#CCK11 The intelligent and dark sides of blogging

In this presentation by James Surowiecki

James poses 3 questions

1. What motivate people to blog?

2. Do blogs have genuine access to collective intelligence?

3. What are the dark sides of blogs?

Whilst his story about tsunami is still fresh with me, as I learnt about the tsunami and earthquake in Japan through various blogs and social media, I think it would be a great lesson to reflect on such catastrophe and its implications, in particular how media such as FB, Twitters, blogs would play a part in collecting and harvesting intelligence, in this complex ecology….

In Blogosphere, what counts as rational?  Is value measured by money?

Blogs provide affordance for bloggers where they are:

– Volunteering their cooperative power

– Accessing & collecting intelligence

James coins it as collective distributive intelligence, or participative journalism.  Bloggers would then be able to establish their voice in the media.

The dark sides of blogging, according to James include:

– people falling in love with internet

– people thinking that networks are necessarily good things

– when people are more tightly linked to group, the harder for them to remain independent

He concludes that

– groups are only smart if individuals are independent

People just do what the one in front of them does, and so the meme would be “transmitted” from one blogger to another blogger or reader, and so on.  Has the blogosphere been able to collect such collective distributive intelligence?  This reminds me of the Paradox of Wisdom of Crowd, as highlighted by James.

Similarly, I could transfer such learning to FB, Twitters, Youtube, Ted.com etc. where memes and ideas are shared and transmitted in an endless manner through different means, where some ideas are amplified, whilst others would be dampened and faded into “darkness”.

What does this story tell me?  A good lesson, that there are always two sides of the same coin, in blogging, in networks.  And overly optimistic or pessimistic in tapping into the collective intelligence would end up with “group-think” or “narcissism with a closed mind”.

This links me back to reflect on Communities and Networks as shared here.

May be this Learning Analytics would shed some light as to how and what it means to blog in the blogosphere.

Here Rita reflects on her learning with Learning Analytics and asks:

If students only use the LMS for such a limited amount of their learning, and data on the other learning is not collected, what will be the relevance and value of carrying out analytics on this LMS environment?

How about carrying out analytics on blogging in the blogosphere?

Here research into who’s talking and who’s listening on Twitter provides some interesting perspectives and patterns –

“Bloggers, unlike those in other categories, are more likely to retweet information outside their own categories, reflecting the “characterization of bloggers as recyclers and filters of information.”

Would bloggers of “our community” exhibit similar behaviors?

#CCK11 Openness in Higher Education

I enjoyed reading this Revolutions in higher education: how many dimensions of openness? by Sir John Daniel, which was referred by Stephen Downes (see his post too).

Here Sir John highlights:

Openness and inclusivity on one hand and hierarchy and restrictions on the other.

The three findings by Tony Bates:

– Rapid growth of eLearning

– Institutional goals for eLearning short on ambition

– For profits are better placed to expand online because they do not have to worry about resistance from academic staff, nor about exploiting their earlier investment in campus facilities.

Will higher education split over the coming years into a public sector focused on research and a for-profit sector doing most of the teaching?  And if so, does it matter?

Some governments would like to see higher education divide itself into research universities and teaching institutions. Extrapolating the trends we have identified suggests that their wish may come true, with the added difference that most research will take place in publicly-supported institutions while most teaching will be done by for-profit enterprises.

These dimensions of openness: open admissions; distance learning at scale, and open curricula remained the principal expressions of openness for the next thirty years.

My reflections: There is already a trend in adopting eLearning at various levels in Higher and Further Education, but that the current rapid and exponential growth in technology has accelerated the needs of developing open education and learning in response to those changes.

Back in more than three decades where I first tried the Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (an External degree) by distance education, the only resource provided was the list of text provided by the University.  The only fees involved in the Degree study was the examination.  Surely, the standard of the Bachelor degree was equivalent to that awarded internally.

So, what makes the difference from that of the award of the degree today?   The main difference lies with the abundant resources available in the internet and OER, many open online courses (such as the MOOCs – PLENK2010CCK11Groom’s DS106 to the upcoming MobiMooc), the support from the institutions including mentoring, peer-learning, and accreditation, and the ubiquitous networks (educational, social and informal)  available that might be exploited to support the study.  Besides,  there are often real and virtual communities around us that could add considerable value to individuals whilst studying in formal courses.

Openness could open windows of opportunities for institutions to respond to the demands of study and development of tens of millions of learners around the globe.  However, there is also a significant impact on Higher Education due to the disruptive technology.

What could we learn from such disruptive technology?

[PDF] from psu.edu R Smith – … Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology, 2006 – dms.sagepub.com

When disruptive technologies enter a market, they offer a value proposition that is impossible to dismiss.  Customers move to the new solutions and change the balance of the industry.  Market forces do not operate to maintain the dominance of existing players; rather they move to meet the needs of the maximum number of customers. Disruptive changes are afoot in our industry and will continue.  Companies, researchers, system developers, and service providers can choose to ride the wave or fight the wave, but they cannot dissipate the force of the wave of change that is occurring.

So, would we be in the midst of this huge tsunami of change where we would need to ride on, rather than fighting against?  That is the complexity arising from the mix and interaction of openness in education and learning, disruptive technology and the internet, and the people and society that are engaged in formal and informal education and learning.

