What is connectivism??

This is a term that is completely new to me, and I decided to do more research on the topic. I found that I really liked the concept behind it. Connectivism is a way of allowing students to “take control of their learning” and connect with other learners (through an online or digital setting). Students are tasked with sharing their knowledge and learning from others they may already know.

This topic can be connected to many other topics in the educational technology realm. Connectivism takes advantage of all the technologies that the digital age has come to offer. Students can search the web, write/read blogs, make VoiceThreads, collaborate through Google Docs, and many other things.

The teacher takes on the role of a facilitator. The teacher shows the students how to search the internet effectively and decide what information is relevant and reliable. The teacher also helps students connect, teaches them how to be respectful of other students, and ways to properly interact.

As educators, this is an important concept to consider. Is the textbook and curriculum really the “be all, end all,” or is it just a means that can be replaced with authentic learning. I tend to agree with the latter statement. The textbook and curriculum is there to support the teacher and the student. It shouldn’t be the only means to teaching.

I really like the ideas behind connectivism. Students are able to do research for themselves. They make the decisions regarding what is important and usable. They are then able to show their learning in their own way. (This appeals to using multiple means of expression.) However, I do think that students still need the personal contact with other students. I don’t think this type of learning should completely replace face to face contact. Students still need to learn how to interact with other students/people face to face. That is something that can’t really be done digitally.

What are your thoughts?


6 responses to “Connectivism??

  1. Hello, Danielle,

    I, too agree with the idea of letting students be in charge of their own learning. I think we have indeed relied too much on traditional textbook teaching (textbooks which also come with prescribed exams, support materials, in other words, they represent an entire ‘package’ of instruction).

    I believe the spirit of inquiry is a muscle, and that muscle needs to be strengthened in order for it to work. Connectivism is a really good way to work that muscle and see it exercise its powers.

    However, I still believe we have to teach a canon; a set of known facts and ideas that govern a particular area of knowledge. This is, on the surface, a more passive form of learning, but it does not have to be if a teacher gets creative and engages her students.

    Also, connectivism assumes the student has enough curiosity to search for knowledge. Do they always show the sense of wonder needed to embark on any discovery? Not really. My point is that connectivism has to be as closely monitored as any form of learning because it can become rote in itself. A student may find himself searching for information rather than searching for knowledge, and that could potentially be a not-so-constructive exercise.

    And, yes, I agree with you in that students very much need face-to-face contact; they need to learn to work together and even to care for each other in order to become the citizens we want them to become.

    Thank you for a thoughtful post. And congratulations on creating a very charming web page.

    –Claudia Zequeira


    • Claudia,
      Thank you for your reply. I completely agree with you when you said “I believe we need to teach a canon.” There are certain things that the students need to know, and, as educators, it is our responsibility to make sure they are taught these things. I think it’s important to remember/reference the standards we are teaching to and make sure the students are learning what they should be. I enjoyed reading your response!


  2. “Students still need to learn how to interact with other students/people face to face. That is something that can’t really be done digitally.”

    I disagree with that it cannot be done digitally. Online synchronous learning actually has a big following. By using Blackboard Collaborate or any other product of that sort can bring the face to face interaction to a digital field.

    On the other hand I do see the need for person to person contact in order for the student to grow as a person. Thank you for the amazing read!

    -Kyle Cole


    • Kyle,
      Thanks for replying! I should have been a little more specific in my blog. I agree with you in that face to face interaction can be done digitally. I was referring more specifically to personal contact. While the face to face part can be done digitally, I think the personal interaction is something that the majority of students need. Students need experience interacting with other people, in person. Some students have become so reliant on technology, that they don’t know how to act or what to do when they actually meet someone in person. That is really what I was referring to, and that could be another post in itself 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and sorry for any confusion 🙂


  3. You wrote: “I don’t think this type of learning should completely replace face to face contact. Students still need to learn how to interact with other students/people face to face. That is something that can’t really be done digitally.”

    I beg to differ! Although i love your post, as it exposed a term that I also am very curious about, I don’t agree with your last statement. What about skype, google hangouts.. FACETIME?? I just spent an hour on google hangouts, interacting with my classmates from another grad class. I could see them, hear them and we met completely online from the comfort of our homes. I “met” them while in pajamas. Face to Face interaction IS possible with new technologies! and they are especially helpful for some of our shyer students. =)


    • Bellmarie,
      Thank you for your reply. In reference to your comment “Face to face interaction is possible with new technologies.” The type of interaction I was referring to was actually meeting in person. While Facetime, Google Hangout, etc are fantastic (and I love to use them) there is nothing like meeting a person…physically, in person. I feel that students need to have personal interaction, that can’t be done through a computer (shaking hands, hugging). That type of connection is something that really needs to be done in person. I absolutely love the technologies that are available, and I think they have helped make online learning more personal.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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