February 4, 2011

CCK Week 3, Friday Elluminate Session Notes

Posted in CCK11 at 5:18 pm by kristibroom

I’m finding that it’s helping me to make sense out of this course if I publish my notes here. Not only does it allow me to reflect on them and their sources again, but I greatly appreciate the comments that help to clarify them.

So, below are my notes from Friday’s Elluminate session. I will admit to a bit of…ahem…”filtering” during some of the more esoteric conversations. So, like all of my past and future posts, this is not an all-inclusive list of points.

Property

  • Our experience with an object is based on our perceptions.
  • Those perceptions are not of the object itself, but of its properties.
  • Of all the properties, we select those that are salient perceptions.
  • We combine the salient perceptions to describe the object.

Connections

  • Connection implies more than relationship. Next to, same color, from the same parents are all relational statements, but do not necessarily equate to a connection.
  • In order for a connection to exist, a change in state in one of the things has to have the potential to result in a change of state in the other.
  • If someone talks and no one listens, there is no connection.
  • In a crowded room, lots of relations, lots of connections (as you listen to bits of all of the conversations); as someone calls your name, that conversation becomes salient.
  • Knowledge is a set of connections in the mind.
  • If you have perceptions about things, you are connected to them.
  • Because you are always perceiving, you are always learning.

Meaning

  • Meaning of words is not located in a single place.
  • Rather, it’s a cluster of connections.
  • We talked about Paris, and its many connections (the city in France, plaster of Paris, Paris Hilton, more).
    • Each of us has a set of connections associated with the word Paris.
    • Those connection clusters will overlap.
    • Wittgenstein talks of social sense of words, which is the sum total of people’s perceptions.
    • We create a network of uses of words.
    • In order to make sense (to learn), you insert yourself into the network and start interacting with the entities. In doing so, your knowledge is impacted by signals from others, and by reacting, you impact others in turn.

And the point that I will continue to ponder for a while: The question is not how we get people to learn, but how we shape their perceptions so they learn a set of information and not others.

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February 2, 2011

CCK11 Week 3 Notes

Posted in CCK11 at 5:47 pm by kristibroom

This week I find myself with more questions than answers, more confusion than understanding. I’ll start with a full admission that I did not make it through the readings this week, and likely won’t return to them. Instead, I’ve been reading A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, who also discuss networks, knowledge, and new ways of learning.

In Chapter 2, the authors describe the old way of learning as mechanistic toward an end of efficiency. Their new way of learning is described as an environment that contains and is shaped by context, boundaries, information, students and teachers. Later, they talk about explicit and tacit knowledge, and how tacit knowledge is learned via a collective.

I think there are connections to CCK11. I think the environment that Thomas and Seely Brown describe is similar to the network we’ve been discussing. Their descriptions throughout the book of knowledge and learning seem very similar to networks, connections, entities, and transfer. At least at this stage.

I’m almost finished with the book, so as I finish reading and reflecting, there may be more to share. In the meantime, I do have a few notes from CCK11.

In “An Introduction to Connective Knowledge”, Stephen shares the following with us:

  • In the past, 2 types of knowledge have existed: qualitative and quantitative
  • Distributed knowledge has been added
  • Entities must be connected because a property of one leads to or becomes the other; the knowledge that results from these connections is connective knowledge
  • “Connective knowledge requires an interaction.”
  • He goes on to talk about salience, interpretation, emergence, meaning, and other very relevant, very philosophical, and, to me at this stage of learning, very confusing concepts. I’m looking forward to learning from the network on this one.

In Wednesday’s Elluminate session, Thomas Vander Wal compared Information to Connective Tissue, saying that without it, the other important pieces (bones, muscles) wouldn’t function.

He described 3 categories of connective tissue: hyperlinks, workflow, and metadata, complete with some great examples of tools that support information’s ability to connect, his real-life workflows, and a great discussion of folksonomy and its comparison to taxonomy. Here are some key points:

