Connectivism 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.