Reflections on Education

Sue Magruder takes a look back at the changes that have happened since she was teaching in Missouri in the the 1950s. Her first post was working with students from different local rural communities who came to school in one place:

I learned more than I taught.  I learned how to approach parents whose language I did not understand to seek permission for their daughter to take part in a National Folk Festival.  I learned how to deal with foster parents who cared little for the children in their charge.  I learned when it was appropriate to call the state patrol when violence erupted with an older, unstable student.  I learned how to Bunny Hop down the hall with other teachers to relieve tension.

Later on in the post she takes a look at educational philosophy and the emphasis on test scores, wondering about their value in education of a child.

In full

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Reclaiming the Past: Using Memory and Education to Fight Intolerance and Radicalism among the Youth of the Middle East

Eric Davis looks at the the role of young people in the Arab Spring of the past 18 months. He suggests that in order for young people to have a better understanding of their past they need an  education – learning about the history and culture of their nations in a non-politicised way and the need for a different infrastructure.

As Iraq’s recent decision to connect the country to a major Internet hub demonstrates, the possibility of disseminating information is not the issue (as it was under Saddam’s Ba’thist regime when owning a typewriter without a government license was a capital offense). The problem is the lack of an educational infrastructure that will provide youth with a new way of understanding the past and, by extension, the present and future of the nation-states in which they live.

In full

Creativity-based Research: The Process of Co-Designing with Users

Caroline Naranjo-Bock writes for UX magazine about the practice of co-design and the different stages – taking account of what the research goals and questions are; who the audience is and what tools they can use; the users invited to participate; running workshops with different methods; trying a pilot and analysing the results. These don’t have to be done in a face to face setting.

New forms of co-design have emerged that take advantage of digital technologies to allow hundreds of users to co-create a product or service regardless of their location. Most of these co-design efforts come in the form of contests or collaborative online platforms that encourage users to submit ideas directly to the company and to collaborate with their peers.

Open innovation and crowdsourcing initiatives are open calls to a broad community of people for help with the design of a company’s next product or service, or for ongoing ideas that might be considered for real production.

In full

 

Lurking or Legitimate Peripheral Participation

By Christy Tucker, CC/A/3.0

During the July 7 early #lrnchat about social media and social learning, there was a lot of discussion about lurking.

Can I Play?In response to the question “What are some ways you learn through social media that aren’t collaborative, with other people per-se?”

I replied:

I do a fair amount of lurking (ie “legitimate peripheral participation”)

I also retweeted this message by Colby Fordham:

We all like sharers, but there is a value in lurking. [You] have to [learn] the rules and important topics.

and Jane Bozarth replied

…and then stop lurking

Often, lurking is just a temporary phase, and you do jump in afterwards. But is that always necessary? I have lots of online communities where I sit on the periphery and lurk, long past the initial phase of learning how the community works.

A few examples:

  • YouTube: Most of the time on YouTube, I’m just watching. I’m not creating my own videos, commenting, sharing, or bookmarking. I have a few videos, but I’m lurking at least 90% of the time.
  • Kongregate: Technically, I am not a lurker on this gaming site by the strictest definition, since I do rate games. I read through the forums and chat  sometimes, but rarely jump into the conversation.
  • News: I don’t get a newspaper in “dead tree” format; I get most of my news online. I read several newspapers and blogs, all of which have commenting or community features. Most of the time I don’t even read the user discussions, and I never add my own comments.
  • Slashdot: I skim the RSS feed, but I don’t have an account and have never commented.
  • Wikipedia: At one point, I contributed quite a bit (2500+ edits), but it’s been over a year since I’ve been active.

I learn on all those sites. (Yes, even Kongregate: I learn game strategies on the forums. What I learn is of limited use in the rest of my life, but it’s useful for my goals when I’m on that site.) I’ll be honest; I’m not really interested in getting sucked into the high drama conversations on most of those sites. Wikipedia, for example, can be pretty intense and nasty. It’s the only place online I’ve actually been directly threatened (although there was no actual danger, it was still disconcerting). If I’m going to be part of conversations, I’d rather they be part of the learning community, or at least more productive than many of the conversations at the sites above.

