Connectivism – still crazy after all these years?

Like you, perhaps, I have two large plastic containers under my bed. Each one holds beneath its dusty lid an assortment of things which, for whatever reason, I have no particular immediate use for but feel reluctant to exile to the attic. The newspapers from the days my kids were born are in there, some articles from .net magazine and even more articles from Guitar Techniques. I was looking in one of these containers the other day and came across George Siemens’ “Connectivism: Learning as Network Creation” (2005): printed out, stapled, unread.

It was like finding a photo of an acquaintance who, despite promising beginnings, never quite became a friend. Connectivism has been around for as long as I’ve been a learning technologist, it has always fascinated me and twice I’ve started MOOCs given by its leading lights, George Siemens and Stephen Downes. I find their ideas exciting, their personalities compelling, their approach to learning and teaching refreshing and certainly useful, but their insistence that learning and most everything else was a network seemed like a kind of ideological OCD. This causes me some regret since connectivism could provide both practical approaches and theoretical tools which would be very helpful to me and those I work with.

In the following posts I will attempt at last to consider how connectivism is relevant to my work as a learning technologist and how it may be useful in helping teachers teach and learners learn.

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