#Change11 #CCK12 What kind of connections do we want at this digital age?

Aren’t we all looking for connections in the networks and in real life?

Why do we need connections?  Jannalou says:

“I am a person who prefers solitude to a crowded, noisy coffee shop, and who will seek out a quiet corner at a party, even when there are plenty of friends around.

So I enjoy being alone. I’m an introvert, so that makes sense. (I behave much like an extrovert, but I firmly believe that has more to do with behavioural programming overtaking and sabotaging internal wiring than it does my actual nature and personality.) I have called this blog my “hermiting blog” specifically because of this sense of disconnect that I feel in crowds of people. I do not find groups to be engaging or energising… they are simply draining.

Yet, in spite of this need for solitude, I feel an overwhelming drive to forge connections with other human beings. The need for connection to God is stronger, but this desire for connection with another person – it is, I believe, what drives most people to pursue romantic relationships.”

She continues: “Solitude is not the same as isolation, and it is not loneliness. It is merely the state of being alone for a period of time. Some people are only alone when they are asleep; others, like myself, actively seek out solitude on a regular basis. We need time alone to recharge, to grow, to nurture our inner selves.”

I share some of the views of Jannalou.  I think solitude is very important for personal reflection and learning.  This may stem from my views of the world and experience when learning and working with others, with technology and networks, where connections could be healthy and fruitful on one hand, but challenging on the other hand.  It seems to me that the kind of connections would make a big difference, especially in the establishment of relationships, and in learning over networks and technology.

In this amazing talk by Sherry Turkle:

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.

Are we leading a life which relies heavily on connections, based on technology?  In a world where we seem to be so busy all the time, that we won’t even bother to have a conversation with each others, are we passing by each others, without much attention on the message, or bother to listen to others’ message?

How would we be able to establish relationship, and maintain connections if those conversations are just superficially touched on?

How would we expect to understand and lead others if we don’t practice empathetic listening and reflective learning ourselves?

There is another side of the technology mediated connections and conversation. Here in my post:

May I add that this is where we could get our connective and collective wisdom from? Aren’t we once very creative as kids?   Our creativity gradually gets lost as we tried to march through the busy life – the manic society.  We have been too busy in trying to do the things right, as is expected in our formal education, learning and that at work.  That sounds great, in terms of performance in study, at work.

However, are those sufficient for us (me) to do when it comes to personal development and social involvement?  How would creativity be instilled at work and learning at this digital age?  Should we concentrate on what’s most important and valuable in our study or at work only?  Do we need to connect in a way that could both satisfy our needs and passion but also challenge our wisdom of knowledge, learning and living? What spark the most creative part of our life?

We are basing upon the emotional selection of memes in our sharing, and memes play a big part in creativity development.  ”Constant, rapid “mutation” of information during communication generates endlessly varied creations that nevertheless adhere to modular input conditions.”

Photo credit: from Flickr

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Stephen for the referred link.

CCK11 Connection with networks and communities

Lindsay shares here on language and logic:

How would *anyone* go about explaining something with no linguistic or propositional characteristics? Without language and logic, how do we communicate?

Widged responded with:

As educator, our focus is rather on instructional design. Our task is not to understand how learning happens, that’s what cognitive scientists do (cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists). Our task is to use the knowledge provided by others as to how learning happens to design instruction that works. Our job is to implement.

If I understand Widged correctly, then he was emphasising on the instructional design rather than an understanding of how learning happens.  Should an educator (as a learner or knowledgeable other) understand how learning happen?  If not, how could an educator help the learners in learning? Besides, why would an educator use the knowledge provided by others to design instruction that works?  Would the educator need to work with the learners in the design of instruction?  Is our job as an educator just to implement?

Frances in her response to Lindsay’s post includes slides here. Frances concludes: Connectivism as personal theory – allows practitioners to legitimise what they are doing (Cormier).  Connectivism as a knowledge network, learn from itself, include ANT, SST and other descriptive theories, BUT need rich case studies to provide empirical base.

Is Connectivism a personal theory of learning? I think it tries to explain how and why learning occurs based on connections, within oneself cognitively, conceptually, and with others socially through networks.  So successful learning would depend on one’s connection with others and artifacts – or connectivity with engagement and communication in networks.

So what does it mean to be connected with others, or artifacts?  Would people need to connect with others based on a communication model – using language and logic?  May be if we want to understand each others’ thoughts, we need to go beyond the “traditional” understanding of the typical communication model in networked learning.

Photo: wikipedia

How does communication work?  Communication involves a sender encoding the message, transmitting the message via the media, and receiver decoding the message.  So, what are the assumptions here?  An understanding of others requires way beyond the expressed message – especially in writings in social media, where body languages are absent.  The sender may provide hints about his/her emotions based on emoticons and express feelings through tones of the language.  A TRUE understanding of others requires an open, trustworthy sharing of ideas, and feelings by each others, and so there is a certain level of INTERACTION between the nodes in the network.  Otherwise, it is a one way broadcast of ideas by the sender, with little or no feedback in the “communication process” from the receiver.

In Twitter, there may be one-way broadcasting or sharing of ideas and links, though there are amplification of tweets through re-tweets.  The followers may respond to the tweets which could lead to further conversation with brief tweets and links.

In Facebook, there may be more sharing of ideas and links and interaction between “friends” and communities, leading to a two-way communication.

In Quora, the posting of questions and responses may be one way of interaction where discourse could develop.  Due to the design of Quora, people who share common interests may form a network or community of interests based on the focussed questions.

In Jenny’s post of Connection is where we are here

She mentions: To me it seems that the emphasis in connectivism is often on social learning and social connections.  Personally I very much enjoy discussions with close friends/colleagues about mutual interests, so I am not anti-social – but I am aware that the extent of my social connection is very small compared to others on the web. I have no need for a wide circle of friends or connections and I respect those who prefer to be connected to concepts rather than people.

Is more connection better?  Though there are many merits with more connections, I don’t think that is always beneficial.  It depends on our needs and  what and how the connections would add value or benefit us.  Sometimes, the information overload (and the corresponding filter failure) could outweigh the benefits of connections.  What I think would be critical is how those connections would impact on us, in personal and professional growth and development, and how we would adapt ourselves to a changing ecology.

Stephen’s in his networks, neighborhoods and communities concludes:

If we can approach the concept of ‘interaction’ from the network perspective, allowing for the existence of many types or strands of interaction, many degrees or strengths of interaction, various interactive media, and more (as I tried to explain in this series).

I have discussed how interactions would impact on learning here on Students apathy or enthusiasm.

How would the types of interaction, degrees or strengths of interaction and types of interactive media impact on individual learning and learning community?

What are the essentials of supporting an online learning community?