(This is cross-posted from a comment on Tom Welch’s Lexington1 blog).
I’m so glad that Tom has brought our district’s attention to the learning theory, Connectivism. I first encountered George Siemens’ work several years ago through my Twitter PLN and have subscribed to his blog, elearnspace, since then. As educators we understand the role that making connections plays in learning. It’s one of the primary strategies used in the teaching of literacy in elementary school, and the activation of prior knowledge (making connections) is an instructional key in every content area.
Dr. Woodward has raised our awareness this year about the fact that we are living in the “Shift Age,” and what important implications this holds for education. I believe that embracing Connectivism is part of the necessary shift that must take place in our district as we continue developing the Learning Continuum that will guide our thinking about teaching and learning. Several questions come to mind:
1. How can we encourage and empower our teachers and leadership to actively engage in the development of personal learning networks?
2. How can we be more networked as a district to facilitate personal learning? What can we do to create a district “node”?
3. How can we open up greater opportunities in safe environments within the school context for our students to use networking for learning and sharing?
4. According to Siemens, “The capacity to know is more critical than what is currently known.” With that in mind, how are we going to place a greater emphasis on information literacy, the ability to locate information and critically determine its validity?
5. “Learning has an end goal – namely the increased ability to do something.” How are we going to shift from being a culture of test-takers to one that values creativity and demonstration of mastery in a wide variety of formats?
Being a contributing member of a network involves some risk-taking. Tom stressed the importance of building a climate of trust. The only way for us to build this climate is for many of us to take the risk of participating in the conversation. Please share your thoughts! As a district, we need to become a network.