Connected learningDigital technology opens up the possibility for young people to change the way in which they learn and create a new peer-to-peer educational environment that connects school, home, community, friends and family.
- Howard Rheingold is an American critic, writer, and teacher who specialises in the cultural, social and political implications of modern communication and digital technology. He said:
"Networked social learning is most effective and truly magical when students who don't know one another one day start scouring the world for knowledge to bestow on each other the next day and spend their time contributing to each other's learning. It’s the unpredictable synergy that can happen when a group of strangers assembles online to learn together."
Peer-to-peer learningYoung people themselves can become the educators as well as the learners and through online networks and new technology can take advantage of a new, creative, learning world. This short video explains what this means:
A new approach to learningAcross the internet, mobile phones and digital technology, the way people receive education and teach others is changing. Using digital technology supports young people to learn new skills, develop friendships and create networks around learning, ideas and thoughts. Online networks are offering a platform for peer led, innovative learning to take place.
- Youtube Education also offers a similar platform to anyone to post educational videos and watch them online.
- New communication toolsYouth organisations, such as the UK Youth Climate Coalition, are part of an emerging trend in youth organisations being run, facilitated and organised online using Skype, email and social networks. Using webinars, online discussions, chats, videos and open google doc resources, they give sessions on international climate policy and campaigning to the annual youth delegation to the UN climate talks.Online collaborationOnline platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Skype, MSN and Google Docs allow people from all over the world to work, learn and collaborate together in real time. All of these well known and used tools open up the possibilities for collaboration with school friends, family, networks, colleagues or simply those with the skills needed.
Turning social connections into social learningWhile social media and digital technology can offer a lot of space for innovation, young people need to have the skills, confidence and tools to become effective peer educators and to learn in a new, more participatory way.While many young people turn to social media for help on homework, sharing ideas and building friendships, few formal spaces exist to support e-learning and peer-to-peer education in a more structured way.