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Connected Learning

Including digital badges, Summer of Learning, and Cities of Learning.

Connected Learning

Los Angeles Summer Of Learning

More than 50,000 beyond the Bell Students and 1,918 youths from LA City and community-based organizations engaged in learning this summer. Participants were connected to interactive learning in schools, parks, libraries, and museums, as well as internships at participating companies, organizations, and agencies, These students studied science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Drop-in computer labs remained open to facilitate access to computers. 

Use #lasol2014 to et us know if you'll be attending. 

Video Overview


Beyond the Bell served as the primary implementer of the Summer of Learning for 2014

This is the main website serving the Summer and City of Learning for Los Angeles. Please visit, register, and participate!




#lasol2014 Backchannel


What’s this all about?

 The Summer of Learning is part of larger movement to create a learning approach for our times -- one that leverages the possibilities of the digital age to make learning more relevant and more plentiful than ever. It’s called CONNECTED LEARNING, and it’s about connecting all young people not just to technology, but to their interests and to communities of encouraging peers and mentors who can help make these dreams come true.

Obviously, learning can happen in a classroom. But it doesn't stop there. In fact, some of the most valuable and durable learning takes place outside school as kids pursue their own interests -- if they find the support they need.

That’s what this summer is about. We have always known summer is a time for play, for experimenting, and for messing around. What we know now, from the newest education research, is that it is also the perfect place for inspired learning. So that’s what we want to create

What does this mean for Los Angeles?

The City of Los Angeles and The Los Angeles Unified School District have come together to launch a new summer initiative that provides the opportunity to connect every learner in Los Angeles to incredible summer enrichment experiences that are fun and entertaining. Working with most of our city’s most skilled education providers, The Summer of Learning networks together all of the fantastic learning opportunities this city has to offer during the summer with a goal of engaging young people in hands-on learning that prepares our young people for the demands of the digital age with the higher order skills our employers demand. From building a swimming robot to building a resume, the entire City of Los Angeles becomes a summer learning campus, connecting parents, teachers and young people to relevant, fun and exciting learning opportunities citywide.

 Los Angeles Summer of Learning 2014 is a public-private partnership that brings together an unprecedented coalition of city and county agencies, community based organizations, philanthropies, public and private companies, the school district and the Mayor’s office, to offer students enhanced opportunities for summer learning and better prepare them to enter the workforce. Working together in deep collaboration, these organizations seek to prevent critical summer learning loss for LA’s most at-risk youth by advancing higher caliber summer and after school programs, expand workforce opportunities and spur economic development and enhance academic programs based on 21st century skills.  With the use of a badge system, the Los Angeles Summer of Learning will connect this learning opportunities to ongoing learning through pathways and support ongoing independent learning for years to come.

 Los Angeles Summer of Learning and Badges will provide the City and its partner organizations a powerful set of data to help track what activities youth are participating in during out of school learning hours, assess the services that are being provided, measure the impact on our youth, and help youth leverage their accomplishments to access additional learning and employment opportunities. 

 We know learning is happening all the time, everywhere, how do you reward this kind of learning? Badges.

 Today’s youth move between formal and informal learning opportunities, determined less by geographic location than by personal interest. These opportunities, many of which are accessed outside of school, allow youth to explore resources, mix content, and create new materials.  By networking our institutions, organizations and companies we can now help youth identify, connect, and coordinate their learning to help youth transform their lives through self-directed activities as part of deliberate pathways of learning that drive them towards deeper learning and careers. Learners can find a meaningful learning opportunity, see how it applies to their lives and then follow that interest to further learning opportunities wherever they may be offered. This illuminated pathway of learning is made possible by issuing digital “badges” to to the learners.

Badges make learning visible- they are indicators of accomplishments, skills, knowledge, competency or interest earned by learners. Badges make learning granular, flexible and can connect learning opportunities into pathways toward further learning, communities of interest, mentors and employment. Badges store within them, safely, records of how and what the learners accomplished. When they learn something new, they earn a badge. As they earn more badges they unlock opportunities and when they return to school in the fall, they can show their teachers, parents and potential employers not just that they learned, but what and how they learned as well.