If you’re not reading the Connectivism Blog by George Siemens you should. I find his theories of learning and education as influenced by the Read/Write Web to be really interesting and in many cases profound (at least for my feeble brain.) But it’s just such a mind shift when you start thinking about how these technologies are all about connections, connections to people, to ideas and to information. It’s that last that he is writing about today:
As a learner, I need a way to have a connection back to the original knowledge source. Knowledge reflexivity is simply a means of ensuring that as the original knowledge source changes, we have a connection which ensures we remain current. The way most education is designed today makes this very impractical (imagine a designer emailing each learner who has taken a course informing them of a core knowledge change). The issue stems from the left over remnants of learning design from a society and era of greater stability. But reality has changed for learners. If I take a course, I should have some level of reflexivity for some period of time.
A couple of things in there jump out at me, the first being the phrase “an era of greater stability.” This is what I’ve been talking about when I say that we as educators don’t own the content anymore, that we can’t rely on traditional texts the way that we used to. Problem is that so many educators are trying to hold on to that design because it’s easy and familiar. I also like the idea of reflexivity with knowledge, that it’s a relationship, not just something we acquire.
So how do we stay connected to a knowledge base that is in flux? My favorite tool:
How can knowledge reflexivity be designed into existing learning processes? Probably the easiest method is some type of variation of RSS. Those who follow blogs (and use an aggregator) will understand that RSS is simply a means of staying aware of changes in blogs (or any other information source). Rather than requiring a learner to continually access a resource to determine if it has changed, an aggregator automatically performs the function. It’s a time saving process, but more importantly, ensures that the learner remains current and aware on a particular subject.
That is certainly how I stay connected these days. I don’t know what I did B.B. (before Bloglines.) Good stuff.