Friday, April 20, 2012
In terms of how my portrayed networks have change the way I learn, I would say the time and quality have improved. The timing has improved in terms of efficiency in learning. Rather than waiting to learn or discover on my own or in isolation, I am able to collaborate with other educators (who are more experienced with technology integration) and discover new ideas through them. My learning is no longer limited to exposure to people in my same enviroment. I am able to access a plethora of ideas via people from different geographic areas with varying level of experience as it applies to educational technology. With this is mind, the quality of my learning is enhanced since it is broader due to the exposure to diverse opinions via modern technologies (Siemens, 2004). The collaboration that is also available online has added to the quality since my shortcomings can be corrected by others and vice versa.
To reiterate the impact that digital technology has had on my learning, I will expound on my use of Google Docs. For the first time, the math department at my school used Google Docs as a platform to facilitate our weekly meetings. I shared the document with my building administrators and district leaders to show them how powerful this tool could be to promote collaboration (contributing together) and decrease cooperation (simply working together). In the past, the math department has always split up responsibilities. The problem with this was quality control and timing. Timing was a problem since some individuals would not complete their assigned task within the specified timeframe. And quality was a problem since there was one person working on each component and there were varying standards of expectations with regards to what quality work should look like. Utilizing Google shared documents will resolve this matter since all members of our team will contribute to the creation and development of the documents (lesson plans,formative/summative assessments, meeting minutes, team goals, etc.) and can address any revisions or editing issues up front in lieu of waiting to see an error filled artifact that was completed in isolation by one member of our team.
When I have questions, I am now able to learn by posting those questions in an open forum...be it a social network such as facebook or a educational form such as the Class Cafe in my online course. I can also do a Google search to find the answer to my question as well. I no longer have to spend tedious hours reading through pages of material or waiting to encounter an experience that will help answer my question. Efficiently being able to find an answer via the computer and assess the quality of the answer based on credible sources are two of the benefits that connectivism theory correlates with many of the digital age technologies included in my mindmap.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from http://elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm