Monday, February 05, 2007

First Day of the Online Connectivism Conference

On the first day of the Online Connectivism Conference, George Siemens has given a talk on Connectivism: Learning Conceptualized Through the Lens of Today's World. Here is The abstract of his talk:

"Knowledge and learning are forefront in the progress and advancement of humanity. At no other time in history have we stood before as rich a panorama of opportunity as we do today. Our access to information, knowledge, global conversation, research, and the experiences of generations past provide a firm foundation on which to build the society of tomorrow. Yet openness, abundance, and access raise new concerns. The ability to cope with today's knowledge deluge, to engage learners in co-creation of content, and to enlarge classroom walls to include diverse perspectives requires a new conception of learning. Theories of cognition and learning that have served well in the past seem frail, ineffective, and out of touch with the reality of learners and the new context and characteristics of knowledge today".

George has posted some highlights and discussions from the first day of the Online Connectivism Conference. Below are some quotes as given by George:

Stephen Downes: What connectivism is - "connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those connectivism, there is no real concept of transferring knowledge, making knowledge, or building knowledge. Rather, the activities we undertake when we conduct practices in order to learn are more like growing or developing ourselves and our society in certain (connected) ways."

Chris Sessums: Connectivism and the contextual lens of poverty - "Digital technologies and their affordances represent both educational opportunity and impossibility. While the Internet and the read/write web provides an opportunity for thousands of people to connect and expand their networks, enhancing their ability to co-create knowledge (and even earn a salary), those without access are essentially disenfranchised at a number of social, political, economic, and educational levels."

Barbara Dieu: First Reactions "As a secondary school teacher this has been the case. I have never learnt and connected so much as in the past years. If I had not done this, my mind would have been geographicallyand intellectually restricted to the four walls of my classroom, of my home and of my close friends. I would have never had the chance to interact with experts and peers from different areas and my knowledge would have been limited to the books or conferences I was never able to afford the time or the money."

Tony Forster: "For me the debate is not whether Connectivism has the necessary depth to be called a learning theory, whether it deserves to be an -ism. For me the important issue is what can be learnt about living and learning in a connected world when 1000 people from round the world connect in a way which was previously impossible."

Virginia Yonkers: "if everyone in the organization is thinking alike, there is an "organizational knowledge" that has been created, won't there also be a tendency to squash creative thinking, thus making connectivism just another way to socially engineer an organizational structure/culture?"

Michael Hotrum: "Textbooks and professors should not position themselves as experts who can claim to keep pace with the changing face of knowledge - but they can guide us, can provide trusted nodes, a framework, a foundation and skill set that enables and maximizes our learning journey."

Vicki Davis: " I intentionally read people out of my field at least twice a week. I have several other folders (a lot from the business world) that I read continually besides my educational peers and mentors. Sometimes I learn things from photography websites. Sometimes I glean something from the news. Sometimes somebody is a real jerk to me about something I said, but I go on a bunny trail that takes me to new knowledge. The world is a stage."

Sharon Peters: "In my experience, the difficult issues of the digital information age are alarming and somewhat frightening to those educators who are beginning to become aware of them, particularly those who realize they are not prepared. Frankly, I have never seen as wide a gap as now between our students and their teachers in terms of facility of technology."

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