Thursday, July 24, 2008

Connectivism is Nothing New

To quote Wikipedia "A hyperlink is a reference or navigation element in a document to another section of the same document or to another document that may be on or part of a (different) domain." The act of linking two things together is a critical act. The connection is first created (connectivism?) in our mind based on other connected thoughts that are in turn linked to our personal experience, social, and historical milieu (constructivism). Creating references between two "documents" is as old as recorded history. And what is a document? According to Wikipedia, "Anything serving as a representation of a person's thinking by means of symbolic marks." There are many instances of documents through out human history of containing "hyperlinks" to other documents. In the east, many of the sutras are actually written references or guides to mandalas and other art. One of my favorite chapters of the Illiad is the shield chapter (18:478) where I have long felt that the description of the shield is obviously a reference to another work of art, a sculpture perhaps, and in turn, the arrangement of images in the shield is a critique of the society and world that created it. So the Illiad was an oral tradition, referred to by a written document which also refers to a work of art (the Shield of Achilles). The shield itself was a graphical representation of the complex relationships of humanity and the cosmos. Now if that is not a hyperlinked text what is?

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