attempting to understand connectivism

So as part of my commitment to lifelong learning I have enrolled myself in George Siemen’s and Stephen Downes’ online course ‘Connectivism and Connected Knowledge CCK09’ along with (I think) almost 800 others.  Most of my recent participation in courses has leaned towards more practical courses (eg playing a musical instrument etc) so it is with some apprehension that I delve into what for me is seems to be a very theoretical and intimidating realm.
As I read through an article introducing connectivism from Stephen Downes blog ‘Half an Hour‘, I came across the following statement:

In connectivism, a phrase like ‘constructing meaning’ makes no sense. Connections form naturally, through a process of association, and are not ‘constructed’ through some sort of intentional action. And ‘meaning’ is a property of language and logic, connoting referential and representational properties of physical symbol systems.

Well….. now I’m a bit stuck.  Here am I, I think, trying to construct some sort of meaning from this introduction and all the interesting posts in the course’s forum on what people think connectivism is yet I it would seem that I am doing the wrong thing.  Is there an element of passiveness in connectivism?

It’s been years since I did philosophy at uni and I fear that I have forgot much more than I have retained when it comes to making sense of quite complex ideas in an academic manner.

Changing the topic completely what has really impressed me with the course is that although there is an online presence using Moodle, participants are encouraged to use their own learning spaces.  Very encouraging, there should be more of it – educators wanting to engage with learners in their own spaces, not the system ones.  I was just part of a conversation with some education department IT people where someone mentioned that they were adopting a user-centric approach to design rather than a system-centric approach so they are now asking users what they require then building it.  I’d love them to extend this to asking them what they use and then incorporating it.  It’d be great to extend this a bit further but one step at a time I guess.   Anyway I include this rant as I think somehow it relates to connectivism and to be quite frank, I don’t have a great deal else to to say as I am right at the beginning of even hoping to understand it.

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