tell them don’t ever go more than twenty minutes of failed understanding before you ask for help.

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Dec 1
Shea Ross (Dec 01 2020 11:48PM) : I agree with you! Youtube has helped me learn so many new skills. It is incredible how there is an endless amount of knowledge on there.
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Nov 25
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Nov 25 2021 8:10AM) : Inert ideas more

Here is an excerpt from Alfred North Whitehead that is at the heart of education:

I appeal to you, as practical teachers. With good discipline, it
is always possible to pump into the minds of a class a certain quantity
of inert knowledge. You take a text-book and make them learn it. So
far, so good. The child then knows how to solve a quadratic equation.
But what is the point of teaching a child to solve a quadratic
equation? There is a traditional answer to this question. It runs thus:
The mind is an instrument, you first sharpen it, and then use it; the
acquisition of the power of solving a quadratic equation is part of the
process of sharpening the mind. Now there is just enough truth in this
answer to have made it live through the ages. But for all its halftruth, it embodies a radical error which bids fair to stifle the genius
of the modern world. I do not know who was first responsible for this
analogy of the mind to a dead instrument. For aught I know, it may have
been one of the seven wise men of Greece, or a committee of the whole
lot of them. Whoever was the originator, there can be no doubt of the
authority which it has acquired by the continuous approval bestowed
upon it by eminent persons. But whatever its weight of authority,
whatever the high approval which it can quote, I have no hesitation in
denouncing it as one of the most fatal, erroneous, and dangerous
conceptions ever introduced into the theory of education. The mind is
never passive; it is a perpetual activity, delicate, receptive,
responsive to stimulus. You cannot postpone its life until you have
sharpened it. Whatever interest attaches to your subject-matter must be
evoked here and now; whatever powers you are strengthening in the
pupil, must be exercised here and now; whatever possibilities of mental
life your teaching should impart, must be exhibited here and now. That
is the golden rule of education, and a very difficult rule to follow."

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Nov 28
Jenny Shrank (Nov 28 2021 12:13PM) : I think it is amazing that she was able to be so connected and use these open resources, but I am curious how she knew where to go? Sixth grade seems young to be able to be able to navigate these open resources with ease. It is impressive nonetheless! more

This shows the power of interest driven learning, that if students are interested, they will find ways to learn whether conventionally or not.

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Nov 28
Meh Sod Paw (Nov 28 2021 12:33AM) : Support System more

I was amazed by the access and support Tal had and received from family, peers, and teachers. Although this kind of opportunity is not common in the type of environment I personally have encountered, I am glad to be informed about the existence of this type of learning. I want to show similar support in some ways to my students for a powerful learning experience.

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Mar 16
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 16 2019 5:57AM) : This is what I, a teacher, want to see happening ... and then wonder how to scale it up even further ... I am appreciative of the writers making these connections/bridges, and for noticing when the bridges don't seem to happen, too.
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Mar 17
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 17 2019 9:46PM) : We share the same goal. I feel that by building a library of innovative practices, we make them available to others, who might adopt them in different places. more

Building the library is not enough. We need to find ways to evangelize that these ideas are available, to people who work/volunteer in non-school youth programs, as well as to people who work within traditional schools.

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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Mar 28
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Mar 28 2019 10:02AM) : Use the library. more

We need to create/find/explore library use cases. Perhaps what other have already done with your library but also “skeleton use cases” where you outline potential ways the library might be used?

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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:32PM) : This has been a goal for work that could be done by students in university and/or high school project.
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Mar 19
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Mar 19 2019 6:30AM) : En-courage. more
Let it all bloom, but especially let us be on the side. Let the formal support frameworks of our schools be permeable and helpful and not controlling.
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Mar 21
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 21 2019 3:54PM) : I find you and Kevin in many of the annotated readings that I participate in. Need to attract others. more

I saw a post on Twitter saying that Hypothes.is had reach a certain number of posts. Overall, that’s good. However, in the many annotations where the three of us have connected, including on Vialogues, the participation is still low.

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Nov 26
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Nov 26 2021 3:40PM) : I came back to this annotation today after seeing a post by Kevin Hodgson on Twitter. I keep hoping more people working with youth in non-school programs will join in. I don't see it yet.
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Mar 26
wendy Taleo (Mar 26 2019 3:39AM) : Let it blossom...https://youtu.be/s2L0XN4I1hw
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Mar 30
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 30 2019 9:03AM) : Lotus Blossom -- Billy Strayhorn -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-dOBt9eg_Y
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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Mar 19
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Mar 19 2019 6:35AM) : Crux more

This is why I am so glad to see this research. It is in the emergent spaces, these affinity spaces that we can see what works out in particular practice—and what doesn’t. Even more important we can see what folks tried and how they tried them. Ethnographic studies are so important to studying these informal groups from the inside out and from the outside in.

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Mar 24
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 24 2019 12:23PM) : Crux, About Encouragement more

Terry says it well here: we need more of this look inside the connected learning spaces that draw in many people, of all ages.

Some teachers are able to introduce these “emergent” spaces into their classroom [Like Kevin] to show that a bridge between curriculum and shared interests is possible.

But just sharing this research and making suggestions — at any school in my area, eyes would roll and heads would turn away. Neither teachers nor admin could see this type of learning breaking into “their” school day.

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Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

Mar 28
Terry Elliott

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.

(Mar 28 2019 10:18AM) : Value added? more

This is a ‘sales job’ of the highest and best water. I learned in my years as a business owner that you cannot just put the food down where the goats can get to it. People ain’t goats. What you must do is find a product you can believe in and then sell the hell out of it. And buy that I mean that you ask folks to ‘buy in’. Yes, it has a cost, but it also has a value. Get them to see the value and they will pay the price. I usually don’t make direct analogies to business when I talk about learning, but in this case I think the comparison works. This having been said: the sell is a tough one. I have been trying to sell my colleagues on the value of digital learning tools as an augment to analog ones to a very mixed results.

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Mar 30
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 30 2019 9:04AM) : "People Ain't Goats" -- Terry
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Mar 30
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 30 2019 12:56PM) : value more

I’ve found that others don’t see the value— they see more work for them if they are only FB and email users. The only thing that worked to help them see the value is that our team meeting notes with links to each one’s contributions in Google Doc, shared with our academic coaches, demonstrated the “cloud” they could not grasp before. Still, the steps to online were slow for the adults who did not to take time to “figure out” even with training how online collaboration could benefit our teams.

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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:36PM) : That "sales" job is "step 2" in the four-part strategy I have been following since 1993. more

Look at Step 2 in this article. https://tutormentor.blogspot.com/2017/07/cost-analysis-to-employ-32k-high-risk.html

Since I’ve never had money for advertising I’ve tried to recruit “disciples” who would evangelize the message. You’ve done some of that really well. Kevin and Sheri, too. Need more taking this role. Many more.

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Nov 22
Natasha Floersch (Nov 22 2019 12:40PM) : Workload, encouragement, personalization more

I also feel for teachers who want to encourage students to join affinity networks but feel overwhelmed or just don’t know how! If you’ve got a student who’s very into Minecraft (or Fortnite, or whatever is popular now), another who likes fanfiction, and so on…First, how do you find out these interests, given students’ reluctance to share them, and then how do you help them find a network that is safe, nurturing, and challenging without being an expert in each area?

