CCK08: Connectivism Week 1 Required Readings

After doing all of the required readings I have the following observations:

George Siemens on “Connectivism: Learning theory or Pastime of the Self-Amused?” Language is technology but with ideology (stereotypes/filters). Language is needed to learn thus learning occurs when communicating. The more ways to communicate, the more learning. However, I do point out that it depends on the subject. Physical activities for workers that do things with their hands (assembly line work, manual labor, object handling) may not. I have seen simulations of objects that allow a user to see and interact with the object (pistol) in an LMS, but ultimately, the proof of the learning is the ability to do something with the object in the real world. In the telecommunications world, my company runs web events that instruct the students (with whiteboards) and then allow the student to “dial in” to the switch and configure it according to a lab exercise. I agree with his observation that acquiring learning does not equal learning. Often learning does not occur until conversations happen around the knowledge or you use it. I found at grad school that I would acquire knowledge, and then have no one to bounce ideas off of. I could not be sure of having an intellectual conversation in the student pub. Using Learning 2.0 tools, I can validate or refute my ideas as quick as I can log on and find a group in that subject.

The “Teens and Social Media” report and “Media Multitasking among American Youth” offer interesting observations however I question the final statistics because all of the statistics revolve around self-reporting. As an information architect, I often find people say one thing and do another. I would consider this study as a “tentative” status. I would suggest a follow on study is needed where a researcher actually has to watch the teens do whatever it is they are doing. Obviously more expensive but using these initials stats, we can figure out the user groups then select a dozen for each group to really see what teens are really doing. If anything, if we could get teens watching 1/2 as much TV and spending that time doing homework (self-study or online), just image what the grade improvement could be! It would also be interesting to do a similar study among adults. My company does it for our workers to determine process improvements.

This course is “forcing” me to use some social software that I have not yet needed to use for my two jobs or personal life (Moodle, Google Maps overlays, Second Life, Open ID) I have used many of the others. The key to making the learning experience work successfully is trying to manage user names/passwords and learning the new software. The less time having to “waste” time learning new software, the more satisfying the experience. Thus, software should be as intuitive as possible. I have been spoiled by operating in the SharePoint 2007 environment for one job and Desire2Learn Learning Management System for the other. Thus, I have not been forced to go to different software for each aspect of social interaction that I need. My company is toying with the idea of how to create the virtual Office environment for the 50% of our employees that work from home/remote offices. Can SharePoint pull it off, or do we need to go to Second Life. Perhaps it is a melding of the two? (Sorry, there is no Innovatia island yet.)

Ursula M Franklin, a professor at the University Toronto, Wrote “The Real World of Technology” in 1998. She talks about the modern interconnected world that was watching a lot of TV. This created pseudo communities in which people become identified with events elsewhere in the world and become mobilized in some way because of that. This comes at the cost of the home community, much in the same way that Barry Wellman talked about the subject in “Little Boxes, Glocalization, and Networked Individualism” Franklin then goes on to talk about pseudo realities where the immersed person then becomes totally immersed in these new realities. This can be for the good and the bad. It is good, if you learn from it, but bad if it comes at the cost of other aspects of your life i.e. becoming addicted to reality shows instead of interacting with your family or friends. Note that Franklin first wrote this in 1990 at the height of the CNN effect and prior to the wide-spread internet.

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