Building Networks

Photo by Flickr user adesigna under CC BY NC-SA 20

Photo by Flickr user adesigna under CC BY NC-SA 20

Pondering connectivism was an excellent think for me, and I was able to reflect on the activities I currently work on as well as the ones that are percolating in the back of my brain.  I connected with all of these readings, but Daniel Pink’s Drive speech at the RAS was the best.  Therefore, I’ve selected his three factors for motivation to organize my reflection: Autonomy, Purpose and Drive.


#1 Tech Tuesday: I need to schedule a round-table sharing day for people to bring in their favorite tech tools.  I also need to do more scheduled sharing by others.  My “Guest Star” days are by far the best attended Tech Tuesday (I try not to take it personally). 🙂

Photo by NASA - Public Domain

Photo by NASA – Public Domain

#2: More international collaboration through social networks: by modeling how you can make this happen for my students, I can show them how to use the world as their encyclopedia once they’re out of school. I am (still) toe-dipping stage with this, and I need to figure out what deep diving looks like without engaging in another paid for course that forces me to do it like the Flat Classroom. Twitter is of course a great resource, and I’ve started to have some nibbles through Skype for Education.


#1: MOOCs as after-school activities: The University of the People fascinated me, but I don’t think it’s relevant option for me or my students right now.  I did like reflecting on all these modern innovations when it comes to learning, and I think have students select a MOOC and take it alongside interested teachers would be amazing.


This is a tough one for me.  it’s so easy to bribe students into doing stuff you think is cool! But here’s the hard truth:

#1. I need to stop bringing candy to my library lunchtime celebrations.  Damn you Daniel Pink!  It’s time to return the motivation to come and the motivation to stay back to the WHAT of what we’re doing. If the activity itself isn’t motivating and interesting, sugary teeth-rotting candies aren’t going to make it any better. Actually, as I’ve seen recently, it will take away from the excitement for those who are truly there because they love -NaNoWriMo, LIS Reads, Reading, Gaming- since candy crashers just come take loads of freebies, half heartedly participate and leave.

#2: Connectivism is important and it is not about technology. Technology is just a toolConnectivism is about relationships: developing, nurturing and valuing relationships. I think the IB program does put relationships at the center of their program, and then it is our job as schools to work on making sure relationships are at the center of our delivery.  One of the things I think our new deputy principal is doing particularly well is putting the focus back on relationships and conversation as the primary tool for navigating “discipline”. I am trying to reflect this in my library program.

#3 READ: I think connectivism in the library is deepening my connection with students, the sense of community and developing the library as a vibrant community space. I was delighted (and a little scared) when I saw

#4 Pay people enough to take money as an issue off the table.

Bingo Number 20 by Flickr user Leo Reynolds under CC BY NC-SA 2.0

Bingo Number 20 by Flickr user Leo Reynolds under CC BY NC-SA 2.0

How do we take grades (the student version of money) off the table for students?  Well, I am still fascinated by the 20% idea, and I think if we do inquiry well, the grade part becomes less of a motivation.  Perhaps working 20% time into one of our science classes will be my Course 5 project?

FedEx day: How do we take money (the teacher version of grades) off the table for teachers? We did one of these with our secondary school faculty at work, and it was wildly successful. I think we all felt good about working at LIS that day.  And we accomplished some serious stuff!  So WHY WHY WHY WHY haven’t we built that into our classrooms?

In very small ways at LIS, we are starting. For example, I believe “read whatever you want time” is essential, and I’m proud of our Language A English classes for building this into the majority of their courses, if on varying levels.  One of my favorite manifestations of this time is in Sou Cheng Leong’s Year 7 class, where she allows students to have ownership and autonomy in this process by having a different student each month design the book report format (students vote on which one the class will do) as well as reward the best ones based on their own judgement. You can check out examples in her Year 7 Reading and Book Reports Category.

In Conclusion

I think connectivism has a place in every learning environment.  I hope to keep it in mind as work to develop the learning relationships at my school.

6 thoughts on “Building Networks

  1. Hi Katy!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about autonomy and purpose as well, and Pink’s book has been sitting in my Kindle for months.

    I’m interested in learning more about your FedEx day. What did that look like at your school? (I already read your link.)

    How familiar are you with EdCamp? We had an in-house one at Chapel one afternoon as part of our PD, and it was great. I’m wondering how these two ideas compare.

    Hope you’re doing well!

    • Hi Alisha,

      Good to e-see you! You know, I almost said that the post didn’t do it justice but it’s what was posted. Basically we had a variety of sessions to choose from and some open “learning” times as well. I participated in a Build Something workshop with our DT teacher, Tim Gotterson, and a session on simulations for learning led by our humanities teacher. I also led some sessions on databases and electronic reference. Then I spent my free time working on I some planning. Overall, it was a great day and the optional sessions were brainstormed by teachers. There were dramatic dance movement classes, gardening sessions, well-being curriculum planning sessions- the variety was fantastic. At the end of the day we had drinks and snacks and shared with our colleagues what we had been up to. By far one of my favorite professional days.

      I’ve been watching EdCamps on the old interwebs for a while now, and I am intrigued, particularly by some of the up conference movement related sift hats happening in libraries. There are a lot of elements of Ed camps that remind me of Unconferences in library world: participant led sessions, Web 2.0 enchanced conversations, informal exchanges, the power of the crowd. You might be interested in a book called Mob Rule Learning: Caps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head by Michelle Boule. It is sitting on my Kindle, awaiting my attention.

      What did you like about the EdCamp approach?


      • Thanks for the book recommendation. Your FedEx days sounds great.

        We only had a couple of hours for EdCamp Chapel, but what I liked best was the opportunity to discuss what felt most relevant to me and the ability to interact with teachers from other disciplines and grade levels.

        • Alisha,

          Well, I know the theory is more open than we made it, but I think it was a good balance of meeting the needs of the organization while allowing space for the creativity of teachers, who are the people on the ground anyways and know what the organization needs.

          I am going to discuss some more flexible professional learning opportunities with my professional learning team in January, and EdCamp is one of the options I’ll bring up.

          Have a great break,

  2. I think the idea of connectivism is relationships enabled by technology in an important one. And it’s one we have to model for our students. I know it’s changed my professional life and I want my students to take initiative for their own learning the way I’ve been able to. Thanks for showing all the ways you’ve been creating opportunities for connectivism in your library space.

    Side note-I’ve been wanting to bring FedEx day to my school and I love hearing how other places do it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Rebekah,

      I totally agree. I find it surprisingly difficult to convince them to be “connected”the way I want them to be. However, I am thinking I need to figure out the ways they’re already connected and build from there instead. I tried last year to engage students in developing larger learning networks for their extended essay and it wasn’t very successful, but I wonder if it’s because I started with what works for me instead of what works for them.

      Obviously, it would help if we were modeling connectivism to a greater degree in their classes prior to attacking the EE, but I need to figure out a way to introduce it when they arrive as well. I am hoping to run a series of workshops through our homeroom sessions this year and push them to engage with experts through those sections.

      We shall see! Thanks for visiting.



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