This took place on 20th November and we started by coming to an agreed understanding of what networks are. Identifying those networks and drawing them out can be useful a map of networks can be useful and out by mapping out our networks both professional and personal.
We discussed the various networks we had mapped out further. Some questions we asked were….
- Are there any crossovers between groups – are there some networks with the same members in each?
- Which networks are more important to us in our professional practice and our learning and development?
- Which networks are peripheral to us … that we are part of but not actively?
- Do we put in (contribute) as much value as we get out of the network?
- What happens when we actively contribute to a network?
Theoretical approaches to networks were discussed as set out in the Reader for this part of the module:
- Co-operation (tit for tat)
- Affiliation (sense of belonging)
- Social constuctionism
- Communities of Practice
We then revisited the networks we had mapped out and assessed if any of the above approaches could best be used to help us understand our participation and our activity in the our various networks.
Connectivism led to a discussion on the location of learning and knowledge. A question about where knowledge is located immediately brought the response that it’s in our head. How does it get there? It could be via having some information (from a book or a person) and linking this with experience. Or it could be from experience alone. Therefore, looking at a network through the lens of connectivism we tried to locate the knowledge – it was contained in the nodes on the network. It could be that the larger nodes have greater knowledge because they are linked to a greater number of nodes that others.
While there are no right or wrong answers to the above what is useful about this reader and the tasks is that it forces us to examine our professional networks and evaluate them for improving our professional practice and promoting learning, development and knowledge.