#Change11 Stories and Games

This week’s topic is about games and games design.  I am not a frequent game player, but do enjoy playing games.  How about games through stories?

May I start with 3 stories that I learnt from my relative, who most generously shared them with me?   Many  thanks to him.

I have modified the content as these stories were written in Chinese.  I am not sure about the source of the stories, but I speculate they were from the wisdom of Chinese Philosophers – the Story Tellers.

As I have changed the content, even after the translation, so some of the ideas there might have been changed.   If you would like to modify and adapt it to suit your context, that is fine.

I would like to include them in a game, but by now I am happy just to leave them as narrative.

Here they are, and enjoy.

1. The Monk and the Butcher 

Once there was a monk, and a butcher, and they were good friends.
The monk needed to chant early every morning, and the butcher needed to butch early every day. In order not to delay their morning’s work, they agreed to call each other and get up early each morning.
Years later, the monk and the butcher died.
Butcher goes to heaven, but the monk goes to hell.
Why? Because the butcher did good every day, called up the monk to chant; on the contrary, the monk called up the butcher every day, to kill animals.

Small philosophy: you do the things you think that are right, but not necessarily right.

See this other version.

2. A lifelong benefits of the test questions

You are driving a car. In a stormy night, you go through a station, there are three people who are anxiously waiting for the bus.
One is a dying old man, he needs to go to the hospital.
One is a doctor, who saved your life. You have dreamed to repay him.
There is also a woman / man, she / he is one you have dreamed of marrying or have married with.  Perhaps, you don’t want to miss this opportunity.
But your car could only accommodate one more person, how would you choose?
I do not know if this is a test of your character, because each answer has its own reasons.
For the old man who is dying, you would like to be the first to save him.
You want the doctor to be with you in your car, who could save more lives if you do it, and because he saved you, this is a good opportunity to repay him.
Another one is your dream lover. If you missed this opportunity, you may never encounter such a person you had long been looking for.
In the 200 candidates who were interviewed, only one person was hired, he did not explain his reasons, he just said the following words: “I will offer the doctor the car keys, let him take the old man to the hospital, and I will stay! I love to stay with the dreamed person whom I would like to marry, and together we could wait for the bus!”

“Everyone I know think the answer above is the best, but no one (including me) has ever thought about a creative solution at the start”.

Small philosophy: if it is because we never thought of giving up the advantages we already have in our hands (car keys), what would be our decision? Sometimes, if we can give up some of our stubborn, narrow-minded way of thoughts, we may be able to reach a decision with creative solutions.

3. The history of shoes

A long time ago, humans were still walking with bare feet.
There was once a king who was travelling on a remote country trip. He was walking on a bumpy road and he felt pains when he stepped on the stones on the ground.

Back to the palace, he made an order to have the country roads covered with a layer of leather.
He believed that in doing do, that would benefit not only himself, but also his people, so that they would no longer have to walk with stinging pain because of the rocks laying on the road.
But even when the people have killed all domestic cattle, they still couldn’t raise enough leather. This had also led to a huge amount of money spent, and the use of manpower.
Although people knew that it was an impossible mission, and might even be a stupid idea and act, but because it was the king’s command, they could only shake their heads.
A bold and wise servant made suggestions to the king: “My Dearest King! Why do you want to involve so many people, the expense of so many head of cattle, to spend so much money? Why don’t you use two small pieces of leather to surround your foot?”
The King listened, and was very surprised, but immediately realized what could have been done instead. He then immediately withdrew his plan and switched to the wise proposal.
This is where the “shoes” are coming from.  Just a belief!

Small philosophy: It is difficult to change the world; rather, it is easier to change ourselves. If we want to change our or their world, we might as well have to change our way of thinking.  By “wrapping our own feet”, we could start thinking on our own feet.

If you want to see the world changed, first we must change ourselves. “If you are willing to change “with your hearts and minds”, your attitudes will change too. A change in attitude will lead to a change in habits, which would lead to a change of life.

Would you like to share these stories with your friends?
Would that benefit you and your friends?  It would be better to spread the truth.

I wish you are happy with these stories!

#Change11 A reflection on MOOC

I enjoyed reading Jon’s and Jenny’s post.  Matthias also provided a detailed response as to the decreased engagement in MOOC.  Here are my reflections:

1. Motivation: As pointed out by Jon, “Apart from anything else, the only motivation for most people being here is intrinsic – apart from a very few who are getting some kind of professional or academic credit indirectly or directly as a result, no one is going to punish them for failure to attend, no one is going to reward them with grades for pleasing the teacher or demonstrating knowledge of a fixed set of stuff. But that does make me wonder a little – if we had such an intrinsically motivated crowd in a traditional course we would be pretty pleased and would have very high expectations as a result. And yet, many fall by the wayside.”  As to the motivation of participants, I think there is a need to analyse who are in the course, and what motivated them to participate, engage and contribute to the course.  I still think “What is in it for me” could make a difference, where I once wanted to learn about Connectivism and Connective Knowledge in CCK08.