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Nov 29
Yannick EDAYE (Nov 29 2019 4:13PM) : Yes Natacha, you last question is the most important. A teacher is first a specialist of his field. As a specialist, we need to be up to date and have a list of safe, useful and valuable communities our students can join.
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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:58AM) : This point of reaching beyond the classroom for expertise and knowledge (and the understanding that a teacher won't know everything but maybe knows where to point a student) is a key element of Connected Learning
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Dec 2
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Dec 02 2019 10:20AM) : Reaching beyond classroom more

This affirms my interest in non-school tutor/mentor programs. They offer one extra layer of opportunity for engaging youth in learning about the world, add extra mentors, and engage people with kids who might not be able to engage during the traditional school day.

Such programs don’t exist around many schools, thus, people need to be talking about ways to create them. And sustain them.

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Dec 2
Sarah Honeychurch (Dec 02 2019 10:55AM) : finding safe, nurturing networks more

I agree that this is key. Knowing where, not knowing how.

Like Tal, millions of young people around the world are passionate about Minecraft and connect through online affinity networks, bonding with peers, engaging in creative production, collaborating, organizing, and developing school- and career-relevant skills. Some of these youth are growing up in high-tech and wealthy families who understand the learning potential of digital games and enroll them in summer Minecraft camps or help them advance their skills at home. Very few of them, however, attend a school like Quest to Learn, which embraces games-based learning and encourages links between recreational in-home gameplay and school achievement. Tal’s story offers us a glimpse into a world where parents, educators, and our public learning institutions work more explicitly, intentionally, and actively to connect with young people’s new media interests and leverage the power of learning with online affinity networks. How can parents and educators best recognize and connect with the learning in online affinity networks? What are barriers that keep us from tapping this potential, and what are ways we can address these barriers?

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Mar 17
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 17 2019 9:49PM) : Does this school also encourage involvement in arts, music, performance, or science, public service, etc. Or is it just focused on digital learning? more

Even what is perceived to be cutting edge, could be exclusionary.

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Mar 18
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 18 2019 6:33PM) : I don't know the full curriculum .. one of the researchers -- Katie Salen -- of the book was one of the founders of the school (and ran it for some years).
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Nov 26
Megan Reetz (Nov 26 2019 5:51PM) : I don't feel that there are many affinity networks as impactful as Minecraft. As Minecraft is not as popular as it once was, I am curious to know in what ways today's youth are pursuing online community in a productive and passion focused. more

I don’t feel that there are many affinity networks as impactful as Minecraft. As Minecraft is not as popular as it once was, I am curious to know in what ways today’s youth are pursuing online community in a productive and passion focused. Today’s youth have Tik Tok and whatever future apps that form from this, but are these apps being used in a productive way?

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Nov 30
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 30 2020 5:39AM) : One thing that has been clear to me as teacher/parent/adult is that we don't always see what the "next thing" is for kids until it has gone mainstream, and then it is no longer the "next thing" - it's the "old thing" - kids are on to something new by then
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Dec 2
Shea Ross (Dec 02 2020 12:02AM) : I can't express enough how important it is to understand that not every student or school is going to be able to have those experiences.
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Mitchell Ary (Dec 01 2019 10:46PM) : passions more

I feel like we are to centered sometimes on the video game aspect. Some times these passions or niche interests don’t have to orient themselves around games. Sometimes I feel like it is just facilitating the passion that students have and helping them find these multi modal areas to help learn more about these passions. I totally see the practicality for game based interest as well.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:59AM) : This text we are annotating here is just one chapter of the larger book, with other examples in other chapters explored that have nothing to do with game culture. Just FYI
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Dec 1
Katie Latek (Dec 01 2019 10:47PM) : I appreciate that they are pointing out that these students are from wealthy families. To think if everyone could have access to these learning opportunities!
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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 5:59AM) : Equity and Access ... still a huge barrier ....
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Dec 2
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Dec 02 2019 10:23AM) : Expanding access more

I encourage you to browse articles at http://tutormentor.blogspot.com to see how I’ve tried to help mentor-rich non-school programs grow in high poverty areas of Chicago. This could be happening in every part of the country.

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Nov 27
Vivian Lo (Nov 27 2021 4:38PM) : Other than the social-economic status of the family, I am surprised that the parents are very open-minded and supportive of game-based Learning.
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Nov 30
hannah t (Nov 30 2020 10:20PM) : Links between home and school more

I think it is important to create links between “recreational in-home gameplay and school achievement.” While I am unsure exactly what this looks like, it seems crucial to be able to link students’ interests with school related activities. It is shown that when this occurs students tend to be more engaged and motivated in their work. I wonder what are some ways that we can support the develop of these links while also educating on the items that need to be taught.

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Nov 27
Sarah Hulet (Nov 27 2021 3:12PM) : In-home gameplay and in school achievement [Edited] more

Throughout this book, this has been a recurring theme. As educators, we want to create these links between in-home gameplay and in-school learning. The key though is HOW we create these connections. In a school like Quest to Learn, these opportunities are more accessible due to the structure of the school. In a gen ed class, however, it’s important to make time for students to form connections between home and school, and this can be supported with online affinity spaces, genius hour, and PBLs.

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Nov 27
Nathaniel Chapman (Nov 27 2021 4:45PM) : Flipping Learning more

Another approach could be a more flipped learning day, where the homework is to watch/read/learn the basic concepts. Then, the next day, utilize those concepts in the classroom, through games or other affinity links, and allow the students (especially at younger ages) to play with them in a more free-form way. The major problem with this approach is that there is no testable (and thus easily statistically marketable) way to know achievement is happening. If we looked at learning as a life-course rather than individual years this might be offset. Still, play often creates more lasting memories, with often happier tags anchoring them in memory.

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Dec 2
Colt Kreeger (Dec 02 2019 11:43AM) : I've been noticing student's shifting media interests, hence "new media interests." It seems like there is a challenging balance to having such specific affinity groups, given inevitable changes in affinity. Maybe broader categories for affinity groups?
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Mar 23
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 23 2019 1:26PM) : What do you think? As a parent or as a teacher or as a community member?
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Mar 24
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 24 2019 2:40PM) : Barriers and Breakthroughs more

Because I believe in the power of connected learning and that all kids have a right to a modern learning environment [equity], my answer sees the barrier of top-down, test-driven status quo as one that is difficult to break without a refocus on what our purpose of education is. Individual teachers can innovate with modest support from admin, but that is not enough to make much of a dent in the pedagogy of teaching and learning across systems. How do we encourage people to listen and look forward, rather than hold back? How and where do we promote these possibilities in our communities so that the community, the parents, understand, support, and expect change?

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Mar 28
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 28 2019 6:16AM) : And that barrier (top/down) is most acute in urban, struggling schools where administrator's jobs are determined not by the learning atmosphere of the school but by the test score data.
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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:40PM) : I think it's an oversold "fiction" that great teachers can overcome all other obstacles kids face. Maybe in some cases, but seldom in areas of concentrated poverty. more

I’ve seen many articles that talk about poverty and the lack of social capital in the communities where kids live, but few sophisticated, or continuous efforts, from schools, to change those conditions. The UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools focuses on this to a certain extent.

