Thinking about Connectivism

I read the article “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age,” by George Siemens. This article discusses various traditional learning theories, and the limitations of working within those theories in our modern interconnected age. The author explains that information now ages into no longer being current within a typical period of only 18 months. This implies that students need to learn more about how to get new information than just learn information as a static truth. I was amazed by how fast much information really does become outdated! I completely agree with the author when he writes, “As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses.” At the same time, I do also believe that students must have a firm grasp on traditional bases of knowledge. The author also says, “The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe,” when talking about getting new information to our students, and I think that goes a bit beyond what I believe. I think that both the pipe and the content within the pipe are important for our students.

4 thoughts on “Thinking about Connectivism

  1. Ross Connelly

    As a world language teacher, what do you “see” in your future teaching plans when you think about the time-sensitive nature of education. How willing are you to evolve? In what ways?

    I’m not trying to put you on the spot. These challenges make ME nervous. As someone who has also taught French (once upon a time), I was just wondering what your thoughts might be.

    1. Hannah E. Kingsley Post author

      To tell you the truth, I don’t have any expectations about what my teaching plans will look like in the future. I think that I am very willing to evolve in a way that allows me to use technology and the new tools and opportunities it presents for students to learn and to demonstrate their understanding. I also don’t know though how comfortable I am with technology replacing certain person-to-person interactions. Conversing with my students without using any technology has a different set of benefits. I see us moving away from that more and more. Maybe as new tools become available I will continue to feel increasingly comfortable with the idea. For now though I am still at a point where I am learning what tools exist at this point in time, and am trying to implement them with my students in ways that support their overall learning.

  2. serge nicolai

    Hola, Hannah.
    Indeed, saying that ‘the pipe is more important than the content of the pipe’ is a highly debatable statement! I think he only means that the ability to find new knowledge is more important than the knowledge one may have.
    Our high level of connectedness enables us to find, almost immediately, what would have taken days, even weeks, for our parents. But the part of reflecting and making sense of that information is, I think, an inner process that requires concentration. It remains to be seen, for me at least, that our multiplying layers of outer involvement doesn’t rob us of our faculty for inner reflection.

  3. Rachel MacDonald

    I consider myself to be extremely open to embracing new technology, new devices, and various types and forms of knowledge. But, like you, when I read something along these lines, I pause and become a little skeptical.
    I loved reading this articles and contrasting different ways of viewing learning and learning communities. However, I thought it was interesting to read that “half of what is known now was not known ten years ago” and remember that ten years ago we knew about the combustion engine and electromagnetism, but we did not, for example, know where the Jolie-Pitts would be vacationing this summer. My point is that there is a value on knowledge. Some of it becomes obsolete, some of it just seems altogether worthless, but a lot of it created the foundation upon which our entire civilization is built.


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