Ok, I’m convinced about the pros of Connectivism. Not in every circumstance or subject, but as Hung (2001) advocates ”teachers are ‘pedagogical engineers’ with the responsibility to plan a lesson(s) with the most relevant instructional approaches and technologies at his or her disposal.”
I decided to try it in my own course. I teach Web design in a class of unemployed students in which they get different courses. During their course Drupal (which is a strong and difficult CMS) we also study the use of Joomla and WordPress. I decided to become a coach, instead of a teacher. I made some screencasts (6 times 5 minutes – figure 1). They also got access to my (own written) course material (figure 2) and I shared some resources. I set up a web conference (figure 3) in which I shared my resources (figure 4). Using the chat function they could ask questions. After a session of 1 hour, everybody could work with WordPress. They had to present and share their results with each other. Using the whiteboard we made a conclusion by searching the pros and cons (figure 5).
I tried to use web 2.0 tools exclusively: screenr.com, dropbox.com (figure 6), wordpress, etc. Only the web conferencing tool Webex is a paid version.
Not the real stuff?
I realize this wasn’t Connectivism at casu, I shared resources and was online at the same moment as they were. So it wasn’t asynchronous education.
- I can reuse my screencasts during the next session.
- The students were excited to do their own “research”
- I got a very quiet lesson in which I only had to answer very few questions
- Being independent is a very important skill for web designers who are very often confronted with new developments. This kind of education helps in the growth to independence.
- This kind of education isn’t suitable for every occasion
- The teacher has to have the right skills to use and find web 2.0 tools
- When a new version of WordPress is introduced, I have to make new screencasts.