I heard a resonant expression today on Radio 4’s Click On*: “reconnecting people with their neighbours – with their community – with identities, perhaps that are stronger than their towns or cities.” The speaker, Andy Price, was referring to online communities in a conversation about individuals’ online contributions to their local newspapers.

While I wouldn’t describe my virtual connections as stronger than my 3-dimensional ones, I would defend them as being every bit as real. For example, if it’s true that you are what you read then influence, in the form of recommendations, reviews, links etc. is as likely to come from someone I may perhaps never meet than from a first life friend or colleague. I find this no stranger than the fact that I’ve have yet to set eyes on new neighbours in our tenement (whose door is two metres from ours) since they moved in four months ago.

It’s in the nature of peripateticism not to see most pupils for 80% of the week. Months can pass between sightings of colleagues with whom I apparently share a building. Yet those who participate in eduBuzz – by reading, writing or commenting – enjoy both heightened connectivity and instant access.

In that regard I hope, over the next few weeks, to follow as much as possible of the online course entitled Connectivism offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes – which kicks off today.

* You can Listen Again to that broadcast until Monday 15th at 16:30. The programme also contains an interesting article on forensic linguistics.


3 thoughts on “Connectivism”

  1. Of course, the odd thing about this is that people are increasingly becoming members of some very close-knit, but geographically dispersed, communities. Tonight I asked a question on the forum about this software, and by the time I’d got home, there were a couple of answers from some familiar names. One is in Canada, the other could be anywhere. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I’m self employed but also a member of a small cooperative – I’m in Scotland while my 3 partners live in the wilds of Weardale (= Durham, England for your international audience) and Pembrokeshire, Wales. If I could get my tongue around that neologism of yours, it would surely apply to us as we move around the country to work. But we can only work effectively together because of our virtual on line office.

    With the first big contract that we bid for as a group, we had to persuade the clients that we could work like that and that we didn’t need to be in the same physical building to be effective. It would be very hard now to go back to an office!

  3. Alan, if you’re attending SLF at all this year, then let’s put that situation right! 🙂

    Like you, I hold my online networks to be just as strong and just as vital as my ‘real-world’ networks – my network of friends and acquaintances exist both in the virtual and physical realms, and I see no need to differentiate in terms of their value to me.

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