I've always kind of been a SciFi and specifically a "Star Trek" dork. In my defense, I came by it honestly. My dad loved the show, and we watched it faithfully from the early years when Captain Kirk ruled on through "The Next Generation" days. We argued about why we hated or loved DS9, the merits of Captain Janeway, and of course, who made the better captain, Kirk or Picard. (For the record, dad and I both agreed on Picard. Dad thought he was more captain-like, and I, well I just liked how he said, "Computer. Earl Grey tea. Hot. in that accent of his.)
Geek Culture as the Segue Into Your PLN of Choice
Naturally, when I was reading about CoPs for the unit on CoPs, connectivism, and PLNs, I immediately bookmarked an article that used "Star Trek" as an example of a CoP. Told you I was a dork.
However, it wasn't just that I could write about a passion that I liked this unit. By profession, I am a writer and designer. I have participated in CoPs and PLNs, though I didn't realize that this is what they were called. I also think a lot about how to use graphics in a way that conveys a message quickly. In the latter case, one of the things I've discovered as a designer is that if you can use images that already carry some sort of cultural or social message, a great portion of your message-making is done.
Of late, I've been doing a lot with "Alice in Wonderland" with this very thing in mind. If you post something about Alice and say the rabbit hole - even just from a pictorial standpoint - most people are going to understand a great deal about that image even if you don't say anything at all. Because of how much "Star Trek" has infiltrated and influenced our collective consciousness, I felt it had the same type of potential for graphics that don't require a lot of word explanations.
My CoP is ComicCon and Trek Fans...
When I was creating my graphic for this week's assignment, I created with ComicCon in mind. I have been to the local versions of these SciFi conventions, and I based my categories on booths and exhibits that I had seen. Granted many CoPs and PLNs are web-based, but as The National Council of Teachers website points out, PLNs - and I would argue CoPs - can be anywhere. That includes the local coffee shop or deli (NCT).
1. The shared interest 2. There needs to be a community that engages in shared activities, which helps each other, and which shares information. 3. Finally, there needs to be a practice, meaning that not only do these like-minded people have a community, but they share helpful tools and experiences, swap stories, talk about ways to solve problems, etc.
Trek turned out to be a good theme to build this idea around, because Trekkies fit all three of these elements. They share pictures and stories from ComicCon, teach others how to create cosplay costumes, and learn the languages of the "Star Trek" universe like Klingon. And given that ComicCon is big business, engaging in these activities allows them to make professional connections with other Trek vendors and fans, who might buy their wares. In this case, the CoPs and PLNs do overlap here a bit.
"Star Trek" - The Precursor to Modern Connectivism?
Lastly, Trekkies use connectivism to further their knowledge (Siemens). One of the principles of the Theory of Connectivism is that you can learn from people you don't know. Knowledge truly is power in the world of connectivism. Additionally, the theory includes learning from non-human sources and the ability to see the connection between various ideas. In many respects, the "Star Trek" universe has always operated on the principle of connectivism.
Resources and References:
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (2016). Communities of Practice. Retrieved September 09, 2016, from http://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html
Siemens, G. (n.d.). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved September 9, 2016, from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm
The National Council of Teachers. (2016). Professional and Personal Learning Networks. Retrieved September 04, 2016, from http://blogs.ncte.org/index.php/2016/04/professional-and-personal-learning-networks/
Standard 1: Instructional Systems Design (ISD) Standard 2: Print Technologies Standard 3: Utilization Standard 4: Management Standard 5: Evaluation