2. Role of instructors.  When it comes to instruction, to what extent could people apply what they have learnt in the course in a workplace context?  In this transformative learning

The educator’s role is to assist learners in becoming aware and critical of assumptions. This includes their own assumptions that lead to their interpretations, beliefs, habits of mind or points of view as well as the assumptions of others. Educators must provide learners practice in recognizing frames of reference. By doing so, educators encourage practice in redefining problems from different perspectives.[5] The goal is to create a community of learners who are “united in a shared experience of trying to make meaning of their life experience”.[21]

Stephen mentioned here about engagement in MOOC

3. Technology – The soft and hard technology do play a significant role in structuring this MOOC, and Jon is right in that getting it right is crucial in balancing the abundance with adequate streaming and filtering of information.  Jenny mentioned: “An imbalance between soft and hard technologies. Are MOOCs too open/too soft? According to Jon Dron, the ‘sweet spot’ in networks, sets and groups is the balance point between the hard and soft technologies where emergent things happen. Do some of the soft technologies in ChangeMooc need to be replaced with hard technologies?” This requires a continuous review of the current state of information flow and the hardening of certain soft technology – such as the grouping of certain information streams using hashtag in Twitter as suggested by  Jon, and the clustering of people based on common, shared interest like the current research group, or the setting up of various groups on FB, wikis (more like a net), that would leverage technology and its affordance to individuals, nets, groups and collectives.  The Goldilock story here well illustrates how fitting into the “learners” would help.  Perhaps we need, the porridge, chair and the bed  (technology and tools) to try in MOOC, and see which one suits us best.

4. Key Literacies – Digital Literacy, Critical Thinking, Pragmatics in Education, Creative Learning Literacy and Emotional Intelligence The sort of literacies necessary to navigate in this sort of MOOC (a miniature of Internet and Web) includes different sorts of literacies, with the information curation, aggregation and filtering being one of the most important literacies.

Rheingold outlines what he considers to be the five key literacies:

  1. attention literacy (fundamental)
  2. participation literacy
  3. cooperation and collaboration
  4. critical consumption (Crap detection)
  5. network awareness

According to Rheingold, these literacies work together and are connected, not separate.  Our focus should be keeping up with these literacies and to not get distracted by the technologies.  The power has shifted from the hardware, software, services  to the “know how” around these things.

Here participants of MOOC often felt overwhelmed at the start.  However, once they have understood the need of tools and the creation and setting up of Personal Network Environment, they soon realized that such navigation based on sensemaking and wayfinding are just part of the strategies in working and learning through with the abundance of information.  As shared in the paper on Blogging and Forum as Communication and Learning Tools in MOOC, many participants have used them in a strategic and nuanced manner.  So, it is just a matter of time and experience when novice learners would learn those skills through observation, dialogue and conversation with the knowledgeable others, learning with the experts, practicing them in their PLE or applying them at work etc.  As Jon has mentioned, though many participants might not have created or posted using blogs, or have used other social media tools, they might have learnt those literacy and skills merely by consumption and lurking.  Here Jon mentioned:

I don’t think it’s too much of a problem that many people do not write anything public – people learn in different ways at different times and respond in different ways to different things, so (though it greatly helps the learning process to write about it, especially in public, as well as helping to provide one of the pillars of intrinsic motivation, connection with others) it is fine that only some of the participants are visibly ‘there’.”

5. Structure – The structure of the existing MOOC is still evolving.  Is massive course an issue?  I think it depends on the topic and the sort of learning that we are referring to, especially in Change11.  If the topic is of interests to the majority of the participants, then they would likely engage and participate in the activities or contribute to the creation or production of artifacts, as pointed out by Matthias:

In previous MOOCs the 2-3 main facilitators were slightly more in the foreground, and they modeled and demonstrated their own thinking about the emergent connectivism. These concepts and the resulting teaching appeared as, if not messy, then somewhat unfinished, and hence encouraged a similarly messy learning to be openly shared by the participants.

In this MOOC, by contrast, I have the impression that many of the weekly speakers appear as experts whose opinion is more settled and tends to intimidate learners from uttering possible discomfort or objections. Even in Stephen and George’s institutions, research about connectivist phenomena seems already more scientifically settled.

The AI MOOC course has attracted tens of thousands of learners (students) and surely such course is more technical in nature, with the focus on the content and learning outcomes.  So, the pedagogy adopted may align better with the instructivist and social constructivist pedagogy, whereas students and learners would learn better through direct instruction of the professors, with the aid of technology and tools, as a support and learning would also be achieved through the assessment of student’s performance.

