Connected Camps was founded on radical but self-evident premise:
The Internet and online games are the most powerful tools for learning that humanity has ever had.
Connected Camps is about helping our kids tap this power to become engaged, creative, self-directed learners. It’s about recognizing that our kids are growing up in an era of abundance. They have access to a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and creative expression. It’s about accepting that their experience is fundamentally different from our own growing up. And it’s about embracing rather than fearing our networked world.
This is our new blog, Connected Parenting. It is a resource for parents who want the Internet and online games to be a force for good in the lives of their kids. With the right supports, all kids can do amazing things. We offer practical tips, expert perspectives, and parenting stories. Our goal is to help families realize their full potential and engage in today’s connected world.
Mimi Ito and I are girl geeks and longtime collaborators. Mimi is an educational researcher and a passionate advocate for interest-driven learning in online communities. She has also authored many books on the subject and is the smartest person I know. I am a game designer, educator, and founding Executive Director of Institute of Play. I led the team that created Quest to Learn, an innovative New York City public school. I’ve published widely on game design, learning, and play. Our experiences have shaped our perspective.
We refuse to be paralyzed by fear over screen time and addiction. Instead, we fear our kids will be stifled by outdated beliefs about education. If that happens, they’ll miss out on the extraordinary learning opportunities of our connected era.
Connected Camps aspires to to build a global online community where kids build, code, play, and learn from one another. Our programs tap the power of youth tech experts to teach and mentor. We have served thousands of kids through our online and community-based programs. Read more about the ideas behind the company in Mimi’s boingboing post. Or my article in The Atlantic.
What We’ll Cover
We’re inspired by the parents we’ve met through Connected Camps. Their faith in their children, their willingness to take risks, and their unwavering commitment to raising kids who are propelled by their own interests, curiosity, and desire to make a positive difference in the world is simply awesome. We’ve launched this blog in order to surface the new approach to parenting we see taking root in our community. And to synthesize and share the latest research and recommendations from learning, technology, and games experts. Our plan is to blog about the following topics:
1. Practical Tips
Minecraft servers, YOUTube channels, tech summer camps, coding programs for kids, game design apps—what are the best ways to tap kids’ online and gaming interests to fuel curiosity and creativity, all while keeping them safe and maintaining a healthy life balance? Together with our network of teen counselors, we’ll scour the Internet for challenging Minecraft activities, safe Minecraft servers, and kid-friendly YOUTube videos. We’ll help you navigate the Internet to find the family-friendliest corners. And along the way we’ll package up a few parent guides to Minecraft and more.
2. Expert Perspectives
We’re academics and learning scientists that love to nerd out on what research has to say about the best ways to keep kids curious, happy, and engaged. What are the educational benefits of Minecraft? How best to teach your kids to code? What’s the deal with screen time? Our goal is to cut through both the fear and hype about new technology and stay grounded in evidence and reality about the best ways to support our kids in today’s digital world. We’ll synthesize and share the latest research on connected learning. This includes sources like the Connected Learning Research Network and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
3. Parenting Stories
It’s not all about the experts and eggheads. We love to listen and learn from fellow parents on the front lines. The families in our community are forging new genres of connected parenting. We will be featuring their voices and stories. And we’d love to hear from you, too. How are you connecting with your kids’ interests? What are you doing to raise young innovators? How might you help build a movement for connected parenting?
We’re thrilled to have this platform. It’s all about sharing and connecting with a world positive community committed to nurturing fearless, curious, and self-directed young learners. I invite you to explore our Activities and Guides sections—we’ll be adding to those regularly, so check back often. And stay tuned for more Parenting posts in the coming months. Onward!
Hi Katie and Mimi,
I have your blog bookmarked, as I can’t imagine two people better to help parents navigate our new world with their children. Orla and I will be keeping an eye out for your posts.
Thanks Doug! We aim to meet your expectations :).
Thanks Doug! We’re really excited to have this platform and such a great parent community to collaborate.
I’d love to get ideas on how to think about watching Minecrafters on YT versus actually building. On Sat morning my kid watches Stampy Cat like it’s a Saturday morning cartoon. I’ve vetted Stampy and am fine with his content, but he has started to watch the show more than play/build – it’s almost like he is getting the same satisfaction out of watching others complete their builds as if he did it.
Huh interesting — Maybe it’s time to get him in multiplayer mode so he can build with others online?
Hi Katie & Mimi,
My daughter Jordyn is 8 has been playing Minecraft for about 6 months and is absolutely hooked! I introduced her to the ConnectedCamps workshops and she just completed the Winder Coding class and loved it! I am amazed at the things she has learned and the things I have learned just trying to help her figure out how to find, install, and use Mods. I am totally supportive of all the benefits mentioned in your articles/blog postings but I must admit I am concerned about the amount of time she wants to spend on the computer – I am fearful of RSI injuries and eye strain. She takes breaks, but if she had her way she would spend hours on the computer everyday!! I am interested in guidelines/recommendations on how parents deal with this aspect and still allow the kids to have fun and get engaged!
Hi Yvonne–wonderful that Jordyn had a great time in the coding camp. We loved having her! Your screen time question is an excellent one. Mimi will be posting a new piece that digs into the question of how to think about screen time this week. It’s a topic we know a lot of parents have top of mind!