After a lengthy period I’m indeed ready again to commit some time to blogging. First, wrapping up my thoughts on CCK08. Though I haven’t published, I have read and given thought to this topic.
My overall conclusion is that there is very little found in connectivism that adds or transforms constructivism as a theory of learning. Therefore, to call connectivism a theory of learning is a bit confusing for me.
I feel that the primarily learning problems that need to be addressed today have more to do with pedagogy: how do we establish learning relationships with our networks and with ourselves? How do we deal with the amount of important information available? To put it another way, conceptual changes are not needed in understanding how we learn, changes are needed in how the interaction is established and maintained between the student and the other. (I admit that I am way beyond tradition pedagogy. But, I feel that any constructivist pedagogy must go way beyond traditional pedagogy.)
Pedagogy is changing in 4 different ways and I don’t think the field has a handle in how to keep up with this change.
- In the past, the other that I spoke of most often was a teacher. Now that other is more likely to be a network of people.
- In the past, the interactions occurred at very specific times. Now the timing of these interactions can be ubiquitous.
- In the past, master – apprentice relationships were common. Now we find many situations where no one has any ready made answers and there are few or no authorities.
- In the past, the curriculum was set by others. Now it is likely to be one’s own responsibility.
These are all huge learning issues that are related to pedagogy. The term “personal learning environments” has becoming a frequent topic. It implies a library like connection that we carry around with us. For me though, the difficult problem is not with setting up my own physical or virtual learning environment so much as it is establishing a personal pedagogical space: how do I go about structuring my learning actions; how can I structure my learning journey in this new networked age.
My constructivist mentors: Dewey, Vygotsky, Mead and many others still structure my thinking about the structural necessities of learning: the need for scaffolding, the need to connect learning and doing or the need to learn within social spaces. But, the needs now are: how do I find scaffolding without authority, how do I connect learning and doing when I don’t know what to do, how do I connect with people in networks with the same intensity and authenticity of classrooms and traditional mentor / teachers? These are my bigger questions right now.