"Knowledge is, on this theory, literally the set of connections formed by actions and experience." (Kop & Hill, 2008)
This is a very actor-network way of thinking.
That knowledge happens in relation; in connection.
If we accept this as true, then how might we reconfigure teaching?
What is it we need to teach?
What becomes important?
The ability to discern the networks inside of which 'knowledge' is constructed.
The abilities to judge 'knowledge' in terms of how it explains or stands up in various applications.
The ability to cross networks.
These are contentious teaching and learning skills.
Power becomes central.
Foucault's knowledge/power inside of learning theory?
Bruno Latour's actor-network theory put to teaching about learning?
This has potential for radical transformation of education as we know it.
What would be taught would be critical engagement.
There is no need for learning facts, the emphasis shifts to what can be done with knowledge in relationship and how is that knowledge constructed in relationships.
Chaos and anarchy and power and control.
At its most base, a connectivist approach emphsises
"its not what you know, but who you know."
This is not tongue in cheek.
This is a radical approach to take on teaching and learning.
Who you connect with, what happens in those connections has been described in the writing of Johansson, F. (2006). The Medici effect. What elephants and epidemics can teach us about innovation. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Crossing networks creating opportunities for new knowledge to occur.
But what is truly radical here is the critical engagement with how knowledge is constructed and maintained. This is about power.
As such a connectivist theory of learning would, to my mind, be positioned within critical educational pedagogy.
I find myself disagreeing with Kop and Hill (2008). In their conclusion they argue,
"A paradigm shift, indeed, may be occurring in educational theory, and a new epistemology may be emerging, but it does not seem that connectivism’s contributions to the new paradigm warrant it being treated as a separate learning theory in and of its own right. Connectivism, however, continues to play an important role in the development and emergence of new pedagogies, where control is shifting from the tutor to an increasingly more autonomous learner."
What I think they have failed to take into account is the very serious business of what happens when knowledge is seen as and taught as being constructed in relations, applied in relations, and that this occurs inside and outside of formal educational institutions.
There is potential in this for a paradigmatic shift.
The balance of power gets shifted, or at least shaken, for a start.
This was brought on after an almost two week break from engaging in CCK08, and a very light reading of the paper by Kop and Hill
I could be totally wrong.
But its worth thinking about.