Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Connectivism - How my connections facilitate learning - Q & A

How has your network changed the way you learn?

I think as my network increases in size, I am able to incorporate new and often times more innovative ways of learning. As a child, I had a very small network and learned primarily from friends, family, “old” media and traditional education. As I grew older, my network expanded to include more friends as well as more resources in traditional education. However, the advent of the internet and with it all the new technologies available today, my access to learning has grown exponentially. For instance, I could quite easily post a question on my Facebook account, and within 24 hours receive multiple responses providing insight regarding my question. When I think about this, I am in awe. My network has made the acquisition of information, thus learning, available to me almost instantaneously.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?
Since beginning this class, I would say Blogs have become a new favored tool I use to support my learning; and in an effort to obtain the information more effectively, I use Google Reader. I find search engines to be indispensable for acquiring information and have found forums and social networking sites useful when I have specific questions.

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?
I guess it depends upon the question. There are some questions I have in which I will turn to family or friends to answer. Questions beyond their preview, I will search the internet and look for a reputable source whether it be a book, forum, journal article or website. Depending on the question, I may find myself at a bookstore looking for books on the subject matter. I don’t really rely on just one source, with the expansion of my network, I have a number of reliable sources to turn to discover answers.

In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivisim?
I find that my learning network lines up quite nicely with the basic principles of Connectivism. These principles as stated in the article by Davis, Demunds & Kelly-Bateman, in our class reading materials are as follows:
• Learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinions.
• Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
• Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
• Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
• Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
• Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
• Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
In looking at the first principle learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinions; I find that one of my favorite ways to learn is to debate an issue with a friend or colleague. I like to take the side of the less favored opinion and debate its validity. I find this quite useful in expanding my knowledge. The third principle, learning may reside in non-human appliances; I assume what is meant here is technology like computers and the internet which I have already written about. The fourth principle, capacity to know more is more critical that what is currently known. Any time I involve anyone in my network to advance my learning I am acting within this tenet, the drive to learn more. These are just a few quick examples of how my learning network supports connectivism.

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