Connectivism is Now: Fostering Global Connections
"Knowledge is a networked product."
Dr. George Siemens’ overview of connectivism is a reminder of many of the things I’ve learned in my COETAIL courses thus far.
He reminds us that knowledge is formed in three ways: biologically, conceptually and socially. Connectivism, according to Siemens is:
- “driven by understanding decisions,
- rests in a diversity of opinions,
- may reside in non-human appliances,
- nurtures connections that build learning,
- fosters connection making as a skill and
- provides practice in decision-making.”
In the final few weeks of this school year, I’ve had more experiences of applying connectivist learning theory in my classroom than previously. Yes my students have connected to one another in our classroom using Padlet, Google Classroom and with others in our school but there have been two opportunties to bring connectivism to life in the receent weeks.
As we began these opportunities, I was reminded of Kim Cofino’s advice in making these global connections. Earlier in the school year unfortunately opportunities had been attempted and not worked well so in light of this I made sure that I had a plan and things were well mapped out and agreements made between myself and my collaborative partners.
The first opportunity came to us via our school’s technology director. He emailed with an opportunity to connect with a class in Taiwan using Mystery Skype. The technology coordinator in Taiwan had organized the format and after meeting with our Elementary School technology facilitator I decided that not only did this authentically connect with our math unit about mapping but also provide an opportunity to connect with other third graders across the world. We used the format shared below and took turns asking questions. If you haven’t used Mystery Skype in your classroom, do! It’s easy to find other classes on Twitter using the #mysteryskype or even just give a shout out for fellow COETAILers and I’m sure someone will be available.
During the Mystery Skype I observed my students:
- applying their map skills including directional and map type vocabulary,
- making inferences,
- listening more actively to a shy classmate who is a Chinese speaker in our classroom and
- working collaboratively to solve a mystery.
Also, I’ve had the opportunity with the Global Kind Project which I wrote about here to connect with two classes, both in the United States. With one class, in the western region of the U.S. we used Padlets and shared videos as our school hours didn’t overlap. We also responded to one another on our blogs as well. Since doing a bit more reading, I realized we also could have used a slow chat format on Twitter to also respond to one another too. We’ve connected with the other classroom in the eastern United States also using Padlet and this week will have a face-to-face meeting using Google Hangout (new to me) and we’re playing a kindness probability game (which aligns with my final math unit – added bonus) my collaborative teacher shared and I’ve shared with you below.
Mystery Skyping with students in Taiwan and meeting students in the United States, both provided opportunities for my third graders to build knowledge in a connected way. It was social, their learning was created through their networked experiences. It was built through making connections and in these connections we also learned about one another’s interests and opinions. My students are so excited but they’re not the only ones. I see more and more ways how I can incorporate global connections next year and I truly can’t wait.