Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Please access Connectivism mindmap and reiterative blog through the following link:


As I reflect on connectivism and learning, and the importance of both in a highly technological information age, it seems almost an obligatory tip of the hat to the media and technology pioneers who transformed our lives into a communications-oriented society. For, I no longer have to rely on such static forms of communication such as newspapers, radio, and television to get my news and information. Instead, dynamic forms of communication such as iPads and iPods are literally available at my fingertips, all to help guide my thinking and decision-making in a technology-savvy 21st century for important personal, educational, or business decisions that might call for teleconferencing or satellite communications.

Siemens (Laureate, 2010) couldn’t have been more right in his Connectivism Learning Theory video when he described our world as becoming “increasingly complex” in a highly fragmented information society. I’m a journalist, and as a disseminator of news and information that spans several decades, there are times even when I have to shake my head over today’s access to information and the mind-blowing number of ways there are to get it. Briggle (2009) aptly described our contemporary information society as a metamorphosis from “philosophy of information to the philosophy of information culture.” Boy, wasn’t he on the mark?

Given the number of information outlets today that didn’t exist even a few years ago, it’s not difficult to grasp the enormity of this philosophical transformation. No longer do we have to wait until the next news cycle to determine if our world is safe. Just break out the iPad, smart phone, Blackberry, or satellite radio, and all the news and information that’s consumable is there for the asking. What works best for me, especially in a learning environment, are blogs, wikis, and discussion boards – all important tools for collaboration in a distance education environment. Because students learn from each other, as I have found out as learner and educator, it is instructive to pick up on new knowledge when there is collaborative exchange, knowing others often pose the same questions as I for increased understanding.

But as important as these communication tools are, educationally and otherwise, a connected learning community is still a formidable labyrinth for reform and societal change. It’s the kind of reform Dewey (1938; 1997) advocated nearly a century ago, when education was on the precipice of reform and connectivism was nowhere near the level where it is today. Thanks to technology, mainly computers and portable digital devices, learning communities are assuming a more active role through all the electronic gizmos, which are all aimed to keep a community knowledgeable, connected – and in touch.


Briggle, A. (2009). From the philosophy of information to the philosophy of information culture.
           The Information Society, 25:  169-174. doi:10.1080/01972240902848765
Dewey J. (1938; 1997). Experience and education. New York, NY:  Touchstone.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Connectivism Learning Theory [Program

           Video]. Retrieved from


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Collaboration as a Precipice for Success (Module 3)

As I auditioned the Rheingold (2008) video, a number of things quickly crossed my mind. I thought about Middle-East politics and the volatile but perpetually explosive dilemma facing Israel and the kind of peaceful coexistence it no doubt will eventually take for lasting peace involving its combative geopolitical neighbors. I thought about the Kruger National Wildlife Preserve in South Africa and the challenges hunters face there each day in trying to bring down the Big 5 involving the elephant, lion, leopard, white rhino, and buffalo as part of the country’s most elusive but challenging wildlife game. And I thought about the late Steve Jobs of Apple and the incredible collaboration it must have taken to position the company as one of the leading technology firms on Planet Earth. In all of these instances, I thought about the insightful examples posited by Rheingold (2008) and the underlying video message of collaboration as a powerful component of advancement and success.

I don’t think there’s much question that collaboration is likely to play a major role in getting more computers into the home. As a communication instructor, I know that television remains the most powerful medium in modern society, but all of that will probably change during the next decade as more computers make their way into homes. Kuriyan and Ray (2008) found in a UC-Berkeley study on information and communication technologies that the power of expansion involving these technologies lies with poor and economically impoverished families. I couldn’t agree more. Like television – and before TV when there was just radio – the more sets that came into homes in the 1940s, the more powerful TV became and the greater its medium reach. It took the collaboration of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in 1948 to form a national television network system, which continues to thrive today, thanks to the subsequent addition of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in 1953, the Fox Television Network and cable proliferation in 1980s, which has given information and entertainment a major communication transformation.

But the credit must go to collaboration, as Rheingold (2008) pointed out in his praiseworthy collaboration video. Taking the experiences, knowledge, and constructive behavior of people who put this knowledge to effective use is understandably the right way to go about getting something done. While it’s all couched in constructivism and meaningful behavior, it does epitomize not only what works, but what works best.


Kuriyan, R., & Ray, I. (2008). Information and communication technologies for development:

           The bottom of the pyramid model in practice. The Information Society, 24:  93-104.

           Retrieved from


doi:  10.1080/01972240701883948.

Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved