Connections-based learning starts with a shift in thinking. It's about beginning to look at teaching differently, keeping our eyes and ears open as educators to the connected world around us. In order to create an atmosphere of learning around a certain learning outcome, the first question to ask is WHO. With whom are we going to interact in order to uncover learning in a particular area? Is there something going on in the community that we can participate in? Is there an expert that we can bring into the class that would help us learn? Is there an organization that we can support as we learn? Could we work together with another classroom nearby or far away as we learn? These questions are the starting point for Connections-based Learning.
Belouga.org hosts some fantastic courses to assist you in developing your CBL skills.
Community Engagement is limited only by your imagination. There are so many possibilities to provide students an opportunity to engage the community. Community members have a wealth of expertise. The community also has many needs that students can help meet. Visit this page for some ideas.
Is there an organization that can be supported during the learning experience? Are the students passionate about a cause? The world is full of government and non governmental, profit and not for profit organizations with whom you can work. Or can you tap into an organization to assist you? See some ideas here.
Would a connection with an expert lead to great learning experiences? Some great platforms for making expert connections exist. Leverage a connection with an expert to get the latest research, to share a real-life perspective on the field or to take you farther than you have ever imagined.
Can we work with another classroom as we learn? So many educators are eager to partner with other classes to enhance the learning of their students. It is just a matter of making that connection. Whether you connect through one of the readily available platforms, or make the connection yourself, powerful possibilities await your class!
Here are some graphic organizers to help your students leverage powerful connections for learning.