Connectivism is the New Life Long Leaner

George Siemen’s article really hammered home for me what a 21st Century life longer learner needs to be successful. Looking at the theories of behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, and now connectivism, Siemens said, “know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).” If we are to be lifelong learners in a globalized, technology and media filled world where the information at our fingertips doubles every 18 months, then we need to know how to sift through this abundance and make meaningful connections. I would argue that teachers have long understood the importance of experiential learning and having students make meaning out of their learning (constructivist view), but how we do this has now changed. In order to support students in making meaning out of their learning and prepare them as lifelong learners, we have to provide a format that allows them to connect to and network in a world of unprecedented information and networking. The age of connectivism!

When I first view the Networked Student video I thought the way the video was done with a picture board was quite cool, but I did not fully understand connectivism in the terms of lifelong learning and the role the teacher plays supporting this new life long learner. Once I looked at how lifelong learning has evolved through Siemen’s article, I revisited the video. From the video and the Rheingold article, it becoming more clear how teachers must transform in their own practice. Teachers must approach technology and social media as more than just a tool. Literacy of the 21st Century learner means that teachers must become literate in not only using technology and social media, but literate in navigating with their students. Teachers must facilitate learning by teaching students how to connect to the vast amount of information and networking possibilities, sift effectively, make connections and collaborate. Just like when our first group of students accessed the internet for the first time ever to research a topic, we will have to teach them how to sort (crap detection- love that quote from Hemingway!) and make meaningful connections in order to begin building their learning network.

Teachers are co-learners and facilitators that build their own and their students’ social media literacy. Teachers are not the experts or keepers of all knowledge, but those that can guide students and help them focus their attention (in an world where multi-tasking dominates) to become lifelong learners. Learning becomes meaningful when student networks produce successful collaboration and they can make connections to the world from the classroom.

After I watched Welcome to my PLE, I was intrigued how teachers might facilitate, track, and support student learning projects. The student in this video used Symbaloo, to organize their learning/ work, which I thought was a very cool bookmark organization tool. I then watched another video that expanded on its use from a teacher’s perspective.

Symbaloo would be a great way to follow your students’ learning projects and support them in building their technological and social media literacy as they become 21st Century life long learners. Symbaloo can also be used as a teacher to compile all of the social media tools, bogs, websites, and other teaching tools from the internet into one location. digital day planner and digital lesson plans can also be here. How cool!  Having Symbaloo as your homepage could be a possible solution to pushing teachers forward into social media and technological literacy.

Rheingold quoted David P. Reed:

“There are really at least three kinds of value that networks can provide: the linear value of services that are aimed at individual users, the ‘square’ value from facilitating transactions, and the exponential value for facilitating group affiliations. What’s important is that the dominant value in a typical network tends to shift from one category to another as the scale of the network increases.”

As teachers become more literate themselves, they will be able to move students to the exponential level or value in networking.







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