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I recently did a mindmap on my personal and professional connections (See below). I have to say that my past achievements were not products of just my hard work, ambition, and drive. Although personal motivation has a lot to do with one’s success, I realized that my connections helped me get to where I am and they will also help me get to where I am going. We are all connected (whether we like it or not). Our resources are all connected too. Knowing this simple fact, I realize that my networks have changed the way I learned. I also realized that there are hundreds of digital tools out there that we can all use to learn and to finish our tasks, and most especially to achieve our goals. Face it, we all have questions throughout the day. Some of us can just tap someone on the back and get an answer. Some of us can just Google for information. Many of us learned how to perform tasks through YouTube. Educators used so many digital tools and media to motivate their students. This special phenomena that we all go through everyday is “Connectivism.” Connectivism attributes learning with connecting with others, our environment, a mediator or educator. Your computer can be your mediator or educator. Technology drives us to connect with each other and map our thoughts and actions.
How has your network changed the way you learn?
My network helped me get my act together. Internet with all its resources have saved me a lot of time and effort. It wasn’t too long ago that people, in order to get specific information, needed to go to the public library. These days, we can go to a bigger online library and retrieve documents, 24/7. Recently, I visited YouTube and learned how to make my first sushi or sashimi. I took pictures of my new creations and shared them in my Facebook page. From there, I received many compliments from my friends and even suggestions on how to learn more techniques in sushi-making. My networks help me day in and day out to acquire information and interpret information so that I can learn and apply what I learned into my life – to make my life easier, giving me more time to do personal fun things with my family.
Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?
I really like Google Docs because it is where I can share my documents with my teammates. I also like Skype because whenever I’m out of town, I can still see my husband and talk to him. As a college instructor who checks essays, I like Turnitin, to check for plagiarism. I like my employer’s learning management system (Ecollege) because it helps me connect with my students as well as connect with my peers. Whenever I have a question, Ecollege can connect me to the right person. I also enjoy using my employer’s Waypoint Rubrics Calculator. It makes grading papers seamless and easy. As a doctoral student, I like Visual Thesaurus and Grammarly. Visual Thesaurus can help me see how words are interconnected with each other. Grammarly helps me catch any grammatical errors I have in my papers before submitting them.
How do you learn new knowledge when you have questions?
When I have a question, I search through Google right away and type my question or keywords in the search box. I also go to Walden University’s online library to get up-to-date resources for my assignments. Walden University also has a wonderful Writing Services to assist me with my APA citations, writing questions, and research questions. I learn new things by “searching.” Searching the Internet can cut time from having to search through outdated books. Finally, although I can’t use Wikipedias for my assignments, I use it as a starting point in my research.
My Personal Mindmap Depicting my Professional and Personal Networks