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Toward a Networked Writing Classroom 
Connectivism, Content, Collaboration, Composition 
Jason Tham, Writing Studies at Un...
Exploration 
• To (re)imagine a connected learning environment 
• To consider connectivism in writing pedagogy 
• To explo...
Connected Learning
Knowledgeable  Knowledge-Able 
Michael Wesch on digital literacy 
• “It’s ridiculously easy to connect, organize, share, ...
Global Learning Networks
MOOCs 
Massive open online courses
Connectivism 
Content Collaboration Composition
Connectivism 
George Siemens & Stephen Downes on connected 
knowledge: 
• Chaos, networks, complexity & self-organization ...
Connectivism 
George Siemens & Stephen Downes on connected 
knowledge: 
• New info is continually being acquired 
• Abilit...
Networks: Connections
Transform, Not Reform 
Roadmap to connected learning: 
• Understanding the power of Personal Learning Networks 
• Becoming...
Content 
Connectivism Collaboration Composition
Content
Content 
Rethinking learning and knowledge making 
• Duin: It’s about connections 
• Problems with current structure: age-...
Content 
New literacies: DIY learning 
• Developing proficiency with tech tools 
• Building relationships with others 
• D...
Content
Content 
A working definition: 
“A PLN involves an individual’s topic-oriented goals, a set of 
practices and techniques a...
Content 
Introducing Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) 
• A group of people, personal & professional, with whom the 
stude...
Content 
Helping students to think about their PLNs 
• Who do they talk to or interact with on a daily basis? 
• How do th...
Content 
Students have used PLN to 
• Discover possible appealing career paths 
• Learn about emerging trends in their are...
Example 1: Direct/InMail Contact – Getting connected
Example 2: Veterans Mentorship Program – Expanding my horizon
Example 2: Another InMail Contact – Expanding my horizon
• Categorizing the virtual 
network(s) 
• Thinking about roles 
• Consider interests 
• Explore represented 
knowledge, in...
Example 4: Coggle.it Map – Building and maintaining connections
Collaboration 
Connectivism Content Composition
Collaboration 
Key competencies to develop: 
• Interpersonal and intercultural communication 
• Understand different/chang...
Collaboration 
Sharing of networks / Strategic expansion 
• Use tools like Google’s What Do You Love for resources 
• Get ...
Composition 
Connectivism Content Composition
Composition 
Benefits for writing courses: 
• Learner-centered 
• Transparent, accessible 
• Collaborative 
• Supportive o...
Composition 
Bringing PLNs into the writing classroom / Types of 
PLN assignments: 
• Resource Networks 
• Learning Patter...
Composition 
Pilot assignment: 
• Developing PLN as a pre-writing exercise 
• Generating research bibliography 
• Sharing ...
Composition 
Challenges: 
• Safety and ethical considerations 
• Assessment 
• Ownership and rights 
• Parental involvemen...
Conclusion 
Going forward 
• Consider the strengths and weaknesses of networked 
pedagogy 
• Invent new ways to help stude...
Toward a Networked Writing Classroom 
Connectivism, Content, Collaboration, Composition 
Jason Tham, Writing Studies at Un...
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Toward a Networked Writing Classroom

As the proliferation of digital technologies and access to information continues to invite different ways of thinking, learning today is influenced by the ever-evolving, interconnected complex systems. While these systems have the potential to expand the ecologies of teaching and learning, many students and teachers have yet to tap into their richness. This session explores how connectivism and networked learning might be used to enhance the teaching and learning of first-year writing. I seek to demonstrate how personal technology, Open Educational Resources, and cloud-based computing could be integrated into the curriculum to cultivate interactive, self-directed learning. I will also consider the teacher’s role in facilitating the networked learning process, helping students to situate themselves within the complex relationships of technologies and discourse communities. I hope this creates an open forum to discuss the embedded rhetorics in technology, as well as to explore methodologies for research in the realm of connectivism.

