How has your network changed the way you learn?
Looking at my mind map I realize how imbalanced my life is between work and all my other connections. This make me pause to re-evaluate how I am using my personal energy and resources. I really enjoy face-to-face contact with others but I am discovering new value in using digital tools to acquire new knowledge.
I have observed that my stress baseline has been elevated since we entered into a recession. I was fortunate not to be directly affected by losing a house or job, etc. but I began to experience low grade depression for the first time in my life. In the past few years, it has been more difficult to turn on the radio or television, or enter into a discussion with others where there are no “firewalls” available to filter the information I receive. Casual dinner parties or lunch dates easily become discussions about current events that leave me feeling blue. By increasing my personal use of technology, I can decide when I want to access information; and I am able to filter it. I still prefer the company of others but I focus on setting a tone that keeps things stay light and casual.
Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?
Until recently, I have only had internet access at work. My most used digital tool is to follow the resources recommended in my classes and by my classmates; and then conduct searches for additional information on my own. I appreciate the effective use of technology in formal learning environments when they are combined with face-to-face contact.
How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?
I typically Google for information I am looking for and I access a variety of sites to get more multiple perspectives. Email has become an integral part of my work to get and share information quickly, conveniently and consistently with multiple parties at the same time.
In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?
Davis (2008) tells us connectivism is comprised of chaos theory, networking and the ability of the individual to process complex information. I enjoy the challenges and rewards of exploring abstract concepts. Understanding subtleties or assigning alternative meanings to information is exciting. Exposing myself to various points of view and having my perspectives challenges keeps learning fresh and creative. My personal learning style is to interact! I have not developed a relationship with, or interest in, social media milieus such as Facebook or Twitter because I do not see the value. I would rather share a meal with friends and see the light in their eyes as they describe their most recent vacation or talk about their children than to read about it on their wall. I like having the world at my fingertips through the use of technology to get information and research my interests but my best time is playing cards with friends or weeding my flowerbeds.
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.