Wikis and Connectivism - #3b

George Siemens’ thinking on “connectivism” is not only a fascinating mosaic of what we often discuss in the reform circles, but also an confluence with present and futuristic technologies. This half-hour presentation provides a focal point for us to really think about learning – are our classrooms really learning environments? What is the learning climate? What are the implications for change?

Akin to Friedman’s A World is Flat, Siemens (2006) outlines the accelerated changes in our society and how they are playing a role in all of our lives, including education. Specifically, the increased complexity and distribution factors lead to more individual-centered, but connected spaces – a network or jig-saw puzzle for which everyone has a contributing role. He goes on to say that “connections, not content, are the source of value” and that as educators, we not only need to integrate into the network, but also initiate, create and foster those “pipeline” connections (Siemens, 2006, slide 13).

The attention given to individual learners within a community of active participants is definitely a reason for using a wiki with adult vocational students. With a focus on health science students, the need for involved team work is vital and yet our society has begun appreciate and promote individual differences. These learning competencies reflect the work environment and wikis give an opportunity for experiencing them just as naturally in the learning environment.

There are many other relational points made in this presentation as I continue to ponder wikis as a learning tool. Siemens’(2006) emphasis on diversity and the need for multiple perspectives and on “learners as content creators” sit well with my understanding of the wiki concept. It certainly piggy-backs on the social constructivist perception of learning. His discussion of “know-where” being more important than “know-what” and “know how” speaks to the “capacity to access the knowledge that we need being more valuable than the knowledge that we currently possess” (Siemens, 2006, slide 16). Using wikis and other web-based tools minimizes the out of date information evident in the medical arenas.

Siemens, G. (2006). Connectivism: Rethinking learning. Presentation at Illinois Online Conference February 15, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2006 from


At 12:59 AM, Blogger Julie Romey said...

Marie - I was really drawn to the statement about the importance of "Know-Where". Although I hope to check out the entire presentation when I get a chance, I did go and look at the slide that talked about that concept (slide 16). The philosophy of our academy is that it is our job to teach our students where and how to find information, not to teach them to memorize all the answers. I have firmly believed this for several years, but have had a hard time arguing it with other people. I appreciate what Siemens said about the "half-life" of knowledge and that as new research takes place the knowledge that we hold becomes obsolete. That's a great point for me to use in defending our philosophy. If we truly want to develop life-long learners we need to provide our students with the tools to be able to continue to learn once they leave our doors.

I think you are on the right track with the connection between wikis and connectivism. It does seem like a technology that would fit in with Siemens thoughts.

At 6:17 AM, Blogger Marie C said...

We definitely think alike and you will enjoy listening to Siemens' other points in this presentation (he also goes into more depth about the shelf life of knowledge) - this really is an underlying concept for my values and beliefs about education...and that's why I keep trying to find mechanisms (such as wikis) to introduce to our learning environments!

At 11:19 AM, Blogger M. Yates said...

Marie, You are right that Wikis really do reflect a workplace. Students are coming together each contributing and playing off of each other but in the end creating one polished project. It is very hard to find good ways to have students reflect the type of work they will be doing later in life. I have to say that I would be interested in seeing a wiki-rubric how is something like this graded well?


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