It’s called networked or connected learning,
and it’s transforming the way all of us think, live, work and learn!
The nature of learning has changed dramatically in recent years due largely to advances in information technologies making the introductory narrative very realistic! In fact, it’s happening already! In this time of rapid development in how communications technology increasingly enhances and provides on demand learning for the youth audience, a critical opportunity presents itself that prompts institutions of learning to consider new and innovative ways to engage young learners in effective learning environments. This is what the For Youth, For Life work is about.
The For Youth, For Life Learning Network (FYFLnet) began a few years ago as a community of practitioners (CoP) who began to collaborate on creating online content related to science for the youth audience. The CoP was part of a larger effort in what is called eXtension. The eXtension work involves faculty and staff based within the Cooperative Extension Service and the larger land-grant university system. Faculty and staff work together in common areas of interest and expertise to produce a common collection of content pages for the general public in a variety of areas. FYFLnet work eventually broadened to accommodate multiple content areas including science, agriculture, financial literacy, water, and much more. With a target audience of the school-age population, of which youth in 4-H are a primary part, the opportunity to provide a land-grant backed learning resource was and is exciting. 4-H has traditionally been informal in the nature of learning opportunities that it engages young people in and that remains a rich resource for youth. However, with digital technologies afforded to us today the opportunity to engage young people in another way has come.
The For Youth, For Life Learning Network strives to generate significant youth orientated content in a variety of subject areas for the knowledge base of extension.org. It is also involved in exploring other ways to engage youth with technology through online learning environments and recognizing learning achievements in a digital form (digital badges). Learning communities or “hubs” of learning around high interest topics will also be a feature of FYFLnet. We hope you enjoy exploring the FYFLnet as it continues to grow and evolve as a center of learning.