|I like history and reflection.|
I have a colleague, Alana Robinson, who had the bright idea of documenting the transformation of our workplace: the soon-to-be Virginia Commonwealth University Learning Innovation Center (LInC or maybe LINC). This center will be tasked with promoting connected learning by providing leadership in the areas of student engagement, faculty development, communities of practice, and technology-enhanced active learning.
I liked Alana’s idea of documentation, from historical and personal perspectives. If nothing else, it is a means for self-reflection during a time period of potential personal and professional change.
Alana calls this documentation #WIWO, or “What I’m Working On.”
My first task, as graduate fellow and perennial seeker-of-truth-packaged-as-potential-dissertation-topics, was to deepen my understanding of the center’s underlying message. By strengthening my personal understanding of the epistemologies and praxes at play, the hope is that I can churn out annotated bibliographies and relevant copy in a variety of formats like the mad academic writing machine that I can be. I am sure you will eventually see academically-acceptable evidence of my deep dive into connected learning literature, but it won’t be nearly as entertaining as the fact that I dove so deeply that I reinterpreted the LEGO movie as a message of connectivism.
Which, despite only one retweet, did spark a conversation. To review connectivism briefly:
Whether or not you believe connectivism is a theory or just a hypothetical phenomenon (and, yes, there are articles published with the sole purpose of arguing one way or another), connectivism was originally put out there by George Siemens almost ten years ago. Its main tenets (and yes, I cut and pasted from my linked source):
- Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
- Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
- Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
- Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
- Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
- Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
- Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
- Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.
- Production-centered (hands-on and constructionist)
- Interest-powered (based on learner interests)
- Participatory (peer-culture)
- Openly networked (relevant and accessible across academic, home, work, and peer spheres and spaces)
- Academic, in the sense that learner affinities are capitalized upon to drive meaningful academic achievement, civic engagement, or professional development…it’s not just about a lot of kids looking at pictures of cute cats together…they need to develop that shared purpose into a productive and meaningful project.