My original response to George’s posting on: Can a group of networked individuals play the same role as a teacher or professor?

Can a group of networked individuals play the same role as a teacher?  This course could be a good example.  In the short term, I do think such group of networked individuals have played “part” of the role of a teacher… provided the individuals perceived the network as a valuable source of knowledge and experience, which could be trusted and relied upon. 

But will there be a timeframe for such role?  thoughtful

How about the emotions of the individuals towards each other?  How would the emotions be resolved?  An example is if the member was not “liked” or was neglected by other networked members, he/she may decide to leave the network.  So how could that member learn or be helped out?   How about the lurkers?

Are there any “facilitators” or “leaders” needed in such networks?  Will these individuals assume their role as “teacher” ultimately?  What motivate these individuals to stay in the network?  Is the network based on a community of practice/interest/project/problem/social reasons?  Is there a definite start/end time for such network (like a project)?  

To what extent will such network relationship persist? 

How will power relationship be developed in external/social network?  How will conflicts of power be resolved?

As the network develops, will the “weak ties’ grow into “strong ties” or “transform into something else – like a group”?

Will there be a cycle of network – group?

Will it be similar to the TQM (Total Quality Management) movement, starting with Top TQM Steering committee, quality circles, then formal TQM cross functional teams, Just in time, then leaderless teams, then process re-engineering, best practice, customer service, then lean, six sigma, and now networks (quality networks), then…will it be  Network Steering or Community of Practice, network circles again…?  And the cycle goes on?

Even if we don’t need teachers, will some people still want to become teachers or like to take up the role of a teacher?

Where will the teachers go?  Re-deployed?  Will the parents become the teachers?

So will it be schooling then de-schooling, then re-schooling cycle?

Where there is a solution, there may be a set of problems arising from that solution, the TQM movement cited above well illustrates the lesson from history.  Does it?

Connectivism – a short case study on mentoring and coaching based on my experience

In my year 7 high school study (many tens of years ago), my teacher suggested us to study in pairs to develop better spoken English, and to improve study skills.  That mode of pairing is similar to the mentor/mentee relationship we have nowadays. I wasn’t awared of this being called mentoring at that time. 

He first arranged us to pair up with other students.  I was paired up with another bright classmate who needed to develop improved reading skills.  Academically he was the star (much better than me in most studies).  On certain mornings before the class started or during the breaks (we negotiated the time), he practised reading with me, and I just listened, and provided feedback where necessary. Throughout the process, we learned and improved.  We had become very good friends based on that relationship. We both had to “report” back to the class, and every pairs did the same too on the progress and outcomes.  My classmate actually had to read in the class to show his improved performance (peer assessment).  And we could even change mentors and mentees at will.  So it was fun, emergent…relationship, learning and leadership.

During the last 10 years, this practice has been happening throughout my own work and outside membership in associations or networks.  On some occasions, I joined as a “formal” mentor and did the mentoring – all between us (me and the mentees) in private, and then more openly with the other mentors, during site visits, meetings, but we are both “mentors” to each others, and sharing the learning either face to face or in groups. 

So, we are now extending such mentoring relationships to the  networks, this course – with sporadic mentoring and coaching, consciously and unconsciously, sometimes propositional, other times nonpropositional (as cited by Stephen).

I always like to break the rule, if it is good for “us”- especially the one to two paragraphs cited by the experts or professors in forums.  Why? Because I think that is one question only, and is limited to one paragraph of answer (correct?), a didactic Socratic approach.  But I would like the stimulation of multi-conversation, and that’s the challenging part of the discussion. That simulate the multi-facets of complex issues in real life, and we could become the curator blended with creativity.  And Bob, Lisa, Ruth, Frances, Stephen, George…you are the one….

Did I pass marginally?

Thank you for being patient with me….more stories to share…in coming posts thoughtful

Can a network of learners serve the role of a teacher or professor?

Here is my response to the forum post http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=1163

Who is the instructor? George, Stephen, and each others too?  I suppose that’s what George and Stephen would like to see… we are actively building up the connections through forums, blogs, wikis and other various tools, which is all part of the learning process.  And we are proactive in peer teaching as practising “teachers”: to explore what is distributed in the web and networks and people, to be inquisitive, to challenge each others’ perspectives by postings and responses based on reasons (not just passions – with emotional control) in a network.   Some of us have used our own writings, postings, others have used podcasts, videos on Youtubes, pictures, powerpoints, and mind maps etc.  to share the knowledge and learning.  In order words, modelling and demonstration as a teacher and connecting and practice as a learner (as cited from Stephen in various forum discussion). 

When such connections and exchange of perspectives are coupled with personal reflections, I think it could generate powerful learning amongst the individuals – with valuable emergent knowledge shared and developed.   For me, it has already changed the way I learn. 

In the forum I often like to learn the views of the participants, mainly because here you are: George, Stephen, Jon, Frances, Bob, Lisa, Old Socs and others… the lively ones whose quotes and perspectives are more relevant and important than those quoted in “theories” in OUR discussion.  Your views are based on years of experience and knowledge, and are equally valuable when compared to those findings coming from applied research done by great educators, researchers and professors. 

In this connection, I think the exploitation of ICT in the mining of distributed network knowledge and network sharing and discussion could often outperform that of an individual “teacher” or “professor”, as the process could more readily crystallise the essence of connected knowledge, which is emergent. 

Such deep learning is often more valuable to the participants because the emergent knowledge is a result of “co-construction” by its network individuals.  The diversity, autonomy, interactivity and openness, in a connective knowledge network is both encouraged and forged under such learning ecology (adapted from Stephen).

So in this network, is everyone a leader and instructor in learning?  If you want to enlighten and share the learning, what are you going to do about it?  Lead from the front?  Keep each other excited! Stay current with knowledge upfront!  Is it what most professors are doing? Isn’t it in line with the principle of life long learning?  Is that the spirit of emergent leadership – exploiting the learning via technology and network (artefacts and people) ? Sorry too many questions already, as Bob said.  Your turn…

Can a network of individuals replace a teacher or professor?  Your conclusions…..