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In collaboration with 4-H in Alabama, Arizona and Washington, an online learning experience is offered by the For Youth, For Life Learning Network.
The Rockets to the Rescue digital badge is for individual learners participating in the 2014 National Youth Science Day experiment. << OPEN for 8 WEEKS >>
To learn more about participating in the offline learning experience with a group go to the 4-H National Youth Science Day – Rockets to the Rescue site. To connect to a local group or 4-H Club go to the Find a local 4-H NYSD event link. Once the NYSD experiment has been completed learners can follow the steps below to obtain a digital badge.
Young people age 13 or older or adults may enroll in the course. Upon completion of a brief survey a digital badge will be issued as an online recognition of the learning achievement.
Canvas Network is the learning system that is hosting the Digital Badge – Rockets to the Rescue course for National Youth Science Day. The course is open and available to anyone with access to the internet. It can be accessed with mobile devices as well. See the following steps to get started:
Contact: Dr. Tony) Cook, Extension 4-H Specialist and Leader of the For Youth, For Life Learning Network, email@example.com
Digital badges are about learning and recognizing that learning in a digital form! 4-H is rich in its history of engaging young people in learning and recognizing learning achievement in many forms. As 4-H evolves into the world on online learning digital forms of recognition will as well. This is how digital badges in 4-H can be used.
REVISED in August 2015
As a youth engagement program, 4-H has long been an educational arm and extension of land-grant universities (LGUs) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As it adjusts to accommodate the school-age youth population and engage adult facilitators through the use of technology in learning, some commonalities may need some consideration. From a broad or global perspective a common online platform for learning and acknowledgement of learning with national, state, or local recognition functions may be helpful. While the various land-grant institutions and their 4-H programs may provide online learning through various learning management systems to its youth audience within their respective states or territories, might there be a need for a learning platform that crosses geographic boundaries? To what degree does social media play a role in engaging youth in 4-H as well as the broader youth population? Would online learning communities or networks be useful and effective?
Further, in engaging the broader youth audience from which 4-H draws its members and participants, user registration and costs of sustaining such a system must be a consideration. Would economies of scale help keep costs for users very low or free for many resources? The youth population is also mobile, meaning that their connection to online learning resources is through mobile devices while often interfacing with social media. Connecting to knowledge and learning is also largely open and free as is sharing what is learned with others is largely free and open. Accommodating a younger audience is a challenge as well in that learners under the age of 13 must especially be assured of a safe and secure environment. In addition, is the online learning resource ultimately provided exclusively to 4-H or designed for the larger and broader audience. Certainly, the online learning platform and environment may be provided by a collective effort though 4-H and its supporting institutions thereby providing exposure to 4-H and the opportunity to become involved as well. Would this approach be a positive strategy in extending the 4-H experience beyond the traditional audience?
Another notable point to consider is what happens to 4-H engagement past the ages or 11 and 12 or the 6th and 7th grade. In most states there is a precipitous decline in participation as youth enter junior high and high school. While there are various factors that contribute to such a decline, might there be an opportunity through technology to extend the engagement and even attract a broader audience? Could it be that 4-H, in collaboration with its academic units of their home institutions, offer online learning to the broader audience of youth ages that connects them to career pathways?
These and other points and questions are things to consider as 4-H strives to become a 21st century learning experience. What are your thoughts? Please feel free to comment and contribute to what will be a continuing dialogue.
What are learning communities? How do learning communities affect learner engagement? Is there a difference between learning communities and learning networks? What value might be found in a learning community? Learning communities may be closed to a few or open to many or everyone. We will discuss both closed and open communities in similar ways as the focus of the discussion is on the nature of learning by connecting with others. These and other questions and points are discussed in this and similar posts. Your comments and contributions to the overall discussion are welcomed!
Learning communities consist of a number of people with common interests and desire to learn and share with others. This happens in face-to-face environments, of course, but in this discussion we will primarily consider online learning communities. In an environment where one can be connected to others so readily via technology it is relatively easy to connect with others who have interests similar to yours. The connections may be informal in nature or more formal or professional. What is gained from a connection to a group of learners may be simply result from curiosity about a topic, fulfilling a need for more information about a hobby or activity one is involved in, gaining knowledge and understanding in relation to furthering one’s education, expanding capacity professionally, and more. Members of a learning community may include people from the general public who just wish to follow the topic at hand, people who wish to learn from others in order to help them improve their efforts regarding the topic, students participating in a class effort, professionals who wish to improve their abilities through learning or networking with others, all of these together and more.
Connecting with a learning community can vary from simply anonymously exploring topics of interest and seeing what others are sharing online, to registering with a group to establish a continual connection to what is shared via the community, participating in discussions or sharing something of your own, actually starting or leading a group of learners, and much more. Online learning communities generally focus on a primary topic of interest with discussions that may branch off into related topics. A connection to a learning community may also be thought of as a connection to a network as one’s involvement readily leads to connections with others. Personal learning networks result which can become a rich environment for the learner as they learn and share with others. A broader learning network may reach beyond the circle of more personal connections to a larger community or network of learners. The body of knowledge on the topic at hand becomes greatly enhanced as a result in that members of the community and network are contributing to and even creating new knowledge as perspectives and experiences are shared.
For any given individual connecting online to learning communities or networks, much benefit can be gained in regard to their personal interests and needs including enhancing themselves in a professional manner. One’s personal learning network may have a variety of connections that range from personal hobby type interests to professional through professional learning networks.
The informal manner in which people connect and learn with others is not necessarily a new thing but with technology it can be greatly enhanced. Beginning at a young age and continuing into our adult lives, connecting to online learning communities and networks is becoming more and more a significant part of lifelong learning.