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.