Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Connected Learning & Isolation - CCK11

In the introductions, Scott Johnson mentioned connectivism and connected learning with regard to living in an isolated area. In 2008 and 2009, I don't remember this aspect ever being discussed.

Canada's cutting edge work on distance education for advanced degrees lies in the history of Athabasca College. There seemed to be a dividing line at the Manitoba/Ontario border with the East committed to bricks and mortar, traditional practices and the West and North more willing to experiment. I think we owe a debt of gratitude to our Canadian Indian people for raising awareness that not all cultures count the days until their kids turn 18 and head for the cities. Some peoples have deep connections to their tribe or clan and value those connections more than city-based educational opportunities.

Perhaps online connectivism is tied to connectivism in the real world. If people are so strongly connected to their communities that they remain with their friends, family and work associates rather than pursuing distance opportunities, then online connectedness is a logical extension and reinforcement of their core values. How important are connections to you and when thinking about the connections that add value and pleasure to your existence, on what ring outward from self does online connections fit?

A major problem in Canada is that we have large, sparsely populated areas and a few major cities. While attracting immigrants and youth to Canadian cities is easy, the flow of population outward into less populated areas is more of a trickle until people retire. Would the ability to remain connected and learn and work online be enough for you to consider moving from a city to a less populated area?

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