Connectivism & Connective Knowledge

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The Daily

September 25, 2009

Live session: network attributes

Reminder: We are meeting online on Friday here in Elluminate at 3 pm CST. We'll flesh out this week's theme: network characteristics and attributes.
Time zone conversions have been posted.

Highlighted Resources

What is Connectivism Trying to Be?
An important question about "what connectivism is trying to be". Stephen and I would likely provide different answers.
"What practical pedagogy does connectivism offer here? The idea that a student might have some specific learning intentions appears to be rejected by connectivism, and the question of engagement does not appear to fit with connectivist theory.
And this is, I think, a symptom of attempting to use general theories about networks and turn them into a grand-unified theory of learning. For me, Connectivism's biggest issue is scope." Daniel Livingstone, , September 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

CCK09 - Negotiating the Rapids
The flow of information in CCK09 can be fairly heavy. Which is great. It means that we are put into a position where we have to consider new ways of coping, making sense, and interacting with others. What we try to do by ourselves (input and understand information) won't work. Instead, we need to turn to the network to help filter resources. It might start with following the moodle forums, a few blogs, Google Alerts, or perhaps Twitter. The network for making sense of abundance is formed in small stages. Take what you are able to absorb now...and add to it as the course progresses. Frances Bell offers her view/plan: "CCK09 is getting going now and I feel that it won't be long before my boat ride with the strong flow of the river showing up interesting events and resources turns into me clinging to the side of the barrel as I negotiate the rapids too overwhelmed to do anything but glance at tantalising images as I speed past them...So I am going to make a plan!" Frances Bell, , September 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Connectivism Glossary
A connectivism glossary has been posted - feel free to add terms and definitions. Or, if you aren't sure of a definition, just add a term. I imagine someone will come by later and fill it in. These small acts of creation are central to learning. It doesn't take much - have an idea, do something with it, share it. Most ideas will likely not produce huge results. Some, however, will. But the real value is in the experience of playing and experimenting... , , September 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Contributions

Here's what course members from around the world had to say. Want to join the conversation? Submit your feed. Then put this at the beginning of your post: CCK09

Concept map of connectivism
I started creating a concept map on connectivism for my learning on CCK09 a few days ago and have been updating it since. Added some more links about scale-free networks today and started a 'strengths and weaknesses' of connectivism section.

http://share.xmind.net/dean_jenkins/connectivism/

I remember Tony Buzan on television as a kid and used 'mind maps' quite extensively through school and university. I was quite frustrated with their use in medicine since - from my perspective - the concepts in medicine were quite easy to understand but the reams of lists and facts were not. Mind maps were not of much use. I was even more surprised at the success of a book in medicine that included the authors' mind maps to help students revise. It seemed a rather odd way of communicating knowledge since my mind map may be different to another persons ... and isn't most of the learning in creating the map itself.

So it is quite interesting to return to mind mapping using software rather than pencil and paper. XMind allows me to easily share the map with others and display it for them without the need of additional software. It also works on my laptop (Windows) and my PC (ubuntu). I'm going to try and keep it simple and not add specific XMind features so that it is compatible with FreeMind. In a year's time my choice of mind mapping tool might be very different.

I'd like to explore collaborative concept mapping and wondered if anyone on CCK09 reading this would care to comment on any particular part of the map. Does my concept map network resonate with my learning network? Do we share the same misunderstandings? Will the true insights (if any) be spread? Is there a concept map wiki version I wonder? That would be an anarchic tool. September 25, 2009

Reflections on CCK09 Week 1
What is Connectivism?

Was a stimulating first week. Not quite what I expected and I must say I started off as a skeptic. However, there seems to be something in the 'theory'. The observation that this sort of learning is happening and appears to generate knowledge and understanding about topics quite clear. Connectivism does explain a lot of the activities. I am reading Wenger's Digital Habitats and going over his 'communities of practice' theory at the same time and this provides an interesting diversity of viewpoints.

The pace of adoption and the range of different tools used by the other 'students' on the course is quite incredible and I feel thoroughly 'immersed' as Downes would say. Gained experience with Ning, Yahoo! Pipes, Wiki, Blogs, tag hacking, RSS, Elluminate and Friendfeed. Watching how others use them is an excellent way to learn but also the use of the learning techniques explained by connectivism is a great way to learn about connectivism itself.

There are a lot of CCK08 attendees in CCK09 and I wonder what the proportion is. I feel quite humbled to be among some very deep thinkers and maybe the whole thing will make more sense if I come back in CCK10!

Defining terms has helped my understanding and have worked on a wiki page for a Connectivism Glossary. I found that writing out the jargon and then finding or inferring the definitions from previous papers by Siemens and Downes helped me piece together what the theory meant. More established theories have plenty of books on the subject which allow plenty of time to explain the jargon. I suppose this approach is a quite a 'constructivist' style of learning and I didn't really network very much to achieve it. James Neill helped thanks!

One of the polarities of digital communities that Wenger talks about in 'Digital Habitats' is the balance between participation and reification (or the creation of objects and artifacts). I wonder what the balance is in CCK09 at the moment. From my perspective it seems to be heavily in favour of participation as shown, for example, by the two separate discussion forums http://cck2009.ning.com/ and the 'official' http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/course/view.php?id=68. I feel that I have done more reification and not enough participating so will try and do more next week.

