Learning theories and a personal approach to networked learning as a connected educator

After reading Siemens (2008), Hodgson, McConnell & Dirckinck-Holmfeld (2012) and Wenger (2012) I have identified numerous learning theories that I believe inform my understanding of networked learning pedagogy. These learning theories are social learning theories like Connectivism, social constructivist theory and the idea of a ‘community of practice’.

These theories emphasise the impact of networked structures in the internet linking people and computers in social networks. Siemens (2008) described how today’s technology facilitates the distribution of knowledge, while at the same time allowing us to “project ourselves outward digitally” (de Kerchove, 1997 ,p.38).I think it is important as a connected educator to do this, but it is often harder to project yourself out there than just observing (or lurking as some describe).

Hodgson, McConnell & Dirckinck-Holmfeld (2012) say that most connected educators or “networked learning practitioners” place a high value on

-co-operation and collaboration

-working as part of a group or community

-“discussion and dialogue”

-self-determination of self-motivation during the learning process

-valuing of differences

-trust and relationships

– the investment of one’s self in the networked learning process

– the role that technology plays in connecting.

I would agree that these factors play a major role in the way I act as a connected educator and help others learn about how they to connect and learn more.

Wenger’s (2012) concept of a ‘community of practice’ working together played a major role in the knowledge artefact I developed for the teaching community of my school to encourage them to learn from each other.



Hodgson, V., McConnell, D., & Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L. (2012). Chapter 17: The theory, practice and pedagogy of networked learning. In L. Dirckinck-Holmfeld, V. Hodgson & D. McConnell (Eds.), Exploring the theory, pedagogy and practice of networked learning (pp. 291-305). New York, NY, USA: Springer.

Siemens, G. (2008, September 28). A brief history of networked learning. Retrieved fromhttp://elearnspace.org/Articles/HistoryofNetworkLearning.rtf‎

Wenger, E. (2012). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved from

Creative Coffee Morning -Blog Task 4

Tweets blog task 4      facebook Capture

My Creative Coffee morning yesterday was a great opportunity to bring together a variety of people I know in different areas of my life who do think creatively; some didn’t realise just how much they do this. I had three teaching colleagues (each from a different subject area), a midwife (who works in health management), a director of a company who provides administration services for non-for –profit organisations and  a colleague’s sister (who I hadn’t met before) who manages a post office. This seemed to be a good mix of teachers and non-teachers, people that work in service industries and also people who make management decisions and those that don’t as much. As well as getting to know each other we had a lengthy and interesting conversation about creative cultures.

I had some noted some points to keep the discussion going:

▪Benefit s of a creative culture.

▪Features of creative workspaces.

▪Successful creative and innovative work spaces.

▪Do our environments allow for creativity?

▪How does learning happen in social interactions?

Throughout the meeting I introduced them to mind mapping and we shared our thoughts by creating mind maps as we talked. I did do this to collect their ideas but also just to do something creative together. This activity did attract a bit of attention in the café.

IMAG0567    IMAG0568

We ended up discussing

▪User-needed designing processes compared to just discussing types of buildings.

▪The effect of technology use on people’s creativity and learning – can be a positive and negative influence.

▪How policies and management can stifle intuition and creativity.

▪ The positive aspect of multidisciplinary teams; respect, support, trust, ability to take risks

▪What creative workspaces feel like and look like; colourful, welcoming, efficient, ’homely’, enjoyable, confidence biding, opinions are valued, sense of ownership.

▪What is creativity; not just artwork- it is problem solving, coming up with new ideas, adaptability.

The feedback received from the group following the coffee morning was very positive; great coffee and conversation, learning while socialising was enjoyable, enjoyed meeting new people and we knew more about creativity than we thought.

I have made a comment on these other Blog  #4 posts




Blog Task 3

I continue to enjoy reading everyone’s blog posts via the Blog Roll.

I have left a comment on Trish Buckley’s post The desire to lurk versus the value of participating.

