Connected learners develop networks and co-construct knowledge from wherever they live. Connected learners collaborate online, use social media to interact with colleagues around the globe, engage in conversations in safe online spaces, and bring what they learn online back to their classrooms, schools, and districts.
Within these connections and networks, the complexity of learning and teaching becomes more apparent, and educators deepen their understanding. As networks and available knowledge expand and grow, and educators make additional connections, a more accomplished global teacher practice evolves—a practice that continually focuses on maximizing student learning and staying current with knowledge about learning.
Connected learners share a deep commitment to understanding ideas related to teaching and learning. Conversations turn to topics of practice rather than to the staff room complaints and rumors that too often occupy faculty members’ time and energy. As educators grow into connected learners, they not only start to ask more critical questions of each other related to practice, but they also begin to actively listen and closely attend to varied perspectives that may help the community of learners to move forward.
We could argue collaborative problem solving in real time is a new pedagogy of connected learning, just one of many that surface when we are thinking about learning in an open, connected culture. George Siemens describes the way we learn in networks as a form of knowledge exchange, a collecting and curating of stories and ideas, a wayfinding, a figuring it out through collective activities like crowdsourcing. This is a leveraging of the wisdom of the crowd and their resources through the various social sites to which we belong.
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