How can blogging help you learn?

Richard Gresswell reflects on how blogs help him and describes his understanding of how digital technologies can help people communicate after watching someone who was hard of hearing use video on Skype. He left a comment on another blogger’s post and she replied back, inspiring more questions.

it fuses together those everyday encounters and connects me with others and their knowledge and experiences. Learning through blogging takes place at this nexus of our online and offline lives, the two are inseparable, they are connected.

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Changing Learners, Changing Methodologies

Danielle McCartan posts from New Jersey and notes that American schools are falling behind worldwide because “teachers are becoming archaic”, with students’ use of smartphones, apps and websites reflecting their learning choices. She explains how she is going to use Edmodo with her language students, encouraging students to create their own networks and videos, sharing resources.

Though I am not too far removed from high school, students today are very different than they were even six years ago, when I was a senior.  High school students are glued to their cell phones, they video chat with each other when they go home from school, they watch television while using their laptops and their smart phones, and they can chop up, edit, and produce a video in under an hour. I fit in this category: “today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV” (Prensky 1).  When questions in casual conversation arise, they can easily be answered in about 3 seconds – the time it takes to perform a search on Wikipedia on a smart phone.

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The myth of online community

There has been a lot of research looking at real and metaphorical online communities as more and more people have started using the web and interacting with others through their connections and interests. Dr Mark William Johnson examines what is a community and whether online ones really exist (beyond their software definitions)

The conflation of the word ‘community’ to create equivalence between the online community and the ‘face-to-face community’ is particularly suspect. So much more happens when people are together: the life-and-death realities of existence are encountered in direct and practically ineffable ways. Online, and the nature of ‘community’ is reduced to text messages made in a strategic way by individuals seeking to maintain their position within the ‘online’ (and face-to-face) community.
I think it’s a mistake to think of such a thing as an online ‘community’. What happens online is strictly ‘strategic’. My tweeting of this blog entry is a classic example: I seek to gain the attention of those I know, and I wouldn’t be so bothered unless I could see some strategic advantage in it for me. I don’t believe I am alone in this egomania!
A very interesting take on community was provided by Stephen Downes in the #change11 week he led : Knowledge, Learning and Community

Authentic Learning using Networked Communities

Jasmeet Virk compares his education with textbooks, libraries and teachers to the abundance of educational content now available on the web, including The Exploratorium and virtual field trips, looking at how communities of learning and inquiry based learning affect the learning place whilst using these types of resources.

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How Should Education be Transformed? (Guest Post at Co-operative Catalyst by Occupy High Students)

Occupy High students share their thoughts on how education should be changed.

There is no explicit curriculum to help a teacher instruct for a year about public education. Perhaps because in doing so, the teacher wants to avoid engaging students in metacognitive strategies every class of every day. Perhaps because we don’t believe that students can engage in the discussion about transforming education. Perhaps because, if we opened this can of worms, we would be admitting defeat every lesson in which we question the direction of what we are doing.

I believe it is time to open this can of worms pedagogically. The only snag is that we have convoluted public education so much so that it is impossible to limit the scope of such a curriculum. Do we create experts with knowledge an inch deep and a mile wide or would we rather have these students have surface knowledge of everything without expertise? What are we doing?

The students present their thoughtful responses highlighting the need for student voices to be heard in any process that looks to transform education.

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Towards Peeragogy

At DML Central Howard Rheingold shares his experiences with students collaborating using a range of social software, how groups interacted with each other and how they build a community of co-learners.

It’s not exactly a matter of making my own role of teacher obsolete. If we do this right, I’ll learn more about facilitating others to self-organize learning.

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Promoting innovation and evidence-based approaches to building resilience and responding to humanitarian crises

By Giorgio Bertini

At the end of 2011, the United Nations called for humanitarian assistance to be both scaled up and made ‘smarter’ as global emergencies continued to expand in both frequency and complexity.  DFID has launched a new strategy to meet this challenge.  The strategy, ‘Promoting innovation and evidence-based approaches to building resilience and responding to humanitarian crises’, aims to go beyond simply responding to crises by investing in approaches that promote resilience.

It tackles directly four key problems in the global community’s current response to crisis to humanitarian crises: First, that decision-makers do not have routine access to good information about risk; second that we don’t really know which interventions are most effective in reducing risk, saving lives and rebuilding livelihoods after crises; third, that there is insufficient capacity to build resilience or mount responses when disaster strikes; and forth, that decision-makers are not always using available evidence to inform their decisions.

