Learning theories like connectivism and constructivism can give educators a new way of looking at their teaching practice. With any of these theories, what I’m focused on is how it will impact my students.
When I’m learning about new things and new ways to learn, I tend to take what I think will work for my class and leave the rest. So when I look at connectivism, what I really see is one very practical application. Students learn better when they have other connections in their life who they are able to learn with. Because of this I’ve worked actively in the past year to try to double down on class culture. I don’t just want my students to feel comfortable learning with me, I want them to have colleagues in the class that they feel comfortable learning with too.
I think the teacher/ student relationship is very important in learning, but the student to student relationship is often overlooked. In classes where I’ve been able to get my kids to understand that they are a team or a family that needs to help each other and work together, we have been much more successful and the students have enjoyed learning much more. Social learning matters and connectivist theory supports this idea of social learning.