Friday, October 23, 2009

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Paper 1

Connectivism is the learning theory that lies closest to my heart out of all the learning theories. While completing my Bachelors Degree, I had three years of Psychology as a main subject, so coming into this course I had been exposed to the theory of connectivism before. It must be said however that the connectivism theory had only been touched on briefly as part of the learning theories in one module in my second year of Psychology. This means that I have an idea what connectivism was about, but no substantial knowledge.

The reason that connectivism has been resonating with me from that first encounter with the theory is because it is the one that made the most sense to me. Behaviourism and constructivism are both valid theories, but conditions of learning has changed so radically with the technology explosion, that it would not be sensible to modify these existing theories (Siemens 2004 in Ireland 2007). The easiest explanation of connectivism was offered by Stephen Downes (2007) who stated that: “...connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks.” The way I understand it is that learning takes place through the connections that we make with other people. If I want to know how to build a homemade rocket, I will seek out those people who have the knowledge to build one and form a connection with them in order to learn from them. From this point of view, knowledge lies in the connections we form with others; if those connections were not there we would not have the knowledge. To me this is the basic starting point in connectivism, making a connection with another person to gain their knowledge and in turn provide them with what you know. From here on out the really interesting things start to happen. We now have a connection with a person who knows how to build a homemade rocket, but this person does not live in exile. He/she knows other people who might share the same passion for rockets. You do not know these people, but by extension of the network that you share you have access to their knowledge. This is my understanding of the diffusion of knowledge by means of a network and the basic principle of connectivism (Downes 2005).

With any “new” theory there will be criticism. Verhagen (2006) places connectivism at the level of curriculum, focussing on what people should learn and the skills they should develop. He goes further to say that if connectivism were truly at the theoretical level it would explore the process of how people learn. To me this criticism makes sense, but it is not overly important. The way in which people learn is secondary to making the connection. People would not even be able to learn if the connection was not there to begin with.
I truly believe that connectivism is the most applicable learning theory in our day and age. The all encompassing globalisation effect the Internet has walks hand in hand with the theory of connectivism. New acquaintances, and by implication new networks, are at our fingertips, no matter where in the world we, or the networks, are situated. The more I think about it, I find that I have always in one way or another learnt through connectivism, and in essence this theory has always been around, and I think will be of great value to educators and students in the digital age.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deliciuos Account

Hi everyone.

Im a bit late on this, but here is my Delicious account:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Schalk 101 Podcast

The making of this podcast was easy and difficult at the same time. The easy part was using audacity as I have used similar and at times musch more complex software before. (Ableton Live, used for music production) The difficult part was the content. I had no idea what to talk about so in the end I rambled on for 7 minutes about my life and interests, so that you guys can get to know me a little better.

Have a good one!