#CCK11 Are you going with network flow or personal flow?

I have been pondering on this basic question since I was young:

Are you going with the flow (following the herd, or the system, or networks etc.) or growing with your own soul (personal flow)?  Or both.

Why am I concerned these days? Have I been locked up with the social and connective “networks”?  How often do I reflect on the meaning of immersion in different social media?  Do I use my own customized PLE or just rely on the mass social media?

George shared his views about the social and connective lock-ins where he states:

As Stephen noted in our discussion, we should have control of our own connections. We shouldn’t offload the knowledge that exists in our connections to a mediating software service that then mines those connections to generate economic value. An important part of PLE/Ns is giving individuals the skills and technology to control our connections. And in the process, own our own knowledge. Unfortunately, open connection-forming protocols that allow us to connect with others and share content are not as developed as the Facebook Connect/Twitter models.

We should have control of our own connections.  Would that align with the autonomous learner’s principle?  In the course of connections, especially through mediating service and tools, it is no surprise that there are economic values generated, when artifacts are produced through interactions or discourse, or research.  This also offers opportunities for the exploitation of those service provided through the news publishers, research publishers or educational providers etc. But isn’t that a by-product of the connections, that is inherent with the social media development?  Are we manipulating these connections to achieve our goals?

What are the issues?  Despite the open educational resources widely available on Google and wikipedia etc., we often found it difficult to access the more “accurate” and reliable resources for free.

For many of us, would connections be also influenced by the notion of: should I go with the flow?  What it means is that going with flow is often easier, as there are well established software or media platforms for people to dwell upon.  Facebook and Twitter provide that sort of connections that are tempting and engaging.   Rapid set-up of account with a soon to-become famous or glory may be the mindset of some ambitious networkers.  Isn’t it simple?  Just join the FB or twitter group and you would be connected to others!  But is that really enough to support one’s connection?   Far from reality!

Twitter does provide many avenues for connection, with whatever that interests those Twitterers.  However, does it mean that connection of those sources of information (via Twitterers) would generate “conversation”?  May be a casual chat only with the followers, especially if one is a “novice Twitterer”.  What is of more value likely would be the links one could follow to tracing to the information sources – like an important artifact, a breaking news, or an update of a conference on air.  How do you know the information that one is referred to contain accurate, up-to-date information?  As shared here on churnalism or news

The website, churnalism.com, created by charity the Media Standards Trust, allows readers to paste press releases into a “churn engine”. It then compares the text with a constantly updated database of more than 3m articles. The results, which give articles a “churn rating”, show the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material.

It revealed how all media organisations are at times simply republishing, verbatim, material sent to them by marketing companies and campaign groups.

How do we know a diversity of opinions is the best way of learning?  This is also raised here

This reminds me of Bouchard’s views here Network Promises and their implications 960-1513-2-PB[1]:

Interactive networks have been represented as somewhat “ideal” environments where nodes are equally dispersed and connected in an environment devoid of the constraints of space or time. While it is certainly true that P2P interactivity offers immense new possibilities for learners, we must strive to understand the dialectical nature of the new environment. What appears to be an ideally democratic social space can in fact be subjected to hidden power distribution and arcane control.  The newly evolving world of easily accessible multi-media and social resources carries with it a corresponding challenge for learners.  If knowledge is to be freely constructed by the individual rather than by an external authority such as an instructor or a managed learning system, then the individual must develop the capacity to attribute value to various competing subjective realities,while cautiously remaining wary of inaccuracy and manipulation. Putting information and inference to the test of inherent validity requires specific skills without which the navigation of blogs and wikis might be a journey towards futility or worse, towards falsehood and superstition.

Besides, how would people un-lock those resources that are not yet open?  By blogging about it, or by summarising their views in their own words, based on the aggregation, remixing, repurposing, and feedforwarding it through different network media or educational networks, news, etc.  Such an approach poses a number of opportunities and challenges:

Opportunities include the connection with ideas and people, opening up new avenues of learning through the networks, webs, and internet.

However, there are plenty of challenges, like the power and influence issue, the complexity of way finding, and the information abundance overload, which may also lead to filter failures.

