Ok, hope I am not getting to sound like a broken record – so soon into this blog – but while reading Stephen’s presentation on Learning Networks (circa 3/9/05), I saw something that resonated. Sure Networks include entities, connections and signals. No big deal there. But when considering the differences in networks, Stephen mentions Density, Speed, Flow and Plasticity.
Of course, I see LinkedIN as being fast, but other Web 2.0 tools are fast too. Other networks provide a nice flow of information too. But for Density, I am not sure that I can get my hands around another tool that provides as much density around my connections as LinkedIN does. From my vantage point, surrounded by 125+ contacts that I share any number of interests with — I feel the density being many times much, since their connections, numbering 70,000 — all seem to become aware of updates, changes, Questions etc, as their connections react to my actions.
So without almost any energy on my part, on any given day, my connections continue to go about their business of networking – and my Learning Network continues to grow. And not just growing huge in all directions, but primarily in directions related to my core interests (since the common contacts all share one or more of my core interests to begin with!). So for someone looking to increase or improve “their ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts” — well, I have just accomplished the 3rd Principle of Connectivism, as noted on Slide 19 of Stephen’s ppt.
This is not to say, that I don’t want or need additional Web 2.0 (and Web 3.0) tools – because I do! I am just saying, that I find LinkedIN to provide many of the Networking features that Connectivism mandates. I intend to post some capabilities that I think I would like to see in a future toolset, which could help take this existing network of shared-likeness contacts to a whole new level of innovative learning.
And no, I am not a paid consultant to LinkedIN – I am just a satisfied user of a free tool……and building some opinions of what I would like to see in future tools.