Trish, I want to change from a lurker to a leader.  Before beginning this course I had just dipped my toe into Social Media, I tended to have a look around, a good think, use a few ideas but wasn’t confident to share a lot or publish. I had only published what I had to for post graduate study purposes. What I found was that I didn’t feel connected to the communities I was observing.

I too have observed the sometimes negative on goings on OZTLnet. I have used that forum personally only to ask about a specific resource. The negative on goings I have observed have often occurred by misunderstandings and assumptions. I agree with you that we need to be very careful about what we do publish.

My use of Twitter for my PLN has exploded tenfold over the last two weeks. I chose to focus on one type of social media to begin with and went with Twitter because it is so widely used and we were using it already for our TweetMeets .I watched for a day or two, retweeted some great posts and then after participating in a Tweet Meet put my hand up and have since constructed a few tweets or made comments on sites. One of my Tweets got retweeted by SCIS – I was surprised how pleased I was. I am being followed by more people and am using it to connect with others. I have chosen to keep Twitter for mainly professional use.

Rheingold as included in our introduction to Module 3 says that the future of digital culture depends on how we use it. We are all digital citizens who do have a responsibility to contribute to knowledge networks in a fair and productive manner.

I have made small attempts at engaging students to use social media like tools at school. I have been surprised how hesitant older students are. They will share nearly everything out of school but once it is in the school environment they ask questions like “Do we have to? Is it being assessed? Who is seeing this information?”. Maybe they don’t think it’s cool. I am now going to take a refreshed and motivated new attempt as I am now understand the benefits even more through the modules we have been studying.

Rheingold, H. (2014, Februrary). Network Awareness . Retrieved April 2014, from Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/86182564

I also commented on Andrew Pinelli’s post Knowledge Networks.

I too found the Introduction to Module 3 engaging. I think coming off the end of all our research for the Scholarly Book review and some thinking time after Modules 1 &  2 we can all see where the concepts (including Rheingold’s ideas) fit in.

During the research for my review of Ken Robinson’s: Out of Our Minds” I came across an interesting Australian study Developing creativity: Aligning community, learning and teaching practices by Swirski, Wood and Solomindides (2008) which outlined the importance of communities where “knowledge creation” takes place. They defined creativity as “the capability to respond to change by analysing, applying and expanding knowledge.”( Swirski et.al., 2008 p. 320) and  Knowledge creation” – the ability to select, apply and expand knowledge. They explained that in communities where collaboration is valued, there was an increase in the complexity and relevance of resources that assist in creative, innovative outcomes (and knowledge creation).

I think the publication of the findings and conclusions of knowledge creations in open ways on the net has a big impact on the perception that more knowledge and innovative thought are occurring. Also it is highly possible that the increasing complexity and diversity of the knowledge networks due to the interactive nature is having a positive effect on the quality of knowledge being created.

Swirski, T., Wood, L. & Solomonides,I (2008). Developing creativity:Aligning community, learning and teaching practise. Engagaing Communities. Proceedings of 31st HERSDSA Annual Conference, 318-328.

Rheingold’s concept of “centrality” and collaborative societies

As I watched the interview titled “Network Awareness” with Howard Rheingold in the introduction of Module 3, I began to eagerly anticipate what  is going to be included in the chapters of the module.

In my workplace, a group of forward thinking teachers are trying to get our learning community to use social media more and benefit from the joys of collaboration. A lot of concepts that Rheingold speaks about  have so much potential for our digital culture.

Rheingold commented that the future of digital culture depends on how we use it. I want my learning community to use the digital environment in a more authentic, innovative, creative and collaborative manner.

To help this happen I think that as the teacher-librarian and a member of the extended leadership team, I need to put my self out there as a point of “centrality” by sharing ideas that I gather from my  developing PLN and social media contacts.So to help facilitate this I need to connect well with different social networks, introduce different networks to others and help form bridges between networks.

Great to have goals!!