- For Teachers
The idea that digital learning is changing the way people learn seems perfectly valid, but I find many of the claims being made about things like blogs excessive. On the Connectivism website, I saw this:
Until we look past the task and functionality of a tool - to what the tool enables - we largely miss the beauty of why it's so useful.
It is certainly true that people are constructing their own learning networks on the internet and this has enormous importance for education, but I feel that blogs are just a small part of this. Most of what blogs do has been available on the internet for a long time in one form or another- e-communities have been around for years in forums, from the times of baud modems and bulletin boards. Blogs do make publishing on the web easy and search engines seem to rate them highly, so connections are easily established, but in terms of functionality, they don't have any amazing tools that weren't available before. While this is lively and dynamic, it also allows for the creation of nonsense. However, the blogosphere is a fascinating place, mostly because it shows the enormous diversity of the people around us.
Just as certain sections of the media are talking up the threat of blogs, I feel that trying to construct a learning theory out of things like blogs and wikis is to exaggerate their usefulness. The collaborative nature of Wikipedia has produced an amazing work in a very short time. However, useful as these tools are, they do strike me as a subset of the internet; important, but not sufficiently so to try to construct a learning theory out of them.