Friday, September 25, 2009
Always looking for collaborators, feedback, suggestions, comments, etc.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
...knowledge is IN the connections: This to me has more significance in that it's not just that there is a connection, but recognizing the tie (strong or weak) within the connection as well.
...knowledge IS the connections: This has less significance to me because it seems that the connection is all that matters, not so much the tie within the connection.
Regardless of the language, I think the point is that connectivism is based on the notion that what we know is a complexed arrangement of connections that is particular to the individual at a particular point in time. The arrangement of connections (e.g., knowledge) is in a constant state of flux; that is, it's either growing or diminishing on a continuous basis (it never stays the same). I equate this to learning a musical instrument. Back in the day, I used to practice the upright bass for hours, whether preparing for a concert or some music event somewhere. I was well aware that if I was playing - putting forth my best effort - I was improving. If I wasn't playing, I was becoming a worse bass player. I can say that I´m sure that no one in the rest of the world played the upright bass exactly the way I did (which is a good thing). The same goes for connective knowledge. My understanding of Paris is the capital of France is unique and unlike everyone else's understanding of the same.
This is why knowledge is not a thing. If it were, I could have found other upright bass players who played exactly the way I did. Wow, what a group that would have been!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I´m essentially dead even on the Apprenticeship, Developmental, and Nurturing scales (40, 41, & 40 respectively) while a little lower on the Social Reform scale, 36 points. As an English as a foreign language educator, much of my philosophy has to do with taking learners from where they are and building on prior knowledge and experiences. This typically involves the notion that "doing and learning are synonymous" (Larsen-Freeman, 2003, p. 14). In the same vein then, learning a new language also occurs at the same time that one is increasing understandings and individual dispositions or habits of mind.
Scoring slightly lower in the social reform scale, I recognize the importance of social context within language learning. But this can lead to a complicated pursuit in determining how much time to spend on the multitude of social contexts that a particular language learner might be exposed to in the future. I am careful at how much of my time is spent on instruction and assessment as they pertain to sociocultural discourse unless the learners request it, I see a particular need, or the situation presents itself whereby discussing such discourse leads to an interesting and motivating teachable moment.
Language learning within the principles of connectivism for me is quite interesting. Content as well as language is changing constantly, so I definitely see a need to focus on both ontology and epistemology within language education. I see great flexibility in what language learners are given the choice to learn, above and beyond just the language. Typically, syllabi are stated as behavioral objectives that typically are limited to language objectives embedded with "shallow" themes (i.e., health, family, etc.). My interests center on how understandings (for cognitivists) or connections can be formed as language and knowing about language are learned as well. In other words, understandings, knowledge, skills, and dispositions all become means and ends, which are typically stated in terms of expressive outcomes - that is as an "educational encounter" (Sergiovanni, 1999, p. 81).
I agree with Siemens when he states that connections are formed at the neural, conceptual, and social "levels". I think this serves the language learner well, especially in terms of the social aspect of network creation since now technology allows language learners from around the world to interact with each other to a much higher degree. This also opens up the "playing field" in that language learners now have at their disposal a wider range of "experts" to draw from.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2003). Teaching language: From grammar to grammaring. Boston: Heinle.
Mortimer, A. (1982). The paideia proposal. New York: MacMillan.
Sergiovanni, T. (1999). Building community in schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The reason I´m taking this course is to pursue related research interests, specifically as they pertain to English language learning. As I´m finalizing my doctoral coursework, I am now in the process of narrowing down a topic that by year's end will be the basis of my dissertation. My hopes are that this "second round" at CCK09 (previously CCK08) will shed more light on the practicality of the theoretical concepts being covered.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Churches (2009) answers the following question:
I don't think it is. The learning can start at any point, but inherent in that learning is going to be the prior elements and stages.
But in practice, I wonder how much of the lower levels of the taxonomy are explicitly being taught in the classroom, and how much the learner actually brings to the learning experience on their own (either through prior experiences or through the classroom experience itself). Also, is it possible to develop "prior elements" (i.e., "remembering" and "understanding") at the same time as developing "later elements", such as "evaluating" and "creating"?
An alternative that is more conducive to learning as an emergent phenomenon, based more on chaos theory is Wiggins and McTighe's (2005) notion of building understandings, a term quite different than the way the term is being defined in the new taxonomy. Understandings are expressed in terms of "six facets":
With this alternative, objectives are stated in terms of understandings whereby the teacher facilitates the development of these six facets according to the teaching context. In other words, learners gain understandings (i.e., information and ideas that relate to the learner) through their own personal journey that is certain to be unique for each individual.
Take the following understanding for example, often seen in a thematic unit on friendship in a foreign language class: Learners will understand that friendship requires give and take. Imagine how learners can provide their own understanding of what constitutes a friendship without working typically through a hierarchical process that adheres solely to the cognitive domain. The empathy facet, for example, includes an affective aspect of learning and is seen as just as important as being able to explain, apply, interpret, etc. Understandings thus become the cultivation of six, equal, aspects of learning that emerge from the learning experience as opposed to being dictated to the learner on the first day of class.