I have many "Aha" moments in the shower crying out for documentation.  I will also use this blog to document my new startup, "Going One to One", an online course for schools who need help doing three big shifts at once: purchasing computers for each student, promoting student-centered learning, and adopting Google Apps for Education.

- Bram Moreinis

Connectivism + Communities of Practice

Connectivism is a little over ten years old, ancient in Internet years but neonatal in education years, so it requires evangelism.  I am in the ranks of evangelists now that I know about it.

When I surf around for diagrams to convey Connectivism, the ones I find tends blur it with "Web 2.0" - mind maps of social learning sites.  Connectivism is not the same as "use social learning sites (diving into Diigo and Facebook and Twitter whenever possible)!"  There is much more depth to Connectivism, and I found that depth well represented in an interview with George Siemens, linked below.

When I engage with Siemens' video, I think also of Wenger and Lave's 20-year old concept of Communities of Practice.  Rather than adopt "Social Learning" for its own sake, Connectivism bids we explore the networks, people, sources and tools of whatever Communities of Practice (CoP) support the discipline under study (the degree our course is a part of), and THESE are the best external links to 'connect" with and to.

When the course instructor is a participant in the knowledge networks that produce, extend and apply his or her discipline, he is part o CoP, and knows and has access to the networks, tools and data sources that students should be connected to (with preparation).  However, when the instructor is an adjunct assigned a course outside his or her personal participation, these CoP connections will not be authentic or grounded without some research and testing.  

As Connectivism and Communities of Practice make their way into the designs of more and more online and blended courses, instructors will be more likely to do this extra work to make these connections, bridging the LMS to CoPs.