Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Onderwijsdagen 2006

I have just spent two days at the Dutch days for ICT in higher education. It was great fun to be back and see a number of interesting sessions. There was a whole track dedicated to the net-generation learner and in several key notes the notion kept turning up. It was very inspiring to hear Diana Oblinger speak again.
George Siemens is said to have given a great preconference on connective learning. I visited his session later in the conference and it was very quick but clear. It is an interesting concept, although perhaps not as new as one would think at first. It contains many aspects already incorporated in principles like networked learning, Communities of Practice and Social learning theories.
I think I find the most interesting shift the idea that Knowledge is in the network and not in the mind. I suppose that depends on what your definition of knowledge is. Personally I believe that information is not knowledge, knowledge is internalized information. Simply being surrounded by knowledge does not make yourself knowledgeable. Skills are required to attain knowledge and knowledge builds on earlier knowledge.
Implications of his theory are that it is important to know where you can find information and value information. Students must be trained to achieve a place in several networks (multidisciplinary) and be trained to quickly select and filter and apply information and turn this into knowledge. This is where concepts of power do come back although the criteria of what makes a powerful person are different. Try to become an important node in the network. You can achieve a prominent place by being the first to enter information into the network or by being a bridge and carrying information across boundaries.

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