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UCI Launches Connected Learning Lab

The new Connected Learning Lab, based at UC Irvine, focuses on interdisciplinary research on learner-centered innovation in educational technology.

The Connected Learning Lab will provide the leading experimental site for pushing the boundaries of connected learning.

The University of California, Irvine has launched the Connected Learning Lab (CLL), a new interdisciplinary hub dedicated to researching and putting into practice equitable learner-centered innovation in educational technology.

“Emerging forms of personalized, networked, and game-based learning represents a massive new wave of innovation in educational technology that is already impacting millions of learners around the world,” said Mimi Ito, CLL director. “The CLL is dedicated to ensuring that these innovations are informed by robust research, and lead to positive outcomes for learners in all walks of life. The lab includes interdisciplinary networks of faculty members across the UCI campus, from informatics and education to the social sciences.”

The lab is sponsored by UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, School of Education and School of Social Sciences, as well as the UC Humanities Research Institute. It supports interdisciplinary research and design, and partnerships with a broad network of educational practitioners and technologists. The CLL’s focus is defined by the “connected” in connected learning, which refers to social relationships and emerging digital and networked technologies.

Connected learning happens when someone is pursuing a personal interest with the support of peers, mentors and caring adults, and in ways that open up opportunities for them, the CLL explains. “It differs from technology and institution-centered approaches to educational technology in being people-first, prioritizing student interests, cultural relevance, and the life of communities. Connected learning also is a uniquely interdisciplinary approach that brings together the learning sciences, social sciences, design, informatics and computing to develop new research frameworks, engage in pressing real-world problems, and develop and test breakthrough innovations.”

The creation of the CLL is a result of more than a decade of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation investment in the Digital Media and Learning Hub at UC Irvine, and the research of the Connected Learning Research Network and the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network. And, the Connected Learning Alliance, a project of the CLL, is dedicated to building a cross-sector network of organizations dedicated to the spread of connected learning.

“CLL has grown out of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, based at UCHRI. It will…

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