Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Origins of Connectivism and review of CCK08 (#CCK09)

Starting CCK09 course having caught the first part of the elluminate session last night.

Just listened to George Siemens talking about the origins of Connectivism in the dichotomy between his traditional teaching of students in a learning environment and his own personal CPD conducted in a more open and free way. In early 2000 he used blogs and other tools that would later be called 'social media'. He believes that learning is fundamentally 'networked' through contacts between people. He asks the questions "what could education be ... how can we change our teaching to reflect the reality [of connected learning]"?


In 2008 he and Stephen Downes launched an online course in 'Connectivism and Connected Knowledge' CCK08 which was designed to teach about Connectivism as a theory using the tools and activities of Connectivism as the mode of learning. This is quite a handy way of teaching learning theories which would otherwise be hopelessly abstract. The course was well received and they were encouraged to run it again as CCK09.

The tutors created a loose structure based on reading lists via email and Moodle, suggested tagging to pull together contributions, and provided a rhythm to the course. The students demonstrated great creativity in their use of emerging technologies to further explore the course content.

I am having difficulty seeing what is new here in terms of learning theory. People have always learned from each other through connections between peers. What is different is the number and asynchronous availability of these connections in the Internet era. Does this level of 'connectiveness' qualify as something different? Could it just be a tool that makes education more accessible and convenient?

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