This blog began in December and resurfaced in January. I have written it with the school leaders of New Zealand schools in mind and consider some of the possibilities for them as they move to take advantage of the amazing resources available online and the exceptional educators accessible online. These were linked for us by Zaid Ali Alsagoff in Zaidlearn
Getting to online connection and interaction is all to do with a communication mindset. Sure the technology enables the processes but nothing happens without the thinker/learner setting about communicating thoughts and understandings.
The starting gun for online shared learning is fired in the learners inquiring frame of mind and is backed up by personal organisation. These two feed off communication flows.
Making learning an open communication process is the key.
Learning through open communication involves the same steps online as it does face-to-face. Listening, Questioning, Publishing, Finding, Sorting,
Listening – As in face-to-face communication listening is undervalued and under used in online settings. (I suspect we are still being pulled into the speed of connection approach rather than the depth and quality of connection approach.)
You are probably asking how can I listen online if the majority of what I consider is written. The listening test for you is to decide whether you have heard the message and its meaning. The only way to confirm this message and meaning is to have a “conversation” about it. Applying strategies such as listening and paraphrasing, listening and agreeing, listening and checking for meaning or listening and adding to the message all seek depth and clear understanding. The most valuable aspect of this online listening is the capacity of the learner to reflect upon meaning and intent before commenting. Then the learner can go back and check what they understood when they spoke last time – in other words listen to themselves! How often do we do that?
Questioning - enquiry learning is now seen as a valuable professional learning process for school leaders – getting to ask the questions and then connecting with others for the answers or next steps is surely the basis for growth of knowledge, skills and a learning disposition for school leaders. The questions must surely be more important than the knowledge they are trying to unearth!
Finding and Sorting and then Retrieving – trying to make the connections is a real challenge – all too often I find that I have a sea of interesting stuff and probably lose track of important understandings before i get around to doing the sorting and making coherent the tentative patterns of knowledge I am developing. This is where I am inclined to under use the power of sorting and then being able to retrieve useful and partly developed awareness. (Interestingly this blog I found I started on Dec 17 before I went on Christmas mind switch off time – then low and behold the draft storage facility in WordPress brought it all back to me.)
Perhaps a really important point here is to not get worried about missing out on passing knowledge. After all the best ideas will re-surface as you continue your linkage with the knowledge and thinking of others.
Getting to develop a working system of linking and returning to those you connect with and their thinking is a vital trigger to making sense of you learning.
Publishing – speaking, writing, presenting and any other form of letting the world know what you are thinking is extremely important in making sense out of a school leaders expanding knowledge.
Zaid Ali Alsagoff, International Medical University, Malaysia sums up the value of publishing (i.e. sharing and linking your thinking to the knowledge pools.
So, what lessons can we draw from this inspiring experience, and connectivism and connective knowledge?
First, if we have a reasonably good Internet connection today we can all connect with amazing learning resources and exceptional educators around the world. However, by simply passively connecting to content and people, and just consuming without contributing ourselves back to learning ecosystem and connective world, we will probably never experience the learning possibilities that connectivism and connective knowledge can empower.
In other words, if you really want to experience the empowering learning possibilities and inspiring connections, you need to take an active role, which means sharing your ideas and discoveries openly, and joining actively in the learning conversations (relevant to you) taking place online around the world. Source Zaidlearn #CCK – Connectivism & Connective Knowledge