With Change11 MOOC, as mentioned by facilitators, Stephen and George, that there is no single body of knowledge to learn here, so the emphasis is to structure the course to suit individual’s needs, where individual could choose and pick whatever that suits them, and engage with those areas or connections which are of interests.  This sort of learning aligns well with life long and wide pedagogy, as knowledge is then viewed as a growth for the learners, rather than just the acquisition of knowledge content, or the acquisition of factual information or prescriptive knowledge.  Besides, such structure is flexible enough to cater for new comers or novices, as one could shape the course, and re-design it using their own PLE, in order to filter through the vast course landscape.

6. What is the solution?  As Stephen,  Jon, Matthias, and Jenny have all provided their own insights, I would instead post them as questions:

(a) What do participants want from MOOC?  Is achieving personal goals and objectives what the participants are looking for?

(b) What are the assumptions behind each of the solutions that we might have considered?  Is MOOC too soft a technology?  Do we need to automate more features of MOOC – i.e. hardening it?  What would be the impact of those hardening – such as having hashtags of “groups of beginners”, “clusters or sets for advanced or veterans”, “networks of technologists and instructional designers” etc within Change11?

(c) What have we found from researches in MOOC?  What could be applied in this Change11 MOOC?  Is collective intelligence or Wisdom of Crowds a feasible solution?

(d) Is self-organized learning, emergent learning working in Change11 MOOC?  Is connectivist learning the solution to MOOC?  Why/Why not?  What are some of the merits and limitations in using tools and technology in MOOC?

I have also posted our paper here A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses for your further consideration.

#Change11 Visualization and Global Pulse

Here on Twitter – Global pulse.

“Whether across the world or across the street, Twitter — and more broadly, technology — allows people to view the world through each other’s eyes. As a result, we are able to share information and communicate more easily than any time in our past, bringing the world closer.”

Can we use Twitter in Education?

Here Twitter was used in the research on Happiness.

Here is another amazing video on Visualization

It seems that visualization could help in understanding the connections between concepts and is fundamental in pattern recognition.

Aligning the Quantum Perspective of Learning to Instructional Design

I found this Aligning the Quantum Perspective of Learning to Instructional Design  of great interests.

I still need to spend more time in thinking and reflecting through the details of this paper.

I have been exploring some of the topics discussed there, including emotional intelligence (and here), creative learning and learning styles.

Good to explore these areas in future research.


#Change11 What do participants of MOOC want?

Jon posted in And so it ends:

I’m not the first to observe that a big problem with connectivist-influenced MOOCs like this is that they are, well, chaotic and lacking in centre. People are contributing all over the place in a hundred different ways and certainly not in an orderly fashion.

We wound up talking quite a bit about balance this week – reaching that Goldilocks spot that is not too hard and not too soft in not just our technologies but the whole system of which technologies are a part.

What might be the not too hard and not too soft in MOOC?

What do participants of MOOC really want?

Have you watched King Arthur?

My relative forwarded me this extraordinary story about King Arthur.

Here The story begins:

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur’s youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?….What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better  than death, he accepted the monarch’s proposition to have an answer by year’s end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she  would have the answer.

But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout  the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but  to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of  the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur’s closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises,  etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all  his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot,  learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur’s life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur’s            question thus:

What a woman really wants, she answered….is to be in charge  of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur’s life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding..

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would  henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day….or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do?

What Lancelot chose is below.

BUT….make YOUR choice before you scroll down below.


Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice  herself.

Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now….what is the moral to this story?

The moral is…..

If you don’t let a woman have her own way….

Things are going to get ugly

Back to the question: What do participants of Change11 MOOC want?

I can’t speak on behalf of others.  For me, what I want is to be in charge of my own life, and my own learning.

Would this be the wants of MOOCers?  There are more wants…..What would you say?

#Change11 Short Notes on Designing Cyborgs by Jon Dron

An excellent presentation by Jon Dron here. Ailsa has summarised her notes with reflection here.  Jenny has posted here, and here too.

Some notes that I have taken, together with my reflection.

Jon explained about the 3 types of collectives:

1. Direct

2. Mediated

3. Stigmergic – sign-based, sematectonic

Effective collectives:

1. Adaptability

2. Stigmergy

3. Evolvability

4. Parcellation

5. Trust

6. Sociability

7. Constraint

8. Context

9. Connectivity

10. Scale

Jon used the following definition of Technology: The orchestration of phenomena for some use – by Brian Arthur.

I found this similar to the concept of technology affordance.  Whilst Ailsa referred to ANT as a way to describe the relationship between technology and human (the actors in the networks).