  • Links are what powers the Internet, but also make desktop computing much easier.
  • Social software applications and common social tools (e.g., blogs, wikis, activity streams) allow for information sharing among people.
  • He then described an InfoCloud ecosystem that includes a Personal InfoCloud, a Local InfoCloud, Global InfoCloud, and External InfoCloud, with the goal being information flowing easily throughout the ecosystem.
  • Our workflows describe how we seek, evaluate, and use information, both personally, and within our networks. The examples of Thomas’s personal and professional workflows were helpful. I’ve (loosely) captured them below.
  • Personal Workflow:
    • Follow activity streams (RSS, daily sites, etc.)
    • Open items of interest in a browser
    • Drop interesting items into Instapaper for later reading
    • Things that are valuable are added to DevonThink
    • Things that are valuable to others are shared via Delicious
    • Search is enabled across DevonThink and Delicious for later retrieval
  • Professional Workflow:
    • Most work with others is done in a wiki
    • Ideas shared broadly in a blog
    • Documents shared in DropBox or Box.net
    • All conversations done in Skype
    • Project and status shared in microblogging
    • All pieces connected, tagged, searchable
  • Metadata helps us classify and aggregate things, so that we can make sense of them in relation to other things. It also enables search.
  • Folksonomy describes a personal tagging/retrieval system, different from a taxonomy, which is imposed upon us

 

I look forward to your contributions, comments, and especially clarifications.

January 30, 2011

CCK11 Week 2 Thoughts and Notes

Posted in CCK11 at 3:46 pm by kristibroom

After all the best intentions for participation, it was a busy week last week, and CCK11 took a necessary back seat. Over the 12 weeks of the course, I’m sure this will happen again, so maybe that is motivation for deeper participation during the rest of the weeks.

Despite the busy-ness, I read the readings, scanned many of the blogs and discussions, and tried to make some sense of all of it. First, my notes from the readings:

Krebs’ “Social Network Analysis, A Brief Introduction” provided a great primer on SNA. I appreciate the diagram that served to illustrate the concepts of:

  • Degree Centrality – number of direct connections
  • Betweenness Centrality – ability to connect to hubs
  • Closeness Centrality – shortest distance to other nodes
  • Network Centrality – degree of stability

From Downes’ “Learning Networks: Theory and Practice”, I appreciate the Design Principles, cleverly alliterated for ease of memory:

  • Decentralize – similar to Krebs’ Network Centrality
  • Distribute – makes networks more efficient because they do not require concentrated effort to run
  • Disintermediate – remove barriers between nodes
  • Disaggregate – remove bundles (e.g. create learning objects vs. courses)
  • Dis-integrate – example of applications being able to run on multiple platforms
  • Democratize – each node decides for itself
  • Dynamize – network is fluid
  • Desegregate – learning integrated into life and work

In addition, the story of building a jet aircraft resonated with me, as Waldo did last week. The notion that even if one person knows his/her job extremely well, it’s only a piece of the structure, and must be part of that structure in order to be valuable or make sense.

Lakoff’s “Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain” made the point about frames being very ordinary, and learned very early on. He also spoke of how every word is defined in terms of a frame.

So…I think what I’m beginning to understand is this:

  • Knowledge is distributed
  • Networks facilitate the sharing of knowledge…they facilitate learning
  • Decentralized networks are more stable. Distance to connections (shorter distance) is personally rewarding (the quicker I can get to knowledge, the better for me)
  • Patterns exist in networks, whether human, digital, biological
  • Our brains begin functioning in networks, connections, distribution, frames, etc at a very young age

Next week, I will continue to follow the readings and contributions, and plan to begin making a concept map. The examples shared so far are both motivating and intimidating, but I’ll focus on the motivation and will look forward to your contributions for improvement.

References

Downes, S. (2005, March 8). Learning Networks: Theory and Practice. Retrieved January 24, 2011, from Stephen’s Web: http://www.downes.ca/presentation/32

Krebs, V. (n.d.). Social Network Analysis, A Brief Introduction. Retrieved January 24, 2011, from orgnet.com: http://www.orgnet.com/sna.html

Lakoff, G. (n.d.). Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain. Retrieved January 24, 2011, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_CWBjyIERY&feature=player_embedded

January 21, 2011

Notes and Reflections on CCK11 Week 1

Posted in CCK11 at 3:04 pm by kristibroom

The first week of CCK11 was a foundational week, to understand how the course will work, set some targets, and build a foundation for Connectivism. In this post, I’ve selected some key points from various resources in an attempt to make sense for myself. I welcome any feedback or corrections.

