CCK08:Reflections on week 1 readings

Here’s my first point out of the first week readings:

We humans are connection-seekers and meaning-makers, creatures anxious to draw parallels with our own being, patterns we see, and what we desire or reject.

1. Is Connectivism a theory or pedagogy? It sets goals for learning which are not simply utilitarian and aim at a whole model of learning including the quest to become better people.

What is it that inspires people to change, learn and transform?

I’d like to list three key conditions for us to share and discuss:

  1. People won’t change unless they appreciate a pressing need to do so.
  2. People need to have the will, ability and potential to make whatever changes are necessary.
  3. People need to be given support and consolidation so they can learn new skills in a relatively safe environment with plenty of encouragment.

It is necessary to have some idea about where there is a problem (how we teach and design curriculum?) and what alternatives exist to do things differently (what spaces and structures for learning?).

The internet represents a substantial change to influence the western world spirit of productivity, utilitarianism and return on investment.

The growth and complexity of knowledge requires that our capacity for learning resides in the connections we form with people and information, often mediated or facilitated with technology. (Connectivism: Learning Theory or Pastime of the Self-Amused’ G. Siemens 2006)

Siemens (2004) defined learning as “actionable knowledge” and Stokman (2004) concluded that mutual interdependances influence the potential for interaction or connection forming.

I would suggest a story as a contribution.

Personal Responsibility

A Sultan invited a mullah to go hunting with him and his entourage. But he gave the mullah a camel that was very slow indeed. The mullah said nothing about this. Soon the hunt had left the mullah far behind and after a short time was completely out of sight.  Then it began to rain. It rained very hard indeed.

All the members of the hunt got completely soaked. The mullah, on the other hand, quickly dismounted, took off all his clothes, folded them into a neat pile, and sat on them under the camel for the duration of the storm.

When the storm abated, he dressed himself and returned to the Sultan’s palace for lunch. The Sultan and his entourage were amazed that the mullah was completely dry, for even with the speed of their camels they had been unable to find any shelter on the plain. They looked at the mullah with suspicion.

“It was because of the camel you gave me,” he said.

The next day, the mullah was given the fastest camel, and the Sultan took the slow one. Once again it rained. The Sultan, stranded in the middle of the plain, on a camel that moved at the speed of a tortoise, got absolutely drenched. The mullah, on the other hand, repeated the same procedure as the day before. When he returned to the palace he was as dry as a bone.

“This is all your fault,” sneezed the Sultan, “for persuading me to ride this snail of a camel.”

“Perhaps,” replied the mullah, “you took no personal responsibility for the problem of staying dry.”

General source: Sufi tradition

And here’s is my interpretation: The mullah cannot take responsability for what happens in the environment, but he can take responsability for how he deals with the situation. He takes control of his situation, behaves accordingly and this is in marked contrast to the sultan and his enturage.

Out of metaphor, who’s responsible for learning in a network?

I’d like to hear an example of shared responsability.


5 Responses to CCK08:Reflections on week 1 readings

  1. Hi Silvana!
    Nice to meet you, my name is Maru.
    I cannot answer yet the first question on your blog: Is Connectivism a theory or pedagogy? I need to read more. Though I agree with your answer my aim is to enable others to be better persons regardless if they are my students or my patients.

    I agree with you on your three key points conditions for learning: To find the pressing need, to enable the will, ability and potential to make changes and to provide support.
    I try to cover them in f2f sessions but I think that for online sessions you really need to pay attention to each one in order to facilitate the learning. I enjoyed very much your metaphor, we are usually trying to place the responsibility on the outside instead of searching inside.

    I will post this answer at the forum, I do not want to add more workload to your activities. I think this will give you the chance to answer only at the forum and maybe others that did not follow your link will have thought material.

    I am amazed by the speed in which you read and integrate the material read. i wish I were more like you. Thanks for sharing. See you around. Love: Maru

  2. Lisa M Lane says:

    Excellent story. I can’t see any other alternative to what it illustrates, that the individual is ultimately responsible for learning, even in a network. It is for this reason I find myself unduly interested in the cognitive, individual aspects of networking — the interaction between the individual mind and the information (in this case, the mullah and the weather vs the sultan and the same condition).

  3. Eyal Sivan says:

    Fantastic post. The story is an excellent metaphor.

    I think Lisa has it right that the emphasis must be on the individual. More than that, I think that connectives actually drive empowerment and responsibility towards the individual. I’m actually trying to write a post about this.

    Is Connectivism a theory or pedagogy?

    I think it is a philosophical theory. I say philosophical, rather than specifically learning, because I believe it has an strong applicability in other branches of philosophy beyond epistemology, including ethics, metaphysics, politics, and science. Theory because most of these are still being worked out, by various different people, in some cases under various different names.

    Shameless plug: I try and explore this broader definition on my blog, the Connective. I started it before the course, but it’s still quite young, so please be gentle. And sorry for the plug.

    Please excuse me if I misuse the term, as I’m not very familiar with it, but I don’t think it’s a pedagogy, because its not just for instruction. It’s a mechanism for addressing general problems, more like a philosophy. That’s my take anyway.

    I like John Rogers delineation from the forums: “Connectivism ends in ism, which implies to me it is a belief that translates into practice.”

  4. Jackson says:

    I feel more persons will need to read this, extremely great info.

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