Living in the future

“Connected” by marcoderksen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 

It’s the time of year when everyone is connecting. In person as old friends and family visit, or, as I connected with my brother who lives in Canada on Christmas day, by the wonders of the net.

I was born in 1970 in a world without computers or the internet, As I grew, so did technology and by the time I left university in the early 1990’s the web had been born. Shortly after that I got my first mobile phone. Now my phone is my mobile office, classroom and my connection to the wider world. I love technology and the connectivity it brings but I sometimes feel like I am living in a sci-fi movie or the future.

I attribute this to having a 1970’s analogue brain, one that was born in a world of book pages rather than electrons. I feel it goes deeper than that, even so-called digital natives have primitive analogue brains evolved over millennia that have to adapt to a digital world that has existed for just 30 years. Clever technology design takes advantage of this and rewards the connections we make.

I’ve been thinking about connections from a learning context a lot recently due to my current MA module. In H818, The Networked Practitioner, we work openly and socially to create our assessed work. We are encouraged to create and increase connections and networks. It’s scary and liberating in equal measure. This blog is another way I am trying to connect with the wider world.

I could argue that all learning is about making connections. Between facts and between theories. Technology facilitates these connections by making it quicker and easier to ‘join the dots’. Education is moving from being taught in a classroom to a set syllabus (pedagogy), to self-directed (andragogy) and self-determined (heutagogy) learning. Self-determined learning can be all about following the connections you make, and can result in amazing discoveries or those ‘rabbit hole’ moments.

It’s not all positive. The connectiveness of the modern world creates paradoxes. Putting yourself out there can be tricky. More connections means more exposure and greater risk. How we navigate this risk is a nuanced constantly changing negotiation with ourselves, and the wider world. Deciding what to share becomes the real question.

Having decided that I want to be more open with the world, more connected, how much risk am I willing to take? Quite a lot it turns out.

So, despite having an analogue brain, I plan to take full advantage of this digital connected future I find myself living in and hope you’ll join me on my journey.

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