Group 3 – Personal Learning Networks II

This week Group 3 focused on the possibilities of connectivity in formal and informal learning. By taking a connectivist view of knowledge, more information is made available to students both inside and outside of the classroom. Students can begin to construct their own knowledge bases by creating learning situations through hands-on interactions with information building.

Shelby mentions that some of this week’s ideas were new to her as she connected some of those ideas to her personal experiences.  She discusses how she was quick to challenge Dede’s definition of Web 2.0 Knowledge because she has never been supported in using Web 2.0 by her previous instructors, but through the readings this week, she has been reconsidering her initial impulse, stating “why should students be limited to only the resources and tools that one professor may have to share?” Shelby also discusses how less traditionally academically adept students might learn more through Web 2.0 Knowledge sources that prepare them for more than standardized tests as they are introduced to more tools that can help them access a wider variety of information.

Eunsung, too, discusses how Web 2.0 knowledge can be a new concept for her, both as a student and as an educator.  She has become more familiar with connectivist learning methods through her college classes, and she can see the value in having a wider selection of experts, believing that “learning is and should be continual process and connected not only with teachers and other students also with experts and communities where people gather for related topics to share and make meaningful way of learning.”  Eunsung also emphasizes that the distinctions between Classical Knowledge and Web 2.0 Knowledge are most evident in the advent of lifetime learning goals.  Learners do not stop learning when they have stepped out of the classroom, and instead most ongoing learning throughout adulthood comes through every day sources and not through traditional classroom lectures.

Rachel speaks specifically to her situation as an educator in a small nation where a relatively limited number of experts can be supplemented through Web 2.0 Knowledge sources to directly impact the outcomes for future generations in the workplace.  She also discusses MOOCs, placing distinctions between how self-motivated learners can gain knowledge through more learner-centric classrooms or also through more traditional presentations.  Rachel questions where these new developments might be headed, believing that “it is difficult to imagine what education and assessment will look like in the next 10-20 years but we can be sure that key assessment groups (e.g. Cambridge) are looking at how people are learning with Web 2.0 and mobile technologies.”  With both macro- and micro-assessment playing such a large role at the moment, it is a valid question to ask.

I, on the other hand, pointed out some flaws in the arguments put forth this week in our readings, but I also agreed that connectivity has a farther reach for information gathering that could be beneficial to learners.  The importance of critical thinking and evaluation of content and sources will only become more important as Web 2.0 Knowledge inches closer into the mainstream of education.  “Recognizing that connectivist learning is more than just interacting with content (even digital content), its success actually hinges on learners being able to justify their processes for finding and using certain sources whether the source is an expert in the field or an unknown blogger.” Developing the necessary critical thinking skills are vitally important for each new learning situation.

Together this week, Group 3 found interesting ideas about the perceived differences between Classical Knowledge and Web 2.0 Knowledge that lead us to relate these new concepts to our own prior knowledge and experiences with emerging learning technologies.  By making personal connections to the readings, we were able to critique and analyze some of the authors’ assumptions about learning and apply them to our own learning environments.  Through this week’s readings, Group 3 continued to evolve our individual understandings of Web 2.0 Knowledge and how we can use emerging technologies to encourage new understandings in our current and future students.