Connectivism...it's all the rage these days! But what does it mean? Is it learning theory? A pedagogy? What does it look like? What are it's implications for learning? Would it apply to gifted learners too?
This is (potentially) a huge topic (prolific writer and thinker Stephen Downes does it in just over 600 pages) ! But a very easy one to comprehend and explain. Well, sort of...
Let's take it from the top. Connectivism is a learning theory that was first proposed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Dubbed A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, connectivism is a pedagogy based on the realization that any knowledge, all knowledge, is (complex). Knowledge is not something we can package neatly in a sentence and pass along as though it were a finished product" (like I am trying to do here). "It is complicated, distributed, mixed with other concepts, looks differently to different people, is inexpressible, tacit, mutually understood but never articulated"
(Connectivism and Connected Learning: Essays on learning and learning networks. Downes, 611).
Let's let George Siemens explain his experience with connectivism.
Now watch the video below and see the implications for the learner in this theory. It's easy, all you need to do is connect the...
Downes (2005) lists the qualities of networked learning as:
What are the implications of these qualities for the gifted learner?
Nauta and Ronner define a gifted individual as a "quick and clever thinker, who is able to deal with complex matters; an individual who is autonomous, curious and passionate; a sensitive and emotionally rich person, who is living intensely. He or she is a person who enjoys being creative" (2009). Much like connectivism is about making connections along thin strands of knowledge, the gifted learner is also encouraged make connections in order to have a more complex understanding of their world. As gifted learners are encouraged to use learning strategies that represent the triadic spectrum for self-regulating and managing personal processes, behaviour and environment, there is often more freedom in a gifted classroom to explore connections and enrich understandings through connections to literature, videos, poetry, music, and any other piece of information. Furthermore, as gifted learners are often labeled as "creative" (which, really, we all are), the implications of connectivism are great, as it does not constrict creativity.
- technologically competent
- capable of complexity
In Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, Downes describes connectivist teaching and learning as consisting of four major sorts of activities:
1. Aggregation- content- delivered through a variety of sources (example: newsletter)
2. Remixing-make connections, and then keep track of these resources and connections through blogs, delicious, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
3. Repurposing- creating
4. Feeding forward- sharing with the world
Hmmm...certainly lots to think about over the summer.