  • One of the distinguishing characteristics of Connectivism is the focus on technology. In “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age,” George Siemens describes how previous learning theories were developed prior to the technology advancement, and that today, technology can care for processes that were previously assigned to learning theories.
  • In the same article, he makes the point “Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.” I think that has tremendous relevance and implications for us as educators.
  • In “What Connectivism Is,” Stephen Downes says that “knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks.” I think about how we teach children to memorize facts and formulas, but not necessarily how to navigate among sources, networks and connections.
  • In “Connectivism and its Critics: What Connectivism Is Not,” Downes says “learners do not ‘acquire’ or ‘receive’ knowledge; learning is not a process of ‘transfer’ at all, much less a transfer than can be caused or created by a single identifiable donor.” This makes me think again about K12 education, and the series of standardized tests that kids take, and all of the structure that is in place for 12 years to impart knowledge on students. As an aside, a colleague sent me this video this week, which is Sir Ken Robinson talking about “Changing Education Paradigms.” Though not directly related to this course, I think the suggestions are valid for other ways in which our current educational structure is failing, and what we can do about it.
  • The Elluminate sessions were interesting as always. I already mentioned the “Where’s Waldo” analogy for knowledge; in addition, the level of questions and discussion on Friday’s session both surprised me and intrigued me. It truly made the point that the network of participants in CCK11 has an abundance of experience. I look forward to building the connections and learning throughout the course.

References

Downes, S. (2008, September 10). Connectivism and its Critics: What Connectivism Is Not. Retrieved January 21, 2011, from Stephen’s Web: http://www.downes.ca/post/53657

Downes, S. (2007, February 3). What Connectivism Is. Retrieved January 21, 2011, from Half an Hour: http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A Learny Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved January 21, 2011, from IDTL: http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

January 20, 2011

Strategies for Success

Posted in CCK11 at 4:27 pm by kristibroom

Yesterday, I shared my goals for CCK11. I’ve got one to add:

6. Stay ahead of the readings! Last year, I spent the week (and weekends) playing catch up with the readings, which deprived me of rich understanding of the sessions, and the discussions. I don’t remember if previous courses had the readings published in advance, but I greatly appreciate that this one does!

I really appreciate George and Stephen sharing with us the strategies for success. The model that resonated with me was Create, Interact, Track.

  • Create: content for myself to use as reflections, and for others to keep me on track, to challenge what I’m saying, and to learn as well.
  • Interact: with others who have different and similar points of view.
  • Track: how things are going based on comments, interactions, etc.

Best of all, the slide gave me a few ideas on technologies to try to meet that goal.

Tracy Parish said “what I’m learning about is how I’m learning about it.” That really resonates with me, and concisely states what my ultimate goal is in participating in CCK11.

One other random point of resonance: Stephen’s explanation of knowledge using the “Where’s Waldo” example was perfect. I get it! And, I’m looking forward to learning more about how knowledge is distributed through the network.

January 19, 2011

CCK11

Posted in CCK11, PLENK2010 at 7:16 pm by kristibroom

CCK11 kicked off this week. I’m excited to start another 12 weeks of intense learning, interaction, confusion and connections.

Although I registered for CCK11 a couple weeks ago, it was only yesterday that I finally decided to really join. This is my third MOOC, and while I love learning about this cutting-edge format for learning, I know that I need to commit myself to it in order to get anything out of it.

My first MOOC was CCK09, and though I read most of the readings, I did not fully participate in the forums, nor in creating my own work. In PLENK2010, I set out to more actively participate, and this blog was born. I found that by setting personal goals for PLENK2010 (which, by the way, I did reach), I was more committed to the outcome.

I’ve set goals for CCK11 as well. They don’t differ drastically from PLENK2010, but I hope they will help me stay focused on what I hope to achieve through these 12 weeks.

  1. Explore at least 2 new technologies. I’ve already got a few on my list. By the end of the course, I’d like to have a working knowledge of what they can do for my learning.
  2. More consistently post to this blog. I know this is too loose for measurement, but I hesitate to set a target of posts/timeframe (I did that for PLENK, and posted exactly 1 time per week). I’m hoping to get comfortable enough to post as often as I have something to say.
  3. Enable a deeper understanding of Connectivism, and how I can apply it to my own learning and those whose learning I help enable.
  4. Engage with at least 5 CCK11 participants. This may seem like a small number, given the large number of participants. But, by engagement, I mean conversations and connections that will occur inside and outside the course. So 5 seems reasonable.
  5. Stay focused on these goals, and filter out the content that doesn’t help me reach them. It’s not that there couldn’t be nuggets in the rest of the content. But, for me to be successful, I need to target a portion of what is produced.

I’m looking forward to the journey. If you have goals that you would like to share, I’d love to hear them.