Today’s learners are very different from learners in the past. In the past students were expected to maintain one line of communication at a time at any given time of the day. Whether they were communicating with peers or friends, receiving instruction from a teacher or discussing their day with a parent. One conversation at a time was the expectation. In some times and locations, it is still the expectation, but students today are capable of much more.
Today at any given moment, with today’s technology, a child can be texting a friend, messaging someone else on Facebook, and “tweeting” on Twitter during a phone call with their parent and all of that can be done using a cell phone. If they are sitting in front of a computer or video gaming system, their means of multitasking increases tremendously. As educators we need to keep up with these abilities in order to keep the students engaged. Connectivism is a learning theory that relates to the way students think today.
From using various networking sites student understand the idea or networking much more clearly than previous generation. They understand that you connect to new people through their personal friends and that once you connect to someone new, you are then connected to more people through the new friend. This related back to connecting ideas not only to their components, but their real life applications. This was something previous generations did not have the ability to do because they were not as connected to those around them.
Connectivism involves having lots of options, gaining information from non-living sources (such as the internet, blogs, articles) and connecting smaller ideas together to build larger more complex concepts and skills (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008). It fits the minds of today’s youth. So that bring the question, how can we bring this to the classroom?
I am open to any suggestions. For older student, my thoughts behind it are to include more online blogs and discussion boards in your lessons. Students can keep up with different threads and responses according to the skill or concept you are working on in class. Past that I would suggest including more real life applications of those skills. Use online menus or price guides to hypothetical create grocery lists, buy the student “ideal” cars or go out to dinner. Have them use that information to figure out their bill, financing, or total cost of the meal with tax and tip. For younger students, teach them early to be proficient in technology. They will need it the rest of their lives.
Davis, C, Edmunds, E, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved March 27, 2012 from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/