Wondered how connectivism is related to other theories. Having last studied learning theory about 10 years ago during a diploma in medical education I felt quite out of date. It seems everyone else has been having a deep philosophical debate about theories whilst I've been happily getting along with just applying what little I knew to OnExamination.com. So taking a lead from a posting by Siemens, and this article http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-learn.htm I put together a table of learning theories to help me fill in the blanks and see how connectivism compares. There has been a lot of talk about the differences and similarities of connectivism and connectionism which has seemed far too geeky for my liking. Might be useful to return to the table at some point and put connectionism in as well.

So, after a week I think I could say I think connectivism has far more background and argument than I had initially thought. The concept of 'emergent properties' is a bit of a challenge for me at the moment. Of what use is 'understanding' or 'knowledge' in a network if it can't be utilised by one or more of the people in the network. If it can be utilised then surely it is in the people and not the network. Hopefully we'll cover that in due course! September 25, 2009

Glossary of connectivism
I've spent some time going through the suggested reading for CCK09 and making notes of the definitions of terms as used in connectivism.

http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Connectivism_glossary

Found this quite a useful exercise especially where it meant searching Siemens and Downes previous writings on connectivism. There doesn't seem to be much difference in the definitions of aspects of their proposed theory but they clearly have different perspectives. Stephen is more neurones, maths and philosophy whereas George is more education through social and open media. At least that's my interpretation after knowing them for a week. Enjoyed the CCK09 Elluminate discussion 17th September 2009 but didn't catch it live. Listening to the recording allowed for a more forensic approach to the posits and responses which was good fodder for several glossary entries.

However, this glossary fetish seems to be quite an individual (and obsessive) task although had help from @jtneill in the wiki etiquette. On Siemens' taxonomy of connectivism (Awareness and receptivity, Connection-forming, Contribution and involvement, Pattern recognition, Meaning-making, Praxis) I seem to have jumped the connection-forming stage and gone straight to contribution. I'll therefore focus a little more on connection-forming. September 25, 2009

Connectivism in context
Mark Smith, in his entry on learning theory1, presents a table of 'four orientations to learning' which compares Behaviourist, Cognitivist, Humanist and Social / Situational orientations of learning theories.

This does a lot of the work of adding the aspects of 'Communities of Practice' in to George Siemens' comparison table which is something I wanted to work on.

So I have posted it as a Google Doc with some additions.

1) Smith, M. K. (1999) 'Learning theory', the encyclopedia of informal education, www.infed.org/biblio/b-learn.htm, Last update: September 03, 2009 September 25, 2009

Case-based reasoning frameworks in medicine.
I'm seeing 'connectivism' everywhere now. I'm getting that feeling of the person with a hammer who sees everything as nails!

One of the authors submitting to BMJ Case Reports wonders if a large online collection of medical cases could assist patients or health services in finding the most appropriate medical care.

http://blogs.bmj.com/case-reports/2009/09/15/finding-your-doctor-through-their-published-case-reports/
September 25, 2009

CCK09, after the 1st week
First week of CCK09 is over – and I cannot say that things are not that clearer with my thoughts about connectivism I do not mean, that the subject has not been interesting. Also, participating first time this kind of course has been really inspiring. Despite the fuzzy thoughts – and maybe it [...] September 25, 2009

Constructivism vs. Connectivism
We are spending a lot of time exploring this, and I’m glad – many of us are grappling with figuring out what the diff is. I guess it’s because constructivism  is  the default position of many of us, and because it has a lot of “motherhood” statements that resonate with educators (the [...] September 25, 2009

Spring is coming to my network!

I finally finish reading and viewing and listening the material for week 1 of the CCK09 course.
In terms of Stephen: knowledge is growing...I´m an entity that has been changed by other entities with wich I have made contact.
In terms of George: I´m so excited about all the nodes/people I´m discovering, I´m learning a lot, opening to so many new constelations of conections.
Thank you all for this beautifull first week.
I´m blooming! September 25, 2009

Netbio of learning process
Some notes during & after listening Richard Schwier interview to George on Connectivism:
-history of the theory: how I´ve learned? Node. Source. Conections.
-nature of knowledge is conection, then it´s a process...and learning is navigating that network.
-difference between connectivism and other theories: recognition of network
-complicated: education/puzzle // complex: education/weather
-how teachers can use it? Openess + make students understand that active learning is the formation of a conection + don´t give students a pre-created world...give them access to sources in a network, so they can be feed not just in class but after class, and keep current + help them recognize good sources, key sources, good nodes
-"participatory pedagogy" not created in advance but co-created with learners
-a theory about us


This interview inspired me to create the "NETBIO OF MY LEARNING PROCESS". I´m doing it. September 25, 2009

notes on my reading / beta version
What Connectivism Is, by Stephen Downes

"what there is (ie., connectionist networks) is not built (like a model) it is grown (like a plant)"

Extras for this article:
An Introduction to Connective Knowledge
Robin Good´s presentation about the principles that characterize successful networks, Downes´s paper.
September 25, 2009

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Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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