Saturday, October 26, 2013

PLNs, our way of 'speaking' the new language?

Are PLNs our personal way of using a dynamic, complex, new form of language? A linguistic/literary tool that constitutes a our way of thinking, knowing and communicating? 

This is my riff on "aggregate, remix, repurpose, feed forward" (Downes, 2004). I am building on, playing with, remixing and feeding forward other people's ideas.

Robert K. Logan, postulated that the Internet and the World Wide Web constituted the 6th major human language since the origin of speech (1. speech, 2. writing, 3. math 4. science 5. computing). Logan (2006) wrote,

"I . . . believe that the Internet and the World Wide Web represent the sixth language in the evolutionary chain of verbal languages that I have already identified. The Net is transforming learning and commerce and accelerating the evolution or bifurcation of the Information Age into the Knowledge Era. The Net has its own unique semantics of Web sites, Web pages, Internets, Intranets and Extranets and it has its own unique syntax which is hypertext and hyperlinks. Every medium has its message and the message of the Internet and the World Wide Web is five fold. They are: 
1. two way communication; 
2. ease of access of information; 
3. continuous learning; 
4. alignment and integration; 
5. community. 
These five features are driving the emergence of the Knowledge Era which in turn is reinforcing and accelerating the use of this medium." 

Downes (2004) views connectivism as a language where each blog (or potentially microblog i.e. tweet) is the equivalent of a word and the words/blogs combine to create a language. The component pieces that form the net are the language where knowledge resides. 

"What we know- what we learn – is distributed across a network. It’s the patterns and regularities in that network – not the descriptions of theses patterns, but the patterns themselves, even patterns created by the creation of images, videos and cartoons. We need a new literacy to understand this language. " Stephen Downes (2012 p. 10)

As with other languages, the language of the Internet is dynamic and constantly changing, imitating other sources, to combine, recombine, remix, remash.  PLNs are complex, and can never be completely known. The language of the Internet is best learned through immersion.

Downes, Stephen. (October 8, 2004). The Buntine Oration: Learning Networks 
Logan, Robert K. (2006) The Extended Mind: Understanding Language and Thought in Terms of Complexity and Chaos Theory


  1. Hi Maureen! Always enjoy reading your cerebral thoughts & ideas, you spin me out (in a cognitively dissonant good kind of way!).
    I thinking along similar lines last week when I was, rather incidentally, at a Labeque Sister's recital. As they were doing a mash-up of pieces and genres I thought this is a bit like the experience of #xplrpln - a mash up and remix of ideas to form new & emergent thinking.
    Actually I meant to tell you, I wrote a Maureen-inspired short thought-in-progress blog post about this type of emergent thinking last night!

    Thanks for your inspiration!!

  2. Tanya,
    I always enjoy your comments. YES! I often think of mash-ups as a form of 'collage thinking/being'.
    I am going to check out your blog right now!