What do learning pathways look like as young people move across learning contexts in pursuit of their interests in school, at home, in libraries, community centers and online?
Tomorrow, July 16th, at 1:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM Pacific, I will have the opportunity to join Elyse Eidman-Aadahl of the National Writing Project, Kris Gutierrez at University of Colorado at Boulder, and Paul Allison of YouthVoices to discuss how youth leverage the opportunities, resources, tools, and connections available to them, and in this process, how learning and literacy practices are shaped. We’ll ask: How do individuals create and transform themselves as learners? How can we design learning environments to be responsive to these pathways?
Update: You can watch the Webinar below and read the archive here.
I am thrilled to have this chance tomorrow, because I have been waiting and wishing and hoping for a chance to discuss aspects of learning that traditionally don’t get much attention in schooling systems. I hope to bring up a few items:
- Youth and their learning are mobile. As we move across learning contexts and systems, we take our learning, identities and interests with us. These will be valued and acknowledged differently in different settings, but we don’t–we can’t–put our experiences, knowledge, skills, frames of mind away. They travel with us as we connect with others and other systems of knowledge in our homes, online communities, local community centers, and places of religious worship. This makes me wonder how some people seem so different in different settings. So, it’s important to ask how learning takes shape as we move across contexts, and respond to each context’s differing configurations of people, power and practices.
- Youth are integral to shaping their learning pathways. We often talk about learners with reactive language rather than positioning them as meaning-makers, i.e. learners “demonstrate knowledge they have gained” and “misbehave in regards to rules.” However, learners and their learning are not moving like pinballs in a pinball machine–rolling along in whichever direction they have been last slapped toward. Circumstances, environment and opportunities are certainly influential, but whether we can articulate them or not, as learners we have goals and commitments that we use to interpret and respond to learning opportunities–both formal and informal.
- If we are looking to understand a learners’ learning in multiple contexts and across time, we are increasing our surveillance of their lives. In this era of challenges to notions of privacy, how can we help the learner retain space and time outside the gaze of the researcher and/or the watchful eye of the education system?
In addition to the projects represented in the discussion, I am going to link us to the Learning Lives project out of Norway and the Everyday Literacies work out of the UK. I hope others share projects they are working in that are focusing on youths’ learning pathways.