I think we still need educators, from K-12, and Higher Education. We would even need more experienced educators to help and support our fellow educators and learners in this technology mediated learning environment.
This may imply that those educators could include some of us who are educators or learners in different domains and areas. Each of us could contribute to the education and learning of learners who are riding on a rapidly changing social and educational landscape, under different Web 2.0 learning platforms and spaces – Blogs, wikis, Nings, Facebook, Youtube, Twitters, Delicious, etc. These could complement and supplement the education and learning from and with the teachers and professors from K-12 and higher education.
When learners and educators (including us) are emerged in social and community learning networks, they could more closely be connected to each other. Further interactions and collaborations within such communities and networks would benefit both the educators and learners. These would be the essence of Wisdom of the Crowds due to the emergence of learning resulting, and that results in a gain in Social Capital benefiting the communities and societies.
These social networks and communities are pervasive. We could easily identify the blogging communities, Facebook, Wikis, Nings, Slideshares, Teachers Tubes, Youtubes, Twitterers and Mobile Communities where people are sharing their learning and resources on a level-learning ground.
The altruistic spirits of these educators and learners coupled with a passion of learning, a willingness of collaboration and sharing in their learning journey have already inspired others in joining the communities and networks.
Our Community on Connectivismeducationlearning was also evolved as a response to the need of connections and collaborations amongst educators, professors and interested expert learners and learners.
So, the outcome of a connectivist approach to learning will leverage the enriched distributed learning out of the informal learning networks, and this would complement and supplement the learning out of the formal education system.
We would become both educators and learners at the same time in our pursuit of life long and life wide learning.
What is important is the empowerment of our learners and ourselves (as learners and educators) in the learning process, so we could enjoy learning together. Our learner’s use of Personal Learning Environment (PLN), Web 2.0 and support from us as educators could greatly assist the learner to learn in a way that suit their needs and expectations – i.e. learning with whom, when, where, what, and how they would like to learn.
If we see ourselves as a learner (not just a teacher or educator), then we would be humble enough to learn from and through each other. This will remove the barriers which prevent us from reaching our fellow educators and learners, who may not feel comfortable learning from authorities who dictate the learning process.
When learning is distributed across the networks, then the learner could be able to learn the multiple perspectives of experts, fellow educators and learners. Such learning would be highly enriched when they are sourced from such distributed resources of networks, and communities rather than single source of information.
If our communities and networks are fully devoted to support our fellow educators and learners, then such practice would not only reinforce the importance of education and learning in our society, but could further support our educational institutions – our universities in particular in providing leading edge and 21st century education for our learners.
Would education and learning be everyone’s business? Would we need to rely on the endeavour and passions of our educators and learners to lead the way?
Are there still tensions between informal learning and formal education system?
What are some of the issues arising from the adoption of networked learning in formal education system?
How could we overcome those issues?