Boundaries and Limits of Networked and Connected Learning
I have just spent a year working with a class of London 13-14 year olds (Year 9), following their networks at home, school and elsewhere, online and offline. Together with my co-author Julian Sefton-Green, we observed the students’ social interactions in and between lessons, conducting interviews with children, parents, teachers and others in their networks.
Our work was part of the Connected Learning Research Network and inspired by its vision that “connected learning taps the opportunities provided by digital media to more easily link home, school, community and peer contexts of learning; support peer and intergenerational connections based on shared interests; and create more connections with non-dominant youth, drawing from capacities of diverse communities.”
Probably many folk would sign up to this vision – though I take the critiques seriously too. But what was most striking from our fieldwork was the resistance we encountered to the idea of connection from teachers, parents and students themselves. I blogged about this in one of our case studies . As our research uncovered, there are significant interests at stake in maintaining boundaries - here I learned from the anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, writing (in her work on families) about the imperative to ‘cut the network’.
In my own research I try to respect children’s voices and experiences – so when I hear of their concerns about increased connection, and when I see their efforts to manage their networks, I become concerned about educational policies designed to link home and school even more.
I look forward to discussing these and related issues with you during the Hot Seat.
Please take a moment to introduce yourselves and share what experiences you may have had with networked and connected learning in general, and with their boundaries and limits in particular!