My first truly connected learning experience was the Learning Creative Learning course from MIT Media Lab. The philosophy, content, and community opened my mind and clarified so many notions that had been simmering in my educational philosophy, but hadn't yet boiled over. The course syllabus and Google+ community are still active, and I highly recommend anyone interested in the nature of learning to explore them. It was my first connected learning experience, but I didn't actually know it yet.
During the course, I discovered many brilliant people to follow on twitter and participated in the Google+ community, which led me to find the Making Learning Connected MOOC at the beginning of last summer. If Learning Creative Learning opened my mind, Making Learning Connected blew it up and sent the pieces flying in all directions. While sailing through the air, the pieces of my mind connected with too many wonderful connected learners to count, let alone mention. You can follow my personal 'clmooc' journey on my blog, Symphony of Ideas (links to posts tagged with the 'clmooc' label).
Most of the action occurred in the Making Learning Connected Google+ community. It's hard to describe how I felt or how I grew, but I think any curious inquirer would learn a tremendous amount from reading the participant's posts and viewing the wonderful variety of learning artifacts. An adventurous connected learner might even complete each 'make cycle'! I'm sure you would receive very useful feedback and enthusiastic encouragement from that outstanding community. At the very least, please take a moment to read the Connected Learning Principles and reflect on how they apply to your own learning and the learning in your classroom or school.
The rest is, as they say, history. I've connected with a fascinating array of people, communities, organizations, and had a few interactions that defy classification. All along, I've had a strong sense of wanting to share the thrill of connected learning with the students in my class, so that's what I've been doing. In a few short weeks, we've utilized our class blog to publish some of our learning and connect with other classes, practicing invaluable 21st Century communication and collaboration skills. We give and receive insightful comments globally and one of my student's first posts was even featured on Comments4Kids!
My Independent Inquiry project has also flourished as a result of my summer of connected learning, as you can see on our class wiki.
The research behind Connected Learning coming from the DML Research Hub (including Mimi Ito, whom COETAILers would certainly recognize) and all of its associated projects and communities are an indispensable resource for any connected educator. Enjoy!
What are your treasures?