One of the key challenges include the crap detection – the critical literacy one must have in filtering information based on accuracy and reliability.

Here Howard provides a great summary of Crap detection.

How would these impact on the 21 st century learning?  Does it mean that education is going with the flow (LMS) or growing with the soul (our own connections via PLE/N)?  Or may be the soul said “yes” and so but the flow said no?

Do we need transformation before PLE/N could take roots? Can LMS & PLE/N be resolved in individual life long learning journey? Tension & power struggle!

May be we need to have the personal flow and learning power to succeed in the quest for life long learning.

Reference:

BOUCHARD, Paul (2011). “Network Promises and Their Implications”. In: “The Impact of Social Networkson Teaching and Learning” [online monograph]. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento(RUSC). Vol. 8, No 1, pp. 288-302. UOC. [Accessed: dd/mm/yy].ISSN 1698-580X

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Fractals II

Thanks also for Matthias great encouragement in exploring this parable.  Someone said Fractal was even the thumb print of God (see the video of my previous post), I don’t know if that is the case, though I think this might be one of the greatest discovery in history of mankind.  Aren’t we now living in an era of Chaos and Fractals?  Both may be a reflection of the birth and development of all forms of life and physical objects, both physically and sensationally (visually) – from the growing of plants, trees, to human, to animal’s skin pattern, to the clouds, and shapes of mountain etc.  Even the lightning and thunders are patterns of fractals, as I would conceive, down to the conversations we have, where the uttering could simply be “fractals” formed in our mind, when I am now putting them into words, and typing them character by character here on the keyboard.  Every single keyboarding is a form of fractal reflective of thoughts in mind.   We are just repeating these actions without such consciousness, and may be not too many people would think about it this way.
How did fractal happen in my mind?
For me, I would utter such words ” in a silent mode” in my brain, whilst pressing the keys to type out the words.  So such mapping of utterance and keyboarding seems to be repeating its iteration throughout the whole process of thinking, and reflection.  I would then imagine myself to be the reader, and re-read the message to check my comprehension.  This sort of fractal patterning is also quite obvious in writing or typing.  I would be searching through the right pattern of words while writing or typing words of a message.  How would all these relate to Stephen’s conceptions here of the Hebbian Associationism, Accidental, or proximity-based, Associationism, Backward propagation and Boltzman Associationism?
I am more interested in practising the actual connections making, whether with ideas or people. I don’t care much about what that is called, or the pedagogy, which might sound too superior for educators and intimidating for others.
So, parables, I like what you would call them.  As you are a Christian too, we are under the same roof, and the same “language” per se.  It is not the fame we should seek, but the love through connection.  But I am not trying to open up the Bible, because we have it in our hearts – the Words of God, if we are truly living out our life through and with HIM.
John

Education around the world – Who is the best?

I read Heyjude’s post on thinking about teaching with great interests.  She shared the highlights of meeting which was designed to provide  input and feedback to the 22 draft elaborations of the Graduate standards required for proficiency in the National Professional Standards for Teachers in Australia.  Very informative.

She has a special reference to Finland’s education.

Here is Finland’s education at a glimpse.

I am impressed with Finland’s emphasis on education and teaching.

How about China? Here is the news.

How about the role of parents in education? Aren’t parents also the educators of their children?

Do you think parents also have a role in the education and learning of their children?

Here is my post on Academic achievement, personalization of education and learning.

I think it’s time to reflect on what education and learning means for our children and next generation.

CCK11 Research into Connectivism, MOOC and PLENK

Here is my previous  post on What is needed for research?

“Connectivism can draw much from research in related fields such as neuroscience for understanding biological basis of learning, AI for how neural networks function, sociology for external connections, psychology for conceptual formations, systems thinking for understanding how the entire system of education relates”

http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=1223

Thanks George for your insights. I agree.  approve

There are both opportunities and challenges:

Opportunities: smile

  1. Reinforce the theory of connectivism – especially a deeper understanding of the concepts and principles governing connectivism.
  2. Inform authorities and stakeholders (i.e. higher education in particular) of the theoretical framework of “emergent” connectivism
  3. Introduction of psychology for conceptual framework and connections would provide a leverage to connections, and a framework in understanding the dynamics of both strong and weak ties (at all three levels – neural, conceptual, external/social).

