Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Networking the Paths to Learning

Card Catalog - My Original Google
I personally believe that everything is interconnected.  All you have to do is look.  Over the years, my networks have changed as I have learned new skills, added new technologies, met new people, and have had new experiences.  Each new experience creates new connections that can be explored.  I am fortunate that I was taught originally to do research using the card catalog, the Dewey Decimal System, microfiche, and microfilm.  I have gone through thousands of cards in the subject listing of a card catalog.  I have searched microfiche and microfilm records. In addition, I have wandered the wonderful world of the Dewey Decimal System.  Each card and piece of film offered new opportunities to add to my ever-growing network of information.  I believe that these early lessons in research have allowed me to find connections and add nodes to my networks as needed. 

Beware the Master
George Siemens (2005) wrote, “… technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn (Introduction, para. 1)”  As access to digital information became more prevalent, I learned new research techniques. As part of a personal project, I discovered I needed access to an 18th Century French book by Jean-Baptiste Alliette.  Using the skills I have learned on researching, aka Google Fu, I was able to find a scanned copy at La Bibliothèque Nationale de France.  I now have a new node in my network that would not have been possible without the interconnectivity provided by technology.

As an explanation of how information is cataloged and accessed, I think that connectivism is very apt.  However, I find myself in agreement with the assessment of Professor Pløn Verhagen who “believes connectivism to be relevant on a curricular level as it speaks to what people should learn and the skills they should develop” (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008, Critics of Connectivism, para. 1).  Learning to culture and develop nodes in one’s network as well as the “ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill” (Siemens, Connectivism, para. 3)

Finding Your Way To New Places, or
Learning How to Read the Sign
This is something I stress to my students: You do not necessarily need to know everything, but you must know where to find the information you need.   This is supported by Siemen’s assertion that “Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed)” (Introduction, para. 3).   Nevertheless, I do not assume that students have this skill and as such, I cannot accept connectivism is a learning theory that describes the process of how people learn, but rather see it as a skill that can be taught to students to help facilitate learning.

References & Attributions

 Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. (M. Orey, Editor) Retrieved November 11, 2013, from Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital ageInternational Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 3-10.

Card Catalog: By Michael Holley Swtpc6800 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Agent-X Comics:  Beware the MasterCC BY-NC-ND 3.0 

Road Sign: By Dyon Joël (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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