Sunday, March 11, 2012

Re-Imagining Learning in the 21st Century - MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation has gathered some great research on how learning needs to change to adapt to the 21st Century, based around these three questions:
  • How are young people changing as a result of constant exposure to digital media?
  • How should learning institutions change?
  • How should learning environments change?
In the Director's message (, Connie Yowell explains how the foundation shifted their focus from " traditional school reform" to "learning," and lays out the results from over 106 studies they funded:
Through our work to date, we understand that at least three key shifts must occur if the educational system is to transform from the current 19th-century paradigm (based largely on paper-and-pencil tests) to a 21st-century vision:
  • A shift from education to learning. Education is what institutions do, learning is what people do. Digital media enable learning anywhere, anytime; formal learning must also be mobile and just in time.
  • A shift from consumption of information to participatory learning. A new system of learning must be peer-based and organized around learners' interests, enabling them to create as well as consume information.
  • A shift from institutions to networks. In the digital age, the fundamental operating and delivery systems are networks, not institutions such as schools, which are a node on a young person's network of learning opportunities. People learn across institutions, so an entire learning network must be supported.
    . . .
Connected learning is not about technology. The principles of connected learning weren't born in the digital age, but they are extraordinarily well-suited to it.
Connected learning is not about turning our backs on teachers and schools. Thousands of teachers and educators across the U.S. are working hard, often in the face of adversity, to reimagine learning for the next generation.
Connected learning is also not about throwing out traditional literacy skills. The importance of reading, writing and critical thinking are as important as ever. But so are new literacies like advanced problem-solving and collaboration that will be critical in the increasingly interconnected world we dwell in.
Connected learning also is tuned to the reality that technology and the networked era is threatening to stretch the already-wide equity gap in education unless there is decisive intervention and a strong public agenda. In a world so full of knowledge and an abundance of learning possibilities, isn't it our responsibility to work as hard as we can to see that every child has a chance to unlock his or her potential? (from
The main Re-Imagining Learning page is here:

They have set up two other sites which describe the connected learning principles, the emerging community, and ongoing research:

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