I have been thinking quite a lot about the ‘how’ of connecting, rather than what connectivism means. I don’t really have any problems with accepting that knowledge is distributed across networks and that in order to access it we must learn to navigate the connections in the network.
The course so far would lead one to believe that in order to be well connected we all have to be very technologically aware, although George has said (it might have been Stephen) that we can be connected without technology. On this course, the list of places online that its possible to connect with people is quite extensive. I didn’t actually discover this list until last week, so apologies to Stephen and George for suggesting that a list was needed in my ‘Is this a course or something else post?’ . (As an aside, I have always found it interesting in my own online teaching, that course participants don’t necessarily see the information you provide for them and here I have been doing the same thing!)
But What if learning technologists ruled the world? This was a question recently raised by Prof Gilly Salmon.
I’m wondering about whether it’s necessary to be technically ‘on top’ to be well connected. I’m thinking about my 82 year old mother, who has never touched a computer in her life and who I consider to be a highly connected woman.
She has a life-time of connections behind her and now has a large number of ‘dead connections’ to quote Lisa Lane.
She has lived in and visited a number of countries in the world, so is globally connected, although she connects with these people mostly through her Christmas Card list which is about 10 times the size of mine.
She twice weekly plays golf and is connected with all the members of two golf clubs, and she also plays in invitation competitions in the south of the UK (she lives in Scotland) once a year.
She is a strong member of her church and is connected with all the parishioners.
She plays bridge once a week and is connected with all the bridge club players.
She walks her dog twice a day and connects with all the other dog walkers in the forest that is adjacent to her Scottish bungalow.
She ‘looks after’ her sister who is one year older than her, has Alzheimers and is in a home , so she is connected with many old folks in that home.
Finally she is connected with all her family, with my dead father’s family, in-laws (who are still alive) nieces, nephews and grandchildren and of course with me and my family.
My mother is very well connected. In fact she is far better connected than me and it has nothing to do with a computer. It has to do with her as a person and her personality.
She is generous and open in spirit. When she moves house (which has done many times in her life), she doesn’t wait for people to connect with her, she invites them to her house and gives them a good meal and there’s always plenty to drink too! She is highly proactive. She is an avid letter writer. She goes out and joins clubs and makes friends. The last time she did this in a new environment she was over 70 years of age. She has lived in and visited many countries of the world and is tolerant of differences. She listens and tries to understand the younger generation. She is always learning and exercises her body through golf and walking, and her mind through reading, bridge and doing crossword puzzles. She was brought up believing that ‘manners maketh man’ and would never knowingly be rude. She would never be a ‘troll’. A member of her community, who has since died, described my mother’s arrival into the area as being a ‘light in the darkness’.
Is this what connectivity means? Surely it must be more than computer connections. I wouldn’t talk to my mother about this course. She would think I was having a mental aberration!