Activity 3.3 Learning and Technology Theories Reflection
Of the learning models discussed in 3.1, I generally learn best through a social model of distributed learning “Connectivism”. This is due to my understanding of knowledge as a paradigm of literacy and so learning becomes integrated not into ‘what’ you know but into ‘how’ you found what you’re learning. For me this means that my functional knowledge is not facts and figures but the tools necessary to dissect and interpret new information for my personal consumption. This also means that focusing on learning facts and figures for me is less important than learning the processes attached to them.
For example, as part of my summer research project I generally delved into literature associated with technology and the Internet, not form an educational or psychological aspect (which would have been well within my comfort zone), but predominantly from the perspective of library science. While I am not educated in library science I am able to construct an understanding of the information due to my literacy skills, both as a researcher and as a critical thinker. This makes the knowledge of a researcher available for my consumption and interpretation without the necessity of me taking classes in the area. In this way, the knowledge was ‘out there’ and it was simply up to me to find and access the information. However, it cannot be ignored that to interpret the information appropriately I had to construct an understanding of the information to utilize as a lens for interpretation. In this way learning models function in tandem with each other, it is simply my preference to discover and interpret information at my own rate.
In a classroom situation, my learning style can best be supported by allowing me the freedom to explore my topic of inquiry. This process may take more time than the classroom situation allows, however, it also allows me to integrate my knowledge in a more deep an meaningful way. Additionally, through the introduction of a PLN I am granted access to an ever-growing body of information that allows me to consider wider and wider sources of information at any point in time. I expect that at some point a pruning will be necessary to create a more manageable information input. The down side of a twitter-based PLN is that the information input is largely random and unfocused. One tweet may focus on learning styles and technology integration while another may link to a science article on mushrooms. As part of trying to cast a wide net the ultimate quality of a PLN may be compromised. To address this problem, I am currently attempting to add focus through the use of lists; however, even lists only limit the postings to a predicted wide berth of information. All science posters can go in one list but the internal breadth of that list can still be overwhelming.
Because of this, I find databases and individual searching to often be superior when looking for the answer to a particular question. When I am seeking an answer my PLN would generally not be the first place I would consult, unless I trust that the individuals who I’m asking have suitable background to answer my question. Perhaps this is more of an issue of trust and experimentation but, especially when looking for scientific information, I tend to trust my own research or the advice of my supervisor over those within a distributed PLN.