Connectivism – Learning in the Digital Age

This is presentation I created based on one made by George Siemens  in 2006 and other podcasts, articles by Siemens, Stephen Downes and others. This is presentation will be given at the 11th Braz TESOL National Convetion in Fortaleza . I am a psychologist that  became and EFL teacher. As a psychologist and a teacher, the learning process has always attracted me. I always like to think about what is inside the black box. I have always enjoyed going beyond warm ups and cool downs and thinking about how learning happens.  So, I was amazed and fascinated the first time I heard George Siemens speaking about connectvism in his onthologic presentation (and still like to listening to it while driving on my car radio). In my opinion, this theory makes a lot of sense when it tries to explain the way people learn.

The idea of learning/knowledge  not residing in one place and being distributed across our social networks and our brains is especially perceptible for those involved in online e-learning communities of practice. In these environments we perceive the notion of knowledge being distributed across a network. We live and have lived in a networked world. Networks have always existed. They are just more prominent now with the widespread use of computers. Hope you enjoy the presentation.

My PLE (E for Experience and Environment)

What motivated me to present on PLEs was my experience with e-learning. I first heard the term on Teemu Arina´s magnificent presentation Serendipity 2.0 and saw that it had something to do with the way I had been learning for the past two and a half years. While reading for this presentation, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that PLEs are not a tool or an aggregator, but a way of aggregating learning, a way of morphing the tools, people, machines around your own personal learning. So, PLEs are defined largely by the learner and his learning goals.

The idea of PLEs, as I see it, is connected with mobile learning. However, we have to be careful not to connect the idea of mobile learning and PLEs with expensive technological devices. Mobile Learning is a combination of two words and both of them should be given equal weight. Mobile learning, if the second word of the expression is given its value, refers more to the learner than to the device or technology. Mobile learning has to do with being able to learn anytime and anywhere.

Listening to Learners’ Voices

This presentation discusses the challenges related to being critical in a space with such an abundance of information as the cyber space. Adopting an approach of enquiry in such a space is  a way of deconstructing reality and creating meaning. The way Critical Literacy (CL) views language is likely to promote a more meaningful dialogue among students if teachers use such approach in creating content using multimedia. I truly believe that blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other web 2.0 tools provide a space for conversations that can take the classroom to the outside world. I recognize that sometimes it is a challenge to develop classroom activities with the CL approach without deviating so much from curriculum, but there is always a way and it is worth trying. A departure from textbook views and away from the predictable text interpretations will foster a more critical view of the world and will throw some light into important issues. Listening to learners’ voices is a way of having learners as content creators instead of content regurgitators.