Lisa’s CCK08 Wordpress Blog

September 11, 2008

Response: Connectivism & Constructivism

Filed under: Responses,Week 1 — Lisa M Lane @ 8:34 am

Before the discussion of fraud broke out, I had posted a response on the Connectivism blog where I tried to help delineate constructivism and connectivism:

I am not a specialist in educational theory of any kind, merely a practitioner, so I tend to think in terms of classroom application. When I think of constructivism, I see students in groups, constructing or building something, some kind of model, usually one that reflects at least the parameters of something held in the mind of the instructor. With connectivism, the students could be in the same arrangement, but the point of what they’re doing is the connection itself, the “growing” of the ideas as they interact, which may well not be in any form in the mind of the instructor. Or am I way off?

Last night, I read more and replied to Stephen’s entry on Connectivism and its Critics about using connectivism in a traditional university setting. Right after I posted this:

The current traditional university model is not inherently conducive to the adoption of connectivist learning, and yet it is possible to introduce it subversively as a pedagogical practice. For many of us, I suspect that is what we’ll be able to achieve, within the confines of policy, which determines the necessity not only for assessment but for certain types of assessments. I would be quite unhappy if I thought that connectivism could only succeed in a perfect world (like communism or capitalism). The more likely use is that elements of connectivism will be introduced in such a way that, while not creating the non-course-based, lifelong-learning world we wish for, can be a step in the right direction.

(hey! there’s no Edit button!) I happened to end up at George’s post on the Connectivism Blog from February on Getting started with connectivism/networked learning. Here he lists things that someone new to networked technologies could use to improve learning. I encapsulate:

  1. create a class blog
  2. use collaborative activities
  3. open resources for sharing (wiki)
  4. balance openness and privacy
  5. use open resources
  6. direct students to conference presentations
  7. contribute resources on your blog
  8. experiment with tools and approaches
  9. provide learners with post-course resources
  10. help learners develop meta-skills
  11. combine students from different levels
  12. bring in guest speakers

And as I’m reading these ideas, I’m thinking, “couldn’t you do all that as a constructivist?” The only difference is, as Siemens writes, “[t]he educator continues to play a vital role in the process…but her/his role becomes one of assisting learners in creating networks that will enable the development of needed skills and will model the attitudes and skills needed to effectively participate in information abundant environments.”

So perhaps connectivists are constructivists, but the new task is to construct a skill set in making connections, rather than providing the opportunity to create a specific construction of thought or learning.


1 Comment

  1. Hi again Lisa!

    I am glad you ended up on George’s February post. The road map to Connectivism that you encapsulated is very clear regarding the activities we need to do and about the teacher role as model. I do not see, at least not in the short run in Mexico, a School which would support this Network learning approach. It is an interesting experience to be part of this learning chaos environment.
    I missed the fraud discussion, I will see if I find it.
    Love: Maru

    Comment by Maru — September 11, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

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