Sunday, January 6, 2008

Siemens Learning Ecology

How does your experience of learning communities (either in this course, in other courses or other forms of learning communities) relate to the learning ecology described by Siemens

Well Siemens talks about courses being antithetical to today’s environment. I cannot apply that comment to this course. Maybe because I can use so much of what I am learning about directly in my classrooms. I can see so many advantages of using the read/write web and making it integral to my teaching. I can relate to the comments about how knowledge changes quickly. The advantages of using these new skills in my teaching helps we to stay current. I have even witnessed just how many more online tools have become available over the past year whilst I have been engaged in this Masters. Even in this remote area that I’m living in (the hills of West Java), the impact of new technologies can be felt. The Internet connections are getting faster and more reliable. The local rice farmers here have mobile phones as phone credit is now 1/2 a rupiah per second. My own house phone is getting cheaper and cuts out less. Even my electricity is not shutting off as much!
Siemens said, “We need to bring elements into the learning experience that allow for extension beyond classrooms…and integration with ‘real life’.”
I have heard so many comments from my colleagues here at my school like “As soon as you finish that online Masters your knowledge will be out of date”. If I just read the course readings and did the assignments probably that might be true. But what I am learning about is how to harness the Internet so that I can keep up with the changes. I am also using what I am learning in my everyday teaching. The ripples from my actions might be small but I have seen at my own school how those ripples can turn into waves.

What has been the enabling and the disabling affects of different aspects of the communities (online or face to face)
Online when it works is great. It makes our world smaller and more accessible.
Blogs in my classrooms enable my students to learn from each other. Previous to this it just wasn’t happening.
The Wimba and Illuminate classrooms allow us to meet each other from this course and to talk almost as if we were sitting next to each other. It’s amazing when you consider just how far apart we are.
The Moodle environment I see as the homeroom. I go there to get my readings and participate in the forums. It is sad however that there is a lack of participation in some of the forums. I really like forums as I learn so much there from what other people write.
The Knowledge Garden wiki is another learning environment. It sometimes aggravates me there as it is not as accommodating of multimedia as I would like it to be. I have a different expectation from kG as I want to create resource pages there and being so used to the multimedia flexibility of blogs and websites I must admit the wiki really frustrates me!
The start/stop learning concept. When this course is done I wonder how many of us will continue to use these online learning environments. I think that it will depend on needs. I know that I will use the ones that work the best with my students.
The other obvious disabler for me is my weak Internet connection and speed. I use an Internet provider called Speedy which is not what the name implies. Sadly Speedy is faster than the connection at my school! My students work on their blogs and sites at home. I will move soon to Fast Net a new provider. Will it be faster? Indonesian companies are big on promises with little follow through.

Siemens, G. (2003). Learning Ecology, Communities, and Networks: Extending the classroom. In elearnspace: everything elearning. Retrieved on 11 November 2004 from [].