Thursday, February 01, 2007

Online Connectivism Conference OCC2007

The Online Connectivism Conference - OCC2007 will be held online 2-9 Feb or (3-10 Feb if you are in Melbourne), generally at 17:00 GMT, which is 4am Melbourne time or whatever day and time it is in your time zone.

I have agreed at Bill Kerr's request to be a Context Filter.

My chosen context is engagement in relevant and authentic tasks. I came to this conference through my involvement in students creating their own computer games, a highly engaging, relevant and authentic task.

What do computer games and Connectivism have in common? Quite a lot.
  • I would never have found Game Maker without the internet
  • I would never have met teachers equally enthused as I without the internet
  • I web published our students games on the internet
  • I am self-taught about game pedagogy through the internet
  • I am self-published on the internet
  • Through the internet I am in real-time dialogue with the worlds experts on games and learning
A Constructivist (my) perspective and a Connectivist perspective both try to come to terms with an increasing body of knowledge, sitting at our fingertips, Google now indexing 10 zillion pages. Both perspectives agree that the rote learning of facts is becoming less important in school. Constructivists believe that students will need the skills to construct understandings of new knowledge, Connectivists believe that they will need the skills to connect with new knowledge.

For me the debate is not whether Connectivism has the necessary depth to be called a learning theory, whether it deserves to be an -ism. For me the important issue is what can be learnt about living and learning in a connected world when 1000 people from round the world connect in a way which was previously impossible.

If I can master the technology and sleep deprivation I'll filter.

The Filters

Tony Forster
engagement in relevant and authentic tasks

Graham Wegner
Student initiated curriculum

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Voice for the Voiceless

Mel Chua
Student/younger generation

Vicki Davis

Virginia Yonkers
Business and workplace education/training

Chris Sessums
Issues of Poverty

Clarence Fisher
Rural K-12

Jo McLeay?
Personal teaching experiences

Darren Kuropatwa
K-12 – Senior High School

Michael Hotrum
Higher Education

Marilyn Martin
Consultants view

Sharon Peters
Women of Web 2.0

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Blogger George Siemens said...

Hi Tony - your comment of not being concerned if connectivism is a theory or not is reflective, I imagine, of most educators. The challenge of theory is to partly explain a situation...and partly to move forward based on our understanding of the situation. I personally think that theory has a valuable role in widening our understanding (and of course, I will say connectivism is a learning theory because I feel it is attempting to (as Popper states of a theory's role) "solve a problem"...namely information abundance, complexification, etc. - all of which are created/enabled by the reduced barrier of forming connections with others from around the world.

But your point is important. Most educators probably don't have time or interest for theory. With heavy workloads and simply attempting to stay current in there field, an educator's foucs is much more practical...namely in the stage of "doing". The theories we are discussing here do need to move practically to the classroom level. The challenge, however, is the pace at which education adopts ideas - we are, 70 years after the fact, trying to integrate Vygotsky's ideas. 50 years after Freire we still grapple with the issues he raised. And Papert. And Piaget. etc. What's the problem? Why do we trail so far behind in the practical implementation of theories? Is the complex and dense language of theories restrictive to larger audience reception?

Monday, February 05, 2007 5:08:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks George,
I am not sure that Connectivism is a learning theory, whether it has the breadth. Maybe its a connection theory. We do have to be careful because theories result in practice.

But on a positive note, the discussion is very important, information abundance must change how we view education and how it is practiced. The validity of the discussion that is taking place is in no way diminished if Connectivism is found wanting.

Monday, February 05, 2007 11:28:00 AM  

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