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Language and connectedness

Not only are we socially connected in our learning, but the concepts that form our understanding of a subject also reveal network attributes. Understanding is a certain constellation (pattern) of connections between concepts. At a more basic level, think of an alphabet – the richness of language is derived from a small number of distinct letter/characters. Variations and different connections form words. Connections create words, language, and conceptual understanding, all formed by social connectedness and continually adaptations fostered by feedback and interactions. A short article in a local newspaper expresses a concept I (and many others) have been advocating under the banner of connectivism and networked learning: “English is a network…being a literate person is not so much about what you know, but about how you know things are connected.”

3 Comments

  1. Tannis wrote:

    Interesting to see how you are making an important link with language and connections. May I suggest that a social practice perspective takes a broader view of the idea you’re expressing here. For example, if you replace ‘concepts’ with ‘experiences’, introduce the idea of discourse communities to connections, and consider Englishes, not just English as a network, then you are somewhat in line with a view that is current with what is and has been discussed in the language and literacy world which much enthusiasm.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  2. I so agree. All learning, whether formal or informal really happens through connections, i.e connections of ideas, experiences, realities and many more. I was just having that discussion this morning with a client who is trying to implement a global learning strategy. My point to her was approach with caution because if learners from one geographic location to the next cannot connect with the learning content, then she will have a huge uphill battle!

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  3. Ken Allan wrote:

    Tēnā koe e George!

    One word comes to mind when you say, “being a literate person is not so much about what you know, but about how you know things are connected”, and that is ‘education’.

    I’m not necessarily referring to formal education here. Nor am I alluding to read-write literacy. To have an insight into how things are connected is the province of literates such as da Vinci, Shakespeare and even Bill Gates. For as much as Gates might appear to have led a digitally closeted life, he is an extremely literate man. The common thread that ties all these people together is diversity of what they studied, what they knew (as a result) and how they then related this to the world.

    Catchya later
    from Middle-earth

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

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  1. [...] George Siemens blogged today that: “Not only are we socially connected in our learning, but the concepts that form our understanding of a subject also reveal network attributes. Understanding is a certain constellation (pattern) of connections between concepts. . . . being a literate person is not so much about what you know, but about how you know things are connected.” [...]