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Mar 31
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 31 2019 5:00AM) : (reply to Dan) more

Plus one to that comment

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Mar 29
Karen LaBonte (Mar 29 2019 1:15PM) : If educators have not experienced an online affinity network, they will not see the value in this.
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Mar 30
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 30 2019 9:05AM) : This is a critical insight .. and the underpinning of CLMOOC from the very start -- invite teachers to play/make/create/connect together so that they might then bring some of that ethos to the classrooms. Has it worked?
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Mar 30
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 30 2019 1:02PM) : Did it work? more

It worked for me and for my teacher friends with whom i connected, but as I mentioned before, my classroom was connected— others not— those scores must improve, as you said. We have quite a few changes in admin, so consistency in support is missing. We started with GAFE with a supportive, encouraging temporary administrator but then the next admin was a technophobe who still used paper and pen for everything. He was supportive of my classroom, but not for encouraging others to learn and participate. Such is the dilemma.

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Mar 31
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 31 2019 5:06AM) : Heck, yeah more

It’s worked for me!

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Nov 29
Kari F (Nov 29 2020 5:51PM) : Truly prepared for life after high school more

As I picture this school and how it promotes genuine connections to new media and the power of learning in online affinity groups, I think about all the images and ideas I have about modern companies and their needs, and I can’t help but think that students who have the opportunity to attend schools like this well have such valuable and relevant experience, and find these workplaces much more natural and navigable than students who have spent most of their time in more traditional classrooms. I do think that we educators need to pay close attention to what types of skills students truly need as they move into their lives after high school and college, and make sure we are adapting our own learning environments to better prepare them.

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Dec 1
Mrs. Megan Breeden (Dec 01 2020 3:55PM) : As we have learned more about affinity groups this is a challenge I think about often. more

Teachers have a lot to balance, especially in this world with remote learning. I would love to have all of my students involved in an affinity group, but I worry about being able to identify all my students interests, connect them to a safe group, ensuring career and academic knowledge is gained, while still meeting the standards.

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Nov 28
Rebecca Saunders (Nov 28 2021 12:15PM) : Leverage the knowledge of those who already participate. more

For as much as we discuss being a community of learners, many of these discussions are still framed in a transfer/acquisition model, where the instructors are the experts and are solely responsible for connecting students to the affinity network that “matches” their curriculum. This book sheds light on what young people are doing independent of the “deposits” instructors are making in their academic banks. The idea of being more intentional with the design of curriculum around affinity networks will only be as successful as educators are willing to relinquish some of the control and be open-minded to the untapped expertise within their own classrooms.

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Nov 29
Yannick EDAYE (Nov 29 2019 3:24PM) : As the sentence before says, it is no easy to detect the interest of the children if we are not familiar with online networks. Parents and educators have to try some learning games or have the experience of the online community to guide their children or [Edited]
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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 6:01AM) : And there is no reason the network one joins has to be about gaming ... there are plenty of teacher networks where support is always given, shared and requested ... To be part of a such a network reminds us of how our students may feel ...
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Dec 1
Robin Suing (Dec 01 2020 11:14PM) : Age Barrier? more

I see the value of these online affinity networks, definitely. But, as I have brought up before, I am always concerned about the safety of interacting with “strangers” online, especially when people can remain so anonymous. I have a 6 year old son who LOVES Minecraft, how can I embrace his learning through this and still keep him safe? Also, is he too young to really embrace the online affinity networks, being that he is just learning about reading. I am decently tech savvy, but I don’t understand Minecraft in the least because I haven’t explored it much myself – how much do parents need to know about Minecraft or things like it in order to help their children learn this way? This is a concern for me as a full-time working mom also attending grad school, and a husband who regularly works overtime. So a barrier could be getting parents on board to support but not necessarily be required to facilitate.

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Nov 15
Lisa Hildred (Nov 15 2021 9:13PM) : Voice and Choice more

I wonder if a major barrier of including affinity networks in schools is lack of time due to standards? Could standards be rewritten to offer more opportunities for voice and choice?

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Nov 22
Kari Bangtson (Nov 22 2021 9:26AM) : Lisa I often think of the standards in scenarios like this as well. I appreciate your questions, and i do think standards can be re-written, or re-understood to honor voice and choice. more
I understand the philosophy and purpose behind standards, but when teachers feel the need to get through it instead of allow kids to be in the learning process a paradigm shift needs to take place, refocusing on student learning and not on =checking boxes.

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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:07AM) : To "get through" as opposed to "allow kids to be in the learning process" is a good way to frame this conflict that teachers often face.
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:06AM) : Yes to both. It could happen. Does the writing of standards to reflect Connected Learning happen? Not often.

As part of a broader effort in researching and designing for connected learning, we have focused our investigation on the positive learning potential of online affinity networks in order to understand learning opportunities and challenges related to a changing digital landscape. Our focus was not on educational programs, policy, or parenting, but an important aim of our work has been to offer research and recommendations that can inform parents and educators who are seeking to support connected learning for all youth. We have celebrated the creativity, technical sophistication, civic engagement, and varied expertise that flourish in certain online affinity networks. At the same time, we are concerned about the lack of intergenerational connection in many of these online affinity networks, their disconnection from schools and career opportunity, and inequitable access to these learning opportunities. In this concluding chapter, we describe our design framework in relation to the findings from our case studies, and then we consider the opportunities and challenges in realizing the full potential of online affinity networks for connected learning. This chapter pivots from reporting empirical findings to explicating opportunities for action and the social change agenda of connected learning.

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Nov 23
Student Anitha Muthukumaran (Nov 23 2020 5:59PM) : How can I encourage when I, as an educator is not familiar? more

I can totally relate to the lack of intergenerational connection especially with gaming platforms. I did not grow up playing video games. I grew up playing with friends outside my home everyday after school. So, how can I encourage or motivate my students when I am not comfortable on those gaming platforms. It does take a cultural shift to reach the current generation of students.

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Nov 29
Mary Curfman (Nov 29 2020 8:18PM) : Who is responsible for educating teachers more

Anitha,
Is it possible that for teachers, the burden of being educated on these platforms so as to be an effective motivator and encourager actually falls on the school, school districts, states? Shouldn’t schools or districts be held accountable for some of this teaching of teachers?

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Dec 11
Ms. Hannah Rossiter (Dec 11 2020 7:51PM) : Unfamiliar territory more

Anitha,
I cannot tell you how many times I have been in that same position. Currently, I feel that way with Among Us. My students love it and want me to play but I have no idea what I’m doing. Through talking to friends and the kids, I have come to the conclusion that times like tis are a perfect opportunity to ask our students what they can teach us. They are almost always are excited to be the teacher

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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:07AM) : Same here ...
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Nov 28
Meh Sod Paw (Nov 28 2021 12:33AM) : 4 C's 21st Century Learning more

This chapter mentioned some of the 4 C’s of 21st Learning Skills such as creativity, bonding, and collaboration. These important skills could be formed through online affinity networks and where they could take an individual to. Although these skills are essential, I would like to add that it is also intimidating not fully understanding every aspect of online affinity.

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Dec 1
Satie Walker (Dec 01 2019 11:05PM) : Helpful tool for teachers more

I found these case studies to be very helpful for me as an educator who doesn’t necessarily fear the unknown world of affinity networks, but needed support to present these to my administrator as helpful learning tools in the classroom. I think the digital age is frightening for those who don’t understand it, and especially for those who don’t try or know where to even start.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 6:02AM) : Administrative support -- or resistance -- is always a cause of worry and concern, and being able to explain and bring forth examples and case studies can be important. Good point.
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Dec 2
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Dec 02 2019 10:25AM) : Connecting on Twitter more

Kevin Hodgson and I have connected over the past six years via the Connected Learning group. It has an active presence on Twitter,using #clmooc hashtag.

