“The pipe is more important than the content of the pipe” (Siemens, 2004).
There is little doubt that learning has changed drastically over the last 40 years, especially with all of the advances in today’s technologically saturated society. I, personally, missed the computer age of learning with my first degree because I finished college before computers were highly prevalent. I had to use brick and mortar libraries for all of my research, which was a rich experience, but today seems highly inefficient.
As George Siemens illustrates with his quote about the pipe, our "ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today" (Siemens, 2004).
Siemens derived basic principals of connectivism and a few noteworthy ones being that 1) learning and knowledge depends on the diversity of opinions, 2) learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources, 3) currency is the intent of all connectivist learning activities (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008). Connectivism learning acknowledges the dynamic shifts where learning is no longer a private, singular activity. New learning tools are discovered every minute, and these tools alter how people operate and learn. Connectivism learning provides insight for learners to thrive in a digital era (Siemens, 2004).
My network is small by most comparisons but is a supportive example of the central tenets of connectivism. It has rapidly advanced my visibility into an overwhelming mass of information. So much so, that I find it hard to digest it all at times. One of the major advantages of having access to a network is that I can search the Internet, ask my social group for ideas, and post questions to related message boards. These connections bring me instant information from peers and experts. I use Google search and visit Facebook religiously. I value my LinkedIn groups for their diverse peer insight into my profession and education; and I especially like my blog reader because it functions as my virtual morning newspaper. I can receive news, blog posts or website information gathered into one location, thus customizing my morning paper just for me. Pursuing a master’s degree through Walden University has also exposed me to an entirely different way of learning. Because it is online based, I have more control over my education. The university is a highly connected information hub that gives me access to professors, other students, and endless online information. The one social technology that I have not explored is Twitter. As any typical adult learner, I have to see the value in something before I am motivated to learn about it, and I have yet to see my personal value in Twitter. I have come to realize that it has become increasingly critical for me to keep up with the changes in technology, the various ways of connecting, and simply learn how to learn on a daily basis(Siemens, 2004).
Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). A learning theory for the digital age. In eLearnspace organization online. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism