Connectivism and Digital Literacy
Connect, Choose, Curate
The nature of knowledge is changing rapidly, from being almost immutable and timeless, to having a shrinking ‘half-life’ (the time from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete). With the abundance of knowledge, we can “no longer personally experience and acquire learning that we need to act. We derive our cmpetence from forming connections.” (Siemens, 2004). The way we make meaning has changed, from engaging in meaningful tasks, we now make meaning through recognising patterns. Learning, defined as actionable knowledge, is disembodied (it can exist outside our heads), places emphasis on the connecting of information and prioritises our ability to search and learn more over what we already know.
Connectedness (to the right people, right context, right information at the right time) – Currency – Capacity to know – Capacity to Choose – Creating and Cultivating Collective Cognitive Capacity.
Learning is no longer just an individual and internal activity.
What do we mean by ‘learning’ if knowledge or content recall is no longer the primary utility for the student? If they can just look up the information, and it’s easily accessible, how does that change what we learn and how we learn it?
Are we all just curators now? If “Learning, as a self-organizing process requires that the system (personal or organizational learning systems) “be informationally open, that is, for it to be able to classify its own interaction with an environment, it must be able to change its structure…” (Luis Mateus Rocha, 1998, 4 in Siemans, 2004).
Is the purpose of learning now to create useful information patterns? And if so, what is our role in that as educators?
Isn’t this then just an extension of constructivism, that we construct our meaning, our knowledge and our understanding, to constructing the structure of our learning and knowledge and networks?
Nodes, Networks and Weak Ties
Nodes are people, communities, ideas or concepts that become part of a network when they’re connected and structured in relation to each other, the weak ties are connections that are transitory – short connections that allow for information to flow. Siemen uses the example of getting a job via a weak tie, knowing someone who knows someone, or mentions the application date or points you in the right direction.
Applications for our teaching
Joining online forums and noticeboards, eg. atarnotes.com (notes by students, not definitive answers)
Online games and quizzes
Curate, develop and use your communities (State Library of Victoria Personal Learning Network PD, PD in the Pub, Twitter, Local Council, Local associations (like History Teachers Association of Victoria), Unions)
Sporting communities (AFL, soccer, tennis, etc).
Bring in an expert - local or via digital media (Google Hangouts, Skype). Koorie Heritage Trust.