Digital tools have expanded learning opportunities for teachers and students.

Learning has always extended beyond the classroom. Children and young adults learn as they encounter information, people, places, and things in their lives, both in school and out of school. The growing availability and use of digital media have significantly increased students’ learning outside the confines of a classroom.

The increased presence of digital media has, as a result, dramatically widened the gap between informal (out-of-school) and formal (in-school) learning. The Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) 10th Annual International Symposium, themed Ubiquitous Digital Education: Bridging Informal and Formal Learning, will address this issue and challenges and opportunities educators face when trying to seamlessly integrate the two. The Symposium will take place on Monday, March 14, 2011, in New Orleans, a day before the official kickoff of CoSN’s 2011 Conference.

“Digital media have created enormous opportunities and positive challenges for educators. Taking full advantage of the ever-evolving nature of digital media resources is a constant challenge for educators. While adapting these tools to the formal classroom setting is becoming much more commonplace, educators are also still confronted with finding new and innovative ways to seamlessly weave together students’ informal and formal learning,” said James Bosco, co-chair of CoSN’s International Advisory Council.

“During this year’s Symposium, our panel of thought leaders from around the globe will expand our thinking about the changes in policy and practice that are needed to fully integrate children’s learning experiences both in and out of the classroom in an age of rapidly advancing technologies.”

“Bridging formal and informal learning is not just an issue facing educators in one part of the world or another. It is international in scope, and we are very excited to join across the Atlantic with CoSN to start a global conversation on this topic,” said Symposium presenter Stephen Breslin, CEO of the United Kingdom’s Futurelab. “New creative ideas around how to bring together learning inside and outside of schools are constantly being generated, and it is our hope to advance the dialogue during the daylong session.”