Thursday, March 01, 2007

Connectivism and Constructivism

Learning Theories - There is much to ponder. I think that the 21st century classroom needs to have technological literate teachers who believe in accomodating students with differentiated instruction to accomodate multiple intelligences. These classrooms need to have foundations of constructivism, perhaps just moderate constructivism, and I also like the discussions revolving around connectivism. Knowledge is rapidly changing; it doesn't last forever.

George Siemens has provided valuable information which I have tried to internalize:

I have been reading about connectivism and I understand this to be a comprehensive learning theory. Learning is network formations; learning focuses on the process and educators can enable the connections (as well as other sources). Today's curriculum courses are "cracking" because they are one dimensional and much of what we are teaching (the knowledge that we are distributing) becomes useless. The knowledge growth is so rapid - knowledge has a shelf life. There are so many new types of connections related to the attainment of knowledge such as Wikipedia (open source applications), rating pages, ... New knowledge and connections are being created so rapidly.

Content is so different today: creating, saving, accessing and sharing has become so different. Anyone and everyone is involved in these simple tasks, tasks that were once so difficult and time consuming. We need a model for teaching that will keep what is important current - this is a challenge. I believe much of this theory of learning, and I especially like his discussions regarding hard and soft knowledge.

In addition, there are factors on perception - belief, emotions and motivation. I firmly believe that these three factors play the largest role in learning. I also favor the theory of multiple intelligences; I believe that there is a genetic component involved in which method of learning works best. Factors affecting perception and multiple intelligences strongly affect my beliefs about learning and teaching. However, I feel that curriculum development needs to be guided by connectivisim and constructivist learning theories. Educators must address this issue of the shift in this definition of knowledge, and students need to become competent in managing the abundance and types of knowledge.

After reading several blogs tonight (
G-Town Talks), I tried making a few connections.... If we could embrace these learning theories: constructivism, connectivism, and multiple intelligences... would there be such controversy about rules regarding cell phones and mp3 players?? Would teachers be more willing to embrace students'personal tech devices, because as we utilize these theories, we would need to be building more safety and security into our daily teaching?

Just a thought to ponder. ..

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