I resonate with Jenny’s views on sustaining communities, her insights on the Community of Practice, and the challenges we all face in sustaining networks and community of practice.
I think educators and learners are leading multi-visions and missions in the journey of life long and life wide learning. It’s similar to the metaphor of having virtual learning flights that I mentioned at the end of the course of CCK08, where you visit the virtual world of learning.
People have already landed on the wonderland of “Connectivism”, and some are exploring other different virtual flights or avenues in their wayfinding and sensemaking. I suppose most of “us” have gone to the stage of putting those theories (whether it’s Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, Actor Network Theory (ANT) and Complexity and Chaos Theory, or Social Network Theory) into practice. Mere connections and discussion may not necessarily fulfill our needs. Educators have developed interests in exploring how each of those new social network tools Web 2.0 could be integrated into their connections and interactions as they navigate through the Web, and putting them into action. The emphasis is more in sharing and contributing to our own families and closed personal networks (strong ties), the personal communities of practice (not only for the CCK08 community), and social and academic networks and communities (weak ties). This time with an ever bigger wave (some obvious, some yet to be revealed) of learning using a macro, adaptive but systematic approach (wise connections, smart time management, macro and micro views of education and learning integrated). Community of Practice could fulfil the desire of our educators and learners in weaving together the new knowledge and learning they have experienced throughout the networks and the Web, and share and learn in a collaborative manner.
Have the concepts of meme and “selfish genes” taken on a new coat? This time with a more refreshing dress of “wise meme” and “altruist genes”. This is evidenced by the work of Nellie, Cris, Frances, Doris whose work and contributions to the communities are fantastic. And many other leaders in the field, George, Stephen, Terry, Howard, Jay, Nancy, Jane and Tony etc. who have led the informal education and learning movement, and continued in building communities of practice. These social networks and learning communities all foster a climate of active learning and change that is conducive to life long and life wide learning. Such transformations could take months or even years to reap their fruits in society and community.
I suppose many of our fellow participants are still observing how these communities of practice or networks unfold. It’s great to witness such great changes in the blogosphere and virtual communities. And learn through such changes. We are observers, theorists, thinkers, reflectors, and practitioners within the networks or communities.
It takes a year to grow crops, tens of years to grow people, and perhaps many tens of years to grow communities. However, under the current learning ecology, will it just take months to grow the community?
I sincerely hope that there will be more interactions and activities happening in the ConnectivismEducationLearning Network in the coming weeks or months.
I will endeavour to play an active part in the community ConnectivismEducationLearning – you will get what you give. Will you?