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Toward a Networked Writing Classroom

  1. 1. Toward a Networked Writing Classroom Connectivism, Content, Collaboration, Composition Jason Tham, Writing Studies at University of Minnesota @jasoncktham
  2. 2. Exploration • To (re)imagine a connected learning environment • To consider connectivism in writing pedagogy • To explore the methodologies for research and assessment
  3. 3. Connected Learning
  4. 4. Knowledgeable  Knowledge-Able Michael Wesch on digital literacy • “It’s ridiculously easy to connect, organize, share, collect, collaborate, and publish” • Students need to be able to actively and critically locate and handle strategic knowledge • TEDxKC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8
  5. 5. Global Learning Networks
  6. 6. MOOCs Massive open online courses
  7. 7. Connectivism Content Collaboration Composition
  8. 8. Connectivism George Siemens & Stephen Downes on connected knowledge: • Chaos, networks, complexity & self-organization theories • Learning in nebulous environments • Learning resides outside of ourselves • Focus on connecting info sets • Connection > Current state of knowing
  9. 9. Connectivism George Siemens & Stephen Downes on connected knowledge: • New info is continually being acquired • Ability to distinguish important from unimportant info is vital • Ability to recognize effects of new info is critical
  10. 10. Networks: Connections
  11. 11. Transform, Not Reform Roadmap to connected learning: • Understanding the power of Personal Learning Networks • Becoming a networked learner • Implementing a networked classroom • Becoming a networked school
  12. 12. Content Connectivism Collaboration Composition
  13. 13. Content
  14. 14. Content Rethinking learning and knowledge making • Duin: It’s about connections • Problems with current structure: age-grouped, discipline-specific, teacher-run, loose assessments • Untapped information
  15. 15. Content New literacies: DIY learning • Developing proficiency with tech tools • Building relationships with others • Designing and sharing info • Managing, synthesizing, analyzing simultaneous info • Creating, critiquing, evaluating texts • Attending to ethical responsibilities as users
  16. 16. Content
  17. 17. Content A working definition: “A PLN involves an individual’s topic-oriented goals, a set of practices and techniques aimed at attending and organizing a variety of relevant content sources, selected for their value, to help the owner achieve a professional goal or personal interest.” D. Warlick
  18. 18. Content Introducing Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) • A group of people, personal & professional, with whom the students may connect for the purpose of learning • Connections may happen f2f or in the virtual world • PLNs can be current or aspirational • Forms: diagram, contact list, maps, live networks, etc.
  19. 19. Content Helping students to think about their PLNs • Who do they talk to or interact with on a daily basis? • How do those interactions take place? • What are the contexts for those interactions? Work? Family? • What resources do they learn about due to the interactions? • Who would they like to interact with as part of their learning process?
  20. 20. Content Students have used PLN to • Discover possible appealing career paths • Learn about emerging trends in their area of study • Learn the lingo or jargon in their field • Answer questions about their field • Identify opportunities for internship & connect with mentors • Define their digital identities
  21. 21. Example 1: Direct/InMail Contact – Getting connected
  22. 22. Example 2: Veterans Mentorship Program – Expanding my horizon
  23. 23. Example 2: Another InMail Contact – Expanding my horizon
  24. 24. • Categorizing the virtual network(s) • Thinking about roles • Consider interests • Explore represented knowledge, information, and experiences Example 3: LinkedIn Map – Exploring existing connections
  25. 25. Example 4: Coggle.it Map – Building and maintaining connections
  26. 26. Collaboration Connectivism Content Composition
  27. 27. Collaboration Key competencies to develop: • Interpersonal and intercultural communication • Understand different/changing values • Recognize situated expertise and knowledge • Create and maintain trust among various actors within the larger community
  28. 28. Collaboration Sharing of networks / Strategic expansion • Use tools like Google’s What Do You Love for resources • Get in touch with authors, creators, and extend gratitude • Find groups based on personal interests and contribute to discussions • Attend in-person or virtual networking event
  29. 29. Composition Connectivism Content Composition
  30. 30. Composition Benefits for writing courses: • Learner-centered • Transparent, accessible • Collaborative • Supportive of problem- and inquiry-based learning • Driven by personalized, authentic assessment
  31. 31. Composition Bringing PLNs into the writing classroom / Types of PLN assignments: • Resource Networks • Learning Patterns • Professional Development
  32. 32. Composition Pilot assignment: • Developing PLN as a pre-writing exercise • Generating research bibliography • Sharing the PLN and in-class discussions • Evaluations
  33. 33. Composition Challenges: • Safety and ethical considerations • Assessment • Ownership and rights • Parental involvement
  34. 34. Conclusion Going forward • Consider the strengths and weaknesses of networked pedagogy • Invent new ways to help students engage with people & info • What tools to use • Resource to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqSH5TMYlz4
  35. 35. Toward a Networked Writing Classroom Connectivism, Content, Collaboration, Composition Jason Tham, Writing Studies at University of Minnesota @jasoncktham

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