Connected Learning: Grade School vs. College

I love the idea of connected learning. I think that too much of our education from grade school to college is kept completely separate from the rest of our lives. Students put in their time with classes and homework, but are rarely excited enough about the material to explore it outside of that. Especially at the grade and high school level, the emphasis on standardized testing is a big part of that. The “facts that all students should know” are taught, but they never really get to engage with the subject and delve deep into it. I would love to see a system where a second grade class spends an entire period talking about the sun, or raptors, or pandas, just because someone asked an interesting question and started a discussion.

On the college level, at least in some subjects, I think connected learning would be more difficult to implement. In a philosophy class or an English class, a student might blog about an interesting book they read and invite comments from their classmates. In a class about database management, no one is going to blog about the interesting database they saw or tweet out the exciting article they read about databasing. Even for those students who want to delve deeper, they won’t have the requisite skills to do so until they’ve completed the course. I just don’t know how the students could engage with the material outside of class while they’re still taking it. If anyone has any thoughts, I’d love to hear them!