As I cleaned up and sorted my children’s toys into their toy bins for what seems like the 1000th time, I find myself making links to George Siemens lecture from last week. Siemens spoke about all the fragmentation on the Internet. I am not used to this. I am used to the whole. My entire life, I have been given a text-book to master and learn- my whole. I could put the pieces together and make sense of the whole. Now, with the Internet as a vital learning tool, people are left without a whole. We have all these experiences of pulling apart the pieces only then to try to put them back together and make sense of the whole for ourselves.
When online, we have all these filters that control us or at least what we see. I see these filters as compartments. I get to see adds and website suggestions because I am a woman, around 30, mother, wife, scrapbooker, reader, educator etc. I am, online, compartmentalized into all these small little boxes. These boxes are not that different from the bins in which I insist my children store their toys; GI Joes- yellow bin, cars- blue bin, Mr. Potato Head- red bin etc etc.
What I have come to realize is this whole time, I have pretty much been way-finding. I am orienting myself on the Internet, in this land of Web 2.0 tools and applications. I am trying to connect the pieces between what is the application, how do I use it, where do I find it and how can I apply it to my class. The whole process of sense-making is still in the works for me! For me, this effort of trying to understand all the pieces and trying to piece them all together is really difficult until I am well-established in my navigation.
Now that I understand the difference between the two concepts and I have been able to place myself on my way-finding/sense-making journey, I just need to continue taking the steps on the path toward reflection and content. To me, the sense-making process means I will reflect on learning, create based on what I have learned, revisit my reflections and integrate them into my every day life.
Lastly, Siemens said that as we participate in digital forms, we are giving birth to ourselves or our digital identity. I found this an interesting analogy which took me back to my question: Are we really multiple selves or the same self in multiple forms? I would say the latter is true. I am still the same person, born by the same amazing mother (thanks mom) but now I am a part of a digital system. Same person, different community. What do you think?