Reflection on my Mind Map

This week as I learnt to make my mind map, it made me reminiscence the formative, growing up years. My learning was very much centered around the teacher and parent guided methods and even in high school, there were very limited opportunities to learn in a constructivist way. College, in fact gave me more opportunities to branch out, make connections with my friends in other colleges and learn immensely by exchange of information and personal discussions. Graduate school exposed a variety of learning opportunities: reciprocal teaching, elaboration, modeling, constructivism and connectivism. The major sources of information were professors, books and journals from the library. A personal computer was way too expensive and highly inaccessible and World Wide Web was a luxury.

It was only when I came to the US, I learnt the basics of surfing the web and was aghast at the amount of information I could gather from it and learn! That was the starting point of an electronic network changing my life. It connected me to numerous other rich resources that supplemented and complemented my skills and knowledge. Now, it is the first life line to reach out for guidance and support when my human resources are inaccessible.

So, my network has changed the way I learn from being a passive young learner, to a self-directed adult learner where the online resources and instructor are my guide and facilitator, specially in my present venture of studying IDT.

The only digital tool that has facilitated my learning is the World Wide Web. According to Siemens, “considering technology and meaning-making as learning activities begins to move learning into the digital age” (2005, para. 15). Inherent to this new viewpoint on learning is the idea that we can no longer personally experience everything there is to experience as we try to learn something new. We must create networks which, simply defined, are connections between entities. By using these networks – of people, of technology, of social structures, of systems, of power grids, etc. – learning communities can share their ideas with others, thereby “cross-pollinating” the learning environment (Siemens, 2005, para. 21).

When I have questions, the places that I look for answers depend on the topic, complexity, and the degree of accuracy. In most cases, Google is definitely my preferred choice and then I fine tune my search and supplement it with knowledge from human network, other e-resources, and of course from books.

I must thank my wonderful father who constantly (even to this day!) inspires me to look beyond what I see and be an active learner. He’s my guru, guide and philosopher.

So, be it, helping my children do well in school, advising students on their research projects, discussing possible ways to overcome hurdles in research protocols, supplementing my music or yoga knowledge or just to be in touch with friends who are spread all over the world, connectivism has immensely helped.

Davis’s (2008) idea that there is some “delicate interplay between complexity and self-organization” in all the things I do.  Luis Mateus Rocha (1998) defines self-organization as the “spontaneous formation of well organized structures, patterns, or behaviors, from random initial conditions” (p.3).

Siemens says,” Education is complex, lots of multiple impacting factors. The dimension to address with connectivism is that nature of abundant information, of primary use of technology, the increasingly complex systemic-based environments we face today” very well summarizes how we learn today.

As connectivism suggests that there is more than one way we acquire the knowledge, I am very glad that I am able to use connectivism to enhance my learning experiences.

Ref:

http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Video Program: “Connectivism” by George Siemens

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