07 abril, 2011

The Privilege of Connectivism

I have a confession to make. It’s kind of embarrassing, so, let me breath in and breath out. Here it comes: I don´t have a mobile or, as we say in America, a cell phone.

Till now, I see no benefit in a cell phone. To me, its (annoying) ringtone or vibration gets in the middle of everything, bursting in, and the worst of all, making me reachable, traceable, and available 24/7. The funny thing is that I just signed up for the MobiMOOC. Yes, mobi as in mobile. So, I guess I’m going to need one. But, I still don’t know. Not having a cell phone is such a great thing. Do I really need one? What do you think? I mean, is technology mandatory in order to be connected?

Not long ago, I saw on TV the story of a family so into technology that they barely talked to each other. The eldest son texted hundreds of messages every day, but he couldn’t say “good morning” to his parents; the daughter was addicted to social networks; the little boy couldn’t stop playing video games; the mom, a non-stop cell phone talker, and the dad, a workaholic with a gusto for every sport broadcast to certain on TV. A psychologist came up with a radical solution to help out this needy family: he took away all their electronic devices for a week. The first three days, they suffered big time, yeah, total drama. But, by the fourth day, they started to connect to each other, and by the end of the week they were engaged, I mean, connected.

So, back to my question: Is technology mandatory in order to be connected?

Thomas Baker asked himself a similar question on his blog: Does connectivism require a computer, an internet connection, or, in my case, a cell phone? The answer is “no”. We don’t need technology to be connected. Technology makes it easier most of the time, faster no doubt. But, the truth is that it doesn’t guarantee a connection, because it takes more than just technology or a device to be connected.

To my understanding, connectivism is about reaching out and letting others come in. It’s about sharing what we know and who we are. Connectivism is, in my opinion, a state of mind, a way of life, the way to be.

So, you want to connect? Good for you, that’s great! Start by looking around you, take the closest person to you, now smile, make eye contact, start a conversation. You don´t need any device to do that.

But if you are lucky enough to have been blessed with technology access, congratulations, that’s even better, you have the amazing opportunity to connect with anyone around the world who has, of course, been blessed with technology too, since less than 30% of the world’s population have Internet access. So, technology, Internet, devices… oh, we are privileged, my friend, so let’s do something great and worthy with it and not waste it.

14 comentarios:

  1. Glad we connected (electronically). I will not buy a celphone or mobile device because of the mobimooc. I just don't need one, because I working from home.

  2. for me, I could not go through my professional life without being connected to others via technology. This is mainly due to the fact that I was a sole eLearning provider for a long time at my institute. So without being connected, I was on a knowledge island.

    But what is being connected? For me it is being able to trust people no matter how the connection has happened.

    But having said that, I do log-off frequently, I do not need to be virtually or face-to-face connected all of the time to feel connected. It is a bit like really good friends, you do not pass on their doorstep every 5 seconds, you leave them be from time to time.

  3. I love your confession ... And your conclusion that we can be connected without technology and that technology gives us another opportunity to be connected to a wider demographic.
    As I walked around Athens, Greece this week and pondered the "cradle of civilization" and what it meant to be living here in the time of Socrates, it occurred to me that Socrates was the "guide on the side" rather than the "sage on the stage" and his students turned out rather well and went on to make many solid conributioins to society with new thinking.
    At the same time, the Agora was the meeting place for all peoples to come and discuss their ideas on a daily basis ... I think of it as the MOOC opportunity of it's time ... Massively open opportunity for connective communication. OK, so it was a MOOCC.
    And I have a mobile for texting folks globally, not a smart phone. The laptop can be more than enticing, too often :)

  4. Thanks for your post, Veronica. I saw the previews for the show you mention, and we all see those tables of people at the coffeeshop not talking to each other but talking or texting on their phones. It's just kind of silly. In my house we all tend to walk around with our Droids or netbooks within easy reach, and I think sometimes we use them just to tune out for awhile. Not good!

    For me, I would rather be in a space with real live people talking about the subjects we've dealt with in CCK2011...but because there is no one around me physically that's interested in this stuff (sigh), the technological connection is better than nothing. :)

    Take care,

  5. Hi Verónica,

    You are the wise one. I think it is a very good thing that you have not felt the need for a mobile.

    I have one mainly for brief to the point messages, but on a personal level i want to walk around and enjoy life, take in what is happening now - connect with other people around me now and not immersed in another world, sending a signal that i don't want to be bothered or engage in half hearted conversation because i have one eye on a beeping phone :-)

    Additionally I like to come home work on a PC, not have the strain of working on a fiddly little keyboard and be comfortable in my surroundings and enjoy my online time.

    I think as we go on more and more people will reject the 24/7 always on life - they have to because it ain't no good for you.

    Worse i do believe that in many cases it is detrimental to face to face connecting.

    Having said all that i love technology and there are definite advantages with all the apps available on mobile phones - As you know it's getting a balance that suits you.

