Wednesday, June 1, 2011

map 'o me mind ...

As we explore Connectivism, it is important to evaluate the connections that shape and inform my world ...

As I have gotten older, the ways that I learn have changed as much as the technology with which I use to learn. I remember my first encounter with "the internet." My neighbor came over very excited because her father had gotten access to the Beloit Public Library on their computer. Understandably, I was confused. In trying to explain things, it was clear I wasn't going to "get it" until I experienced it for myself, so we trekked over, snuck into her parents room, and "accessed the library" - on the computer. I remember not getting it. Yes, I thought it was bizarre that we could do it, but for the life of me, I couldn't think of anything to "look up." Regardless, with my neighbor, her brother, and all the other kids in our neighborhood, we spent much of the summer "looking things up."

Throughout the summer, I remained a bit clueless as to what to search. I would happily go along with and experience the searches others came up with, but I do not think I put forward a single topic. I still have this difficulty as a user of the world wide web. I know many can surf the web for hours on end. This has never been a strong suit of mine; however, grow in technology has fostered a great increase in my internet usage both personally and professionally.

As you can see in the map above, many of my resources cross paths; however, I keep them very separate. For instance, I have two Facebook accounts. One linked to my personal email address that I use to keep in touch with friends and family. A second is linked to my work email address with which I connect with co-workers and accounts. In conjunction with my work Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, I post professional articles and tips daily.

As I take time to process new concepts and feel confident in my understanding, grasp, and opinion, I gravitate toward resources that foster discussion. I find Facebook a great tool for this. Those who are interested in the topic can weigh in - those who are not can continue through their feed. Facebook's notification system makes it easy to stay in touch with a conversation long after it has left your immediate feed. While many sites offer similar capability, I find the popularity of Facebook allows for an even bigger discussion with a wider array of opinions - something that is very important to me when exploring new concepts (or challenging my current beliefs).

I still find in person discussion to be the most interesting and insightful method to communicate and learn; however, I find that much of the content of those in person interactions originates with the web and/or technological connections. It is hard to imagine a conversation without the knowledge gained from these sources. It really goes back to the library, I suppose. Just that more people "go to" the web than ever went to "the library," so the breadth and depth of knowledge and the methods to connect with that knowledge is much greater.

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