#CCK11 Friday session on CAS and Networks

After listening to last Friday’s Ellumination Session here I found some interesting ideas and concepts discussed there. My comments or addition in italics.

I couldn’t attend the session as it was held at 4:00 am at my end.  So I could only listen

1. Relating to the paper by Peter Fryer, What Are Complex Adaptive Systems

Relate to three body problem on network interactions.

Stephen explained learning as follows:

Refer to this post by Stephen on what networks have in common

2. Stephen: A network isn’t defined by the purpose it serves.  If that is the case, is network purposeful?  Would some networks be defined by the purpose they served?

If a community of practice is a network, then what is the purpose of the community of practice as a network?

3. Dustproduction: three degrees of influence –

Relate to this on wikipedia:

Christakis attracted international media attention in 2007 with the publication in the New England Journal of Medicine of the results of a study in Framingham, MA, which showed that obesity can spread from a person to person, through social networks, much like a virus during an epidemic.[7][8] (Watch the research video here or the TED (conference) talk here.)

Over the next few years, working with a former Harvard graduate student and now Professor at UCSD, James H. Fowler, and a team of researchers in his Harvard Medical School group, Christakis published a series of articles arguing that social networks can transmit not only obesity but also other health states and behaviors, including smoking[9][10], drinking[11] and happiness.[12] In 2008, the Christakis Group at Harvard Medical School was awarded an $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the study of networks and neighborhoods. Their work has also been supported by the Pioneer Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

4. Dustproduction: The network is self organizing, a bee hive, there is an emergence of a super-organism, and it exists without the knowledge of the individual.

It does not have to be aware….

But social networks are moving in a way that is gaining a self awareness.  How would this be interpreted in social networks?  Are social networks aware of their of own “purpose”?  May be if there are feedback mechanisms existing in the networks, and that such feedbacks provided are then fed into the input “nodes” then a complex networks will evolve into a complex system.

5. Jenny: Is ecology purposeful?

Stephen: If you’re a systems theorist, you say yes.  If you’re a network theorist, you say no.

Jenny: Purposeful ecology doesn’t sound right to me.

Ecology is not intentional – it just is.

6. Dustproduction: Networks are self organizing.  So there is affordance which provides for emergence.

7. Stephen: You can apply a system to something that is complicated but not something that is complex.

So if learning in a network is complex, does it mean that you can’t apply a system within a network?  Isn’t that the crux of the problem?  Without a system, how would one ensure the learning is ‘PURPOSEFUL’ or at least achieving the goals as set forth under a learning system.  If the response to this is NO, then it limits the use of networks in achieving the pre-determined goals as set forth in an educational setting.  Does it mean that informal networking (or networked learning) would be incompatible with a learning system?  If that is the case, how would learning be effective at a system level?

Still pondering….