Another group is New Teachers to Twitter, #NT2t, which hold one hour chats every Saturday morning. It’s purpose is just what the name says, to help new educators (and others) learn to use Twitter effectively.

Doing so opens your personal learning network to many ideas.

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Nov 24
annie mcintyre (Nov 24 2021 6:42PM) : this is so critical to address these economical barriers. Equity within schools is still a major problem, to have fully connected students there needs to be practical and legitimate resources to bridge these gaps.
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Nov 30
hannah t (Nov 30 2020 10:25PM) : Certain online affinity networks more

While this text provides excellent resources on case studies that promote the positive aspects/outcomes of online affinity networks, it is known that some toxic groups exist (and most likely always will). When encouraging our students to explore these groups, I wonder if there is a way to help guide them towards groups that will help nurture their interest/development and provide support.

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Mar 26
wendy Taleo (Mar 26 2019 3:10AM) : Intergenerational connection more

This has been an interesting aspect throughout this book. In many ways, I can read it and cut out the ‘youth’ aspect. However, courses like Network Narratives (#NetNarr) have been invaluable to show how connections can be made across age and experience levels.

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Mar 28
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 28 2019 6:19AM) : It makes me wonder, too, of what we are missing -- of what networks exist and thrive but are below the radar screen (it seems like Ravelry is the example used in many articles and research pieces). How can you find what you don't see?
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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:42PM) : I'm humbled daily by what I find that I don't know. more

While I’ve been building a library for 20 years, it’s still just a less than 1% fraction of what’s happening all over the world to help people in poverty. That means more people need to be searching the Internet for “what seems to work” then share what they learn in CLMOOC type forums, and in web archives similar to mine (others do this much better than I do).

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Mar 24
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 24 2019 2:43PM) : opportunities for action more

ok. perhaps this section will answer my question.

Learning as Connection Building

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Our research underscores a central insight of connected learning and sociocultural learning theory: Transformative and resilient forms of learning are embedded in a web of social relations, meaningful projects, and shared activities with which a learner feels a sense of affinity. Unlike the majority of learning research, our cases center on youth interests rather than educational institutions or school-related subjects. Thus collective action, social connectedness, and cultural relevance are central to the learning that we have seen in the online affinity networks we examined. Placing interests and affinity at the center of the investigation offers a different perspective on long-standing concerns about interest development and learning transfer. Our cases enable us to highlight how interest development is grounded in shared cultural identity and joint activity. In turn, this perspective enables us to consider how learning transfer can be reconceptualized as a process of cultural translation and connecting social networks rather than as a process located primarily in individual cognition and competency.

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Nov 26
Megan Reetz (Nov 26 2019 4:02PM) : i've really appreciated how these case studies haven't been just about school focused passions. These case studies reinforce how important it is to create environments for humans to create and explore on their own without explicit instruction
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Nov 23
Student Anitha Muthukumaran (Nov 23 2020 4:16PM) : It doesn't work for all students more

Hi Megan, I would agree with your statement totally if we don’t generalize the population that benefits from these networks to humans. I teach children with visual impairments and some of my students should be taught explicitly. Hence I think student passions should be prioritized in schools, but multiple means of engagement should be provided with students. This way, students have a choice on how they want to proceed with things that interest them.

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Nov 21
Bryan Westman (Nov 21 2021 11:38AM) : I can see students both enjoying working on technology in a group or by themselves. The students I feel have learned the most are those who become the mentors who try and help other students create something. By being a mentor they raise their value.
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 4:08AM) : I see this, too, as students learn and then help each other with workarounds and concepts ... powerful experiences.
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Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 30 2019 7:52AM) : Resiliance more

I’ve been thinking a lot about resilience recently, due to conversations about ourundergrad and postgrad students. I’d not thought about affinity spaces such as clmooc and ds106 as helping with this but, of course, they can. Thinking about learning processes, rather than products … I am just talking out loud here as I re-emerge from my coccoon

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Mar 30
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 30 2019 11:10AM) : learning processes more

I am support for teachers in Jennifer Gonzalez’s Cult of Pedagogy JumpStart in Tech course — it’s focus in on the learning processes and pedagogy behind the tools, which is hard to grasp for newbies and some who use tools. I think you’ve made a great point about about ds106 and clmooc as play to learn the processes because we use so many tools to create for a purpose.

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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 3:44PM) : Have any of you followed the New Teachers to Twitter chat on Saturday mornings (#NT2T)? more

I think this group is consistent in trying to coach others into Twitter. It’s a model that could be duplicated.

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Mar 31
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 31 2019 3:12AM) : #NT2T more

Thanks Dan – will look. Have been thinking about how to support those new to hashtag communities

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Mar 31
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 31 2019 3:11AM) : Cult of Pedagogy more

I very much like Cult of Pedagogy – really nice, thoughtful resources :)

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Mar 31
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 31 2019 4:33AM) : How are you thinking of resilience in connection to Affinity Spaces? more

Me: the support system encourages folks to try something new, and to continue forward even when there are hurdles. The nature of sharing with others (either publicly or inside the space) means there is an audience, which can be motivation. And the sometimes unspoken nature of a novice suddenly becoming the expert provides a spark to keep on going even when you get stuck.

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Dec 1
Mitchell Ary (Dec 01 2019 8:50PM) : new stuff more

Heck ya! Having that support system established and teaching students where to go can help them pursue other interests they other wise might not pursue, because they don’t even know how or where to start. Even when they hit roadblocks they can use these spaces and tools learned to overcome whatever they are stuck on.

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Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 4:03AM) : Knowing you don't know what you don't know is always a good starting point ... stay curious ...
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Nov 26
Amy Wahl (Nov 26 2021 10:31AM) : Youth interests more

I appreciate this sentence because the cases studied are centered on youth interests.

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Nov 22
Sarah ali (Nov 22 2021 10:20AM) : I am very interested in this. I do notice that most research is about schools and educational institutions and not learners
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 4:09AM) : There are other students out there about Connected Learning and students -- see more work by danah boyd and her deep dives into the lives of young people.
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wendy Taleo (Mar 26 2019 1:13AM) : Cultural relevance more

While I occasionally get language barriers as an issue in online networks, generally it has not been an issue. Working in global groups like Virtually Connecting has taught me how to be more sensitive to cultural references and focus on the connectedness of the experience instead.

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Mar 28
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 28 2019 4:23AM) : Agreed. And I think your point is that by participating in more diverse networks, we learn more of how to be more sensitive and open to different ways of interacting with the world. One leads to the other (although sometimes, it is the other way around)
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Mar 29
Karen LaBonte (Mar 29 2019 11:21AM) : Whose culture is a question I think we always need to ask. [Edited] more
Can we facilitate or encourage connectedness across localized versions of “youth culture”? And I also need to ask myself, what assumptions am I making here…? For one, that adults aren’t always aware of or knowledgable about youth culture.

Kevin, maybe Mindcraft simply became too adult-innundated to be of interest to your kids…?

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Mar 30
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 30 2019 7:07AM) : A colleague asked me about the decline of Minecraft yesterday, and the rise of Fortnite. I suspect it is the social aspect of FN (and the battle element) but it is also that Minecraft kids are more reluctant to share they are still playing MC. more

Fortnite has cultural cache now that Minecraft does not.

