Reigeluth’s paper on Chaos Theory made several excellent points. First, healthy systems co-evolve with their environment meaning that as systems interact with the world around them they are continuously or constantly changing. Second, disequilibrium is needed in order for systems to co-evolve as it causes the system to be ready for transformation. Third, self-organizing systems are adaptive and with freedom to make changes and shared core values the system can be more orderly.
These three points sparked my curiosity. I did some searching about the co-evolution of healthy systems and new emerging pedagogies. In recent readings I have found the mention of Connectivism in which chaos and the need for pattern recognition in order to engage students in critical thinking and learning.
A Learning Theory for the Digital Age
Siemens describes the need for Chaos in Education:
“Chaos is a new reality for knowledge workers. ScienceWeek (2004) quotes Nigel Calder‘s definition that chaos is “a cryptic form of order”. Chaos is the breakdown of predictability, evidenced in complicated arrangements that initially defy order. Unlike constructivism, which states that learners attempt to foster understanding by meaning making tasks, chaos states that the meaning exists – the learner’s challenge is to recognize the patterns, which appear to be hidden. Meaning-making and forming connections between specialized communities are important activities.”
As a learner and knowledge worker myself, I find myself engaged in self-organizing systems via social networks. The readings reminded me of the interconnectedness of real life and our digital lives. My connectedness is another learning tool for me to stay current in my field. I look to my colleagues in the field or connections via social media to blog, tweet, share links, and comment in order to stay up to date on the most current thinking in education.
Currently, I play a role in three primary educational systems, the PhD program at the University of North Texas, Lewisville Independent School District, and at Academic Partnerships International. Each of these educational systems are very different each other as they are higher education, K-12 education, and a corporate partner to higher education systems.
My role at UNT in the Doctoral program is as a student. Of the roles that I play in the various systems this is my easiest role. I am a confident content consumer and producer. I am required to stay within the boundaries (syllabus, rubrics, due dates, assignments) that are set for me by the program and its faculty. I am required to read, attend synchronous class meetings, complete assignments, and meet required deadlines. As a self-regulating learner, I set my own personal goals for achievement and those goals are created using the boundaries in the courses.
Within the Lewisville Independent School District, I am a parent of a high school student, an elementary student, and the wife of a teacher. I am a source of funding for the district as a homeowner and as a parent. My husband and I support our children with their homework on an as needed basis and encourage our children to find their own answers to their questions. We feel strongly that we need to prepare them to be strong independent thinkers/learners and do not enable our children by doing their work for them. We attend afterschool events, concerts, plays and other activities to support our children and the system. As a wife of a schoolteacher, I find myself helping to create bulletin boards, and many weekends I find myself performing my tasks as a student in an elementary classroom. My participation in the PTA/PTSA is merely financial support since my time is so limited.
In my career, I work within a business that supports educational systems. I work daily with institutions of higher education to expand access to high quality, low cost education to a global audience. I personally work with Chancellors, Presidents, Provosts, Department Chairs, Program Directors and Faculty at these institutions to optimize the efficiency of their educational offerings in order to deliver a quality product online.