Week 8: Learning Networks II

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’?

In some way, all knowledge is “given” (teachers, friends, siblings, parents, community members, the government, etc) and it is up to us to negotiate how we interpret its meaning and integrate it into our thought processes and actions.  Often as a child, I was given information only to question it in some other manner.  For example, once in 4th grade, my teacher stated that heat makes germs grow.  As I was assisting my mother in the kitchen, I discussed this with her since we were cooking and using heat.  Confused by the teacher’s earlier statement, I connected it to the task at hand in order to connect to my question, “will dinner make us sick because all of the germs were growing in the heat?”  My mother assisted me with understanding what the teacher was discussing past her statement.  But that happens all around us throughout our lives.  The connectivist theory is not a new action but a title given to an old action that is based in human nature.  Today, we continue to do this with a wider audience, at faster speeds, and with greater amounts of both valid and invalid information currently available. Just as the student who taught himself how to create a video from social networking, it is the social part that has not changed but rather the mode and media that we use to construct knowledge.

How does connectivism relate to the epistemological shift described by Dede?

After reading the comments below Dede’s article, A Seismic Shift Epistemology, one statement really stood out to me, “The claim of the article is not that adults trained in classical knowledge view knowledge differently when they interact with sites like wikipedia, but instead that kids raised in a Web 2.0 culture view knowledge differently.”  When viewed in this light, I think having to turn the topic of connectivism on its head and understand how students are collaboratively driven from an early age to determine the validity of a topic instead of relying on the “sage on the stage” to determine it for them (that was/is prevelant in classically derived knowledge) is a huge shift in epistemology.  We as educators are attempting to use old “methods” with new technology to investigate what is a legitimate belief from opinion.  As I read this statement by Dede, it is not the end result we are attempting to renew or revise for we want to arrive at at legitimate belief, but it is how that investigation is conducted that is the shift.  Maybe what this shift affords us is the space to challenge what may have always been challenged (even if it was just in casual conversation) before but lack the forum/platform to do so.

3 thoughts on “Week 8: Learning Networks II

  1. Melissa Glenn

    Your post, especially the parts about “with new technology to investigate what is a legitimate belief from opinion”, made me think about how students can use these tools to investigate for themselves and form an idea themselves. This is great, as long as they can question within some type of framework. Education is ultimately going to help them with their chosen career, and while some sort of investigation on how and why to do certain tasks in their new field is important, they should also understand the proper way to do this. If I were to hire an employee, I don’t know if I would appreciate someone who told me that they had found better ways to do everything I had just told them to do. If they slowly made presentations related to the research they had found regarding a better way to do something, then it wouldn’t be as difficult to the employer as a vast amount of criticism. In using Web 2.0 tools, there are many ways to politely encourage peer review, and these skills can also help students in their future lives and careers. It is in these personal learning networks that some social skills can also be learned.

  2. Eunsung Amii

    Yes.I agree with you that the connectivist theory is not a new action but a title given to an old action that is based in human nature. Knowledge is mostly given and conveyed by others. The difference of notions of Web 2.0 tools and connectivism from traditional education are how fast and how effective they enable us to interact with others through technology. So I think Web 2.0 and connectivism mean a lot now for both learners and educators. For example, I love face-to-face interaction, ask questions to make sure about my progress. If there has been developing many theories and tools to offset the weakness of online learning, I am willing to change my main learning resources and style. If we do not accept and actively participated in these movement especially as an educator, we may be able to find and gain little valuable learning experiences. We might risk being left behind at some point.

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