Revealing Opportunities for 21st Century Learning: An Approach to Interpreting User Trace Log Data
Online environments can cultivate what have been referred to as 21st century skills and capabilities, as youth contribute, pursue, share, and interact around work and ideas. Such environments also hold great potential for addressing digital divides related to the development of such skills by connecting youth in areas with fewer resources and opportunities to social and material supports for learning. However, even with increasing attention to the importance of 21st century skills, there is still relatively little known about how to measure these sorts of competencies effectively. In this paper, we offer an exploratory approach for interpreting student user trace log data to reveal opportunities for creative production, self-directed learning, and social learning online. Our approach engages social learning analytics to code actions according to relationships between users and engages in self-report and ethnographic methods to supplement initial results. We share our methods; provide rich description of the unique learning environment; present results of logged opportunities for creative production, self-directed learning, and social learning across the sixth grade cohort; and explore these results through the lens of individual learners, including cohort self-reports of identity, interest, and perceptions, and qualitative case studies of two students.
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