As part of my studies of Emerging Technology for Learning, I am required to develop a concept map of the course, which is illustrated below.
I was attempting to identify abstractions, themes, symmetry and an attractive arrangement for my concept map. I gave up in the end after a few different versions, as it just all wouldn’t emerge for me. This was partly due to the complexity of the topic and limitations of the concept mapping tool.
What I have produced instead is a concept map of the course topics most relevant to my particular context. The nodes in my map represent the most important issues that affect my work in higher education. Naturally not an exhaustive list as there are many other elements that could be added to my map, some of which are probably equally as important as those presented. However, as I have previously mentioned, you could map to infinity and so you have to draw the line somewhere.
The major themes that I identified for my concept map are Learning, Technologies, Information, and People and Connections.
I placed “Learning” at the top of my concept map; really I believe that all nodes encompass and underpin learning. Learning is the focus point of the map. In a way, technology is also a focus point of the map, but only in the context of the course. I did not enumerate the various online social services in my concept map. I did have them there, but decided to remove them, as the services themselves aren’t specifically relevant to my context. Technologies come and go, as we are in a time of perpetual change. It is more important to recognise this and adapt, and knowing the affordances or action potential is the critical element.
Critical sub-themes in my map include literacies, connections, and engagement.
Literacy is a crucial element of interpreting information. Not just in the language sense which became quite evident as part of these studies. While I was aware of information literacy, the other literacies identified in the course broadened my perspective on this issue. In particular, the information and digital literacies were of interest to me. Dealing with abundance of information, learning to be social online, and learning technologies are so obvious, yet were not explicit in my thinking.
My previous experience and reading suggests strongly that interaction and engagement with other people is a crucial element to learning. The ability to share and gain alternate perspectives broadens one’s knowledge. This I have tried to capture in my map, and comprises a considerable portion of it. I liked the idea of discerning between peripheral and central participants in online fora, and especially allowing ourselves to accept that peripheral participation is legitimate. Being a lurker myself in many contexts, that discussion did highlight for me that while sounding sinister and seedy, being present by not necessarily contributing is not necessarily a bad thing.
I have to say that I have found the concept of the concept map to be a real eye opener and an effective way for me to make sense of complex thoughts. I am a details oriented person and it can be difficult to see the big picture at times. Using concept mapping, I can arrange details in a way that makes the bigger picture easier to see. I will try to make greater use of this type of technology to organise my thoughts in future.
As always, I find studying at U Manitoba a very rewarding experience and this term was no exception. Most particularly the cross-cultural mix and more global perspectives open my eyes more broadly – always a good thing. There are sometimes a few language barriers, as education language can be quite contextual, and localised. But again, the differences keep things very interesting. I would love to visit Canada one day with my family, but I might make it a summer trip. 🙂
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