Connection and communication
Collaboration starts with being connected as an educator, a school and a student and fostering new PLN’s (Personal Learning Networks) and PLCs (Professional Learning Communities).
Connected learning is:
The ability to connect, communicate and collaborate with educators and students in all parts of the world using common online tools… A 21st century educator is connected, communicates in a reliable and responsible way, and 'flattens' the walls of their classroom in appropriate ways to enhance the educational learning experience of all. Therefore, every topic, every unit of work, every opportunity needs to be reviewed in terms of how it can be made relevant through external contact and collaboration.
In a highly connected and information-rich world it may seem odd that we need to examine what being connected is and how to develop connected learning modes. Doesn't being connected mean you are a connected learner? Well, no. We are still at the brink of discovering and utilising true connected learning habits and strategies in education. Using certain tools, being somewhat fluent with social media, integrating blogging into the curriculum – these are all parts of being connected, but they do not provide the infrastructure and essential learning pathways for connected learning.
Connecting and communicating globally
The smartest person in the room, is the room.
Don't forget, the room is the school is the community is the country is the world. It's that simple! Once you connect your learning, and your students learning the walls do come down and learning becomes ‘flat’. The hierarchy of learning is flattened and the flow of information and creation of knowledge is changed so that in effect Weinberger is correct, the ‘room’ (school… world) becomes the smartest as learners work together. Global is defined as being beyond your own walls – it could be the teacher with a class up the street, across town, the next state or another country. The strategies and understandings remain the same – the new connections you make are not the same people as you, and most likely not in the same time zone as you, and most likely a different culture to you, therefore the opportunity is for enhanced cultural and global understanding through this connected learner approach.
Further connected learning resources to explore: