Although her context was somewhat different, Barbara Ganley eloquently asks and answers my question:
“Why, then, am I worried about all of this? Because it’s too easy to stay in places I like and listen to people I admire and leave it at that. It’s too easy to slip into smugness, to be self-congratulatory.”So late now in my life, challenging myself to understand more deeply, I’ve moved out of my comfort zone into the transparency of connectedness and connected learning seeking that knowledge. That I’ve found colleagues who have articulated this challenge of uncomfortableness (and I totally recognize that they are in a different place on this journey), I thank you-- for you’ve contributed to my moving forward.
“I think we’re all still learning how to be connected, …and where our comfort level begins to stray into uncomfortable territory.” –Fleep
“If I decide to participate publicly in a class with 2000 students enrolled, a “massively open online course”, what is the price? …the “price is transparency”. I suspect that’s a clue to my hesitation. …do you worry that someone else will have already posted every thought you have and so why should you bother? What is the CCK08 course costing you?” –WendyWendy, I suspect increasing transparency is the price for me, although I’ve not been worried that others will already have posted; I have hesitated as I read complex writings by learners who are far more expert than I- What silliness on my part— the connected learning in this course, the beauty is —that “one size does not fit all” –that our varied experiences contribute to our varied understandings –that connecting these understandings to where I now am can lead to better connections and deeper connected learning. And it’s been through colleagues in this course that I’ve come to realize that so much more fully:
“One might think that the disagreements in our individual responses to the theory of connectivism might be due to the fact we've read different things, or that we've read things differently; but I now suspect that our diverse understandings are directly the result of our varied 'prior experiences'. After all, we have to 'connect' these new ideas, to existing understandings.” --The Clever Sheep
“What I'm able to connect with first will depend on my existing conditions and context. A node that's right next to me and I can clearly relate to will enable me to make a conceptual leap in understanding, which will then facilitate another, and another until eventually I've come to realise a far greater understanding of the subject that I possibly could have without the nodes present. You might say they act as a roadmap for learning perhaps.” --Mike BogleKeith’s closing sentence of his “Grounded Post” really resonated with me:
“I think the course is like my garden … blossoming through difference and sameness.”
I’d been out in my gardens, though it’s not spring here, but fall— so instead of blossoming, there’s fading with that similar difference and sameness. The course and the garden do share that connectedness. And for me, not only that connectedness, but also connections to my ferns that are fast fading and the mint in the veggie garden which is blooming in places I’d not suspected. There it was— distributed, rhizomes, nodes, growing, making connections. I looked at these plants and the readings with new perspective and understandings. Some seven years ago, a friend shared a node of a fern plant that I lovingly planted on the shady side of our home. This year I actually had to decide whether to enlarge the bed or pull out some of the many new nodes (I enlarged the bed), taking time to notice clearly for the first time how the fern grew. The small mint had been carefully planted in the veggie garden two years ago. It has distributed itself from one end of the fence to the other across the back, connected, still growing.
As with me, I’ve connected with new nodes and am growing, having passed through new seasons of my life, though some more dormant than others. This weeks’ major course concepts now somewhat more clear (and I anticipate further learning as I continue to reach out to nodes of various networks) because of the connections.
One view --that knowledge is obtained from the network.
Another that knowledge is produced by a network (downes) --that
“connective knowledge is knowledge OF the connections that exist in the world. It is knowledge about how such connections are created, and what impact, or effect, such a system of connections has. It is knowledge about how we see such connections, how we observe them, and how we observe their results. …connectivism is a new type of knowledge, but it is not independent of other types of knowledge. We need to be able to see connections, and we need to be able to count them, in order to talk about them” --DownesAnd lastly the view that:
“curriculum is not driven by predefined inputs from experts; it is constructed and negotiated in real time by the contributions of those engaged in the learning process. This community acts as the curriculum, spontaneously shaping, constructing, and reconstructing itself and the subject of its learning in the same way that the rhizome responds to changing environmental conditionsEach of these suggests to me, if I’ve understood correctly--distributed, diverse, autonomous, connected, open learning which I find particularly appealing and applicable to my practice. When Downes suggested the pedagogy that flows from these concepts --of teacher demonstration and modeling with student practice and reflection, it totally resonated with me! I’ve done that! Another clear connection –my experiences in national board certification late in my classroom journey had assisted me in concluding much the same--- And when he continued:
In a sense, the rhizomatic viewpoint returns the concept of knowledge to its earliest roots. Suggesting that a distributed negotiation of knowledge can allow a community of people to legitimize the work they are doing among themselves and for each member of the group, the rhizomatic model dispenses with the need for external validation of knowledge, either by an expert or by a constructed curriculum. Knowledge can again be judged by the old standards of "I can" and "I recognize." If a given bit of information is recognized as useful to the community or proves itself able to do something, it can be counted as knowledge. The community, then, has the power to create knowledge within a given context and leave that knowledge as a new node connected to the rest of the network.” --Cormier
“Learning, in other words, occurs in communities, where the practice of learning is the participation in the community. A learning activity is, in essence, a conversation undertaken between the learner and other members of the community. This conversation, in the web 2.0 era, consists not only of words but of images, video, multimedia and more. This conversation forms a rich tapestry of resources, dynamic and interconnected, created not only by experts but by all members of the community, including learners.” --Downesmy level of excitement rose and I made the connections to the learning and work I’ve been and will be doing (I am so very honored and humbled) with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach regarding online communities of practice! I do believe the word tapestry truly paints a picture that represents Downes’ thoughts; I’d rather though refer to changing “landscapes” that flow with the seasons, with the growth of new nodes for the ferns and the mint, that nurtured by expert and novice participation, connect to new networks and yet unknown possibilities for growth--
Just in this writing, my connectedness has grown and my view of the changing landscape has altered-- As more leaves fall here and the ferns brown and collapse in preparation for sleep only to grow in the spring, I eagerly anticipate the growth I’ll experience through the nodes I’ll connect to in the weeks to come with this new spring of my learning--