I’m not a blogger. I’m not into tweeting. I suppose you could say for this class I come with a predisposition to the dark side in a way. (I mean if blogging and tweeting are the GEDI way, then I guess, the dislike of tweeting and desire to not blog would be the dark side. Are we allowed to be Sith Lords? I highly doubt that.) The only times I have ever gotten a social networking sites is because a class has required it. I think it comes from being raised with parents who covet privacy. It makes it difficult to want to post parts of my life online for the world to see. School is such a huge part of my life, I suppose, it only feels natural to be protect of what I expose to the online world. It’s different from other areas of my life like my interests outside of school. I feel comfortable going online to explore them or research further, but with school, I’m protective. I think it is this protective nature is what makes me the most resistant to social networking, but it is also what makes me resistant to connected learning practices.
Connective learning presents a different look at how social networking and the online world plays a role in the learning environment. Connected learning allows for students to have access beyond the classroom while the educators are able to have more educational tools. In some ways, it has created more ways for both the students and the educator to stay in contact. We can learn more about each other and learn how to better communicate with one another. However, do these benefits have some consequences?
There is a benefit to having more access to the education. (For example, I’m writing this blog post the night it is due in the comfort of my apartment.) This access allows for us to do things on our time and plan better or at least in theory. It works both ways. Educators and students get to work on their work and check on each other all while continuing on their busy lives. However, I find there are two consequences for this constant access. The first is disorganization and the other is getting away from school.
Through, having more access, I think sometimes both educators and students take this connection for grant. We allow ourselves to think this connection will allow us to put things off or worse, we expect others to be just accessible as the Internet allows us to be. As students, we assume that the assignment or activity can be done later only to find out that Internet isn’t available. Then sometimes, educators assumes that the students can adapt to just as quickly to the changes simply because it only takes one email. Just because we have access to each other and can adapt quickly, doesn’t necessarily mean that we can give up on organization. Connected learning is an extension or addition to education, but it isn’t a replacement for educational practices we already follow.
While connected learning adds to education experience, it does present the inevitable dilemma of whether or not we can unplug from school? When do we turn off the computer and step away? Is it safe to not check our emails every day when it comes to connected learning or could we miss something important? When do we say when?
I think some of the complications of connected learning are the same as traditional education. Maybe there aren’t really any easy answers to these questions because it ultimately leads to the ultimate issue of work/school/life balance and neither connected learning or traditional education can avoid this predicament.