Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Module 4 January 25,2012

How has your network changed the way you learn? 

My personal network has drastically changed over the years as technology has evolved within my adulthood.  Within my college educational experience, there have been an abundance of changes taking place in relation to the course make up, class setting, research, participation, communication, collaboration and presentation.  Technology continues to change and advance at high speeds.  My first experiences in college involved a lot of leg work.  I remember the many trips I had to make to the registrar’s office, the library, my professor’s office and meeting rooms with my peers.  Technology has changed all of these areas.  I no longer have to make that hurdle of a walk to the college library and dig through card catalogues and the micro machines for information.  I can correspond with my college office, my professors, and my collaborative community through various tools rather than spending the time and gas to meet face to face on my out of town college campus. My lap top, I pad and iphone are a lot lighter in weight and offer a vast amount of information as compared to the heavyweight books I once carried.  Technology and all the resources that have been developed in recent years have changed the way I learn in that I have a greater connection to what I am learning.  My learning experience has been enriched tremendously through the experience of online collaboration.  I have gained a greater depth of understanding and knowledge through this online learning environment.  In addition to collaboration greatly affecting the way I learn, technology has allowed me to have connections with information globally.  It is available just about any time and any place. Networking today allows easier access and expands the learning boundaries of my education.
Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

The digital tools that best facilitate learning for me has been the tools that have allowed me to collaborate with my professors and learning communities. I have used chat rooms, Skype, wiki, blogs, classroom discussion areas, Gmail discussions and email.  I believe these tools have provided a greater experience with collaboration than I once had in my face to face campus setting.  I have also gained a wealth of knowledge through the online resources Walden University has provided through course related videos. These have been accessible on line and can be viewed many times and shared with others in my field. These experiences have been very valuable. In addition to these tools, students and professors have shared links to information and resources that have been important to my course outcomes and application of knowledge in relationship to my career.  

How do you learn new knowledge when you have questions? 

I have felt very comfortable asking questions of my instructor or classmates through the use of class café, email, Skype and discussion areas.  I have had many of my initial questions answered through reading my classmates blog post, wiki post and discussions.  Very often my professor or peers will touch on a topic or address an angle of information that is puzzling to me.  I am also amazed at how easy questions or areas of interest can be addressed through online search engines.  This one particular area has changed tremendously since I began my journey of college education many years ago.  Today, I can place a word or phrase in Google and an enormous amount of related topics and information becomes available.  Wow!  This is a major step forward in research tools as compared to my earlier years of walking all over campus and making ten phone calls.

I have post to Martha Bless and Tony T.'s blog.


  1. Debbie,

    Your comments on connectivism and the education work environment, and reflected in your mindmap, are unquestionably on the mark. Because I have been blessed -- or cursed -- as a journalism and education professional, depending on one's point of view, I hear you loudly and clearly regarding changed learning behavior amid technological changes and the like related to connectivism.

    Just recently, I ran across a Chronicle of Higher Education article that focused on the ramifications of technological changes in the Admission and Records Divisions of higher education institutions. As more educational institutions migrate to eFiles within their infrastructure, the article stated, they solve one problem while creating others. The paperwork, the article stated, is jettisoned, but access by school system users -- including the public -- to these electronic files becomes an issue. And therein lies the rub, as you correctly noted in your blog, regarding "digital tools" and the behavior these tools have fraught.

    I personally welcome the digital and other technological tools that have made my life as an educator a lot simpler and more productive. like you, both in secondary and higher education, my connectivism has undergone a metamorphosis for the better as you noted in other well-documented instances of usage.

    Kudos for raising -- and addressing -- these extremely important connectivism points in the face of a changing and challenging technological society.


  2. Hi Debbie,
    The digital age has certainly changed the way I access information. It has also changed the way I educate others--I teach in a blended format for a local college. I love the blended format (half online and half on campus) especially because it fits my busy schedule. I find, however, that technology has not necessarily changed the way I learn. It may speed up the process, but I still learn from reading and interacting with other students and the professor. As you mentioned, I too learn a great deal from my fellow classmates via the online discussions and blog posts. From a connectivist perspective, my network has facilitated learning but not changed it fundamentally.

    As far as digital tools, try Voicethread ( If you teach, your students will enjoy the interactivity of the site. It has a very high fun-factor, but is educationally sound as well. Check it out!

  3. Debbie, I love your post. To me it shows the gradual influx of technology into the life of someone like me. I started with using black and green huge computers in a computer lab in college. I sat outside my professor's office for long periods of time to keep an appointment and I made numerous phone calls to get information from different people. My has life changed. Just a thought, though have you ever had to take a class where podcasting was a form of instruction? I ask because I did just that last week while I was away at the FETC in Orlando. All but one student caught on to it and completed the assignment. I call it a success because this was done with middle school students.

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  5. Hi Debbie:
    I enjoyed your post. You stated, "You no longer have to utilize a library and dig through card catalogues and the micro machines." How does this compare to the unlimited amount of resources the internet provides? How do you decide what assortment of information you will use for a particular research topic?”