Sunday, February 7, 2010

Connectivism: Reflections on Mind Map

My network of information sources resides primarily in the systems of school, work, and worship. Beyond these main areas which support programmed activities and where I interact with strangers, family, friends, and others, is a fourth, less differentiated area, of the same individuals, with similar means of contact, which includes community groups and various informal alliances. Whether it is people or databases providing information and learning activity, access is through channels of established relationship such as membership in an organization, followed by secondary types of inclusion, such as subscription to a database or membership in a social network, and this in turn is supported by an array of techniques and devices, such as using an online search to locate and evaluate a product that has been recommended by a friend through e-mail.

Each day I work on a computer using the Internet to download and upload information from servers in different states. Software provides a text summary and an audio component. I contact my employers who are in another state by phone and email if there are questions. I use software that sets up templates and provides encrypted data to protect privacy, and word processing programs with specialized dictionaries. I worship in a physical building but am notified of events and other news through e-mail, Facebook, and Meetup most of the time, with occasional phone calls, which may be a cell phone or another type, and at one time my phone was a USB device. Attending school is done entirely online. Most of my contact with the school is by e-mail, rarely by phone, and all assignments are made and completed online. Most of the resources used are online
, with the only physical resource being textbooks which were mailed to me after an online registration that followed learning about the school through online searches.

The description above reflects a massive change in the way that I learn, because most of the technology I have just described was not in existence for the majority of my life. I think that e-mail and searching online have been the digital tools which best facilitate my learning, and these are used on a daily basis, several times a day, whenever I have questions. My learning networks support the central tenets of Connectivism by use of technology, abundance of information, and learning through forming networks of connections where knowledge resides, and interacting with these.

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