Trying to visualize Networks

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in CCK08 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

When we talk about networks in constructivism or group theory, my mind always compares them to computer networks. It’s the easiest reference I can pull up, since I deal with computer networking on a daily basis.

I’m going to try and post a series of posts including some mindmaps to help me make sense of my comparisons of a  computer network to the connectivist’s network.

This first map is of a compute node:

I am the world’s worst artist, so it doesn’t look like I want it to. But I am going for the concept here:

  • Our Long-Term memory is like a hard drive, a place to store data
  • Our Short-Term memory is like a computer’s RAM
  • Our Mental Models are like filters applied to an individual compute node
  • Network Connections are our access to information, just like that cable you plug into the wall to get on the internet.

To me, applying the constructivist theory of learning to how an individual learns makes sense. We are bound by what we filter with our mental models. I am comparing the mental models to filters because in a sense they are, they are social constructs so they may not allow us to search for or appreciate information we encounter from new networks.

Connectivism, to me right now at least, is everything from the Network connection out. Problem is, we have more than our own filters sifting through all the information we encounter. The network itself is filtered, and that may prevent us from ever knowing about certain networks.

I’m off to participate on a panel about Asperger’s and college (talk about filtering…), but when I get back I will try and draw out how the network filters work.

One Response to Trying to visualize Networks

  1. I’ve yet to see any professor, guru, or diligent student in the Connectivism cloud talk about “filters,” or the need for them. Sounds like that might be antithetical to Connectivism, even though of course, they put in filters constantly, not always consciously.

    I’d also invite you to consider what has been said in other threads, and not only by me, about these models of the brain, or models of computers, being applied then to social or educational theory. How to justify the metaphorical jump? In another era, the brain was a machine, and hydraulic metaphors applied; in a still earlier one, the brain was a chakra with energy or a centre or a place of humours — isn’t every age going to conceive its metaphors? And is it rational to extrapolate an entire theory of knowledge and then education from the metaphorical jump?

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