Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blog Post #6

So I watched Networked Student by Wendy Drexler. It is a video about Connectivism, which is a theory that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties. In Connectivism, there is no textbook. A student would simply find many viable resources on the web and organize them into his own textbook, which will eventually develop into his "personal learning network". A student of Connectivism takes advantage of many technological tools such as mp3 players, Google Scholar, RSS feeds, and url-sharing sites such as Delicious.

Nearing the end of the video, we are asked, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" The answer is clear and simple. The student still needs to be led in the right direction. I'm sure that a student that just jumps right into it without being educated about which sites are valid would use many sites that could be unreliable or biased. Students still need to be shown how to find and use the vast supply of technology-based tools, so there is still a strong need for an educated teacher in Connectivism.

Now, do I think this method of learning could work? Sure! This method could be a very efficient method of teaching, in my opinion. The only downside I see is this (again, opinion) - for the most part, students can be incredibly lazy. Connectivism seems to be made for a student that is self-driven and probably didn't need a teacher in the first place to succeed. I can see it being very difficult to get students to add to and develop their PLN outside of the classroom. Also, it seems that it would be absolutely essential for a student to have moderately fast internet access at the home, and some students and their families simply cannot fit it into their budget. Besides, these two drawbacks, I think that Connectivism could be highly successful!

Afterwards, I watched Welcome to my PLE, and it is a video about a young girl's PLN, or personal learning network. I have to say that her PLN is far more advanced than mine. I really have not even heard of most of these internet tools until Dr. Strange's class, and obviously, she is being taught this at an early stage. I still plan to develop my PLN however, and I aspire to have a great PLN like this young girl.


  1. Hi Zack,

    I agree with your argument that it may be hard for students to develop their PLN outside the classroom. I know many students who have online classes that require you to work at your own pace. This often creates a lot of difficulties for students when they put off all of the work till the very end of the semester and simply can't complete it on time. I could definitely see that as a problem for Connectivism. I think a good solution would be for teachers to have a check list for each week as Dr. Strange does for us. That way each student knows what should be completed week by week. Good luck in EDM310! Hope you have a great week!

  2. Hi Zack!
    I agree with you that the idea of Connectivism is possible. I personally like the idea much better than the current "lecture" method. I also agree with your concerns. My personal opinion is that this would require a transitional period. I'm sure that the idea of splitting classrooms by age over 100 years ago raised eyebrows and caused problems. I could only imagine the logistics they were faced with at the time. We think it seems logical and natural only because it is the norm to us now. I also think that there are lazy kids now that choose not to take part in their education. That will never change. It's our job to reach out to them and push them. The question is, which way will be more beneficial to them?
    Great blog! I enjoyed reading your opinion.
    Robin Hendricks

  3. Zack,

    You said, "It seems that it would be absolutely essential for a student to have moderately fast internet access at the home, and some students and their families simply cannot fit it into their budget."

    I'd beg to differ. A moderately fast Internet connect is required to LIVE.

    Keep up the good work!

    - Allie