Thursday, January 14, 2010

George Siemens in Second Life

I just finished a session in Second Life run by Universidad de San Marin de Porres of Lima, Peru.  One of the ideas that George Siemens , the developer with Stephen Downes of the theory of connectivism,  touched on that really hit a chord for me was that competency today implies the ability to create and support networks.  One of the implications of this is that as teachers we need to give students the skills to do this and to let them immerse themselves in the networking process to get a feel for it.

We need to give students the ability to initiate conversations and become active participants in learning networks.  As teachers we all know that each learner has both a different starting point and a unique perspective on content or concepts that we would like them to learn.  Negotiating meaning with other networked learners can lead to both clarification and growth of ideas for all.  Learners can actually create new knowledge through conversations with others in their networks.

What implications does new technology have on us as teachers?  Siemens suggests that the ability of learners to network and create knowledge has created a power shift in teaching and learning.  Learners don't need teachers in the same way as before.  I view education today as going through a transition period as this power shift occurs.  Teachers need to learn to be promoters of networking and guides in directing students to good modes within networks.  Learners on the other hand have to realize that their learning will depend on their active participation in creating network and contributing to the conversations in those networks.

This is definitely an exciting time to be a teacher/learner!

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