Angry butterfly destroys Texas

Almost everything I know about chaos theory I learned from Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. Jeff used it to charm Laura Dern. George Siemens uses it to develop a new concept of learning: connectivism.

Connectivism takes at a starting point the argument that technology has changed the way we think. In Siemen’s words “The tools we use define and shape our thinking”. Whereas other theories focus on learning as an internal and individual process, Siemens argues that in an increasingly chaotic world the challenge for the learning is to “recognise and adjust to pattern shifts’. As such, learning does not occur as a series of single transformative moments but is a continual process of sifting and sorting through an environment that is rich with noise. It is one’s ability to navigate through this soup of stuff that makes for effective learning.

It is an intrinsically collaborative model, which prizes the interconnectedness of things. As Siemens states “complete knowledge cannot exist in the mind of one person”. Therefore, instead of trying to learn everything for myself, I as a learner should ensure that I am part of a community which is sharing knowledge, perspectives and insights and in doing to I am helping to form new knowledge. It is both an exhausting and exhilarating prospect.

So, I have two immediate questions:

  • Is Siemens right?
  • Do I want Siemens to be right?

As someone who deleted his Facebook account, the implications of Connectivism are a little frightening. Should I embrace a noisy world or hide away from it? I have a month to find out. More importantly, what does Laura Dern think?


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