Friday, February 11, 2011

It's a Small World, After All

What makes connectivism unique?

I was just at DisneyWorld with my entire family of 19, reliving the last time my parents took us there. I was 8 years old and the only "ride" I wanted to go on was "It's a Small World". So, in my excitement, I dragged my children (and entire family) onto a ride that celebrates diversity and connectedness rather than immediately giving them the solo-rider experience of Space Mountain and other roller coasters.

I didn't want to think about CCK11 while on my trip, but somehow I just couldn't shake the application of connectivism to the "It's a Small World" ride: the idea that our differences are valued but our similarities and interests also bring us together and connect us. On the boat, my parents, siblings, in-laws, children, nieces and nephews had a multigenerational experience of pointing, discussing, listening, reliving our past experiences with this ride, photographing, and even singing. Although we are far from being the Waltons, it was nice. It was natural. We grew and bonded from this interactive experience together. At the same time, we each took away something different from the chaos of this experience.You get the point.

Consider again the lone-ridership in a ride like Space Mountain. There you sit, all alone, having an adrenaline-inducing experience and a big grin on your face, but there is nobody's hand to grab, nobody to giggle or scream with - essentially nobody to share the thrill with. Yes, there are people in front and people behind but essentially, you are doing this ride alone. Sure, I can debrief the experience with people I know afterward but I need to be intentional about describing my experience.

We have learned that connective knowledge is grown, natural, and inherent. And the best part is that, unlike Disneyworld, you don't have to pay a penny for it. It is shared, and the gates are open. This is unique. I am still getting used to the idea that I can rub shoulders on a daily basis with experts in my field by having access to their blogs and papers and by following them on Twitter. While I was at Disneyworld, something magical happened: one of these experts started following ME on Twitter! I can't imagine a reward better than that: the perfect example of what can happen in a connectivism, where everyone in this small world can connect and grow in knowledge.

Unique? I'll say!

1 comment:

  1. I really like the way #cck11 allows us to talk about neurons and synapses and then relate those understandings to our personal and professional connections. Connectivism as a description of my personal learningscape makes inherent sense; most of my learning these days comes from harvesting the resources provided by the people I connect with through Twitter, blogs and articles. Add in the academic rigor of the #cck11 discussions and webinars, and my learning landscape is rich and fertile.

    I agree, to be able to converse with leading experts online is powerful both in terms of understanding and clarifying issues, and in validating that I too have something to add to the connections.

    BTW I love DisneyWorld:)