Connected Learning: When the Classroom Meets the World Today

With high-speed internet and access to worldwide information, we are on the cusp of a pivotal age of global advancement and transformation. There’s wide agreement that we need to reimagine new models of education – not just schooling – that better suit the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of the new knowledge society. For this reason, Connected Learning is designed as a learning approach for the demand and opportunities of the digital age.

Supported by connectivist-social theory and progressive learning technologies, connected learning is a pedagogical model that facilitates students’ active creation, navigation, and operation in a complex, interdependent network system that enhances knowledge-making, information-sharing, and personal and professional development. As a scholar of change, I am invested in such opportunities for transformation in education and I strive to participate in activities of networked learning. Just at the start of this semester, I was invited by Professor Randall Monty from the University of Texas–Pan American to correspond with his students on Twitter over the topic of using hashtags in the writing classroom. Over the month of September, my Twitter feed was flooded by eager students with interesting questions on the viability and effectiveness of integrating social media into the curriculum. Below are a few from the pool:

Today, I received a quick appreciation email from Professor Monty thanking me for participating in this exercise.

Good morning, Jason,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and advice with undergraduate Composition Techniques students at the University of Texas – Pan American during the Fall 2014 semester.

Your article “#Hashtags in the Writing Classroom” really struck a positive chord with these students, as evidenced by the fact that many continue to refer to your work in class discussions. This staying power is a tribute to both the quality of your work as well as to your generosity with your time.

Best of luck with your continued graduate studies. I’ll look forward to seeing the next iteration of your research at our disciplinary conferences. In the meantime, you are always welcome to rejoin the conversation at #CompTechPA!

Kind regards,


Randall W. Monty, PhD
Assistant Professor, Rhetoric & Composition
Consultant, Writing Across the Curriculum & Writing in the Disciplines
Department of English
University of Texas – Pan American

I am sharing this as an encouragement to those who are thinking about trying out the connected (teaching and) learning model. Connected learning feeds on the participatory culture and the always-already connected students to enhance their learning process and even cultivate intercultural interactions. This will not only help students to grow their knowledge base, it also expands their horizon to meet and collaborate with people outside their regular social communities.

To learn more about connect learning and its pedagogical benefits, I recommend my go-to site:

2 thoughts on “Connected Learning: When the Classroom Meets the World Today

  1. Thanks so much for sharing, and for the kind words about Connected Learning. Hope to see you online more, whether it’s #connectedlearning on Twitter or the G+ Community (

    -Jon Barilone, Community Manager for the Connected Learning Alliance
    (@TheCLAlliance and @jonbarilone on Twitter)

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