    So, good observations and maybe it will cause a few people to think about the point that you have made.


  6. Great post. With regard to that TV show, I honestly don't buy into television reality (even if it's an expose type of show) because at the end of the day they are looking for advertisers and money. Of course they are going to pick something that is shocking so they can get more eyes on the television screen, and therefore more advertising revenue.

    I think that there is some aspect of personal responsabiliity. Banning electronic devices is poor judgement. Having each person being an island in and of themselves is also wrong. There is a happy medium, and the parents needs to enforce it. When the parents are asleep of at the wheel, the children will do what pleases them. When other kids aren't around because we are now growing in areas where we don't know our neighbors (or worse: fear them!), children won't go out to play. SO what is left? digital communication and video games (either alone or networked) - this satisfies the child's need to communicate.

    As far as needing a cellphone, I thought I didn't need one 10 years ago. The truth is I didn't, because of my social circles. When my social circles, especially those abroad whom I couldn't reach easily, started getting cell phones and I could SMS them easily and keep in touch, then I was more intrigued by the prospects. Now with more ways to connect, I think it's important.

    My grandfather used to call my grandmother from the cafe to ask her if she needed anything before he drove home each afternoon. These days there aren't even pay phones to do this (in the US anyway), so a cellphone is actually convenient and cost effective.

    For me, I get lost. My phone has GPS and maps - it helps me get to where I want to go. Can I do this without GPS and maps? of course! I can do what I did in the past - stop and ask directions - but it's easier (and less embarrassing!) to use my phone with GPS.

    Now do YOU need a phone? that is a decision that you have to make. Connections aren't just online or electronic, but your horizon is broadly expanded when you have access to technology. The KEY thing is to not become farsighted, just looking at what's in the distance while ignoring what's happening in your close circle, the one that does not require technology to communicate :-)

    http://idstuff.blogspot.com (for CCK11 and mobiMOOC posts)
    (had some trouble posting - hope I did't double post)

  7. Hi, Jaap,
    You know, I thought about it... and I won't buy a mobile either, I don't need it. One of my friends gave me an old cell phone (she feels bad because I don't have one), so maybe (and just maybe) I'll use it.
    Glad we connected,

  8. Hi, Ignatia,
    thanks for your comment. I liked what you said:
    >I do not need to be virtually or face-to-face connected all of the time to feel connected. It is a bit like really good friends, you do not pass on their doorstep every 5 seconds, you leave them be from time to time.
    I agree. I enjoyed your session.

  9. Hello, Carol,
    Love your comment and all your contributions throughout the MOOCC ;-)

    Nice meeting you.
    Kindest regards,

  10. Hi, Leah,
    That "show" was Oprah ;-)
    I would have liked to have you in the FB group... we were into "the same stuff".
    Thanks for your comments and advice.

    Best regards,

  11. Hi, Steve,
    I like to walk around and enjoy life too :o)
    However, I do enjoy technology and all the advantages that come with it.
    The key, as you say, is getting a balance... and that is, probably, one of the hardest things to achieve.


  12. Hi, AK,
    I agree: Banning electronic devices is poor judgement, as well as banning anything else.
    However, we have a tendency, as a society and as human beings, to ban. We do it because it's easier than learning how to use them wisely, finding the "happy medium" it's not an easy job... it takes time.
    >Connections aren't just online or electronic, but your horizon is broadly expanded when you have access to technology. The KEY thing is to not become farsighted, just looking at what's in the distance while ignoring what's happening in your close circle, the one that does not require technology to communicate :-)
    Agree on that too.
    Thank you for your comment.


  13. Vero!!!! Cuál es la expresión contraria a "Chachita, te cortaaaste el cabelloooo", porque ahora te "dejaaaaste el cabello". Que bien que te ves con el long long hair. Hombre, qué re chingado gustazo saludarte!!. Desde que me mandaste este link lo vi pero por "ene" cosas, ya sabes, no me había podido sentar a escirbirte. Pues ya toda una vida hecha por allá, no? Yo tenía espacioperdido.blogspot pero me pasé a especioperdido.wordpress.com.
    A lo mejor encuentras algo de interés en floresdenieve.cepe.unam.mx/blog, donde participo con Emma Jiménez, la profe que nos daba una materia en el Diplomado.
    Estoy haciendo la especialidad en enseñanza de español y estamos diseñando materiales para la enseñanza que, espero, pronto podamos trepar a la red.
    Me da mucho gusto leerte y saber de ti.
    Te mando un abrazote y muchas buenas vibras. Que estés muy bien
    atte: el Moztrenko
    ah, si sigues dando clases, date una vuelta por http://www.todoele.net/

  14. Mi queridísimo Gonzalo,
    Oye, que ya tengo tres años viviendo en el D.F., así que -por favor- nos ponemos de acuerdo para vernos y ponernos al día :-)

    Un abrazotote,


Gracias por tu comentario