CCK08:Reflections on week 1 readings

September 7, 2008

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.