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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Connectivist Learning #CritLit2010 #CCK09

After reading George Siemen's post on Connectivism taxonomy and John Mak's response I compared the points expressed with the critical literacy taxonomy that i had published in my last blog post and with my own views on connectivist learning. I have subsequently created a wiki page to develop a Critical Literacies Taxonomy and a wiki page that looks at Connectivist Taxonomy Linked to Critical Literacies. I'd welcome any input to develop and discuss the issues as a group from interested colleagues.

If we start with some feedback on George's proposed connectivist taxonomy. Firstly I agree with the suggestion from Brad Hodge that metacognition could come in as early as connection forming. Maybe at Praxis level metacognition encapsulates more thought about the network. As John Mak asserts maybe in the "chaos and fuzzy dynamic" connnectivist online environment it is difficult to "measure competency in a discreet manner" with regard to the development of a connectivist learner. I based my subsequent Connectivist Taxonomy Linked to Critical Literacies, on John's further proposal that a dynamic n-dimensional (mxn) model of taxonomy may be more suitable. You'll notice from the model that one further distinction i have drawn is that the connectivist taxonomy appears to progress from individual knowledge development and then move on the network knowledge development and i thought it was important to emphasize that distinction.

The other strong points to emerge for me were the 1) excellent point raised by Avi Charkam and the role of the teacher in the taxonomy of connectivist learning and 2) John Mak's highlighting of the social and emotional elements that contribute to learning e.g. emotional control, self awareness, self confidence, motivation, social skills and interpersonal skills, social elements (social awareness, ethics, intelectual property awareness etc). Perhaps a matrix model may help in this regard

On a side, but equally relevant issue these two points struck a chord with me as my in my masters dissertation i proposed a model of distance learning termed SCORE 2.0. This model was inspired by connectivism, wherby i see not just the fantastic potential of asynchronous communication to aid informal learning, but i see the interactive synchronous classroom sessions as a fantastic medium to connect people much more strongly than asynchronous alone. I see the teacher being very important in this model of distance learning - not just in delivering, but in planning the whole learning experience. Connectivist, active and social learning runs through the heart of the model and the teachers role is to engineer and support development of a connectivist mentality. It would seem that the approach to connectivist learning is that it is strongly self directed learning. I believe that connectivist learning can be viewed along a continuum from heavily supported learning to a fully self directed learning and that the teacher has the important role if giving the appropriate support at various times along this continuum.

The key findings of my masters disseration were that the online synchronous classroom when used in conjunction with varied learning activities can be a motivating and engaging environment in which to build a community of learners. Supporting ‘Web 2.0’ technologies play an important part in supporting the community of learners and in helping to develop learner autonomy. Vital to the successful implementation of the model is an appropriately trained and motivated teacher. For those interested here is my dissertation.

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