Challenges:wide eyes

  1. Some critics viewed connectivism as a blend of different theories – including behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, social constructivism, complex and chaos theories, constructionism,..and are similar in certain ways to Actor Network Theories (ANT).   How would such research be “integrated” given that each theory proponents have their own views on those theories?  Extending those theories into connectivism would need to be considered under specific context.  Will the findings be inconclusive?  And I am not too sure when it comes a “virtual world” whereas some research findings may not be reflective of reality (will provide evidence based on url in coming threads).  How would one overcome that?
  2. Which is more important in research?  Applied connectivism? Empirical research?  Cross discipline research?
  3. Will any of the researches be funded?
  4. Given that such researches may be based on individual initiatives (such as a PhD thesis), competition (in funding) rather than collaboration may arise.
  5. If the researchers are to form networks, will copy right (or plagiarism) be an issue?  How original will such researches be?
  6. How will peer review be coordinated?  Is it through institutions or networks?  How will credentials be achieved?
  7. It’s difficult for novice to weave through the different theories, and any research on those other areas create conflicting views in connectivism (which may turn up to be a good idea).

I think getting research done in those areas is not too difficult, as there are already many PhD candidates doing research in this connectivism area.  Getting coordinated results and collaborations amongst researchers would be the most difficult part of it.  A “network” or “community of practice” approach would likely yield better result.  But would it be easy to coordinate such efforts?  Networking amongst researchers is never an easy task – note the ”autonomy of scholars” and “islands of researches” that has happened in the past.thoughtful

Even by now, only you and Stephen are the main pioneers in this area, would we need more people to join?  But again, this will add complications to the theory, as it is evidenced in this course, towards a learner centred approach, and as an emergent learning theory.

I am still learning…blush

Your comments please.

An update on the research into MOOC:

MOOC paper (27 Dec 10)
http://davecormier.com/edblog/wp-content/uploads/MOOC_Final.pdf

MOOC_Final[1].pdf

Here is post – Learning on MOOC by Rita.

Rita highlights the findings:

  1. Power relations on the MOOC
  2. Confidence levels of novice MOOCers
  3. The level of presence of participants and facilitators
  4. The willingness to help by all involved.

I have also briefly shared my observation and discussion here.

  1. Time and information management
  2. Connections
  3. Personal learning and critical literacies
  4. Power and influence

Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? by Rita Kop and Adrian Hill

Network theories for technology-enabled learning and social change: Connectivism and Actor Network theory by Frances Bell

The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy by Wendy Drexler

I have yet to digest the above researches completed, and how they relate to the findings on the Design and delivery of MOOC – PLENK that I am still working on.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to:

Stephen Downes

Dave Cormier, Bonnie Stewart, George Siemens, and Sandy McAuley

Rita Kop, Hélène Fournier

Frances Bell

Roy Williams, Jenny Mackness

Wendy Drexler

and many other researchers

for their sharing of various research findings.  This would greatly help in consolidating the research into MOOC and PLENK.

I will likely take some more time in the analysis of results before I could publish. Will keep you posted on the progress.

My Reflection:

Would integration of such findings in MOOC, PLENK be the greatest challenge?

Here is a challenge on Connectivism with wiki post.  What could be concluded from such a debate?

What are the merits and demerits in applying a Contemporary Theory of Learning in this digital age?

Is the new learning model replacing the old learning models?  What are the pros and cons with each model of learning?

What makes a valuable learning theory?

Would Connectivism be the Learning Theory of the Present or the Future? Why? Why not?

Or may be a New Learning Theory that could embrace the learning of both digital and non-digital citizen.

Postscript: Useful resource PhD thesis by Andres Meiszner: http://www.openedworld.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=25:the-emergence-of-free-open-courses-lessons-from-the-open-source-movement&catid=4:latest-news).

