Break Dancing, Connectivism, and Hyperlinks

This is such an interesting concept…”our hyperlinked world.” Not only is this an interesting concept, it has become our reality. At AIS-R (the school at which I work), we recently and completely dropped using Microsoft and picked up using Google (which I LOVE). Within this very course, there is not a single page that does not have some sort of link on it. My personal email, text messages, and Facebook page all have links! EVERYTHING is linked.

A hyper hyperlinked webpage from this week’s reading

I never really thought about “our hyperlinked world” as a thing. But after reading “Messing Around” on pages 20-28 of “Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project” this week, I thought about and realized how common hyperlinks really are and that I have been taking them for granted! Maybe, sometimes, we get carried away with inserting hyperlinks, but really, hyperlinks are what have allowed connectivism to flourish in a much more fluid manner.

You can teach yourself (almost) ANYTHING on the internet (see the video below if you ever wanted to learn how to break dance!), which is pretty amazing. And hyperlinks make it easy to “mess around” as the above mentioned article calls it. “Messing around” entails “experimentation and exploration with relatively low investment.” It allows people to find things they are interested in and make connections with those things, which brings me to comment on one of the other articles that we read this week, “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age” by George Siemens (eLearnSpace).

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Information development WAS slow, but not anymore! We can connect to so many different “things” from just about anywhere. But sometimes I wonder if connectivism makes learners lazy or more curious. Is connectivism beneficial or detrimental (or both) for our students? It absolutely allows learners to stay current in their field more quickly than ever before, and it can magnify one’s knowledge, understanding, and learning.

With connectivim, they say that technology is rewiring our brains, but I don’t think that I quite understand this. HOW is technology rewiring our brains? And is this statement figurative? Or literal? I warmly welcome your comments below.

2 thoughts on “Break Dancing, Connectivism, and Hyperlinks

  1. Pam I noticed as I read your article I was busy nodding my head. I had to pause and think, do I hyperlink everything (no – well not yet!), however, when receiving information, or on the internet, yes, everything is hyperlinked. I hadn’t really noticed. l think of when I click on hyperlinks, and that is usually to follow my personal passions. When I don’t know how to do something, there is always a hyperlink to further explain or show, depending on the media form used. For me, this has made it unnecessary to actually retain specific information. So long as I know how to click, and what to click, I will always know how to access what I need to know. I can then use it at the required time and then in some cases, forget it. I wonder if this is true for others and especially our students. I believe the skills required to find specific information, often is more important than retaining the knowledge being sought out. By the way – do you break dance?!

  2. I’m not sure it make sense to judge the influence of connectivism. Things are certainly different in a connected world, but that’s the world in which we live. There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes from needing to rely on connections to gain access to information, and then having to do the work of using that information to create knowledge yourself, but there’s not really an alternative. Given the pace of change, the variety of things about which we all need to learn, and the inability to really predict what those things will be, I’m not really sure how else we could effectively navigate the world. We could say that connectivism’s focus on forming connections and building the capacity to know limits the extent to which people have memorized facts at their disposal, but I’m not sure that means we’re more lazy than we used to be. Sure, we could do more to learn certain facts, but would that make sense, given how quickly that information could become outdated?

    Anyway, I’m not sure that’s what you were wondering about when you asked if connectivism makes learners lazy, but this is certainly the sort of thing I’ve been thinking about lately. If we believe the world is changing, that technology is rewiring our brains, what does that mean for not only how we teach, but what? What should school look like in a world in which students carry access to effectively all the world’s knowledge in their pockets?

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