I am often approached about my methods of educating students in art, and to share insight into how I approach constructing that educational model, I wanted to first share some of the research that supports my thinking.
In their 2013 report, Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, Ito et al. write that connected learning is:
"socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Connected learning is realized when a young person pursues a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career possibilities, or civic engagement.
And while youth learning is at the center of connected learning… the framework presented in Connected Learning functions as a set of key design principles for today’s teachers to consider." (6)
“…interest-driven learning is essential to promoting students’ academic, emotional, and civic empowerment…learning opportunities that spring from and cultivate students’ blossoming personal and social interests have the potential to reap tremendous benefits in terms of increasing engagement and participation in learning. (23-4)
“…Digital networks provide new opportunities for learners to access a wide range of knowledge and resources across the boundaries of school, home, and after-school settings. They also allow learners to make their own work and achievements visible across these settings. I improved as a teacher and as a learner through lots of little exchanges, wonderings, and posts about what was happening in my classroom, what I wanted to happen, and how to bridge the gap between the two states. While the authors of the Connected Learning report focus on what students should and might do as learners, there also is considerable value in teachers and other facilitators of learning to consider how they might use these principles as learners themselves.” ( 71)
Garcia, Antero, ed., 2014. Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.
It is through principles of connected learning that I aim to teach integrated art, incorporating a variety of disciplines within the educational spectrum to give students developed senses of art and expression as mediums of communication. Creating a digital community for additional learning and communication is the goal of having this connective space.