UW Information School researchers and their partners have released a white paper focused on the best ways to promote connected learning and 21st century skills in libraries.
The white paper provides examples of connected learning in libraries, discusses opportunities and challenges associated with introducing connected learning in diverse library settings, and reviews existing resources for public librarians who wish to implement connected learning principles in their youth programming. The white paper also describes how the ConnectedLib project is addressing gaps in the existing connected learning research and resources for libraries.
Developed by Mimi Ito and members of the Connected Learning Research Network, the connected learning framework emphasizes creative and social learning experiences that are driven by learners’ personal interests. The framework’s core principles include learning contexts that are peer supported, interest powered, and academically oriented along with experiences that are production centered, openly networked, and bring together learners and adults around a shared purpose. The “connected” in connected learning refers to connecting in-school and out-of-school learning, connecting interests to opportunities, and connecting the learner to peers and mentors.
With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, ConnectedLib is helping librarians incorporate digital media into their work with youth to promote connections across learning contexts. Faculty members from the library and information science schools at the University of Washington (Assistant Professor Katie Davis) and University of Maryland (Associate Professor Mega Subramaniam) are teaming with public libraries to create professional development resources that support librarians in their efforts to leverage new media technologies and promote youth’s connected learning experiences in libraries. The public library partners — Providence Public Library, Seattle Public Library, and Kitsap Regional Library — serve a variety of traditionally underserved youth populations, including rural, immigrant, and low-income youth.