What connectivism is – in half an hour

Here it is – from Stephen Downes – an explanation  from the horse’s mouth – so to speak. I will need to read this many times and take a lot longer than half an hour over it!  I’ll come back to this and add some thoughts later.

A day later and I’m back having read this again – heavy stuff! SD gives us a nice clear definition of connectivism:

At its heart, 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 networks.

This makes sense, but it’s all the rest of the post that is difficult to understand. In the paper SD goes on to say that knowledge is not grounded in language and logic but is literally the set of connections formed by actions and experience. ‘Connections form naturally through a process of association and are not constructed through some sort of intentional action’.

I’ll have to go and read it again, but I’m wondering where this fits with managing our own learning and making sense of things.

‘Hence, in 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.’

Isn’t growing a bit like building?

‘This implies a pedagogy that (a) seeks to describe ‘successful’ networks (as identified by their properties, which I have characterized as diversity, autonomy, openness, and connectivity) and (b) seeks to describe the practices that lead to such networks, both in the individual and in society (which I have characterized as modeling and demonstration (on the part of a teacher) and practice and reflection (on the part of a learner)).’

Doesn’t a teacher need to do more than model and demonstrate? What exactly is the teacher’s role in connectivism?

There’s also a link to another article I’ll have to read at some stage: An Introduction to Connective Knowledge

What I need to do is find a practical application for how this learning theory would work, e.g. in a classroom of 5 year olds!

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