The Learning Theory
Connectivism is an extension of constructivism which takes into account the relevance and importance of computers and the internet to knowledge and learning in the digital age. Computers and handheld smart devices serve to connect learners both with each other and with previously inaccessible sources of information that are now digitally stored. An individual can seek out and learn something new on their own and at their own pace as long as they are connected to the internet. As they learn, they can share what they know and add it to the digital knowledge base. As more and more people do the same, the rate of knowledge creation skyrockets. The ability to know where to find necessary, relevant information becomes an increasingly important skill to have. With connectivism, what we currently know is of less importance than when we know it, as the necessary knowledge of yesterday becomes the obsolete knowledge of today. As such, our capacity to learn is of greater importance than our ability to hold any one piece of information. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), of which I would argue online ABQ Senior Biology is one, are a great example of connectivism in action.
One Thing I Would Do
I would set up opportunities for my students to engage meaningfully in their biology learning via social media, either internally via Google Classroom or externally via Twitter chats and student blogs. I would also seek out opportunities such as a Mystery Skype with another biology class and/or Google Hangouts with experts in fields related to our units of study. Note: My students have tried all of these activities except for Mystery Skype, even taking part in a Google Hangout with Canopy Meg of the California Academy of Sciences!
Why I Would Do This
I think this would make a difference because these types of connections clearly illustrate that biology is not just a subject you learn in school. Connections to the outside world, either with another class of biology students, or with an expert, provide real life meaning to the activities taking place in the classroom. These types of connections also serve to breathe a diversity of understandings into the classroom, allowing for novel perspectives to be explored.
Education 2020. (2017). Connectivism. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10. Retrieved April 17, 2017 from http://188.8.131.52/mediawiki/resources/2/2005_siemens_Connectivism_A_LearningTheoryForTheDigitalAge.pdf