Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Mind Map: Making the Connection

My mind map illustrates the different roles I play in my life.  During any given day I can be a trainer, daughter, student, girlfriend, tutor, colleague, sister, and best friend.  Within each of these relationships I have several different responsibilities.  As a trainer and a tutor, I am someone that people look to for knowledge.  As a girlfriend and best friend I am a trustworthy and loyal companion.  And as a student and a daughter I seek out knowledge and guidance from my elders. 
Each of these “hats” that I wear helps me to create a better understanding of my world and surroundings. Even though I build knowledge with each of these relationships, I also learn from technology and other non-human resources.  Blogs, websites, textbooks, and social networking sites all aid in my learning process.  This is the reason that my mind map illustrates the idea of Connectivism.  The idea that we learn not only through human interaction, but also through the technology that we incorporate in our everyday life is central to the idea of Connectivism.
Think about learning 15 years ago, what would you say your primary source for knowledge was?  For me the public library was my only source for research.  Fast forward 15 years, and ask the same question and you will get a very different response.  The first place people do research today is by searching the internet, and if they do use a library, it is normally an online catalog.  Search engines such as Google and Yahoo have drastically changed our learning environments.  But the road doesn’t stop there, I personally find blogs and wiki’s very useful for staying current on learning topics. 
Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have also drastically changed the way we receive information.  Prior to these sites it was much more difficult to keep in touch with relatives, share pictures, and network with business colleagues.  With these social sites we are now able to instantly share information and build relationships that might have been impossible before.  With each new connection we make on these sites, a little small the world slowly becomes.
To me, Connectivism is very relevant to the way I learn.  According to Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman (2008), some of the basic tenants of the paradigm are: 
·         Learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinions.
·         Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
·         Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
·         Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
·         Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
·         Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
·         Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.  [i]
I believe that as learners in 2010, we have grown accustomed to demanding this type of learning. 
Technology has drastically changed the way we learn and interact with each other.  Personally, I believe that this has enhanced not only the way we acquire knowledge but also the way we conduct our everyday lives.  Bringing the world closer together allowing each of us to make our own learning networks strengthens our thirst for knowledge.

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