Web 2.0 technologies are intrinsically interlinked with connectivism, the learning theory brainchild of George Siemens positing learning through connected networks. Specifically, in a learning environment whose very composition suffers from what Gonzalez refers to as the “half-life of knowledge,” the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete, it is imperative that learners be able to find knowledge on their own terms relevant to their own needs” (Siemens, 2005, p. 1).
Siemens presents the following principles of connectivism:
*Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
*Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
*Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
*Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
*Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
*Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
*Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
*Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision (Siemens, 2005, p. 1).
Connectivism and Web 2.0 Technology
When I considered this week’s discussion I immediately went to my computer and typed into my address bar (which is set to search automatically), the prompt “web 2.0 learning tools,” and the results were fantastic, as usual. The results would have been similar and different had I chosen a different browser, which there are times I opt for second or third browser search engine options. In fact, my computer houses no less than five browsers at any time, my favorites being Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Critics opine that search engines provide too much information to sift through; however, discerning eyes are oft able to spot relevant information from amongst the clutter. Certainly, as the search engines continue to evolve towards Web 3.0 technologies, incorporating semantic word searches and further customizing their offerings, they will indeed become even more integral to our lives. Further, with the advent of mashup technologies, it is highly likely there will be programming / filtering options available wherein I can customize my own searches myself if not now, in the very near future.
In light of the post, I do want to offer up several other possibilities such “Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps to help you LEARN” http://oedb.org/library/features/top-25-web20-apps-to-help-you-learn. Being a research and science junkie I was immediately drawn to the site “postgenomic.com” only to discover that it had moved and become nature.com blogs located at http://blogs.nature.com/. The site’s purpose is still the same: to combine science, math, and technology information and put it together in sensible form for digestion. Additionally, there are links for further detailed information relevant to each topic. However, I was not surprised in the least to see that it had altered location, in the digital world where everything, including information, moves faster than one person can keep track of; it is no surprise that there have already been changes along the way.
Yet another resource specifically designed with web 2.0 tools in mind for learning is a series of articles “Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0: Parts 1, 2 and 3” (Benzinger, 2006) wherein he provides a detailed list of excellent 2.0 tools for education divided into categories such as organizers, teachers, club and management, grade books, mathematics, to do’s and note taking, media sharing, learning and research (always my favorite), media sharing, calendars and miscellaneous to name a variety of options.
Benzinger, B. (2006, September 29). Back to school with the class of web 2.0: Part 1 [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.solutionwatch.com/512/back-to-school-with-the-class-of-web-20-part-1/
Benzinger, B. (2006, October 6). Back to school with the class of web 2.0: Part 2 [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.solutionwatch.com/515/back-to-school-with-the-class-of-web-20-part-2/
Benzinger, B. (2006, October 26). Back to school with the class of web 2.0: Part 3 [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.solutionwatch.com/519/back-to-school-with-the-class-of-web-20-part-3/
Siemens, G. (2005, Jan). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Top 25 web 2.0 apps to help you LEARN. (2007). Retrieved from http://oedb.org/library/features/top-25-web20-apps-to-help-you-learn