I love Facebook, some (like my husband) might say I am addicted to it. Well, I might be, but I'm on a patch now, so it is getting better! Facebook, or FB, is great because I have met people from around the globe playing dumb, time-wasting farming games. The farming has lapsed (I've found treasure hunting much more appealing,) but I remain FB friends with some of those I met early on; one of those people is my friend Jan who lives in South Africa. Now, I've never been to SA, but I would love to go for many reasons; I have many more reasons to go now that I know Jan, she has opened the country to my eyes. Without social interactions through programs like Facebook, I would never have met Jan, nor would I know so much about South Africa!
Most of my 8th grade students have Facebook and/or MySpace accounts. Be clear, I do NOT friend my students, but do have former students in my friend base on FB. I do not post strange or inappropriate items or videos, so I feel comfortable with the 2 still left in high school in my circle. I have learned so much about places around the world, not just South Africa, but everywhere. I have met people from places I've never heard of and had to find on a map with guidance! I have been socially learning from this style of technology for about a year now, and as my husband says, I'm addicted.
How does this all apply to the learning theories for social constructivism and connectivism? Easy, socially the people involved make connections to others and pieces of information available. I do NOT agree with George Siemens (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009)is stating connectivism is the way for students to learn in the 21st century. I think he has made a case for himself by defining "Learning Theory" to match his own needs. I believe my students need interaction with something other than technology and computers; I believe in face-to-face instruction. I do not think all learning will go to the way of the computer, and if it does "connectivism" would surely DIS-connect the person from the Social Learning theory it is tied to in Siemen's eyes. To learn socially, one must interact with others, not just on Facebook or Second Life interactives, but real human interaction.
I think of the Disney/Pixar movie Wall-e. If you have seen it, the people become complete connectivists and speak to one another through holographic tv screens, even though they are sitting right next to one another. If you haven't seen the film, check it out. Lots of lessons to learn from a little robot!! If you have, meet me on the Lido Deck, there's a pool!!