Connect the Dots

Do you remember the connect the dots activity from your childhood?  You draw a line from 1 to 2, 2 to 3 and so on until the picture was revealed and you sat back proudly at your accomplishments.  This week I’ve been connecting the dots and while the complete picture is not fully developed, I am beginning to see the start of it.

Connect the Dots Flower by mazeo
Connect the Dots Flower by mazeo

Connect the Dots Flower by mazeo

These past two weeks, I’ve devoted time to setting up a RSS Feed (Feedly) and Flipboard and hours reading/scanning the content flowing in, but the dilemma faced is when to stop reading and start writing. Exactly which of the many interesting ideas, theories, or new thinking do I want to zoom in on and share?

I feel like I need to stop working to have enough time to read all that is out there on education, technology and the role of technology plus many more interesting related and somewhat unrelated topics.  However, without my present and future students, and educational decisions in my daily life, it would quickly lose relevance.  It’s all about the information you need now.  ‘How best to meet the needs of the students in my class?’ is what I need now.  No students.  No need.  This is what resonated with me after reading Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.  His conclusion nicely tied everything together (remember the dot picture) and what has left an imprint for me is the idea around access versus possession of knowledge.  “Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today.”  “Access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses.”  So many conversations turn to or linger too long on what to teach; let’s remember the conclusion of George Siemens and perhaps ask ourselves “What skills am I building through what I am teaching that will allow students to access what they need when they need it?”

 So if all that I’ve read this week are the dots (Connectivism, Using Scratch for digital storytelling, Superheroes of the maker movement, Copyright issues, Recruiting Using Social Media,  Blooms’ Digital Taxonomy Map, Planning lessons around technology, and many, many more) what picture is forming?  The picture that is being revealed is that the landscape of information is constantly changing and we need to be smart about that.  We need to build systems to help us maximise the landscape (not just survive it).  Using tools like Flipboard can help as it flips the process of me finding information to information finding me.  That’s been a major focus for this week as I’ve set up RSS feeds and Flipboard.  I’ve been creating systems and I’ve had to think carefully about what’s important information for me right now.

 What picture have you uncovered this week as you’ve joined the dots?


Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age by George Siemens


3 Replies to “Connect the Dots”

  1. Hi Tracy
    I think my big connection has been that we are moving from the analogue age to the digital age and that requires a shift in so much about how we do school. In fact I made an infographic about it. The big change which you mention is that we’ve moved in just a decade from an age of information scarcity to information abundance. Managing that flow and making it work for you is a more vital skill than memorising facts.

    Speaking of connections, I’m going to be visiting ASB on Thursday. If you need any supplies from Singapore (Whitakers, weetbix) give me a yell. I’ll chuck some in my suitcase.


    1. Hi Stephanie,
      I’m hoping I will learn new ways to manage the flow of information for both myself and my students. I love the infographic that you created. And I’m going to check out the software too. It looks like a great tool for representing thinking.
      Are you coming for a PYP conference? I have a friend from Singapore coming into town on t
      hat day too, so wondering if you are coming for the same reason.
      I was in New Zealand over Christmas so all stocked up on the essentials, but thanks very much for the generous offer.
      Safe travels and let me know if you need any help with your time here in Mumbai. It is day and night to Singapore.


  2. HI Tracy,
    When you wrote about building systems to help us ‘maximize the landscape (not just survive it)’ – it resonated with me. I was talking to my friend about this course and I was telling her that I am feeling very overwhelmed by it all.

    Now as I look back on the last couple of weeks, I understand when Jeff said that the first course has the biggest learning curve! We are familiarizing ourselves with and setting up those systems.

    I have a week off and I am looking forward to geeking out with the RSS feeds, Flipboard, and my COETAIL site. Like you said, I want the information I need to find me. Thank you for your post!


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