My network has drastically changed the way I learn. I used to learn by reading as many scholarly sources as I could find about a particular topic. Then I would form an opinion and move to the next topic. Sometimes I would connect topics and sometimes I would not. Since becoming a part of the digital world, I learn much differently. I actually read posts from experts and other educators and ask them directly for assistance. This has changed the way I work tremendously. Now I utilize livebinder and blogs more frequently than scholarly journals and books. When I read about a new topic, I ask questions directly of the experts in the field and solicit scholarly recommendations. Often I purchase materials recommended by experts rather than navigate the bookstore or library individually. I have not visited the scholarly libraries in many years. The works housed in the Law Library and Library of Congress can be found digitally. However, my scholarly interest is often superseded by the availability and diversity of twitter. This is perhaps my favorite learning tool. I follow experts and educational leaders to stay abreast of current research and trends. I have found that following experts and conferences on twitter combined with weekly Diigo and DEN updates provides access more technology than I can utilize in one school year. This connectivist approach to learning has opened possibilities that were previously unknown.
My current learning practices are a perfect example of connectivism. I currently utilize technology as my primary source of information (Laureate, 2009). When researching a topic, I immediately log on to my computer and search utilizing Google Scholar. I connect with others and we share our resources and learning (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008). During most of the conferences we tweet information from the sessions and follow the conference wiki. In this manner, I connect different nodes of information and focus on my ability to know more (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008). Most of my information sources are open, diverse, interactive and people contribute autonomously (Siemens, 2006). For example, many of the experts that I follow on twitter also post regular blog entries. When I am confused about a topic, I comment and wait for an answer. If I do not like or understand the blog response, I ask the question on twitter and am immediately inundated with responses. This interconnected approach to learning is the very definition of connectivism.
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism
Laureate Education, Inc. (2009). “ Connectivism”. [Video Podcast]. [With George Siemens].
Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf .