Module 4 (Part A): Teaching and Learning with Digital Technologies

Connectivism

How does connectivism help you understand the place of technology in education?

Connectivism helps me to understand the process of learning as knowledge built from a connection of personal networks. Duke, Harper and Johnston (2013) argue that it is through these personal networks and exposure to a diverse range of viewpoints and opinions, that the learner acquires 21-st century skills.  This blog, for example, is a self-created artefact that serves to build my own personal network. By commenting on this blog and generating online discussion, together we are connecting, building and improving on the knowledge thus the learning is happening within the technology and becomes a tangible product (Siemens, 2010). We can physically see the thought processes taking place between fields, concepts and ideas. Anderson and Dron argue that these networks of blog comment, twitter discussion, and content creation facilitate an emergent collective of the group mind (2010). This is where the learning is happening in the digital age. It is outside of the individual and within the technology or as Siemens explains, the learning resides in the “non-human appliance” (Siemens, 2010).

It is an interesting theory and certainly has relevance in the current digital age especially with the emergence of cloud computing. I acknowledge that connectivism has its place in education, particularly if it encourages pedagogy that enables students to be produsers of information instead of consumers (Bruns, n.d.). I think Howell (2012, p. 29) raises an interesting question whether connectivism has true relevance to education or whether it provides a limited understanding about our lives outside of formal learning? I think if we can engage students in critical thinking and conversation via web 2.0 then formal/informal learning environments become irrelevant. Learning becomes a lifelong skill that can happen anywhere/anytime and this is surely an outcome we hope for, for 21st century students.

References

Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2010). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 80-97.

Bruns, A. (n.d.). From production to produsage: Research into user-led content creation. Retrieved from http://produsage.org

Duke, B., Harper, G., & Johnston, M. (2013). Connectivism as a digital age learning theory. The International HETL Review, 4-13.

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital Pedegogies for Collaboration and Creativity. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Siemens, G. (2010). Connectivism: Socialised Open Learning. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqL_lsogeNU

Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. New York: Routledge.

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2 thoughts on “Module 4 (Part A): Teaching and Learning with Digital Technologies

  1. adelframes says:

    Hello Angela,

    I enjoyed reading your post, as always. This subject certainly is a great example of connectivism in action. This week’s reading makes it clear why we’re encouraged to read and comment on each other’s blogs – we’re connecting and building our knowledge. If we can master this new way of learning here, we should be well prepared to make it happen for our own students soon. Keep up the hard work!

    Adel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Adel,
      Thanks so much for commenting. I have decided to find resources for part B of the assessment that allow opportunities for students to build networks and connections in line with connectivism. Even though it is a relatively new and untested theory, I can see the merit of building on cognitive thinking through online collaboration.
      Thanks again!
      Angela

      Like

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