When exploring the various components that can be connected to successful social network learning three areas of focus include: communities of practice, connectivism, and personal learning networks. In an attempt to capture the essence of these in a visual I’ve created this slideshow.
As stated by Kimble (2008), “What binds and defines the CoP is a shared practice, a way of thinking that helps to make the abstract idea more concrete.” (pg. 24) It is with this in mind that I selected the image of the mannequin like people pushing together the puzzle pieces. The efforts portrayed in this visual require the people involved to work together, collectively, to correctly piece together the corresponding ends. This visual represents the shared practice or way of thinking presented in the quoted example above. Furthermore, the creation of a puzzle is the concrete production of an visual that was once nothing more than a pile of individual abstract pieces.
Building upon this visual is theory of and representation of connectivism. As learning increases in complexity to keep up with our rapidly changing social and technological world I choose a visual that epitomizes the choices that we have literally and figuratively at our fingertips in regards to our learning. Not only is this demonstrated by my selected visual but the picture also supports the ideas presented by Nair (2011) in which the traditional brick and motor classrooms of today are challenged through the theory of connectivism. In this challenge, traditionally enclosed classrooms are replaced with environments that more closely resemble suites or studios conducive to the vast network of thinking and learning associated with this theory.
Rounding out the the three theories is the representation for personal learning networks. For this image I thought that the group of people, who I assigned the role of educators in my mind, standing in front of a blank book most accurately represented a PLN. According to Novak (2015) PLNs enable educators to, “decide what they learn, when they learn, where they learn and with whom they learn allows teachers to determine their own learning path.” With this explanation the blank canvas of the book demonstrate teachers determining their own learning path that has yet to be written by authors that have chosen to improve their expertise in a PLN and clarify concepts as a CoP through whichever collectivist strategy best fits them individually and as a whole.
Kimble, C. (2008). Communities of practice creating learning environments for educators: volume 1. Charlotte NC: Information age publishing.