In our class discussion tonight, one of the conversations was about the relationships between learner, teacher and information in online learning, and in the digital age. It was an interesting discussion in class for sure. After chewing on the idea for a bit, I started pulling the idea to some of its extremes.
Many years ago in our past, information and knowledge resided with the teacher, master or instructor. An apprentice learned from the master because that was the only way to learn the skills they needed. As information began to be recorded in books etc. and then those book became more accessible to the masses the relationship between learner, knowledge and teacher changed and evolve. With the shift of knowledge and information onto the internet and learners being connected, the evolution is continuing. The role of the teacher/educator in this relationship needs to change as well, not so that they can continue to be relevant, but rather so they can continue to add value to the relationship. I discuss these roles in a previous post describing some of the possible roles as, amplifying, curating, wayfinding and socially-driven sensemaking, aggregating, filtering, modelling, persistent presence (Seimens, 2010).
Looking towards the future as these roles and relationships continues to evolve, what will it be like if learners are continually connected and have instantaneous access to all online information and knowledge at all times? What if there was no more need to memorize anything? There would no longer be any value in knowing something. The value would be in the ability to synthesize, make connections and create new ideas. Can you imagine how different a history class could look in this scenario? What about a math class? Would we have subject based classes at all? I know that we are not there right now, but we are also not that far off.
As I continue to look as these possibilities, connected knowledge in the connectivist context starts to become a bit clearer and make a bit more sense.
It will be interesting to see how learning continues to evolve. For now, it’s fun to consider the possibilities and ask the question, “where might we be headed?”
Seimens, G. (2010, Feb. 16) Teaching in Social and Technological Networks. Retrieved from http://www.connectivism.ca/?p=220