CCK08: Week 2 Early Doors and Better Fit

I missed the Ustream discussions on Friday so I ended my first week of the course with a need to catch up (today I am the 784th viewer of the broadcast)! Over the weekend I reflected on Week 1 in CCK08.

My first day at primary school was in September 1956. Week 1 of CCK08 ignited my memories of that first day fifty-two years and a few weeks ago (there were twenty fellow pupils that day). These memories helped me ground my reading for Week 2 and to think about the personal dimensions of learning.  It was fascinating to read Stephen’s post and George’s post about Week 1 (2000+ pupils).

I have read all three readings for Week 2 today. The last sentence I read was in the paper by Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia (1996) on rethinking learning. My take out message for this week is part of that final sentence:

… so it’s not necessarily that I have everything, that I have all the information. but that I’m able to piece things in that make sense …

In my sense making, Stephen’s 2006 paper on Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge and George’s (2006) Shifting have helped me piece some things together. In my rethinking of epistemology I have been contemplating emergence and better fit theories.

My thinking has been clarified by using an analogy. I was fortunate to be in Barcelona in July this year and whilst dining out in a first floor restaurant I watched someone try to park a car in a space that appeared too small for the car. The driver thought otherwise and this is what he achieved:

The manoeuvre required the driver to nudge the car in front forward and the car behind backward. In this way, the driver created a space but to get out of the situation he created each of the other two cars had a direct relationship with the car that arrived in the small space. The original manoeuvre was not consensual and involved an invasion of space.

I wonder if some theories do have a better fit than others and occupy an expansive epistemological space? The arrogance of theorising occurs for me when an a priori assumption is made that a theory is the answer to all sense making.

I am attracted to connectivism because of its resonance with earlier parts of my learning journey. I have been interested in Max Weber’s verstehen and George Kelly’s personal construct psychology. Both Weber and Kelly argued for the on-going development of a theory open to challenge and replacement. I think both saw theory as an heuristic approach to knowing.

In my car parking analogy, I believe connectivism has chosen to park in a much bigger space in a clear part of the street. Even when you park in a very open space some people think you have taken their parking spot and demand that you move. Sometimes they even put notes under your windscreen wiper to let you know just how angry they are!

Week 2’s readings and the Barcelona episode have encouraged me to think much more about epistemology’s better fit and the openness connectivism offers in this regard. I do believe that theory is fallible in social contexts and that a potential theory of everything can have modesty and humility. My reading of connectivism is that it is invitational rather than prescriptive.

I am excited by connectivism’s emergence and incandescence. I am delighted that connectivism is contestable and a reflexive part of its own transformation.

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