It’s been a while since I talked about the theories that drive me in my research for better education. So I’d like to take a brief moment to stipulate what is important to me concerning education and why this is the case. I mostly draw upon two theories to decide if a new tool, opinion, insight… works for me:
- Connectivism (Siemens & Downes 2005)
- Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Krathwohl 2000)
I came into contact with this theory in late 2010, during my participation in the [ED+ict] course which in turn led to another course called [CCK11] (Connectivism and Connective Knowledge). Siemens and Downes (2005) coined the term Connectivism and explain it far better than I ever could (here and here). The key items I take away from it all are the networked nature of the world we live in and, as a result, learn from. The fact that knowledge itself can reside in a network and that no one person needs to gather all knowledge for itself is appealing. Siemens likes to refer to finding the cure for the SARS-virus where different teams of scientists examined the virus, shared their work and only together were able to provide solutions.
Also Downes’ 4 major types of activity are something I try to use in my own projects and stimulate my students to do:
- Aggregate – Actively look for information! You can not read, watch, listen to everything out there, but pick and choose. Build your own path! Select the things that are meaningful to you.
- Remix – Collecting all this information is one thing, keeping track of them in a social bookmarking tool, on fora, tweeting about them… is another. Try to give this an open character, so others can enjoy your collections as well.
- Repurpose – Write about you insights, explain what you have learned. Create something of your own. You don’t have to start from scratch, Downes says, just build on what others already did.
- Feed Forward – Share your work with an audience. One of the best ways to learn is reflect on it, so share.
This open, participatory, distributed and life-long learning characteristics are very appealing to me and encourage me to share and reflect on my own. They made me a better learner.
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
This figure (by Jessica Pilgreen) says it all:
The inverted pyramid show the steps we take while learning. The last steps (i.e. creating, evaluation, analyzing) are frequently overlooked in education, yet lead to higher learning. I do my best to engage my students to question things around them and try to come up with new, fresh ideas of their own, spark their creativity and always, ALWAYS try to figure out why things happen. It’s hard to dig deep, but it’s the only way to really understand things. In making connections between different bits of information (a Connectivist trade) enables you to get the bigger picture. It is this understanding that enriches a person and provides the knowledge to do something new and creative with it.
I also connect with people who inspire me to do things differently, like Sir Ken Robinson, Clay Shirky, Seth Godin and many others (check the list of the people I follow on twitter). Finding that spark that pushes you over the edge and just lets you do things, can be liberating and provide you with the freedom to accomplish greatness.