Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Connectivism--Are My Thoughts Changing?

There is just too much in this article to disseminate and I am tired of reading it over and over. These are the major points that caught my attention.

“Learning theories are concerned with the actual process of learning, not with the value of what is being learned. The need to evaluate the worthiness of learning something is a meta-skill that is applied before learning itself begins.”

“Chaos is a new reality for knowledge workers. ScienceWeek (2004) quotes Nigel Calder's definition that chaos is “a cryptic form of order”. Chaos is the breakdown of predictability, evidenced in complicated arrangements that initially defy order. Unlike constructivism, which states that learners attempt to foster understanding by meaning making tasks, chaos states that the meaning exists – the learner's challenge is to recognize the patterns that appear to be hidden. Meaning-making and forming connections between specialized communities are important activities.”

Isn’t this similar to what happens in a young child’s brain? Synapses grow and connections get stronger, or synapses are abandoned, and the brain eliminates connections that are seldom or never used. Specialized neurons begin sending messages back and forth making connections and wa-lah! the child begins to take notice of the world around her as her vision begins to develop or she begins to speak.

“Chaos, as a science, recognizes the connection of everything to everything.”

“The capacity to form connections between sources of information, and thereby create useful information patterns, is required to learn in our knowledge economy.”
“Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical.”
The article states, “The health of the learning ecology of the organization depends on effective nurturing of information flow.” Then he speaks of well-connected people who foster and maintain knowledge flow. Some of us are very dependent on these well-connected people to do just that. Will they continue to do so?

The description of the cycle of ‘knowledge development” seemed to sum up the idea of Connectivism—that “personal knowledge is a network feeding into organizations and institutions which feed back into the network thereby continuing to provide learning to the individual. “Learners remain current in their field through the connections they have formed.”
The trick is to choose and maintain the right connections and watch for patterns, especially the hidden ones.

Are my thoughts changing? How can they not?

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