Posted by: arieliondotcom | October 23, 2008

Confessions of a Connective-holic

Hi.  My name is Ariel.  And I’m a Connective-holic.  (You respond:  “Hi, Ariel!”) 

 I realized this  during yesterday’s (Wed, 22 Oct 08) second Elluminate session.  I look forward to these chats where the CCK08’ers converge much more than is healthy, I’m sure.  And I always feel guilty that I can’t participate more, both in just being present (because of work) or because of not knowing enough to make cogent comments.

This last point got me thinking so much that (GOD help me) I actually lost sleep over it last night, ended up dreaming about it and forgot to set the alarm this morning (waking up exactly 10 minutes before my carpool arrived whcih had me rushing about so madly that the dog still thinks I’m mad at him).  The thought that had me thinkintg was this:  Why do I feel guilty about not contributing more in the chats?  If, as we have been saying throughout the course, the knowledge is in the networks and not bottled up in myself or in one of you, then it’s not as if I failed somehow in not having it on the shelf to pull out at will.  I was simply not exposed to these learning theories, pedagogies, etc. over the course of my life.

And that term “exposed to” caught my imagination.  Becuase it made me think of an electrical wire which is insulated, over the end piece or over the wire itself, to prevent it from connecting in certain ways and encouraged to connect in others.

Isn’t that what we are talking about when we talk about Instructinal Design?  Especially when we discuss possible Connectivism Design (although I know that phrase “design” has some issues),   We set the participants of a course (no matter what age, K-12 or adult) up to connect.  The Connectivist approach is simply to remove a lot more of the insulation to allow a lot more connections, including those sparks that jump gaps we as the “designers” may not have even envisioned.

Judging from comments quoted in today’s Daily I am not the only one to find myself addicted to these “hook ups”, and according to the Cloudworks article  of this week, it is part of the human experience to seek out connections.  So it seems that the answer to my thirst for connections in order to gain knowledge is not shame at not having “stored” them somewhere in the past (because I was never exposed to those connections) but to simply accept the connections I am coming into contact with now.  To remove the insulation and let the sparks fly, both the expected and the unexpected, and to see what comes of it.

The first step is to accept that there is a Higher Power than trying to store knowledge to be dragged out later and found to be dried up.  It is the network, still living and sparking and there for the connecting, as best one can, when one can (and thankfully because of tools that capture those moments and those who are skilled and willing enough to use them that needn’t be synchronous anymore).  But we must beware of the danger of replacing these recorded sessions as our new “stored” knowledge.  They’re not the knowledge.  They’re just the tracers left by the sparks.  The knowledge only happens when we connect to it in a new way (for us) or reconnect as context and time change, making it essentially new knowledge.

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