As I’m getting a little more familiar with connectivism this week (and wishing the word would be added all to the spell-checkers out there), some of the terminology used in explaining how we learn in today’s world is resonating with me. The internal, external, and conceptual networks that we build through experiences emphasizes the point where teaching is more about demonstrating and modeling, and learning is more about practicing and reflecting.
Within a language learning context, I would add there are more viable networks that need to be created as well. The building of contextual, strategic, and phonetic networks also develops language proficiency through the creation of educative experiences. I hesitate to say simply the creation of experiences, referring back to Dewey’s distinction between educative and non-educative experiences, because certain practices are better than others. This is where connectivism gets a little vague.
“The pipe is more important than the content” is a phrase coined by Siemens in referring to connectivism and this gives me the impression that any content creates connections. Or perhaps the more “pipes” the better, regardless of the content that “flows through it”. Or is it that fewer “pipes” but with better content is preferred over many “pipes” of poorer content? For me, putting into practice this concept still puzzles me. I agree we should try to create as many connections as possible within the confines of the curriculum, but it’s still up to the teacher to interpret this (or rationalize it) to their liking.
As always, I welcome all opinions.