Connectivism (A PLN Perspective)

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The above graphic reflects my PLN (Personal Learning Network) from a “connectivism” perspective on learning.  Not only does it reflect some critical resources I gain knowledge and insight from, it is also a personal reflection of how I prefer to learn.  As an mobile device proponent, I am also an avid user.  My personal devices all have well-organized folders full of my most heavily used resources.  Within a matter of 10 minutes, I can adequately peruse my favorite apps, websites, news aggregators and social sites, quickly gathering new story headlines and digging deeper as desired.  On a leisurely Sunday morning, I might opt to spend an hour or more digging in to the stories and news I missed during the week.  The main thing I have come to realize is that the commitment to learning takes a relatively considerable amount of time.  Staying abreast of industry news, technology innovations, etc is a real commitment.

Probably my favorite three resources for information are FlipBoard, AppAdvice and CNET.  All three have their place, and if I am short on time and hit those three, I can feel pretty good about my time spent.  FlipBoad serves as a fantastic personalized news feed/aggregator source.  My personal feeds include roughly 30 topics/sources.  I have fine tuned it over time and frequently try adding new sources to my feed.  CNET helps me stay up to date on the latest technology innovations.  AppAdvice serves as an excellent source of app news and updates and helps me stay on top of the latest app and platform updates for IOS.

In terms of interaction, my experience is largely consumer driven.  That is, I am excellent at consuming information versus asking questions and interacting.  One of my endeavors is to do a better job of interacting as I develop my PLN.  I see Twitter as an excellent source for just that.  I prefer it greatly over Facebook as it allows me to control the information I see better, and focus on headlines that are interesting to me.

I personally have found that the learning theory of “connectivism” certainly helps explain the value and make sense of PLN’s in general.  That is, connectivism is often described as, “a learning theory for the digital age”, as it highlights the value of your personal learning network and even suggests a greater value in the network than in the current state of knowledge.  I would agree that learning happens through social connections and that it can certainly take place outside of myself (core concept of connectivism).  However, as it applies to me, my PLN is certainly more inward focused, or set up to feed me information.  I don’t view it so much as a community, as a network set up to help me learn.  In that, it probably doesn’t fully reflect an accurate view of connectivism.  It is my full intention to help my PLN better do so in the future as I look to create a more interactive experience for myself and others I follow and learn from.

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