As the past two weeks of ETMOOC have been dedicated to exploring connected learning one dominant theme has been “sharing“. Bloggers inspired by Dean Shareski’s session on Sharing as Accountability have explored the theme overtly in posts such as Lyn Hilt’s Sharing is Caring and Shane Brewer’s Sharing as an Ethical Responsibility. Some of the most powerful work in the last few weeks has been the sharing of questions as folks wrestled with the ideas presented by Dave Cormier in his session on Introduction to Rhizomatic Learning.

Before we leave this theme I want to share with you some words from Stephen Downes written earlier this week when he was asked to give advice to someone wanting to make a meaningful contribution to the quality of education around the world. Stephen is known to many as one of pioneers of connectivism; many of you likely subscribe to OLDaily. But he is also a philosopher and a photographer, and sometimes his words resonate in a way that goes beyond theory and discourse – they get at why I as a parent am advocating for change in public education – and at what I really want for my children.

(Click to enlarge)


Assignment: Reflections on CCK08

Sometime during the lazy days of summer I decided it was a good idea to enrol in an online course titled “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” that was being discussed in the edtech community.  I knew when I signed up that the course would go far beyond my current intellectual curiosity, but as it was billed as something you could do as much or as little of as you wanted, and it would be a way to increase my use of some online tools, I decided to jump in anyway.

One of the first tasks was to introduce ourselves in the moodle forum. I wrote the following about my goals for the course:

I will consider myself successful if I gain the knowledge and confidence to express to those I have the ability to influence why technology is important to all of us involved in education – students, teachers, parents and administrators. I will consider this course successful if it empowers the participants through our connections, collaboration and creativity. 

Post to moodle – easy. Contribute to the google map of participants – also easy (although someone moved my pin from Hanwell to Minto…?…hmmm).  I read most of the pre-course material and felt prepared going into week 1. And then – Monday morning – OMG.  Rather than get right into the readings I decided to read some of the participant bios and discussions to try to find some people like me to connect with (a major component of a course on Connectivism is making some connections).

Two hours later (the time I had allotted to work on CCK08), and I was lost in debates about epistemology, scepticism, technorealism, communism, constructivism,…I read a lot, but I learned little. But I didn’t give up – having learned my lesson I began the next day with readings. I’m glad I did because of passages like these:

Connectivism finds its roots in the climate of abundance, rapid change, diverse information sources and perspectives, and the critical need to find a way to filter and make sense of the chaos (George Siemens, link)

Previous conceptions of learning rested heavily on information and knowledge acquisition. The fundamental need of learning in our society has changed. Due to rapid growth of knowledge, the act of learning has shifted from acquisition to assimilation, from understanding of individual elements to comprehending an entire space and, thereby, understanding how elements connect. (George Siemens, link)

 This I understand, and more importantly I believe. So on I go.