- What is your perspective on the notion of a ‘fluid’ epistemology as proposed by Dede–that is, that knowledge is collectively negotiated and ratified as opposed to being ‘given’?
Dede brought up a number of different views that I had not thought about in the past. For example, I had never heard of the word “epistemologically” before reading this article, and I had never really challenged the “Classical Perspective” of knowledge. The Web 2.0 definition of knowledge: “collective agreement about a description that may combine facts with other dimensions of human experience, such as opinions, values, and spiritual beliefs” is something that initially I would think to challenge. I think that I think this way because of some of the lectures I have heard in the past from professors and help-desk workers assisting me with finding “valid information”. As I continued reading the article, and came across the section that discussed how most present educators choose to ignore certain aspects of Web 2.0 technology for various reasons, my thinking started to shift a bit. Why should students be limited to only the resources and tools that one professor may have to share? Many professors that I know have expressed their opinions that yes, just as Dede states, “social networking sites are useless or dangerous”. Many believe that unless a perspective comes from a “disciplinary scholar” it is not worth reading or researching.
According to the Dede text, “Many students who excel academically do not fare well later in life; the challenges of work, citizenship, and daily life do not resemble the multiple-choice items on high-stakes tests.” I can relate to this quote because I know a person very well who does extremely well on tests and would be considered “book smart”; however, this person struggles with day to day tasks and sometimes lacks what some call common sense. Would these types of people be better off if they had professors who believed in the Web 2.0 definition of knowledge? I believe someone who does take advantage of Web 2.0 creativity by using resources such as wikis, podcasts, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Flicker, RSS feeds, etc. will be more well-rounded overall- not just “book smart”.
2. How does connectivism relate to the epistemological shift described by Dede?
A significant trend in learning that the Connectivism text highlights is: “Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways”. As the video “Networked Student” shares, “Learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties this network is made possible by various tools of technology. The tools themselves are not as important as the connections made possible by them.” If you go out on that limb and are encouraged by educators to find that expert and ask them if they would be willing to share their expertise with you, you will make connections that you never thought were possible before in that traditional classroom relying on the “classical perspective” of knowledge.