Photo: From Wall Paper


#CCK11 Openness in Education, Knowledge and Learning

This  video tells the story

What are the characteristics of the best education institutions in the world?

Who would take the lead in providing the best education that suits their people?

Will it be those universities which could leverage the connective and collective intelligence of people and technology?  Will it be based on webs, the social networks, and internet in the world?

The internet points us to the direction of such “super-education”, with Web 2.0, tools and technology, and educators, experts and learners

where

– links connect us to the world of ideas, information, artefacts, knowledge, networks, communities, institutions, and  people

– connections open up new opportunities of knowledge creation and learning development

– people are having dialogues and conversations in a 24/7, and where networks are ubiquitous

– information are shared openly and freely

– people are sharing their ideas, beliefs, values, and

– cooperation, collaboration in the webs, networks, communities could happen, if you want to, and if you need to

When we reflect on the methods of education and learning we have used, or those we currently are using, what do we find?

Question 1.

Are we educating openly? Are we using internet in our education? Are we encouraging our next generation to leverage the power of social networks and internet in their learning development?  Are we valuing each other as resources in the connections and in the web of network?  Are we sharing with others what we know? Are we learning from and with each others?

Then contrast these questions with the following:

Question 2.

Are we forbidding internet in our education with our learners? Are we discouraging our next generation to use social networks and internet for their development? Are we neglecting the needs and requests of our fellow educators and learners in the web of network? Are we telling others what to learn because that is how we have been educated?

Are we setting examinations and tests based on right or wrong answers only?  Do we treat our students in the lecture theatre as another big group to be filled with knowledge that we once have? Do we think we know all the knowledge when we lecture?

Are your answers yes or no to the above?  Why?

Are we still teaching in a way that don’t fit into the needs of our learners?  We could tell our learners that there is a choice, and that choice is to learn together with those who are knowledgeable or learn by themselves.  What would you recommend?

Has the internet really opened up openness in education, knowledge and learning?  To this, I will explore in future papers…

I will need to stay away and write papers.  So, hope to see you back soon.

Postscript: Reposting this here

#CCK11 Research articles on Connectivism

Refer to This Special Issue – Connectivism : Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning

Research Articles

Interconnecting networks of practice for professional learning HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Julie Mackey, Terry Evans 1-18
The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Rita Kop 19-38
Emergent learning and learning ecologies in Web 2.0 HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Roy Williams, Regina Karousou, Jenny Mackness 39-59
EduCamp Colombia: Social networked learning for teacher training HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Diego Ernesto Leal Fonseca 60-79
Three generations of distance education pedagogy HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Terry Anderson, Jon Dron 80-97
Connectivism: Its place in theory-informed research and innovation in technology-enabled learning HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Frances Bell 98-118
Frameworks for understanding the nature of interactions, networking, and community in a social networking site for academic practice HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Grainne Conole, Rebecca Galley, Juliette Culver 119-138
Dialogue and connectivism: A new approach to understanding and promoting dialogue-rich networked learning HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Andrew Ravenscroft 139-160
Proposing an integrated research framework for connectivism: Utilising theoretical synergies HTML PDF MP3 EPUB
Bopelo Boitshwarelo 161-179

#CCK11 Expansionist Learning, Situated Learning, COP & Connectivist Learning

An Introduction to Activity Theory by Ian Robertson

Activity Theory is a powerful tool through which various stakeholders can engage in description and analysis using a common language that moves beyond individual or group preferences.  Where members of the relevant activity systems engage in discussion, debate and reflection expansionist learning is possible.

Engestrom Yrjo explains:

Activity Theory:

– Brings in culture, to see human beings as culturally mediated, always embedded in some activities which has in its own tools, language, and community

–  An approach that is trying to radically expand our notion of what is the process of proper analysis or learning.

Situated Learning Theory and COP

In this situated learning, relationship, negotiation of meaning amongst community practitioners is important

Connectivism

The premise is that conversation and content is open.  George also mentions that to learn effectively at thAdd Videois digital age, you must network.

Here are the further resources on Connectivism (from course CCK11)

My reflection on the three learning theories:

Activity Theory

Our attempt to changes within institutional systems might be better understood through Activity Theory.  I think the Theory as a tool might be more useful for various stakeholders to engage and analyse at the system and network level.

Situated learning and COP

The negotiation of meaning in the learning process amongst practitioners is the basis for collaboration and cooperation in communities.  Relationships could also be fostered amongst members of the communities.  So, if we want to support and grow learners within communities, COP could be ideal for learning.

Connectivism

I have been focusing on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge in the CCK courses.  There are merits in networked learning, especially in a complex learning environment.  Learning could be self-organising, and emergent under such networked learning ecology.

Challenges

Power relations, accountability, openness, learner autonomy are the main challenges that educators and learners have to face and overcome in current educational and learning ecology.  Tools and technology would continue to play a significant “role” in the enhancement of learning experiences of educators and learners.

Conversation as learning is the common thread amongst all three theories.

Openness is essential for such conversation

Impact

All three theories mentioned would have an impact on the current institutional education system.

How would each of the theories tackle the challenges as mentioned?  Which theory adds the best value to personal learning, education system, networks and ecology?

Your call and verdict….  And why?