Freedom of movement: Defining, researching, and designing the components of a healthy learning ecosystem

Nichole Pinkard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Advances in technology and the rise of interconnected devices have ushered in new ways of accessing, communicating, and showcasing that have the potential to help us reimagine education as a networked ecosystem, supporting learners and information to move freely across connected nodes including and beyond school. In this paper, I explore the idea of recognizing and designing for a healthy learning ecosystem that supports freedom of movement, supporting crossing physical boundaries of location, domain-specific boundaries of different topical areas, and conceptual boundaries of value and goodness of fit. The paper begins with a look of my own childhood, serving as both an example and metaphor for the idea of freedom of movement. I then share three design-based implementation initiatives from the Digital Youth Network to support freedom of movement. I close with a suggested framework for defining a healthy learning ecosystem, one that utilized existing infrastructure and sociotechnical systems to leverage movement within communities towards the goal of optimizing youth development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-65
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Development
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Culture
  • Design experiments
  • Development
  • Ecological systems
  • Social networks
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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