I found it interesting when Jon referred prayers as “part of technology” that are aimed to achieve goals, in case of religion, to ask for forgiveness or favours 🙂

Jon sums up that all technologies are assemblies.

Soft technologies – Active orchestration of phenomena by people.

Hard technologies – Orchestration of phenomena embedded in the technology.  This could relate to set of processes, or procedures, which impose constraints on the processes, so steps and instructions must be followed.

Hard is easy, is efficient.  Hard is complete, is brittle, but could limit change and creativity.  If the process is automated, people have little control over that process.

Soft is hard, is incomplete.  This could be part human, part machine.  Soft is flexible.  It enables creativity.  People could have control over how things are used.

Design patterns:


– Adapt

– Aggregate

– Recommend

– Extend


– Automate

– Replace

– Filter

– Limit

Artificial apes – Our technologies are not just reflections of us or things that we use.  They are, in part or whole, made of us.  This sounds like technology in us, and us in technology, and that technology shapes us as good as we have shaped technology.

Good cyborg/bad cyborg

Humans are part of technologies and humans are in control – Good cyborg

Humans are part of technologies and technologies are in control – Bad cyborg.

Operating manuals, legal systems could be one where technologies are in control – bad cyborg.

Some danger signs that a technology is too soft – repetition of boring tasks, the need for skill, complexity and puzzlement.

The holy grail – not too hard, not too soft, just right.

Assembly – Remix, Reuse and Resample.

The use of hashtag in Twitter has been hardened as a technology (i.e. Twitter as a Soft Technology)

What we need would be designing technology – half human, half machine that is just right.

Pictures: Google images

#Change11 How would a Shift of Framework help? A New Model for Understanding Time in Pedagogical Contexts

I enjoyed reading this Multidimensional Facets of Time in Online Learning by Pekka Ihanainen and John W. Moravec.

Ihanainen and Moravec provide a typology of Learning:

1. Temponormative Learning

2. Pointillist Learning

3. Cyclical Learning

4. Overlapping Learning

I am particularly interested in how they have elaborated on each category of  learning.  Here are my short notes.

Pointillist learning – Pointillist behavior and learning implies an ability to tolerate the insecure, uninterrupted, un anticipated and obvious absurdity of the “moment,” but at the same time it indicates a capacity to differentiate the essential from the unessential and to perceive the whole from fragments, almost as a fractal construction of personal experiences and understanding.  Such fractal construction of personal experiences and understanding also resonates with what I describe here, here and here.  I would like to expand this fractal construction in future research, where learning as conversation and social interaction could be viewed and conceptualised in a holistic perspective, under an ecology, or an experience in MOOC.

Pontillist pedagogy is the pedagogy of serendipity.  This sounds useful and I would like to relate to my experience here, here and Carmen’s post here where she reflected beautifully: Stepping out of a normal routine, finding novelty, being open to serendipity, enjoying the unexpected, embracing a little risk, and finding

In such a scenario, learning happens in instances and waves, independent of a definable pedagogical time.

In the overlapping Learning – “Pulsating waves of new knowledge generation within the learning group, beyond the learning group, and in the spaces between.”

I have conceived knowledge and learning as waves here, and so I would like to see if the Temponormative Learning, Pointillist Learning, Cyclical Learning, and Overlapping learning be metaphorically conceptualised as different waveforms, based on fractals and chaos patterns, where the different temponormative waves, pulsating waves and cyclical waves meet, causing interferrence and or resonance in the media, under sets, nets, groups, or collectives, and thus exhibiting different patterns under a Chaordic (chaos and order) ecology.  This requires further research and validation 🙂

 Picture: Google images

De-pedagogy means that as facilitators of learning, we have to give up our role as teachers and start working as colearners and peers within our own pointillist environments.  This sounds challenging to those facilitators who are accustomed to the instructivist paradigms – as sage on the stage, with lectures as the primary approach towards knowledge dissemination.

In reflection, I would like to dig deeper into our previous research here to see how the different learning pans out in CCK08, and subsequent MOOCs.

I would surely be excited if  Pekka Ihanainen and John W. Moravec include more empirical and grounded research findings and claims to their model.

It could be interesting to research into this learning typology with the Change11 MOOC.

I would surely like to respond to their challenge: “So in lieu of a conclusion, we leave educators—particularly online educators—with a challenge: Afforded the post-temponormative enabling of online environments, how can we best leverage these opportunities of pedagogical time to facilitate multidimensional learning and meaningful new knowledge production?”  How about you?


Mak, Sui, Fai, J., Williams, R. & Mackness, J. (2010). Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools in a MOOC. In Networked Learning Conference, Aarlborg (pp. 275-284). Retrieved from http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/organisations/netlc/past/nlc2010/abstracts/Mak.html