Connectivism in action – demonstrated by a five year old

Connectivism in action – demonstrated by a five year old
Yesterday my five year old daughter did something that started me thinking about Connectivism, a theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge exists in the world rather than in the head of an individual.  It’s a theory that takes into account the effect technology has had on how people live, communicate, and learn.
My daughter wanted to buy our dog Sooty a dog bed like her friend’s dog Tiki.  I said that first I’d need to see whether the bed offered value for money.
“Do you know where to buy it?” I asked.
“Yes. It’s at Pet Stock,” she said.
“Ok,” I said. “We can ask them the price when we go to town tomorrow.”
“I can check it now,” she said. “There’s a Pet Stock website.”
She quickly googled “pet stock”, found the website, found the item and found the price.
I was struck by the fact that her immediate inclination was to search for the answer online, whereas mine was to wait until I could walk into a store and ask someone a question. Along the way she also learned that ‘canine’ refers to dogs, ‘feline’ to cats and ‘equine’ to horses (See website image below).  Her learning happened without talking or communicating with another person.  The answer to her question – along with other interesting information – was retrieved through a simple Google search followed by the successful navigation of a website.
Her behaviour reminded me of the suggestion made by Will Richardson of PLPConnectU that 21st century schools need to concentrate on teaching students know-how of the know-where kind rather than the know-what kind.  There’s simply too much knowledge in the world to cram into our heads, but if we know where to access it, we can find it when we need it.
The development of writing, Gutenberg’s printing press, and now computer technologies have brought about major knowledge revolutions in human history.  Today, the greatest repositories of knowledge are digital, and many of these repositories are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
Unfortunately, at $79.95, we decided the dog bed was a bit expensive, so Sooty is still sleeping on his old cushion.

Yesterday my five year old daughter did something that started me thinking about Connectivism, a theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge exists in the world rather than in the head of an individual.  It’s a theory that takes into account the effect technology has had on how people live, communicate, and learn.

My daughter wanted to buy our dog Sooty a dog bed like her friend’s dog Tiki.  I said that first I’d need to see whether the bed offered value for money.

“Do you know where to buy it?” I asked.

“Yes. It’s at Pet Stock,” she said.

“Ok,” I said. “We can ask them the price when we go to town tomorrow.”

“I can check it now,” she said. “There’s a Pet Stock website.”

She quickly googled “pet stock”, found the website, found the item and found the price.

I was struck by the fact that her immediate inclination was to search for the answer online, whereas mine was to wait until I could walk into a store and ask someone a question. Along the way she also learned that ‘canine’ refers to dogs, ‘feline’ to cats and ‘equine’ to horses (See website image below).  Her learning happened without talking or communicating with another person.  The answer to her question – along with other interesting information – was retrieved through a simple Google search followed by the successful navigation of a website.

PetSTock

Her behaviour reminded me of the suggestion made by Will Richardson of PLPnetwork that 21st century schools need to concentrate on teaching students know-how of the know-where kind rather than the know-what kind.  There’s simply too much knowledge in the world to cram into our heads, but if we know where to access it, we can find it when we need it.

The development of writing, Gutenberg’s printing press, and now computer technologies have brought about major knowledge revolutions in human history.  Today, the greatest repositories of knowledge are digital, and many of these repositories are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

Unfortunately, at $79.95, we decided the dog bed was a bit expensive, so Sooty is still sleeping on his old cushion.

Not enough time? Blame Facebook! No, Twitter!