Photo: source unknown

Using Fractals to explain social interaction, synergy and life creation

This is a series of post on how fractals and their development would explain about the development of social interaction, synergy and social capital.

I would like to start with this video on fractals

The basic formula for fractal is Z=z*2 + C

If we were to denote z = (a+bi) where a and b  are “real number” and i is the imaginary number of square root -1, then by definition z is a complex number.

Let’s replace z = a + bi by an idea “created” due to an interaction between two ideas (or two nodes).

a denotes a known idea or information (e.g. known knowledge or information that can be explicitly described, explained) though it is a “variable” that would depend on the scope and complexity.  This is the explicit idea or information (or knowledge) that we could refer to under existing knowledge framework

b denotes a variable that is associated with the tacit idea, knowledge that are yet likely embedded in one’s “mind”, or hidden within thoughts, that needs to be mined out, or could only be manifested through “tinkering” as explained by John Seely Brown.

i is the fundamental imaginary idea or “intuitive” idea that might not be known by the person, or what is in the dream, and could be the power particle that we are looking for.

bi is then the number of such fundamental imaginary ideas that emerged out of the mind (or brain of human)

Then z= a + bi could represent the ideas that are emerged from both explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge

What happens if two ideas of a network interact with each other?  We could denote the result as z*2 = (a+bi)(a+bi) = a*2 + 2abi – b*2

a*2 – b*2 denotes the resultant explicit knowledge and

2abi denotes the resultant implicit tacit knowledge

Now f(z) or z = z*2 + c could then be represented as

z (on the left hand side of the equation) = emergent knowledge (or learning)

z*2 = zxz refers to the interaction between z and z

c= boundary condition (which could be a stimulus, catalyst, but an initial condition which could “spark” the interaction, this could be based on the mediation of technology or social media).  So c could be the tools used, in the case of social networking, or the mediator such as teacher, classmate, in the case of classroom teaching.  These are the extrinsic motivators or factors that would initiate the interaction.

Let me put all these into a social context.

(a) Social interaction

When a person A interacts with a person B, within a social media (e.g. a blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Quora), which is denoted by c, then the emergent learning (or knowledge) that may result from such interaction is

z = z*2 + c

The development of this fractal into different fractal patterns would depend on (a) the z (ideas, information, knowledge) themselves

(b) the boundary conditions (and the ecology)

(c) how the interaction occurs

This concept could be applied to the interaction in case of communication between two persons, or interaction between an actor (a person) with a non human actor (could be an animal, a machine, a media, an artifact) or a network.

The product of such interaction would be emergent and its development is also based on the initial boundary condition.

So, the synergy emerging out of an interaction of actors (in networks) is greater than the sum of its parts mainly because z*2 +c = (a+bi)(a+bi) +c= a*2 + 2abi – b*2 +c is normally greater than a*2.  and so “network” collaboration or cooperation would likely generate more ideas than those coming from individuals.

However, using the above formula, there may also be noises involved in the interaction, which may be denoted by c being a negative value.  So if the noise – c value is big enough, then the resultant value of z*2 +c could be less than z*2 meaning that there could be a loss of synergy.  This also explains why conflicts (which may be denoted by c) could often hinder or even lessen the resultant synergy out of the interaction.  This explains why some ideas are amplified, resonated, and other ideas being dampened.

Further explanation about how these ideas are resonated, developed are explained here.

The above could also be used to explain the formation, development of networks, Networks, ecology under Connectivism, and that of Actor Network Theory and Community of Practice, all based on the Fractals.

(b) Origins of life.  This is a re-post from my previous blog post on Fractals

I have written an article (never published) back on 22 November 1997 at 11:36 pm.  Here is part of it (though some other parts have been added/revised now):

A basic mathematical theory on the multiplication of cell.
(details not shown)

As life begins in the multiplication of cells:
Imagine a round cell is now sub-divided into two identical cells of the same size as the original one.

