The Traditional Classroom Social Network
In a traditional classroom, there is a teacher in front of the classroom who lectures, assigns work from a textbook, and the classmates work independently. Conversations occurred between teacher and student, with very little group work and interaction. The use technology and reference material other than the class book are not overly apparent in traditional classroom environments.
The Online Classroom Social Network
My social network allows me to expand my thoughts through a dialogue with my peers through the classroom discussion area. The online class requires that each student leave an insightful comment at least twice per week while citing a resource. There are twenty-four students registered for class and the numbers of students are further divided into two groups, who are randomly assigned to groups each week.
Also, all my classmates have their blogs as well that I could subscribe to via RSS. To add on to the social networking display, my friends/classmates also have blogs that they are subscribed to and comment on. Collectively, there are at least thirty blogs dealing with instructional design that get reviewed on a weekly basis.
The weekly learning resources have several of articles, links to other web sites, book excerpts, videos, audio files, and flash content. Of them all, I think that best digital tool that facilitates learning for me is the weekly video, which either summarizes the material for the week or it provides a teaser to want to learn more. The discussions and other materials require that I read and read and read. The video, brief as they are, allows for a change from the mundane reading. Consequently, I usually watch the video twice; once by itself and second with its subtitles.
When I have questions about the material, I could easily revert to the traditional classroom modality by searching for the answer myself through the weekly learning resources. However, I do what comes even easier; I ask my classmates the question through the online discussions. Other times, I use a search engine to see what other people are blogging about.
Overall, I think that the central tenets of connectivism support my personal learning network in an online classroom social network. “We must create networks which, simply defined, are connections between entities. By using these networks – of people, of technology, of social structures, of systems, of power grids, etc. – learning communities can share their ideas with others, thereby “cross-pollinating” the learning environment” (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).
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