The Emerging Science of Connected Networks

by KFC, Technology Review by MIT

This article looks at the study of networks and how single or individual networks cannot reproduce the emergent behaviour found in networks of networks, looking at models with loosely linked networks such as with the spread of diseases and the challenge for complexity scientists.

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See also

 

 

Social Networking In Schools: Educators Debate The Merits Of Technology In Classrooms

from The Huffington Post

Some critics are calling for social networking to be removed from classrooms because of privacy, bullying, harassment and inappropriate materials. The article looks at a variety of studies which are finding positive benefits in using social software making learning more relevant and connected. It looks at some initiatives which are trying to create safer environments and communities

The comments on the post feature different perspectives from students, teachers, IT / technologists working in education and others interested with some in favour of using social software, some looking at concerns relating to the issues above.

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My Feelings during PLevy week in Change11

Thanks to Heli 

My purpose was first to tell about my learning but it is better to say ‘feelings’ – I can’t yet tell what I learned. I have a strong feeling of awakening, the activation level inside my mind has changed and I have enjoyed greatly. Thanks for this possibility to grow and broaden my consciousness. I have become aware about some limits in my mind that I did not know earlier – and I have recognized many old principles I’ve found with my friends in 1970′s an every decade after that. I have age and never begin from tabula rasa.

The hardest question I ask myself is today: why haven’t I lived through those principles I already knew? Have I betrayed myself and why in the world? Pierre Levy is an seriously working scientist, his life is an example of intellectual marathon, I can trust and admire him. I am retired now and I could safely and freely, independently implicit my intellectual marathon. I could do better -this is my basic feeling just now.

I try to tell about my findings: in 1970′s dialectical materialism and pragmatism – international student movement was a real university of innovative practice while science university gave basic knowledge. I studied psychology until licentiate degree and then left university. I was not strong enough to become a researcher after the student movement disappeared – I learned a lot about its death, it returned to hierarchies, conservatism actually. We had the right theory of democratic open equal discussions but we could keep it living, in practice only some years. Shortly I could say that since these times I have believed MIND to be the main concept for understanding mankind development – and mind has materialistic roots both in brain and society and culture through socialization.

My scientific studies in psychology and other social studies help me to understand parts of Pierre Levy’s articles. Philosophy and mathematics are challenging and only partly followed, but in some way I enjoyed reading them too. Reflective practice and conversations in communities have been the content of my working life many decades. Practical orientation has strengthened from year to year, criteria for success are found in ‘good practice, working practice’. Truth is always subjective and contextual.

Linguistics were studied during the course Critical Literacies in summer 2010. I have written many blog posts here during the hot summer and tried to understand the basic concepts. Now I have a feeling that Levy helped me to understand the whole picture better than earlier. I want to read articles many times in the near future, my interest to modelling cognition returned.

Another point of connecting something old to this networked life in the web was the concept rhizomatic learning. Of course it was known from psychology and education: human growth happens in many branched ways and it is seldom linear. I liked to follow Dave Cormier’s discussions but I could not combine it as well as Levy did. – Oh now I am telling about my learning, fine. Feeling and learning go hand in hand – Levy needed the concept B for saying this.

Still I have to remember my earlier ideas of research. It was autumn 2009 when I wrote the principles of mindware as the entity and qualitative narratives and case studies as a method. My beautiful image is found here. List of the main concepts is fine. The next questions concerning research principles comes from LAK11 conference, spring 2011. I was worried about quantitative data analysis, pondering if it will be the main issue. I could repeat these worries after reading Levy’s articles. I have to follow LAK12, it is coming soon. BUT first of all I have to ask myself that where is my research after 2009 meeting? I follow others’ research and comment to them, but my own story is still obscure. Why? What can I tell publicly? The story is linked to many people. I don’t want to tell negative sides of communication, or assess other participants’ personalities etc. So I have been silent.

This week has been important. I notice that others are writing their pondering, Jenny Mackness helps me again an jupidu (Twitter name) is a new interesting person to me, one blogpost here. In the FB group I followed questions and answers, professors of philosophy or mathematics have been active. I have understood Levy’s answers anyway. My questions are still sleeping, have to find myself first.