The Reform Symposium Conference is but one of a myriad of events taking place almost constantly now where teachers have opportunities for meeting in online spaces and sharing information and expertise with one another. The MOOC concept, whether xMOOC or cMOOC, provides steady often overlapping opportunities for deeper, more prolonged engagement not only with niche topics, but more importantly with others interested in those niches. Google Hangouts on Air now make it possible for anyone to simulcast an event, and many do, extending invitations to colleagues in a mushroom field of communities. It seems there is something of this nature going on every minute, and social media is working virally to spread the word among educators.
Stepping back to a wider perspective on this phenomenon, what is going on every minute is networked, connectivist learning. Open education, driven by learners connecting with other learners, is taking place around the clock, around the globe, in countless free spaces, bound only by the amount of time participants can make to engage and absorb the knowledge inherent in their networks. The possibilities this unleashes are only starting to be realized by the brick and mortar establishment. Not that we should quit our daytime jobs any time soon, but we should certainly rethink them.
This presentation will draw on present circumstances to inform how we might rethink our role as educators, or perhaps more importantly, encourage others to follow our example. The presenter has been involved in coordinating two virtual communities that have been interacting and learning from one another daily for the past decade. This presentation will show through representative examples how participants in these networks acquire the tools for re-thinking how they engage their students. Networked learning is ineffable in that it must be experienced to be understood, and those without that experience have difficulty grasping a full range of its affordances. As the behavior of participants in online networked learning changes, so their teaching styles change, and the better they are able to model for their students characteristics of what they find most effectively leads to their learning what they want to know in an increasingly interconnected world.
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