The surface area of the multiplied cells could be equal to the surface of another cell of radius r2

By equating 4x pi x r2xr2 = 2 x 4 x pi x r1 x r1

r2 = square root 2 x r1

This suggest that the cells increase by square root 2 the original size of the radius but two-folds in area for any division of cells.

The formula f(Z) = ZxZ +C could be a general formula for explaining this division of cells (I don’t think I have learnt anything about fractals in 1997, and I just made up that formula to prove my point in the division of cells).  So, when I watch the video now and realise that the same formula was used in fractal formation, I was so amazed.  I am just not sure where I got that idea from.  Remember in 1997, the Internet wasn’t popular as yet, and I don’t think I knew the formula as mentioned in the M-SET.

But I really did a lot of original work without referencing to any literature.

Let  Z be a complex number denoted by a+bi, you could derive that

C=square root 2 x a (working not shown here)

If we apply this principle to the multiplication of basic cell, it means that one cell will be divided into two, and the two cells will be divided into four and so onwards.

It seems that the square root of 2 is the mysterious figure that should be investigated.  And I suggest that this is fundamental “number” that could unfold the origins of life – i.e. square root 2.  That is, if we keep squaring root the 2 objects, then it would become 1.

This is similar to the concepts of uniting the sperm and ovary in human birth, where the ovary will begin to subdivide once the sperm unite with ovary.  So the sperm is C and ovary is Z, where the ovary multiplies when the sperm entered into the equation, and the life begins.  Does it make sense?

I will pause at this point.

I will use the above to explain the development of online resonance, Instructional Design, PLENK, Community of Practice, and Social Capital in coming posts.

About Fractals – a revisit and reflection

I have been thinking about fractals for the last few years, and found some renewed interests here in its application in social media.

I believe that there might be some ground breaking ideas behind fractals especially in describing how it could be represented as a pattern in
(a) our brain
(b) our origins of life
(c) our way of communication and networking, especially in a complex open networked environment
(d) our future of education.

Here are my meanderings:

The basis of fractals is routed from (you could watch the video series 1-6 and it was mentioned in one of them on the formula of fractals basis https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/the-map-is-the-treasure/

f(Z)= Z x Z +C  where Z is a complex number (a+bi) – where a and b are real numbers and i is the square root of -1, an imaginary number.  I include this as a brief background only, and I must admit that I am too new to it. 🙂

This is similar in concept to the Newton’s iteration equation in solving numerical problem, which is also fundamental in computation using iteration.

Relating again on the video https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/the-map-is-the-treasure/development of fractals based on just the growth of two lines (could be both equal in length, or unequal, with same or different directions) is fascinating, as this may provide some cues in lots of areas:

(a) Our brain.  First, I suspect that the development of dendrites in the nerve cells and the connections are formed could be simulated using the fractals development pattern.  I don’t know if there are any simulation based on that, but surely the full brain scan provides a pattern that could be studied in greater details, to see how such “fractals” are formed and developed.  I realise patterns of fractals appear when I wash my hairs with hot water, and such images of fractals could be “visualised” naturally.  Have you got similar experience?

(b) Origins of life.  I have written an article (never published) back on 22 November 1997 at 11:36 pm.  Here is part of it (though some other parts have been added/revised now):

A basic mathematical theory on the multiplication of cell.
(details not shown)

As life begins in the multiplication of cells:
Imagine a round cell is now sub-divided into two identical cells of the same size as the original one.

The surface area of the multiplied cells could be equal to the surface of another cell of radius r2

By equating 4x pi x r2xr2 = 2 x 4 x pi x r1 x r1

r2 = square root 2 x r1

This suggest that the cells increase by square root 2 the original size of the radius but two-folds in area for any division of cells.

The formula f(Z) = ZxZ +C could be a general formula for explaining this division of cells (I don’t think I have learnt anything about fractals in 1997, and I just made up that formula to prove my point in the division of cells).  So, when I watch the video now and realise that the same formula was used in fractal formation, I was so amazed.  I am just not sure where I got that idea from.  Remember in 1997, the Internet wasn’t popular as yet, and I don’t think I knew the formula as mentioned in the M-SET.

But I really did a lot of original work without referencing to any literature.

