Response to Connectivism

In response to “What is Connectivism,” I teach learners on the lower academic levels who find this technology overwhelming at times because of its abstract nature and higher level thinking involved. They also struggle to read independently and understand materials just by reading them on the screen alone. I am concerned for these learners for two reasons when considering connectivism because their ability to partake in this “group learning” may be misunderstood or they may misunderstand what is written. Yes, we are in the 21st century. Yes, technology is changing the way we work and play everyday, but what happens when the learning theory already developed met the needs of the learners? No one theory works for all learners. According to Wang (2008), everyone keeps learning every waking minute using different learning theories. No one person use one learning theory alone. Saying that “learning is no longer an individual activity” is dangerous in my opinion. I am in the business of individualizing learning because some students still need it. One size does not fit all! My students struggle with expressing themselves in writing and navigating while reading the written word. Some of it is mere need to practice, some of it is motivation and effort (buying into the educational process), and some students’ brains I truly believe are not “wired” for this learning although they can still be productive members of society. These students would benefit from learning from others only if others take the time to check their understanding, but I am not quite sure many of them would think they have much to offer. Connectivism may meet the needs of the majority of the population, but what does that mean for the rest of the population? How will their learning be affected and changed using the connectivism theory to drive the learning in the classroom. I believe connectivism has its place in education especially with the general population, but if all teachers and schools embrace this theory I truly believe something be lost in our educational system.

 

 

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One thought on “Response to Connectivism

  1. I understand what you’re saying about individualizing learning for students. They have different learning styles, intelligences, interests, skills, and motivations. So, yes, on the surface, the statement from Constructivism that “learning is no longer an individual activity” seems to defy what we know and practice with individual learners.

    But that’s the surface of the statement. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find that Constructivism is a recognition of the changes in learning that have occured as we’ve moved from an Industrial Age to an Information Age.

    The industrial worker – the accountant, the secretary, the tool and die machinist – learned skills independently to be employable. Often their learning was individualized and independent of other learners or workers. Many of these jobs are now outsourced to other, less advanced, countries – India, China, Turkey, Brazil, Africa.

    Today’s worker in highly advanced technological countries can no longer depend solely on individually-obtained skills to thrive in the work force. Today’s worker must be able to communicate, share, collaborate, and network in order to be successful. Today’s learner must be able to navigate technology and the tools. Today’s learner must be able to make connections to think out-of-the-box, to problem-solve in an innovative manner.

    That’s what Connectivism means in the statement “learning is no longer an individual activity.” And I think it applies to the gifted student, the average student, and to the learning support student.

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