So, the first week has ended today, with the facilitators discussion on Eluminate. This first week was all about what connectivism is. Also finding out how this course works, meeting other people and insights (building your network) and reading the suggested list, we got to know the course and people in it a bit better… As basic questions arose, we tried to tackle them. What is knowledge? What is learning? How do you take care of assessment in a connectivist way of teaching? Some of them were answered, others not. But we build our network, we interact with the information we encounter, we interpret and share with the world and I’m sure that along the way we will get smarter and gain more awareness about the things we do in education and what we should do.
I know I’m already re-evaluating the way I teach. I search for new ways to work with the stuff I try to get across. How can I change a particular piece of my class so I can use a connectivist way of teaching. Small steps…
An interesting point was mentioned today on the websession! Even in connectivism there is place for direct instruction! Children do have to learn things. I mean, memorize them, learn them by heart. For instance, in geography I would like my students to memorize the most important countries, cities, mountains, etc. in the world. You can find interesting ways of communicating this information, but in the end it’s up to the student to study it! Sometimes you can (and must) “just teach”, but I think the difference lies in the way you get the information across.
Last, a fair amount of time was spent on how to treat “bad information”, info that you don’t wish to learn anymore. Obviously you can break the connection by not visiting the site, blog,… anymore. Stephen made an interesting point though, that even this “bad information” is a source from which you learn. If you consult multiple sources and interpret everything according to your own perceptions and beliefs, you will reach the conclusion to agree or disagree with that source. The learning has already occured, you made up your mind about it, you formed an opinion. You’re now using the connection (=learning) and using the node (=knowledge). Connectivism encourages us to think, to interpret. This is the key to deep understanding!
The depth of this learning theory is astonishing! Every day I get to see new angles about it, new ways that influence my thinking. It’s like a whole new world has opened up and is showing me that there’s is another way of doing things. A way more suitable for the 21st century, where technology has a place and where learners are motivated to think!