Thursday, January 14, 2010

Connectivism in Action - a Meeting with George Seimens

What an experience! I attended a meeting in Peru South America today. George Siemens, educational theorist was there to discuss Connectivism. And of course I attended in my bathrobe. This is not a dream, this is computer mediated Connectivism in action.

Let me describe my learning experience.
How I got to participate - I did not register for this event. I did not fly to Peru South America. I am not a member of the Peruvian organzation that sponsored it. I attended through my connections. My friend and colleague, Serolod invited me. She lives in Spain.

Learning as a conversation. Dr. Seimens did not lecture. We had a conversation. He described a concept and then we discussed it, asked questions, comment, stretched it.

Knowledge as a dynamic response to connections. The conversation was mediated by all kinds of connections that could not have been planned. Attendees grappled with the ideas through several cultural lenses and two languages. It was originally billed as occuring in English. But because the largest attendance was from three Spanish speaking countries a member of the group translated. This slowed down the conversation, but also made it more intimate and there was much more effort to clarify meaning. The disciplines of those in attendance affected the discource and the meaning drawn from the convesation. Concepts from Connectivism bumped up against communication, media, linguistics, highschool teaching.

There was a steady exchange of websites links. We were all searching and bringing new knowledge and resources to the table.
Multimodal communication brought the group together in various combinations. Because of text and voice, listeners commented while speakers talked, questions were asked when they were thought of and answered when time permitted. Members of the audience spoke to each other in private chat. I even interacted directly with Dr. Seimens in IM.

If I understand one nugget of Connectivism it is that meaning is negotiated through connections. While participants ideas and external artifacts have attributes of their own these attributes change in connection with others. So today was a connectivist event.

Connectivism resources

Wiki bio of Dr. Siemens
Good intro article on Connectivism
Siemens blog and a post on what makes Connectivism a unique learning theory
A recent presentation

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