“Real Life”. I don’t like weeding the garden!
The power of ICT brings so many new possibilities to our lives that it can be difficult to choose which ones to pursue and which ones to ignore.  There’s simply not enough time to do all that we might want to do.
The miriad of possibilities created by ICT also bring into focus the distinction between “life online” and “life offline”.  “Real Life” or “RL” is used, sometimes ironically, to refer to life “in the real world” as opposed to “life on the Internet”.  This distinction makes sense to us because “life online” is a relatively new experience.  But for children and future generations with no experience of the world before Twitter and Facebook, the disctinction, if it lasts, may seem quaint.  More and more peole are forming close friendships with people they never meet “offline”.  More and more people are beginning relationships from a distance “online” that end in physical intimacy “offline”.  At a recent DEECD PD (PLP ConnectU) Will Richardson urged teachers to tell their students, “DO talk to strangers.” He said that he’d never met in person most of his best teachers.  That’s something I’ve only recently come to appreciate.
“You spend too much time on the computer,” is a valid criticism for husbands or wives who spend too long on Facebook or Twitter.  It’s certainly an offense I commit all too frequently. But it’s not because I’m ignoring “Real Life”.  Twitter has become part of my real life – but it can play havoc with my time management, just like a good book.  Facebook and Twitter, seductive as they are, must be balanced with many other real life commitments. There’s nothing more wonderful for me than time spent with my family.  That’s an easy “offline” activity, but it happens “online” too.  I don’t like weeding the garden.  That’s strictly “offline”, but I’ve still got to do it.

Do you ever get the feeling that there’s just not enough time to do all the things you “need” to do?

Social networking through sites like Facebook and Twitter is seductive. Online social networking may be one of the most profound sociological developments of the twenty first century – but it can also be a terrible waste of time! In an already busy world it has made our lives even busier!  ICT brings with it so many possibilities that it can be difficult to choose what to pursue and what to ignore.  There’s simply not enough time to do all that we want to do because we are spoilt for choice!

This miriad of possibilities also brings into focus the distinction between “life online” and “life offline”.  The term “In Real Life” or “IRL” is used, sometimes ironically, to refer to life “in the real world” as opposed to “life on the Internet”.  This distinction makes sense to us because “life online” is a relatively new experience.  But for children and future generations with no experience of the world before Twitter and Facebook, the disctinction, if it lasts, may seem a little quaint.  More and more people form close friendships with people they never meet “offline”.  More and more people begin relationships from a distance “online” that end in physical intimacy “offline”.  At a recent DEECD PD session (PLP ConnectU) Will Richardson urged teachers to tell their students, “DO talk to strangers.” (Safely, of course!) He said that most of his best teachers were people he’d never met.

“You spend too much time on Twitter,” is a fair criticism for many of us.  But it’s not because we’re ignoring “Real Life”. Twitter has become part of my real life – but it can play havoc with my time management, just like a good book. More importantly – even more than a good book – Twitter and all kinds of other ICT tools create entirely new and powerful possibilities that I never had before. That’s what makes them so exciting.  Gutenberg helped change the world. It’s now the turn of a five year old – Twitter.  Here’s some interesting writing on the topic:

Dismissed as a joke, Twitter revolutionises the way we communicate

Social Media Revolution

Short History of Twitter from Gutenberg

Is social media Gutenberg or Guttenberg? It’s actually both

Of course Facebook and Twitter, powerful and seductive as they are, must be balanced with our many other real life priorities.

There’s nothing more wonderful for me than time spent with my family.  That’s an easy “offline” activity, but it happens “online” too.

I don’t like weeding the garden.  That’s strictly “offline”, but I’ve still got to do it.

Is blogging good for school children?

Blogs have tremendous educational potential.  They provide a communication space that teachers, children and parents can use to develop writing, share ideas and reflect on work being undertaken at school in any subject area.  They enable children to showcase their work and to receive feedback and encouragement from friends, family and fellow students.

What are blogs?
You are reading one.  Blogs are websites maintained by people to describe events or make commentary on news or subjects of interest.  Blogs are mostly made up of pieces of writing, called posts, written by the blog owner.  They may also contain images and video and usually have links to other blogs and web pages.

Do blogs threaten children’s privacy or safety?
Blogging on teacher-monitored blogs is a comparatively safe online activity, but since anyone can see a blog and anyone can post a comment on a blog, there is a risk that unwanted comments will be posted.  Usually comments don’t appear publicly on a blog until they are approved by the blog’s owner (this is the default setting for most blogs), so inappropriate comments will only be seen by the blog owner (child) and the teacher administrator.  School children should be taught about cyber bullying and all school blogs should be monitored to ensure appropriate behaviour.  It is rare to find anyone outside the school community posting on a school blog.  Children should not share personal details like their address or family photos.  Once a photo or video is posted on a blog it can be viewed and downloaded by anyone.