02 August 2013

Connected Learning or just learning?

Make Cycle 6 (envisioning)

I was a rather curious child and a natural inquirer. A particular interest in cars led me to subscribe to magazines like Road & Track and Automobile, talk to knowledgeable people about how cars work, and even invest in a wonderful book called Auto Math Handbook. It provided the engineering foundation for many car designs which I diligently drew while summarily ignoring the television.
I'm pretty sure one of my designs inspired the creation of the Bugatti Veyron.

When I first researched for an assignment using my father's CompuServe account, I knew the internet was special. I dreamed of sharing and collaborating with people around the world. I joined AOL chat rooms in 1995, enjoyed my first free dial-up via AltaVista, and became unsettled when my email address change from RocketMail to yahoo!. I was a developing musician and composer and saw the incredible potential of the internet for learning, sharing, and collaborating about music.

As the years passed, however, the internet became a distraction. I tried new sites, sought new connections, but everything felt hollow. Rather than sharing, I was collecting 'friends' and 'likes'. Rather than collaborating, I was arguing with forum trolls. Eventually, I avoided the internet, relegating it to the same status as television and shopping malls - distracting, frivolous, commercial.

I was a victim of data overload. Connection saturation. It took a decade of stumbling across websites and mucking about in social networks to gain a degree of fluency necessary just to be able to peer through the haze at what is looking back on the other side of the modem:

You.

Not to be overly dramatic, but that's the end of my Making Learning Connected MOOC reflection. Primarily, this experience has reminded me of what excited us about the internet twenty years ago. So here it is, the future of connected learning for me is to compose my first String Quartet.

The fourth movement is based on a figure I wrote seventeen years ago in Nepal.
It's going to have four movements, and I'm doing it all by hand, no notation software until every note is written. Then, I'll do what I always wanted to: Use the internet to share it.

I'll be incorporating Connect Learning principles into my classroom practice, of course. Ensuring that my students develop their media fluency has become a top priority as I have discovered that it is the key to effectively utilizing the internet for learning.

I hope you'll also continue to follow my posts as the Independent Inquiry project progresses.