Let  Z be a complex number denoted by a+bi, you could derive that

C=square root 2 x a (working not shown here)

If we apply this principle to the multiplication of basic cell, it means that one cell will be divided into two, and the two cells will be divided into four and so onwards.

It seems that the square root of 2 is the mysterious figure that should be investigated.  And I suggest that this is fundamental “number” that could unfold the origins of life – i.e. square root 2.  That is, if we keep squaring root the 2 objects, then it would become 1.

This is similar to the concepts of uniting the sperm and ovary in human birth, where the ovary will begin to subdivide once the sperm unite with ovary.  So the sperm is C and ovary is Z, where the ovary multiplies when the sperm entered into the equation, and the life begins.  Does it make sense?
(c) way of communication and networking, especially in a complex open networked environment.  I have written a post on this – the map is the treasure https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/the-map-is-the-treasure/
(d) our future of education.  Given the current trend, could we predict the future using fractals as pattern?  May be.  I am still pondering on this, but I would postulate Z (future education) = Z (present education + imaginary or predicted condition of education) x Z (present education + imaginary or predicted condition of education) + C (paradigm shift: based on networking, social media and technology affordance, and promotion and support from government, institutions, communities, local and global networks, social medias etc.)

The following is just my intuitive thoughts only.
Finally, assume that a is our present life, b is our future life (imaginary) in the Z=a+bi then if our present life is “equated” to our future life, then we will have eternal life (as a Catholic, that is a teaching by Jesus Christ).  The eternal life could also be a reality by applying the principle of multiplication of cells.  Also our faith will multiply as a multiple of two just as the cell division.  This is also how religious beliefs gain its life in its spread of good news, IMHO.

Hope you don’t mind me sharing these really “strange thoughts” with you, but I could assure that you would never find it in any literature, as I made all these up myself.

I am posting it here onto my blog, though such are just half-baked ideas, not yet ready for “cooking”.

Let me know what you think.

Photo: From wikipedia on Fractals

I enjoyed watching this video about chaos and order

Postscript:

I love watching these videos on fractals too.  This is Part 6 of 6.  I have shared it in my previous blog post.

Blogging

There is a trend in the decline in blogging as mentioned here

Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people — particularly the younger generation.

I found this quite an interesting trend, as I have found many “fellow” bloggers slowing down in the postings in the blogs, or might have stopped blogging altogether.  However, there was also an increase in some of those bloggers participating or interacting in the Facebook and Twitter during the past year.

Why would people blog?  Why would people (bloggers) switch to other social media like Facebook and Twitter?

Why blogs: Personality prediction of blogging provides an interesting account on personality factors and how these factors could be used as a prediction of the likelihood  of being a blogger.

The results of two studies indicate that people who are high in openness to new experience and high in neuroticism are likely to be bloggers. Additionally, the neuroticism relationship was moderated by gender indicating that women who are high in neuroticism are more likely to be bloggers as compared to those low in neuroticism whereas there was no difference for men. These results indicate that personality factors impact the likelihood of being a blogger and have implications for understanding who blogs.

Future research should examine whether there is any such relationship between technology adoption and openness to new experience and whether the relationship between blogging and openness persists as blogging becomes more widely adopted.

If the above research findings are valid, then it may be interesting to explore the following:

1. Is blogging and openness related? Are bloggers more open as compare to others who do not blog?  What happens when bloggers shift their choice of expression from blogging to other social media such as Facebook and Twitter? Will such people maintain their openness in those media?

2.  Are the 5 major personality factors able to predict people’s involvement, participation and interaction in social media like Blogging, Facebook and Twitter?

3. What are the critical factors in determining whether people would use social media and Web 2.0 (apart from the personality factors)?

The big five predicting blogging are:

Extraversion

Agreeableness

Conscientiousness

Neuroticism

Openness

Reference: Guadagno, R. E. et al., Who blogs? Personality predictors of blogging, Computers in Human Behavior (2007), doi:10.1016/j.chb.2007.09.001

Postscript: Would genes link to social networking?

An interesting map here from this source of schoolzandtoolz.