Connectivism: a network theory for teaching and learning in a connected world

Bell, F 2009, 'Connectivism: a network theory for teaching and learning in a connected world' , Educational Developments, The Magazine of the Staff and Educational Development Association, 10 (3) .

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Connecting to people and resources online is no longer something that takes place mainly in our place of study or work: we are also ‘connected’ in our homes and even on our journey on the way to and from university. In 1998, 9% of UK homes had access to the Internet, compared with 61% in 2007 (84% of which had broadband access) . In higher education, we have moved in little more than 10 years from a situation where most students and staff gained Internet access through their institution to one where it is commonplace at home, at work and on the move. In 2007, 40 % of recent Internet users had used mobile access to the Internet, 22% of them using handheld devices or mobile phones . Sales of the iPhone alone generated over 1 million mobile Internet users by February 2009 . The implications of this for learning and teaching are that Internet devices are becoming on hand during teaching and learning activities giving students and teachers access to global resources and online tools and services. Web 2.0 is often seen as a hype term but can most simply be thought of a read/write web where users produce web content ( in the form of text, images, sound and video) as well as consume it, through online services. An example of such a service is a Wordle, see Figure 1, created by the online service at where text input is visualized with word size being related to its prominence within the text. Although composed of words, this gives a visual representation of the ideas within the text of this article. Figure 1 - Wordle of text of this article Genres of media tools such as blogs and wikis are freely available as online services, enabling individuals and groups to share and publish media, connected by links and ‘feeds’ that allow us to monitor sources that interest us rather than rely solely on Internet searches. If we watch out for the orange buttons (that signify RSS feeds) on pages that interest us we can follow the content as it changes. A good way to start is to experiment with news feeds from the BBC web site The video “A Vision of Students Today” that Mike Wesch created in collaboration with 200 of his students gives us an insight into the role that Internet connection plays in the work and social lives of students . Internet use has escaped from the laboratory into the classroom and our daily lives. The ubiquity of Internet access has implications for students and staff – our challenge is how to work and learn effectively in the changed environment in which we find ourselves.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Subjects / Themes > Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources > ZA4050 Computer network resources
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School > Salford Business School Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Educational Developments, The Magazine of the Staff and Educational Development Association
Publisher: Staff and Educational Development Association
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1469-3267
Depositing User: Frances Bell
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2010 12:50
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 08:53
References: 2008) 2008 Horizon Report. EDUCAUSE Cormier, D. (2008) Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum. Innovate. Downes, S. (2005) An Introduction to Connective Knowledge. Siemens, G. (2004) Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.

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