Connectivism and a Tangent

When I think about the connectivism, it makes me think about writing research papers in middle school. It was during that time that I started to use the resources from the library to gather, make sense of, and synthesize information to write my paper. I find the process to be similar to connectivism except that the method was “old school” because it was done without the internet. If I wanted to learn about a particular topic I would refer to books or periodicals and study the ideas from those experts, and thus began to create a connected learning path. The main difference that I see in connectivism is that technology has supercharged this process so that it has increased the amount of information and the frequency and speed with which people can access and communicate the information with one another. Historically this idea has always been a part of the human culture, but it’s no longer limited to certain geographic regions.  Now all people (those who have access to technology) on the globe are connected and the transmission of ideas can be done instantaneously. One factor that’s limiting this process is the language. The different languages within the global community acts as a barrier. But as English continues to become the unofficial world language, the flow information will also increase. The main advantage to all this is the acceleration of building new knowledge. As Siemens and Downes stated, a principle point in connectivism is to collect ideas from different sources and synthesize them to develop new insight and understanding. And so having access to more information at a faster rate means that the depth of knowledge will improve because more people will be involved in the knowledge building process. A second key principle in connectivism states that learning resides outside the individual. Again I see this as a process that has been already established but the internet has amplified it.  Within occupational fields and companies there are specialties.  These individuals hold particular knowledge and skills and we refer to their expertise to maintain an operation or communicate information. As new knowledge is constructed the specialization will increase.

Had an interesting discussion related to the video, which also emphasized a central point in connectivism. The course professor asked if games are a form a literature. My immediate response was no but after further thought it may be possible.  The story of a game can be very similar to that of a movie or drama.  Although we view the final product as a performance, there is a writing process involved during production. A classmate further added Shakespeare is considered literature. We not only read his books but also view performances to recreate the experience and manner that it was originally intended for. It brought up an interesting point which was if we go though an experience such as watching a performance, would it be considered literature.  Traditionally the answer would be no because we normally think of literary works as something being printed on paper. But if we think about their purpose, which is to record and spread the authors’ ideas and works and make it easier for consumers to enjoy and learn these ideas through storytelling, then an experience can also fall within this category.  Digital technology allows ideas to be recorded through audio, video, images, and even interactive media. Computer games, which can be heavily grounded in storytelling, take the experience a step further by allowing user to participate and to a degree co-create the development of the story. Imagine a Shakespeare story but you’re able to make decisions that change the outcome. It’s a tantalizing thought that’s possible with the advancement of computer and media technologies. The immersive experience makes video games attractive for not only entertainment but also for education.




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