Connectivism offers a theoretical framework to explain and clarify what the concepts of knowledge, learning and teaching are in complex environments in the beginning of the new millennium.
My background in teaching originates in the political 70’es. I have a bachelor degree in teaching. We, the students, finished our exams in sort of oppositions to the main concepts of teaching. It was in a reaction against the established society and its institutions, and one of these institutions was the ‘black school’ with ‘the gas station’ pedagogy. School and teaching were not ideologically neutral concepts but were preservers of society status quo.
We spent a lot of time exploring what the future requirement to socialisation and education in western society would be. And these expectations on skills and competences were in some degree consistent with working out new concepts of teaching in an emancipative approach.
Some of our readings were Freire, Dale, Lorentzer, Ziehe,
The objectives of teaching were to create knowledge, conscience of concepts and proportions in society enabling people to take part.
In this context, working with project organised- and problem based- education, with high degree of participant-directedness, collective working and product orientation, ‘emerged’.
This way of ‘teaching’ changed a lot of things in schools. The roles of teachers changed to consulting and students had to be ‘responsible for their own learning’.
My take on that was to work on a continuation-school for teenagers. The concept was to learn, be conscious, through practical-theoretical work in collaborate, collective frameworks. It was a boarding school, with work in the kitchen, in the farm with animals, the sieve factory, the music workshop, the media workshop, daily talks around ‘the news’, alongside with learning social skills and everything in the national curriculum for K12 exams.
Learning occur when you are in a connection with others, when your starting point is what you know, your own life/environment, when you generalise your experience. Learning is creating conscience and enabling ‘taking part’.
This concept merged into all kinds of edu-institution, where it has been a leading understanding of teaching and learning for about 20 years. With some success: The country has been ahead in commercial competition and happiness for several years.
Maybe we have a problem evolving? An increasing amount of students in college and universities drop out of their studies. Working as a teacher is low-status. It seems to be very difficult to engage teachers in transforming schools to be in keeping with the times. I’m seeking explanations on why this happens?
My understanding of teaching, my learning experience and my pedagogical basis aligns very well with connectivism. I know that knowledge isn’t in a repository. I’ve grown that knowledge. Understanding the dynamics of network help me cope with why students react on the group oriented teaching, why it’s so difficult for me to create relations in a ‘virtual’ world. I have experienced, that technology multiplies my ability to connect with people and concepts to enhance learning.
And I have seen the resistance against committing totally to e-learning concepts. On my course on IT-university student don’t want to engage in connecting online. They attend class for lectures and go home to read. I am disappointed, but the teachers have tried models like CCK08-course without success. How long do we have to wait? Is there something wrong with the concept?
A Danish philosopher, priest, poet and teacher, Grundtvig, coined the phrase about teaching: “The Living Word”. It’s in the live connection and conversation we learn. Maybe it’s in the marrow of the teacher’s bones that they must confront their student, and that a conversation on the internet cannot replace presence IRL. Or even supplement?
I think that connectivism is in sync with the technological and overall development of modern society.
But I have some scruples on connecting totally to the concept. I’m reluctant and cautious because I very easy become caught by nice ideas. For myself I think its very interesting and I learn a lot, but it’s difficult. I don’t have a degree in pedagogy, but I have practical/theoretical experience on some level, and still I feel like being connected with weak ties, in the green area of the network chart(Valdis Krebs). My fellow students on the IT University reject to participate in connectivist activity. The teachers in fundamental schools keep teaching as they use to even when they have lots of computers, internet connections, IT courses. Who has the capacity to attend? Is it only for specially invited? Nerds like myself? Self managed learners? What about the drop-outs? What happens to community when we have developed our autonomous self to act in the network? Is market mechanism hot? Is politics not?
In this course I’m learning skills for participation that hopefully lead me through conversations to answer some of my outstanding questions