Caine's Arcade and Connected Learning

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.
Caine’s Arcade is about a nine year old boy who creates a cardboard arcade, during the summer, in his father’s auto part store. His one customer (who happens to be a film maker and a digital strategies expert) uses facebook to create a flash mob of customers for Caine’s arcade. This story has become viral; emphasizing the importance of play, context, creativity and engagement on learning. As Connie Yowell (Director of Education, Macarthur Foundation) asks “How might education come to life if children were to possess a burning need to know?” Connected Learning looks at student engagement and learning with focusing on the question, “What experiences do we want these kids to have?” instead of the current educational model of, “What do we want these kids to know?” It shifts the focus of education from an outcome base task design approach to question based approach that focuses on the learner and their engagement. Learning becomes student inspired,connected and contextualized.

Connected learning further outlines Learning and Design Principals that reflect importance of contextualization of learning, building learning connections through social media, and asks the fundamental question of who contributes to producing creative and engaged citizens of the future. Inquiry learning models, and school practice most often use the curriculum as a starting point (topic or an enduring understanding); teachers chose the topic, structure the inquiry process, and provide ‘optional’ models of creation and sharing. This package of inquiry is a pragmatic design to meet the structure and demands of the current education system today. Maybe a re imaging of education is in order. Until then, if we can incorporate as much of ‘what we want kids to experience’ and keep task design focused on 21 century skill development that fosters engagement, deep thinking, and creativity – we have begun to re-imaging education.

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