In my education classes, we learn all about different learning theories (constructivism, behaviorism, and cognitivism) and explore many brain-based activities and experiential learning to help us expand our horizons about the different ways students learn. But what about connectivism? I had never heard of this learning theory until reading a post on the Changing of Education, and after finding out a little bit more about this learning theory, I am completely shocked that this is not a learning theory that we are taught about. Are we not the generation that is expected to do great things in regards to using technology in the classroom? So why not learn about a connectist approach, a learning theory for the digital age. It explains the ‘effect that technology has on how we live, how we communicate, how we learn.’ Technology is making an impact on more and more people’s lives every day.
This relates nicely to a post made by a colleague of mine about a university adapting to its students, not the students adapting to it. Students do not learn the same way as they did 15 years ago. Uncle Phil (he will always be Uncle Phil in my eyes) expresses this quite nicely when he says:
The system has failed you. I have failed you. I have failed to help you share your talent with the world and the world needs talent more than ever and yet it is being wasted every day by an education system steeped with tradition and old ideas. So it’s time for a new tradition. It’s time to realize that talent isn’t just in schools like this one, its everywhere! It’s time to use technology to re-write the rules of education. To learn how you learn so we can teach you better. It’s time university adapted to you instead of you adapting to it. It’s time for a different kind of university. It’s your time.
This is the digital age, so why not teach with the connectivist learning theory in mind and create powerful learning in our classrooms. Let students become familiar with many of the programs/sites I am becoming familiar with in me ecmp 455 class, such as Twitter, WordPress, Google Docs, Google Reader, Delicious, and Elluminate. We as educators need to step away from the old way of doing things and assuming that all students will learn by reading a text and answering the assigned questions. We need to open our minds, open the doors to the classroom, and open the doors to the virtual/technological world. It is time for a different kind of education. It’s my time.