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PLE: connectivist or constructivist

Viplav Baxi tosses out a few provocative questions, including: “If for a moment we were to ignore Connectivism as a theory, but recognize the MOOC and the PLE as technological platforms, could they be assumed as a logical manifestation of social constructivist practices in the digital age?” and more importantly: “Can we conceive a truly connectivist technological architecture that makes it technologically distinct from an implementation that could lend itself ambiguously to both constructivist as well as connectivist interpretations?”

This second question relates to a conversation I had with Dave Cormier earlier today about the different software tools educators have at their disposal today and that the use of the tools is where the pedagogical choices rest. A blog is neither constructivist or connectivist…but it does have certain uses that make it better suitable for one task over another. But, what if we designed tools for specific connection forming purposes? What would those tools look like? Viplav concludes with a list of attributes he thinks connectivist tools should exhibit:

  • Open and extensible mash-up frameworks
  • Reliance on Open APIs to deliver mash-ups
  • Every object is made collaboration aware (X.0, technologically immune) irrespective of source
  • Spaces are multiple views around a cluster of object base types
  • Spaces are transferable as units and so are other dimensional views
  • All resources are associatively and progressively connected through metadata
  • Architecture builds in dynamic any-to-any connections while allowing any combination or view/perspective aggregation of X.0 objects
  • NBTs (Network Based Training) will make possible persistent learning and knowledge management environments

Viplav provides a good starting point on providing better differentiation between theories of knowledge and learning. Instantiation of principles in a technology may help educators and learners see the distinct contributions a social networked theory of learning offers. This track of exploration requires more attention. Fortunately, it’s already on the agenda for week 7 of the PLENK2010.