Connectivism

Renees networkConnectivism is a way of learning in the digital age, and unfortunately the new oppressed in the digital age are those who do not have access to the digital tools or the skills to use them (Siemens, 2006). Connectivism is all summed up in the statement, “I collect my knowledge in my friends (Laureate Education, n.d.). And while most educational theories (like cognitivism, behaviorism, and constructivism) are based on the premise that learning takes place within a person, Siemens (2014) points out that value should be placed more on what is learned as opposed to how one learns.

Technology brings a new dimension to learning. Technology enhances the capacity of the learner while decreasing the distance between the learner and the numerous resources that impact the way a person learns as well as the content (Sharples et al., 2014). While some in the educational arena may be slow to adopt connectivism as a full-fledge educational theorem; one has to acknowledge that there comes a point in time when the numerous iterations of revisions to an existing theory just do not adequately reflect the evolutionary changes that are observed by the population as a whole (Siemens, 2014). Connectivism is an example of this dilemma as it focuses on how people learn as a consequence of the networks that they engage in throughout their lives.

As the old mantra goes, “a person is the product of their surroundings.” And a person’s surroundings consist of the people that they know and the places that they go. Because of the Internet, the world is literally at a person’s fingertips. I interact virtually with numerous people around the world though my work environment. I use many tools like virtual privacy networks (VPN), business Skype, Internet forums, chats, teleconferences, as well as other tools. I transfer knowledge to the user and as I interact with the user, I witness first-hand how different users interpret information. It is the continual accumulation of this knowledge that aids me in helping others. Technology has also dramatically increased the contact I have with my family and friends which has kept me grounded in the family interactions and activities that once only occurred in a face-to-face relationship. Just as Stephen’s web discusses the network of connections, I believe that a person is the reflection of the numerous interactions that they have experienced via their networks; and changes as a person progresses through life. The adjoining mind map shows the various networks that I interact with using digital media.

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4 thoughts on “Connectivism

  1. I appreciate your post Renee and as I was reading it I immediately thought of those nurses that I worked with that I considered “old school”. As online charting and the “EMR” was coming out and becoming standard in nursing units, these nurses held firm to the concept of paper charting and even used multiple excuses to avoid mandatory training on the electronic systems. I remember being mildly on the fence about it as well as I had enough to do and could not imagine taking time to learn how to chart on the computer. I was just a little on the “anti-change” side of the house but for some reason I decided to jump in with both feet and I am so glad I did! I often wondered how I could help the “old school nurses” become positive about this experience as well. It seems to me the idea of connectivism helps demonstrate the good about moving into a system with the electronic medical record. I also appreciated Boitshwarelo’s comments in describing knowledge as being distributed across any number of people (2011). Imagine having multiple people to draw on as you try and complete a project or search for an answer or even locate tools. This concept reminds me of the term “crowdsourcing”. Do you have any experience with that topic? Tammy

    Boitshwarelo, B. (2011). Proposing an Integrated Research Framework for Connectivism: Utilising Theoretical Synergies. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 12(3), 161-179.

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  2. Renee,
    Thank you for sharing your detailed mid map. I used to communicate with some friends using Skype mostly through the computer connections. However, with the increasing enhanced technology capabilities on mobile phone applications, skype and other social interaction media are carried out through cell phones. I like your recognition on the old mantra saying, but the question still remain how we choose who to connect with, where to find this connections and how much we need from the connections. I use Facebook and at first I invited a lot of friends and people that Ii thought they could have interesting sharing. With time I have cut the number of Facebook friends because they share too much information that I find either not necessary for me or they “clutter” my environment. Luckily some application and social networks comes with filtering capability where you can customize from the settings so that you receive only what you think relevant as Steinberg and his group explains (Steinberg et al., 2009).
    Steinberg, A., Tonkelowitz, M., Deng, P., Mosseri, A., Hupp, A., Sittig, A., & Zuckerberg, M. (2009). Filtering Content in a Social Networking Service. U.S. Patent Application 12/646,865.

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    1. Jackie,
      Thank you for your comments. You asked an excellent question! I learn new knowledge by asking a lot of questions. I believe that asking questions is a way to ask someone else for their opinion. A person can state their individual views via a question. This action not only engages others to think about the statement made; but it prompts the listeners to provide a direct response. In this sense, the use of questions allows a diverse group of people to exchange their ideas in a positive, non-judgmental, and communal manner. This methodology promotes open communication and allows the members of the group to engage and learn from the different experiences and mindsets of the members in a manner that minimizes conflict. After all, the objective is to exchange ideas; and not to judge them.

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