Throughout this activity, I learned a lot about differences and similarities between Communities of Practice, Connectivism and Personal Learning Networks. I found Diigo to be an excellent bookmarking resource for sharing my research with colleagues and for learning about others’ research as well. It has the ability to be used for personal bookmarking, or for sharing with large or small groups of other individuals.
Here is the list of resources I found:
1. SOCIAL NETWORKING THEORIES AND TOOLS TO SUPPORT CONNECTIVIST LEARNING ACTIVITIES
This article highlighted the different roles in constructivist theory and also helped me to really understand the role that knowledge takes in constructivist theory. It is described as a combination of ever changing experiences and information that provide a foundation for new experiences and knowledge. It also introduces PLNs as an open space that allows for intercepting and spreading competencies and skills by publishing, combining and correlating resources.
2. Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning?
This article helped to explain why PLNs and Connectivist theory go hand in hand. It explained that theory and knowledge are linked in a PLN because they are accessible in the context they are applied. The nature of the learning in a PLN is all about applying knowledge and coming up with new ideas about its relevance to concepts. PLNs are all about creating as well as sharing as well as autonomy for its users. Connectivism is about working cooperatively, meaning independently but in a shared environment. This article really helped me to bridge a connection between the Connectivist theory and PLNs.
3. Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge
This article really helped to define knowledge in the Connectivist theory. To know something, means that you are able to organize and connect ideas together. The author makes a brilliant point that the more connections you have to the idea, the stronger your knowledge of it is. It also states that it is more important to continue to search for more knowledge and connections than it is to be satisfied with what is currently known.
4. Connectivism: Its Place in Theory-Informed Research and Innovation in Technology- Enabled Learning
This article explains connectivism by taking a hard look at the other learning theories that set out to explain the way in which the world learns now. It explores research scenarios that allowed people to “cope with rapid change in the “information ecology””. I think that that is a great talking point for connectivism because it does act as a way to do this. It explains how this theory is expanding the development of new pedagogies that view a less important role of the facilitator and more important role on the autonomy of the student. The author states that connectivism is not the catch all of learning theories and needs to have more studies done in order to really evaluate its importance in the classrooms and virtual classrooms.
5. Communities of Practice: A Brief Introduction
This article explained what actually is done in a CoP and it helped me to connect it to PLNs and Connectivism. In a CoP, communities of people that have common goals and interests are sharing, collaborating and discussing ideas, solutions, and problems that have to do with their particular interest/goals. Through these interactions, new knowledge is formed and they are able to continue to gain more insight and advance in their endeavors. A CoP is a PLN and uses Connectivist theory to enhance the learning and networking.
6. Introduction to Connectivism
I like this slideshare because it broke down Constructivism in a very simple way. It also brought up that knowledge gained doesn’t only happen by making connections but by being able to travel across those networks of connections. This is important because it’s one thing to connect to an idea, but to be able to take that connection and connect it to something different is difficult. Knowing how to access that knowledge once the connection is made is crucial to retention.
7. Connectivism and Connective Knowledge
This is a great video that showcases how Connectivism acts as a source for finding new information. The author shows an Etch a Sketch and gives a complicated puzzle to solve. The solution to her problem is also directly related to Connectivism because in order to obtain the information that she needs, she will have to connect with people outside of her “box”.
8. Connecting with George Siemens
This video uses a great metaphor of Rhizomes for learning. It is described as an uncontrollable pattern. It asserts that learning needs to make connections outside of the normal entities. For instance, there have been biology studies that have reached over into the realm of engineering. Although these are two separate subjects, it increases more lines of connection and hence more knowledge. This video also describes the ecology of learning and that connectivism acts as a tool that will continually adapt, change and move along with the flow of information.
9. Communities of Practice
A Research Paradigm for the Mixed Methods Approach
This article focused on how CoPs are beneficial in a mixed methods approach to teaching. The four ways in which these CoPs show a shift from the normal paradigms of research include: they center on a specific problem that are deemed significant to obtaining knowledge, CoPs are all about shared practice of knowledge, CoPs are also about a shared identity or people that are connected by a common goal/interest, and lastly CoPs are operating under the idea that they are research based. They encompass all of the fundamentally basic principles of good research. This helped me to connect CoPs and PLNs because I think that the reason why these CoPs are so effective is because they are using PLNs to engage each other across further distances and topics with the stroke of a key.
10. Knowledge Networks and Communities of Practice
This article explains why communities of practice are so important for the business realm. In one statement it explained that companies have now figured out that “knowledge = power, so share and it multiplies”. This idea is synonymous with connectivism and the idea that in order to gain more knowledge more connections must be made through sharing, collaborating, creating, etc. This article also made the distinction between tacit knowledge that is rooted in people’s life experiences with explicit knowledge that is deliberately shared outside of people. This distinction also helped me to really see the reason why connectivism, PLNs and CoPs work so well together. You have a group of people, connected by common interests and goals, that are expanding upon their knowledge by sharing their own collective experiences and goals in effort to connect with others that can share insight, collaborate with and add to their ideas, solutions and questions.