Further reflection on learning and revolution

I dare not touch on the politics, because I am afraid of the strong “ism” associated with it.   

Here are my views:

1. I am passionate in embracing those transformation (big changes) in education and learning with communication, technology as enablers. 

2. I believe that network learning (or connectivism) opens up new opportunities and widen our horizons in learning.

3. Throughout the past decades, we have the computer, internet, then the web tools, and I agree that we are in the midst of big changes.  And that nothing is constant, but change is. 

4. But my questions are: Have we really changed our way of thinking?  Or have we changed our way of learning?  Ask any educator, learner and adminstrator and I think you may have different answers.

5. Learning theories could be changed. But why?  We need to have a new learning theory… for a purpose: I think it is to help us in understanding how we learn at this digital age, and learn better ways of learning, to explore all learning opportunities..and keep improving our learning experience…

Is that the purpose of Connectivism?

And George and Stephen have clearly explained their reasons in their papers and presentation… 

So we may need to look at the impact and outcome of such transformation before we could judge whether we are in the midst of learning revolution.  What is the impact on our society from a political, economical, social and religious… point of view?  What are the changes in values and long term impact on our society?  Are these changes sustainable?  How does it affect this and next generation? ….

How do all these compare to first and second industrial revolutions?

Can we call ourselves having a third industrial revolutions? 

Or a communication technology revolution? 

Or an education or a learning revolution? 

History will surely tell…. and these are our legacy.



A response to SARS case, connectivism and more reflections

I didn’t intend to use knowledge to equate to virus.  But it may be of interest to compare the distribution of knowledge in networks with the spread of virus in human.  It may also be worthwhile to understand the process of transmission of such viral disease from a scientific standpoint. But again, I am not an expert in this area… and I think there are already some research done… see the references in SARS on internet.
Surely there are already Network Analysis done on SARS case.  Network chains can be used to trace back the patients and the connections. But I am uncertain if it could explain the concept of “transmission or distribution” of knowledge under the banner of connectivism or not.  Are there any research done on this yet?
This also led me to reflect on an educational philosophy of Confucious:
I hear it, and I forgetI see it, and I remember

but it is only when I do it that I understand.

Some people just believe in the above statements, others will say, please prove it, using a scientific method.  Has the above been proven?  I am not sure….. It is yet a philosophy…

So when it comes to knowledge and learning, my experience is that I will truly understand connectivism when I do it… It works for me.. but how about you?

In SARS case, I believe that certain knowledge is distributed in the network.  May I borrow George’s concept on knowledge under connectivism?

The development of specific skills and mindsets of medical practitioners, researchers, educators, patients and government officials (and evern everyone) becomes as critical as, or even more so, than the possession of existing knowledge.  The ability to continue to learn and develop new knowledge replaces the importance of existing knowledge, or, what is known today is less important than the capacity to continue to know more….(George, 2008) (see http://elearnspace.org/Articles/systemic_impact.htm)

And so the emphasis is on the distribution of knowledge rather than the traditional acquisition of knowledge by individuals. 

I hope we could see SARS as a learning lesson for us, rather than just a disaster or epidemic.

George’s paper cited above stimulated me to ask:

  1. How to deal with the education dilemma? Online vs classroom learning.
  2. Which is more important? “Quality teaching/instruction vs autonomous valued learning” 
  3. Are we in an educational cross road or a crisis?
  4. Can we cater for all stakeholders’ interests? How?
  5. What are the reactions of educators, administrators, communities, teachers, learners to the transformation?