The Connected Classroom: Transforming Education Through Community Partnership

As I settled into the realities of the COVID pandemic with the “unprecedented” becoming a “new normal,” I did find myself missing the new learning that comes with being creative. As an educator with a film background, I’ve been so fortunate to be invested in two worlds that so intimately align. 

Although I am no longer in the classroom, I still stay grounded in my media literacy and Communications Technology roots in my role as Vice Principal. During this past school year, I co-moderated a virtual film club for students in Gr. 9 – 12 and I facilitated a number of virtual round tables “film watch and talks” for Twitter and LinkedIn movie buffs. This is all to say that as we adapted to staying home, I still yearned for the time to create, share and connect.

Since COVID was limiting my film and digital media work, I turned to the world of podcasting this past January with Rewind From Today. A not-for-profit podcast, my goal was to lean into my documentary roots and celebrate stories through conversations with people I admire doing admiring things. From educators, to community organizers to filmmakers and writers, the time spent producing Rewind From Today rejuvenated my creative soul and most certainly fed my passion for production and learning from the connection made with others.

This still promotes the June episode of Rewind From Today with David Morrell. Here’s a post on Mr. Morrell’s conversation with my students upon the release of Rambo: Last Blood

Serendipitously, my efforts with Rewind From Today has aligned with my Professional Masters of Education studies at Queen’s University. I’m currently enrolled in a course called The Connected Classroom, which is my last course of the program. This course most certainly speaks to my own sensibilities as a life-long learner and someone who seeks opportunities to unlearn, relearn and learn. In fact, Rewind From Today has served this learning journey in that it speaks to the core principles of The Connected Classroom; reinforcing that learning is a community affair as my professor Dr. Paul Leslie so eloquently attests. 

Like when I was in the classroom working with a variety of partners to guide, support and enrich student learning, The Connected Classroom is about understanding stories through the interest and passions of students and cultivating opportunities for the community to become the classroom and teacher. It’s about making schooling truly meaningful, which requires an overhaul and shift away from textbook content and in-school dissemination.

This video from Connected Learning Alliance provides a “Connected Classroom” overview.

With all of this, my latest Rewind From Today episode is an educators’ special titled The Connected Classroom: Transforming Education Through Community Partnership. Specifically, I explore two community organizations (Campus Calgary and MusicLinks) through Networked Learning and Interdisciplinary Learning Theory. The episode lays the foundation for what is an important conversation about school culture today, reimagining learning and the role technology can play to enrich schooling that promotes student interests, creativity and asking questions in active, communal and global ways.

Listen to the podcast below and share your comments with me on Twitter. As you listen, reflect and share what The Connected Classroom means to you.

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Be part of the conversation and share any examples you may have including your successes and next steps pertaining to such learning. 

Visit Rewind From Today

Podcast Academic References:

CBC/Radio Canada. (n.d.). Innovative Learning at Arts Commons. CBCnews. 

Hodgson V., McConnell D., Dirckinck-Holmfeld L. (2012) The Theory, Practice and Pedagogy of Networked Learning. In: Dirckinck-Holmfeld L., Hodgson V., McConnell D. (eds) Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning. Springer, New York, NY. 

Utecht, J., & Keller, D. (2019). Becoming Relevant Again: Applying Connectivism Learning Theory to Today’s Classrooms

The Connected Learning Alliance (2012). Connected Learning: Interest, Peer Culture, Academics. YouTube. 

What are the benefits of interdisciplinary study? (2019, March 1). 

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