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Mar 30
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 30 2019 9:08AM) : Affinity culture (replying to Wendy's comment above) [Edited] more

But I think that the cultural identity being referred to here is the identity that folk have when they are part of an affinity network. That shared identity is what makes the networks hang together – it is precisely that culture that gives the connectedness.

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Mar 30
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 30 2019 11:15AM) : "hang together" more

Hmmm. I think you’re right— a shared identity. So… thinking of schools, is there that “shared identity” among students, among staff and between students and staff? Relationships here are so important - but something also about the culture is just as much a part of what makes things- organizations—- work well and “hang together.”

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Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 31 2019 3:19AM) : Shared identity more

That’s the question, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about what makes CLMOOC what it is. I have some tentative thoughts …

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Mar 31
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 31 2019 4:30AM) : Does that culture emerge from the participants of the network or does it get seeded by the network creators at the start? (This is a key design question) more

I think it is seeded but then, there needs to be flexibility, to follow the interests of the participants. In other words, any Affinity Network/Space has to be designed to turn on a dime if enough of the people within it start finding something new. This was the whole Emergent Design that surfaced early in CLMOOC — building something with the expectation that you didn’t quite know what you were building, and being open to what you were seeing, not what you were expecting to see.

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Nov 27
Nathaniel Chapman (Nov 27 2021 2:51PM) : Prestige [Edited] more

Cultural relevance also can mean prestige in your local community, and I would hope the world at large. However, we often hold affinity links as lesser prestige or niche instances. Everyone wants to be a pop star, a football player, or Steve Jobs, because those are high prestige positions (including the work to get there), however, very few people want to be a teacher, or an auditor, or a plumber as these jobs do not carry the social capital that the others do. Perhaps we need to reframe prestige around the good you can do for others, not just for yourself. Perhaps the best point around social networks for affinity groups is that you gain the prestige within those networks, and need not have it as much in your real life. I would hope this would, at some point, bleed over and change how we approach niche jobs.

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Nov 26
LaNae Phillips (Nov 26 2019 10:28AM) : Interest development grounded in cultural identity [Edited] more

I think this is a wise approach to this research. In thinking about some of the interests I have today for example watching NASCAR and football to reading and sewing all stem back from growing up in an environment where people also had these interests. Going to the races has its own sub-culture in America and people that go understand this and conform to the expected social norms. It’s important to understand what shapes interests and cultural identities in order to study why people may gravitate to specific social networks.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 4:05AM) : That idea of "subcultures" is key because Affinity Networks have made those more obscure ones more visible than ever, and maybe opened the door for those who might not otherwise have known the door was even there. more

On the flip side, it has also opened the door to the negative aspects of Affinity Networks — the trolls and the nefarious who seek to undermine the same spaces that encourage and entice others. It’s good to approach this all with open eyes.

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Learning in the online affinity networks we studied begins with attraction to and affinity with a shared culture and identity. Some participants go on to gain a deeper understanding of subcultural practices and form relationships with people in the network, and they develop a sense of belonging, eventually sharing work online, taking on roles in a community, and developing reputation and status in the network. Shared purpose is structured around activities such as competition, creative production, and community organizing, providing a context for ongoing activity that further bonds participants. The sense of belonging and bonding can be a powerful driver of participation and learning as young people earn recognition from others who “get it” and share a similar culture and values. Learning—gaining knowledge, developing expertise, collaborating, and community organizing—is a natural by-product of this ongoing participation. As prior work in situated learning has argued, learning is part and parcel of participation in communities of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991; Wenger 1998). Unlike professional communities of practice and formal education, however, online affinity networks are “intentional” communities that center on shared interest, affinity, and collective action, rather than being driven by primarily instrumental or achievement-oriented goals.

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Dec 1
Robin Suing (Dec 01 2020 11:28PM) : Genius Hour Connection more

So this is also true for adults, speaking for myself. I read this and immediately thought about the Genius Hour project I just completed. I had been a “fly on the wall” in a photography class this past semester. I just wanted to learn from the professor and the other students, I didn’t intend to insert myself or display any of my work – essentially I just wanted to be a lurker. :) But after some time, getting to know the individuals in the class a little more and they got to know me a little more – there were times I felt like they cared about things I said or questions I asked – which started to make me feel like a valued member of the group. When I presented my first set of photography, they gave me great feedback as well as compliments, which encouraged me to participate even more. They “got me” and I “got them,” and it became such an enriching part of my week, to be attending that class – even though it was all voluntary and interest-driven.

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Nov 24
James Corbett (Nov 24 2020 6:39PM) : Student demographics more

I agree that there are some students who can find their passion with affinity networks and those who would not. So I think this has to be a very select voluntary students who are going to get something out of this.

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Mar 17
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 17 2019 4:31PM) : The word "some" is key here, I suspect. Not all. Some. I guess this is the same everywhere, but by choosing folks to pay attention to in a research study, we have to be cognizant of the reverse telescope effect.
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Mar 30
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 30 2019 11:52AM) : Affinity spaces, networks, cultures more

This, so much this. This is why (I think) so much of what we do in CLMOOC can be looked at as “creative playfulness”. Serious fun, shared with like minded others.

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Mar 31
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 31 2019 6:26AM) : Yes.
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Mar 17
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 17 2019 4:32PM) : I want to highlight this because it seems important in conceptualizing Affinity Networks/Spaces and how they different from educational spaces.
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Mar 24
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 24 2019 2:45PM) : agree
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Mar 30
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 30 2019 11:55AM) : Is this a necessary distinction do you think? Would it be possible to have affinity networks on formal education?
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Mar 30
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 30 2019 1:20PM) : goal of formal edu more

The goals of formal education would need to shift.

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Mar 31
Sarah Honeychurch (Mar 31 2019 5:40AM) : Duplicate comment [Edited]
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Dec 2
Colt Kreeger (Dec 02 2019 11:50AM) : Isn't there a danger then of too formally connecting learning experiences ins schools to affinity groups? more

Isn’t there a danger then of too formally connecting learning experiences ins schools to affinity groups? If we attach learning achievements to the learner’s participation in affinity groups, aren’t we undermining this central aspect of what these groups are? How do we strike a balance here?

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Nov 26
Megan Reetz (Nov 26 2019 6:21PM) : I think the distinction of affinity networks as separate entities from professional networks is essential. Ideally, individuals that join affinity networks will not only listen/read/watch what others create but they will contribute to them as well. more

I think the distinction of affinity networks as separate entities from professional networks is essential. Ideally, individuals that join affinity networks will not only listen/read/watch what others create but they will contribute to them as well. Affinity networks should be intentional and freeing in the way they inspire their participants to explore and create in a way that is personalized to them.

