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SXSWedu 2015

Creating Citywide Connected Learning Ecosystems

Cities of Learning create cross-sector partnerships to ensure all youth have access to learning opportunities in libraries, museums, and other local institutions, as well as online. Started in Chicago in 2013, the movement has spread to Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., with more cities poised to join in 2015. Cities help put Connected Learning into action by using open badges to showcase knowledge youth acquire and create pathways between learning experiences.

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  1. Attendees will review the history of the Cities of Learning vision and discuss what it takes to launch a Cities of Learning.
  2. Attendees will receive an overview of how Connected Learning is used in systematically creating a city-wide learning platform, as well as walk through how badge systems are established within each city as a way to capture the learning taking place.
  3. Attendees will learn firsthand from three current Cities of Learning leaders - Chicago, Dallas and Pittsburgh - and what their recent efforts have acheived for learners and community partners.


  • Megan Cole, Director of Marketing and Operations, The Badge Alliance
  • Ed Meier, Chief Operating Officer, Big Thought
  • Cathy Lewis Long, Executive Director and President, The Sprout Fund
  • Nichole Pinkard, Associate Professor, College of Computing and Digital Media, DePaul University and Founder, Digital Youth Network, Digital Youth Network


Megan Cole, Director of Marketing and Operations, The Badge Alliance

Meta Information:

  • Event: EDU
  • Format: Panel Discussion
  • Track: Achievement Gaps & Educational Equality
  • Session Focus Area
  • Level: Basic Understanding
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