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What is Worth Learning? New Learning Theories for the Digital Age.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Worth Learning? New Learning Theories for the Digital Age."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Worth Learning? New Learning Theories for the Digital Age

2 Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age George Siemens 01.htm 01.htm

3 How its All Changed! Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn.

4 Only 40 years ago Learners would complete the required schooling and enter a career that would often last a lifetime. Information development was slow.

5 KNOWLEDGE HAS a HALF-LIFE The half-life of knowledge was measured in decades. Today, these foundational principles have been altered. Knowledge is growing exponentially. In many fields the half-life of knowledge is now measured in minutes, months and years.

6 Gonzalez (2004) One of the most persuasive factors is the shrinking half-life of knowledge. The half-life of knowledge is the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete…

7 No Way to KNOW it All…...Half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months according to the American Society of Training and Documentation (ASTD).

8 NEW WAYS OF TEACHING To combat the shrinking half-life of knowledge, organizations have been forced to develop new methods of deploying instruction.

9 Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime requiring totally new skills. New ways of bringing employees up to speed will be developed using simulations and smart devices. NEW WAYS OF LEARNING

10 LEARNING takes place MOSTLY Informally– Outside the Classroom 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 – through communities of practice (peer sharing), personal networks (chat, blogs, email, research), and through completion of work-related tasks (hands-on learning).

11 LEARNING NEVER ENDS Learning is a continual process, coursing a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.

12 Some questions to explore in relation to learning theories and the impact of technology and new sciences (chaos and networks) on learning: Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking. Many of the processes previously handled by learning can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology. Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed). THE TECHNOLOGY THAT LEARNS

13 CLASSROOMS ARE DIFFERENT How is learning impacted when knowledge is no longer acquired in the linear manner? Our brains are parallel processors. Our students are learning to multi- task by using computers. New career requirements will demand parallel thinking in high information flow processes.

14 CURRENT & RELEVANT? What adjustments need to made with teaching strategies when technology performs many of the cognitive operations previously performed by learners (information storage and retrieval). How can we continue to stay current in a rapidly evolving information society?

15 How Will Classrooms Change? How does teaching address moments where performance is needed in the absence of complete understanding? What are the impacts of networks and complexity on learning? File sharing, blue tooth technology, and wireless PDAs have the capabilities now of helping students learn connectivity & collaboration.

16 NEW SKILLS Currently the most valuable skills to industry include complex pattern recognition and interpretation of diverse futuristic scenarios. Increased recognition of interconnections in differing fields of knowledge allows hardware systems to have knowledge. How are we preparing students to succeed?

17 Alternative Ways of Thinking Connection making as a learning activity begins to define learning in the digital age. New theories in education concede that we can no longer personally experience everything OR acquire all the information that we need to act effectively.

18 3 Cs We will derive our competence from forming connectionsnetworking with other people or other resources. We will need collaboration, community, and connectivity to be effective, current, and knowledgeable.

19 Karen Stephenson states: Experience has long been considered the best teacher of knowledge. Since we cannot experience everything, other peoples experiences, and hence other people, become substitutes for knowledge.

20 Woodrow Wilson I not only use all my own brain power, but all the brain power I can borrow from anyone else.

21 NEW WAYS OF THINKING… ScienceWeek (2004) quotes Nigel Calder Todays Complex Information appears as a cryptic form of order. Meaning exists – the learner's challenge is to decode or recognize the patterns which appear to be hidden.

22 FINDING MEANING IN CHAOS Meaning-making and forming connections between specialized information sources (collaboration, community, and connectivity) are now vital activities.

23 THINKING… recognizes the connection of everything to everything. Gleick (1987) states: In weather, for example, this translates into what is only half-jokingly known as the Butterfly Effect – the notion that a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform storm systems next month in New York (p. 8).

24 A Network can simply be defined as connections between entities. Computer networks, power grids, and social networks all function on the simple principle that people, groups, systems, nodes, entities can be connected to create an integrated whole.

25 Ripple Effects Alterations within the network have ripple effects on the whole. Literally, we ARE all connected. Understanding how and taking advantage of that fact will be a new way of thinking, teaching, and learning.

26 Nodes (information transfer stations) always compete for connections because links represent survival in an interconnected world Nodes that successfully acquire greater profile will be more successful at acquiring additional connections. In a learning sense, the likelihood that a concept of learning will be linked depends on how well it is currently linkedhow well it is being given attention

27 Teachers, Ideas, Databases Nodes (can be teachers, ideas, communities) that specialize and gain recognition for their expertise. Anyone that has a greater chance of connectivity and recognition will have a greater influence on the learning communities. Isnt that what every teacher wants? To gain a greater chance of making a difference? Teachers, however, are competing with all other nodes in the community (games, chat, blogs, etc.).

28 The Ability to KNOW New information is continually being generated & acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical. One must detect what is OLD and what is current information.

29 Principles of Connectivism: Learning and knowledge rests in the diversity of opinions. The more heads we put together with different points-of-view (diversity), the better our solution is likely to be. Collaboration makes it possible for students to learn different points-of- view.

30 CAPACITY The Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known Nurturing and maintaining connections (collaborations, community) is needed to facilitate continual learning. Ability to see connections between facts, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.

31 BEING CURRENT Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities. Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information are seen through the lens of a shifting reality.

32 Solutions change While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow…. due to alterations in time and situations…. therefore LEARNING CANNOT STOP.

33 Connectivity must be Constant Knowledge that resides in a database needs to be connected with the right people in the right context, at the right time in order to be classified as learning. Staying connected means constantly updating our knowledge. Staying current is the only way to stay knowledgeable.

34 Information Flow=Email, Web,etc. Information flow within an organization is an important element in organizational effectiveness. In a knowledge economy, the flow of information is the equivalent of the oil pipe in an industrial economy.

35 WHY ClassServer? Creating, preserving, and utilizing information flow should be a key organizational activity.

36 HEALTH of a LEARNING Community The health of the learning community depends on effective nurturing of information flow. Within social networks, Hubs are well-connected people who are able to foster and maintain knowledge flow. Change Agents create effective knowledge flow, enabling understanding of critical information that supports change.

37 PERSONAL LEARNING We, personally, can learn exponentially when we make connections to our own small worlds of knowledge through collaboration, community, and connectivity. Pattern recognition (making sense out of mounds of data) is the key to digital information resources.

38 School Example At Maricopa County Community College a system project links senior citizens with elementary school students in a mentor program. The children listen to these grandparents better than they do their own parents, the mentoring really helps the teachers…the small efforts of the many- the seniors – complement the large efforts of the few – the teachers. (2002).

39 Multi-generational Connectivity This amplification of learning, knowledge and understanding through the extension of a personal network is the epitome of Connectivism.

40 Conclusion: Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today. When knowledge is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill.

41 Life-long Learning Skills As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses. Information Literacy & Research are life-long survival skills. Teaching SCANS in all areas of the curriculum will be valuable to all students for a life time.

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