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Nov 26
LaNae Phillips (Nov 26 2019 8:37PM) : Distinction more

Good insights! It makes we wonder if professional communities of practice could function like an affinity network? I know in my profession we collaborate on various projects online, give feedback, make revisions, etc. They are typically smaller groups of people. I think keeping professional networks separate from affinity networks is a bit like the kids preferring to keep their online groups separate from school. Almost like they think of their online groups as having fun and don’t want it to turn into ‘school’.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 6:08AM) : Great point and I am not sure -- My gut reaction is that the formal structure of a school building inhibits the chances of a real Affinity Network being formed and nurtured, but I could be wrong (or too cynical about formal learning networks)
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Dec 1
Katie Latek (Dec 01 2019 11:02PM) : I agree. I think our work and our passion can be combined but having them in separate places is appropriate.
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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 6:06AM) : Yep -- PLCs in schools are often mandatory groupings (in my experience) while Affinity Network are discovered, or perhaps created, through choice and passion.
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Dec 1
Katie Latek (Dec 01 2019 10:56PM) : I would be really curious to see how public schools were if achievement-oriented goals were not the primary way of measuring participation/success.
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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 6:08AM) : I'm with ya on this
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Nov 23
Student Anitha Muthukumaran (Nov 23 2020 5:57PM) : Why is CoP not the same as online affinity networks in my teaching context? more

As an itinerant teacher of students with visual impairments, I rely on communities of practice (CoP) a lot to provide my professional services. It is interesting to differentiate CoP with that of online affinity networks on the basis of shared interest. All of the practitioners in my field have a shared interest to serve our students. And I follow certain CoPs and truly enjoy the knowledge I am gaining out of these. And I join these CoPs intentionally. So why are these not considered affinity networks?

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Nov 22
Sarah ali (Nov 22 2021 12:23PM) : Not only schools need to copy this sense of belonging found in affinity networks, I think even companies and organizations should and could create similar environments.
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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:10AM) : This makes me wonder if the shift to Remote Work via Pandemic is creating these opportunities for businesses (even if they don't use this terminology)

It is tempting to describe this learning and interest development as a pathway or pipeline. When we put interests and affinity at the center of the investigation, however, we see how journeys through interests, peer engagements, and achievement are meandering and undetermined. A young person might discover a new interest through a school-sponsored structured activity, a parent or a peer, or a serendipitous discovery in an online search or stroll through an urban environment. That young person might abandon an interest for quite some time, only to reactivate it when an opportunity arises to make a contribution to a family or a school project, or if he or she connects with a new friend who shares that interest. As we searched for “pathways,” “transitions,” and “trajectories,” we found these linear narratives to be elusive. When young people are pursuing interests through voluntary activities, their pathways are divergent and unpredictable, unlike what we see in formal education. Instead, we look more at broader ecosystems that they participate in, and we rely on metaphors of affinity networks, bridging social capital, and consequential connections. We see connected learning not as a journey of individual development that is transferrable across the different settings that a person moves through, but as building stronger, more resilient, and diverse social, cultural, and institutional relationships through time.

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Dec 1
Katie Latek (Dec 01 2019 11:00PM) : I think this is really interesting. This is how learning should be. It makes me think of sleep training of my daughter. When a child is learning how to sleep, they make progress and they have regressions. That should be similar to learning in school.
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Nov 15
Lisa Hildred (Nov 15 2021 9:16PM) : New opportunities more

Providing space in schools for students to explore a wider variety of interests can open doors we never knew existed. Giving time for things like Genius Hour are a way for students to become teachers to each other.

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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:10AM) : Time. It's always a conundrum for teachers. How to give enough time for deeper work and inquiry.
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Nov 30
hannah t (Nov 30 2020 10:35PM) : Pathways more

• I think an important point is made here that I can relate to through my own work on my Genius Hour project. At first I thought there would be a pathway that I followed to the completion of my project, however I found that as I explored the area of interest I discovered tools and tricks that I would not have found if I continued along the pathway I had mentally created. I think this exploration is an important part of these networks and it is more successful when voluntary. I think this will be a major obstacle when trying to blend connected learning with formal education.

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Nov 28
Jenny Shrank (Nov 28 2021 12:21PM) : I remember reading that as we move forward in school, our divergent thinking decreases tremendously. Interest based learning could be one solution to not only preserving, but strengthening divergent thinking and making learning more meaningful.
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Mar 17
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 17 2019 4:33PM) : Another important point -- that the learning/activity is not linear and not expected to be linear -- that a person dips in as interest is sparked, and may leave and return, as needed.
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Mar 26
wendy Taleo (Mar 26 2019 3:45AM) : interest based learning [Edited] more

This flexibility is crucial which is why I participate in open learning opportunities and can respond to you async in this great space. Allowing the easy entry/exit in these types of activity is part of the affinity.

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Mar 29
Karen LaBonte (Mar 29 2019 1:28PM) : "meandering and undetermined" : characteristics of a networked society
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Mar 30
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 30 2019 9:08AM) : Which sometimes leads into chaos and confusion ...
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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:47PM) : What is "linear" is that all kids will grow from pre-school trough adult-hood over a 20 year period. At that point I think learning becomes much less linear, although, one might call career development a linear learning process.
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Mar 17
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 17 2019 9:59PM) : More time should be spent understanding bridging and bonding social capital more

Kids in affluent areas are surrounded by family and community social capital, modeling many different experiences and life expectations, from the time they are born. For kids in poor areas to have anywhere close to this level of social capital, it has to be intentionally created.

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Mar 24
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 24 2019 2:53PM) : we are all always learning more

But what are we learning? Is it positive and helpful to the world? Are the experiences and situations of all us ones that build a society, ones that create silos of differences and fear? How do we reach into our communities and connect each other— and see that learning together helps us all?

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Mar 25
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 25 2019 12:58PM) : I think the question is part of the answer. more

CLMOOC has created a platform where many can interact and learn. The hear of that platform are links to a variety of articles and places where they can be discussed, such as this NOWComment space.

If a few people, even only one, in a community begin to aggregate links to issues important to the local community, then call attention to them via on-line and face to face communications, they can begin to bring more people from the community together to try to learn from what’s being shared.

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Dec 2
Colt Kreeger (Dec 02 2019 11:53AM) : How do we intentional create social capital as educators without "substitituing" ourselves for the parental influences at home? Do we create complementary capital in our schools or resource the parents/commmunity for their increase in capital, or both?
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Dec 9
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Dec 09 2019 5:14PM) : How to create social capital more

One activity that could be school-based would be to create a community research club, in which students would map the area around the school to determine what non-school learning hubs already exist, and where they are. They could write about this, create maps, and share on blogs or a school web site. They could even look beyond to find model programs that they might want to see in their neighborhoods.

From this starting point, they and others might begin to connect people in planning that would lead to support for existing programs and/or creation of new ones.

The goal is to create opportunities where kids and adults can connect beyond school hours.

Here’s one of my blog articles where I show a use of maps to determine a need for tutor/mentor programs and if any are within a specific area. I think youth could be writing articles like this. https://tutormentor.blogspot.com/2019/02/what-tutor-andor-mentor-programs.html

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Nov 26
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Nov 26 2021 4:00PM) : Social Capital research at Christensen Institute more

Since I joined this conversation a few years ago I’ve connected with the Christensen Institute who is doing some interesting work about relationships and social capital in education. Here’s one article.https://www.christenseninstitute.org/blog/how-gaps-in-social-capital-research-are-holding-us-back-and-what-to-do-about-it/?_sf_s=social+capital

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Nov 26
Ms. Sarah Stice (Nov 26 2020 5:23PM) : Great analogy more

I find this analogy to be really important in terms of affinity-based learning. I remember being young and having specific hobbies that would come and go as they were reactivated. Throughout this book, I have been fearful that the communities they are discussing would not be interested in such participants, as the social structure seems a bit tough. Therefore, it is nice to see the authors recognize that interests are fleeting and often change.

However, it’s important to note that true passions return time and time again, and that a student does not gain any less by really intently pursuing one passion, even if they ultimately abandon it. There are still key creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills that are developed in these more short-term passions.

