- The network of international health care professionals linked together after experiencing outbreaks like the SARS.
- The solar system – which networks planets
- Evolution – as a self-assembled network that led to higher life forms on Earth
- The brain – a dynamic, thinking and emotional network
- The Internet – speed of information flow and repository of data
I think you might agree with me that those are all good examples. At least one important and immensely successful network is missing off this list: the telephone network. In the last 125 years, this network has evolved and adapted to serve the needs of the industrial revolution all the way into the 21st century and while I am no expert on predicting the future, I am predicting this network will continue to grow in its importance for generations to come.
This being said, the telephone network is slowly merging with the data network. So maybe in the future, all communications networks will be merged together with so much overlap and interconnectedness that distinctions will be difficult to identify.
Anyway, is this good for distance learning? YES! The telephone is important for distance learning. Not only is it a simple and reliable way for an instructor to communicate with a student but it also provides students access to a data network on some telephones. For example, I’m writing this blog post from my iPhone. It’s iFun! Access to this data network on a telephone exponentially increases the functions that a student can perform in support of their own learning using a telephone.
Can you suggest a candidate for the most successful network in history? If so, can you explain how this network might support learning in a practical sense?
Note: image attribution here.