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Nov 29
Kari F (Nov 29 2020 6:04PM) : I have thought a lot about how these skills transfer (or don't) and had to really think about what this sentence was saying. I like how summarized how values of time apply to both the life long passions and those that are more short term.

For some young people, online affinity networks are rich sites for developing unique forms of bonding social capital, sites where they feel a strong sense of affinity and belonging but in a way that can be compartmentalized from networks in their local community. These subcultural qualities and the compartmentalized nature of the relationships mean, however, that the majority of the learning in online affinity networks is not connected to local settings and communities, and it is difficult to translate into cultural referents that are relevant for academic and career advancement. Even in our cases, which were selected for their potential for connected learning, the online social networks rarely overlap with the social networks in school or the local community, or with career networks. Building these connections requires concrete forms of sponsorship, translation, and brokering in order to connect interests to opportunity. We saw examples of young people connecting their interests to opportunity by deploying the writing, mathematical, creative, communication, and problem-solving skills developed in their online affinity networks to school, civic, or career-relevant settings, and vice versa. In other cases, they were able to directly connect their interests to opportunity by monetizing their creative work or finding a job in their interest area. Sometimes a parent, educator, or mentor helped broker these connections. While we saw great promise in these examples of young people being able to connect and bridge from interests to opportunity, they were rare.

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Nov 30
hannah t (Nov 30 2020 10:41PM) : Bridges more

What are some of the potential ways to help create more of an overlap?

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Mar 24
Ms Sheri Edwards (Mar 24 2019 3:01PM) : sponsorship more

I was thinking of this in my previous responses — Are Daniel’s resources the answer? Nonprofits? I’m thinking of how Google Apps has allowed CLmooc to plan collaboratively our focus during the year. I’m thinking of the negative philosophy of FB as the opposite of the “work together” ideas developed through GApps. I’m thinking of the responsibility of such powerful platforms to be more socially conscious. And I’m thinking of what sponsors within our communities can help bridge civic and career interests into our schools? Just thinking here.

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Mar 25
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 25 2019 1:01PM) : Look at the 4th section of my web library. more

This link points to a cMap which visualizes one of four sections of the library I’ve been building. http://tinyurl.com/TMILibrary-Innovation-etc

The sub sections are collaboration, innovation, visualization, knowledge management, etc. Each has multiple links which contain ideas that I think could be applied in any community, on any issue.

It just takes a #clmooc type on-going focus to draw people to these ideas and to stimulate learning and discussion, then application.

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Mar 28
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 28 2019 6:25AM) : And what is the transfer to young people, doing this kind of activity? (which brings up the question of how much privacy and data sharing do they consider when they enter into an online Affinity Space? Is privacy a barrier?)
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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:51PM) : Kids can be learning from the same resources as adult learn from. The links I point to are "value added" or "process improvement" resources. more

If a person adopts a goal, or purpose, and pursues it over a period of years, the links I point to become more and more relevant.

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Nov 28
Rebecca Saunders (Nov 28 2021 12:21PM) : Redefine sense of belonging more

My university, like many, is exploring ways to improve student’s sense of belonging as a means to improve retention. However, many of the ways the university is pursuing an increased sense of belonging is through “traditional” forms of belonging, such as increasing residence life activities and attendance to sporting events. As the authors discuss later in this chapter, that while these traditional initiatives increase a multi-generational bond, they still fail to reach those students who are not driven by sports or the arts or who do not live on campus. For campuses to truly succeed in outreach, they are going to need to be open to different activities than they may recognize as valuable.

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Mar 18
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 18 2019 11:14AM) : Does it need to connect to school? or Community? I just nurturing and making these opportunities available to more kids enough? more

If these benefits are accruing, finding ways to make them accessible to more kids seems a good goal. Trying to build a connection to formal learning, as a reason to support these, might be a barrier itself.

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Mar 17
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 17 2019 4:35PM) : An important insight -- the bridges are not yet there. For us teachers, how can we help? And does our offer of help ruin the experience? Or enhance the experience? Considerations to ponder ...
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Nov 29
Yannick EDAYE (Nov 29 2019 4:09PM) : I think a teacher teaching Math must have an idea of Math liker community of if it is a computer science teacher, he or she is surely member of online community. more

Depending on how the student show interest to our clas, we can guie him to have the skills need to enter those online community.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 6:10AM) : How much vetting of the community does the teacher do? Do we then monitor the space? What is the role of the parent? How much does our principal need to know? Just questions that probably stop many teachers before they even begin ...
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Nov 28
Jenny Shrank (Nov 28 2021 12:28PM) : This reminded me of my sister. She is a talented artist and craftsperson and would join clubs and classes, but because she had no one to connect her interests to opportunities she spent a lot of her life uncertain what to do believing art was just a hobby [Edited] more
In community college, she took a ceramics class just for fun, but her professor recognized her interest and skill and encouraged her to join a group of students who make pottery and sell it in the school’s craft fair. She never thought about selling her work prior to this and never had the connections to do so. She ended up making more money than she envisioned and now sells pottery as a side gig. It is important for us as educators to be that bridge, especially for young students who may not realize that their interests and talents can help them in both academic and professional settings.

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Nov 28
annie mcintyre (Nov 28 2021 4:49PM) : creative interests [Edited] more

this is such a good point. being interested in art myself, and have always had an interest in it- it was so difficult to find educational support for pursuing those interests. I was also told it was only a “hobby” and it would never amount to anything because it wasn’t math, science, or technology-based, essentially not 21st century enough. It wasn’t until I was able to gain some independence and pursue this interest for myself in college. not all interests that students have will be based in video games, or computers, or engineering. that doesn’t make those interests any less valid and more artistic and creative inclinations need to be just as valued and celebrated.

This kind of productive network building requires the agency and interest of the learner, as well as the collective efforts of those of us invested in developing learning environments and opportunities. When we consider the resources and supports that young people need to connect their interests to opportunity, equity becomes of critical concern. Wealthy parents spend increasing amounts of money on supporting out-of-school learning tailored to personal interest (Duncan and Murnane 2011), and studies indicate that these children of higher-income families are much more likely to report having a wide range of informal adult mentors (Bruce and Bridgeland 2014). Research on family investments in enrichment activities indicates gaps and differences based on socioeconomic and other factors. Lareau’s fieldwork in the 1980s describes differences between middle-class families and lower-income families in the emphasis they place on enrichment and “concerted cultivation” (2003). More recent research, however, indicates that lower-income families also place a high value on athletics, arts, and other forms of enriched and specialized learning, though they may not have the resources or time to support these activities in ways that more privileged families do (Bennett, Lutz, and Jayaram 2012). While we may debate whether these differences are driven purely by economics or by values and preference, research is consistent in pointing to a gap in the relative investments of wealthy and poor families in structured enrichment activities (Weininger, Lareau, and Conley 2015).

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Dec 1
Mitchell Ary (Dec 01 2019 10:55PM) : investment more

Yeah I completely agree. It can’t just be self interest fueling the learning. It is a conglomeration of contributing factors that lead to learner perceived success. For example in an affinity group I posted asking for help and very few people replied to my post. It left me feeling alone and aloft. However, for that one example I have made other posts and got feedback from a number of other positive supporters. People will learn more if the like minded individuals invest in their learning as well.

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Dec 2
Kevin Hodgson (Dec 02 2019 6:12AM) : Nothing worse that posting into an Affinity Network and getting nothing in return ... sort of like shouting at the wall ... That also means an Affinity Space has to have some means of welcoming people, and being open/ready for participants
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Nov 21
Bryan Westman (Nov 21 2021 1:48PM) : Schools even in the same school district may have more or less money and provide completely different educations. more

Even within a school district, there are schools that will have all of the resources they need and schools that will be lacking. The irony here is that the budgets are not equally distributed among schools. Awealth neighborhood will have higher taxes and therefore have the things teachers need to provide the best education. Schools just a mile apart might be rich or poor and the students will have completely different outcomes.

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Nov 24
Kevin Hodgson (Nov 24 2021 6:10AM) : Equity issues are huge ...
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Nov 26
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Nov 26 2021 4:04PM) : Expand the network of adults who care about this. more

The advantages offered by more affluent communities to kids vs what kids in poorer areas have is something I’ve focused on for many years.

I join groups like #clmooc because they demonstrate ways people from many places can share ideas.

I point to such groups with the goal that a greater number of people concerned about inequities would gather in similar groups.

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Mar 18
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 18 2019 3:30PM) : This is the issue I try to rectify by helping mentor-rich non-school tutor/mentor programs form in high poverty areas. more

Too few of these programs exist, and too few are doing a deep dive into the information that shows the many challenges to a) building & sustaining needed programs in more places; b) influencing volunteers, staff & leaders in existing programs to join in on-line learning with goal of constantly expanding impact on kids and volunteers

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Mar 22
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 22 2019 5:53AM) : The chart in the book -- which you noticed and shared early, Daniel -- shows this in rather surprising (or not) detail. more

This is a clear gap in opportunities for all. If only affluent whites are in Affinity Spaces, we will get online spaces that reflect white affluence. We already have seen this play out in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, where frat boys created Facebook and the childhood opportunities around computers and programming launched the technology revolution, mirrored along socio-economic lines. We need to do more to broaden the opportunities for all. Schools are an ideal place for this.

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Mar 25
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 25 2019 1:05PM) : EMPATHY is the key. I focus on mentoring because it draw people from non-poverty areas into the lives of people in poverty, where they walk a few miles in other people's shoes. more

If this journey leads to empathy and understanding…such as lack of digital access for many….my belief is that some people will use their wealth to close those gaps. I’ve posted several articles on my blog that include this idea. http://tutormentor.blogspot.com/search/label/dreams

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Nov 26
Amy Wahl (Nov 26 2021 12:34PM) : Society [Edited] more

Values are placed on similar things regardless of socioeconomic status.

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Mar 18
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 18 2019 3:33PM) : Many parents made considerable effort to get their kids into the programs I led, and to keep them there. more

In addition, because I hosted a database of programs for all of Chicago, many parents, social workers, guardians would contact us hoping we could find a tutor and/or mentor for their kids. As soon as they gave the zip code I know if there was, or was not, a program available near where they lived. Too often, the answer was ‘No’.

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Although some young people are able to advocate for and translate their interests into opportunity in school and career, most need the support of local programs, mentors, and parents with the relevant social capital to broker these connections. If this process continues to play out as a private, market-driven process, the growth of informal online learning will exacerbate the equity gap, reducing the odds that lower-income youth will be able to pursue higher education and career opportunities in areas that they are genuinely interested in and passionate about. The responsibility of providing mentorship, brokering, and connection building to link youth interests to opportunity is a collective one and cannot be shouldered only by families, nor only by schools and other public educational institutions. It entails a broader cultural shift toward recognizing the new learning dynamics of a networked era, paying more attention to learning and equity in online communities and platforms, and providing more educational supports in both informal and formal learning environments. Here we can only scratch the surface of the complex, systemic change that is needed for a more equitable distribution of networked learning opportunity. In the remainder of this chapter, we describe some of the significant barriers that need to be addressed to realize fuller and more equitable access to the learning opportunities of online affinity networks, and then we describe some ways and design principles for addressing these challenges.

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Mar 31
Drs Ron Leunissen (Mar 31 2019 3:17PM) : Less educated = often poorer = less willing to take in new information / richer - often higher educated = more willing & able to accommodate new information more

New information and new information channels often increase the gap between poor and rich.

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Mar 31
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 31 2019 8:49PM) : Maybe ... maybe not, on that, Ron. I think socio-economics certainly play a role on the potential for access, which can open doors (not always but at least the potential is there).
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Nov 25
Kara Bethea (Nov 25 2020 2:16PM) : Can we achieve this "broader cultural shift" before the gap between low and high income households gets out of control? We are talking about years and years of generational disconnect and shaming. This would be the first generation to do this, ever.
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Nov 26
Ms. Sarah Stice (Nov 26 2020 5:31PM) : Good point more

You bring up an excellent point, Kara. I do believe we are starting to see shifts this year which, if listened to, will point us in the general direction we need to go. However, we are talking about years and years of environmental and systemic racism, we are talking about the constant oppression of the working class which has been done so effectively in our nation.

Therefore, I do think that the gap between low and high income households is going to get much worse before it gets better. We have to start with political and economic shifts, which we know take quite a while. It seems like the only hope we have at the moment would be for schools to continually employ very highly-qualified teachers in these low income areas.

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Nov 26
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Nov 26 2021 4:07PM) : Many need to take responsibility for keeping this conversation going. more

I’ve posted articles almost weekly at"http://tutormentor.blogspot.com":http://tutormentor.blogspot.com since 2005 and almost daily on Twitter since 2011 that focus on inequality.

I’ve found an ebb and flow of interest among too many others. They get tired of the conversation and move on, far too soon. It will take many years of consistent effort by many people to see significant changes.

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Mar 18
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 18 2019 3:35PM) : If we were using Hypothes.is I'd now post a "logic model" graphic that works through a progression of steps. more

a) kids benefit from involvement of extra, non-family, adults;
b) in big cities, organized programs are needed to facilitate the on-going connection of youth and volunteers;
c) thus, there ought to be groups of people working to make such programs available to k-12 kids in every high poverty neighborhood

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Mar 29
Karen LaBonte (Mar 29 2019 1:35PM) : In my city's school district, I know a man whose job is to connect kids to businesses for internships in STEM-related fields. I need to find out what, if any, kinds of affinity-building he is doing with these kids.
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Mar 30
Kevin Hodgson (Mar 30 2019 9:09AM) : Yeah. I wonder if that is an example of how a strong local network might be strengthened by an online network experience for some young people (but maybe not all -- which is important to note)
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Mar 30
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Mar 30 2019 5:53PM) : How is the group using the Internet to support interaction of youth, volunteers and companies? more

If the group has more than a few kids and volunteers participating, from more than one company, it will have challenges communicating to all it’s members. If it’s using the internet, then it’s already got an “affinity group” started.

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Apr 2
Karen LaBonte (Apr 02 2019 2:28AM) : Good question, Dan. We have a monthly meetup on Saturday— if the person is there, I will ask.
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Dec 2
Dr. Daniel Bassill (Dec 02 2019 10:32AM) : Any update? more

Hi Karen. I just saw your comment from last April. Did you learn anything new from your Saturday group?

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Nov 18
Levon Curtis (Nov 18 2021 11:37AM) : Active support and engagement by the institution appear to be essential to keep children engaged. more

Active support and engagement by the institution appear to be essential to keep children engaged. Throughout the text, it appears that we’ve cracked the code on how to drive engagement initially, however maintaining engagement can be equally challenging. This is where I think they have demonstrated success by driving advancement with the support and recognition by the school itself for the benefit of the student(s).