Would I be a better gamer if I was active in the Kongregate forums? Most likely. But I’m not looking for a high level of expertise in gaming. So why should I expend my energy there, when peripheral participation gets me enough expertise to meet my personal goals?

In the #lrnchat conversation, Jane called this behavior “taking,” and she’s right—I’m reading and taking advantage of the resources without giving back. I give back here, but I don’t give back in every community that I use. My giving is very uneven, and sometimes I just lurk.

Is it wrong to lurk, or is it appropriate to have different levels of participation in different online communities? Should we exclude anyone from reading the RSS feeds of our blogs if they aren’t commenting,  bookmarking, +1-ing, etc?

In Digital Habitats, Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith call lurking “legitimate peripheral participation”:

From a community of practice perspective, lurking is interpreted as “legitimate peripheral participation,” a crucial process by which communities offer learning opportunities to those on the periphery. Rather than a simple distinction between active and passive members, this perspective draws attention to the richness of the periphery and the learning enabled (or not) by it. (p. 9)

Do the people active in a community learn more than those on the edges? Yes, I do believe that. But if your goal isn’t to be an expert, peripheral participation may give you enough learning to meet your needs. You can learn via social media without it actually being social learning.

What do you think? Are there communities where you are in the center of the action, but others where you’re on the periphery? Is there a place for lurking in learning communities, or should everyone be an active participant? If we’re designing learning with social media, can we focus just on social learning, or can we also support use of social media for peripheral participation?

Image credit:

Can I play? by jaxxon

Open Government Data *wince* it’ll take a while… Open Education – next September? No probs

by Emma Mulqueeny

Emma reviews the recent Michael Gove announcement at BETT regarding the move towards open education as opposed to traditional curricular models and mentions that

“out of all the 28,000 teachers who qualified in 2010, 3 – THREE – were computer science majors. Three chose to go into teaching, the rest chose to reward their hard-earned degree in the City, or on their own start-ups”

Leon mentions in the discussion

“What people still don’t get is that there is a massive cultural shift in progress involving how people meet and learn and that it often has nothing to do with the institutional side of education but can be co-opted by it. I know it’s unfashionable but we are talking pedagogy and epistemology here. How and why people learn what they learn and the reasons for learning. The fact that any government leaves it up for grabs means it could either be sidelined or it could be harnessed.”

Full post & discussion

 

#change11 Lower layers of connectivism?

By Matthias Melcher

I am confused. In the beginning, connectivism was considered on three layers: neural, conceptual, and social/ external. While the latter, topmost, layer has become increasingly popular, the lower layers seem to fade away from researchers’ interest. Recently even Stephen seemed to focus on just the social layer: “the central claim of connectivism, that the knowledge is found in the connections between people with each other”. What has become of the other two layers?

One quick answer would be that knowledge is identical on all three layers, but this is exactly what I cannot wrap my head around.

OK I can accept that the borders between the layers may sometimes blur. The connections between concepts are so similar to neural connections that, for example, the concept of “grandmother” seems just as if it was located in a singlegrandmother neuron. And when thinking of her cookies recipe, this external resource (layer 3) might sloppily be equated with the concept/ idea of her cookies (layer 2), and I (layer 3) “connect to the idea” (layer 2). But I cannot similarly equate some knowledge in a society with the knowledge in a person. And therefore I cannot picture the social knowledge as residing in the connections between people, in the same way as individual knowledge clearly is located in the connections between the concepts, or finally, between the neurons. The very word “knowledge” simply sounds different to me in the different contexts. (Perhaps this due to my ESL limitations and the different usage in German.)

The most striking difference shows when the social knowledgegrows, i. e., when “learning” by the society occurs: Saying to “learn” something that nobody yet knows, sounds for me as a stretched, alien usage of the word where everybody would normally speak of research, or scientific or scholarly progress. And the resulting knowledge appears different, too.

In the sense of research, “learning” of the entire society would involve a shared goal, i. e. it would be collaborative while normal learning together may be cooperative. And of course, the obvious connotations of societal knowledge are much different, as well: The body of human knowledge is usually thought of as the stock of many libraries, artefacts, external resources — even though I am aware how much important knowledge does not fit to this simplistic view, is not codified and explicit but implicit and distributed: It takes the combined tacit knowledge of many people to build an airplane; Trusting the experiential knowledge of many generations is foundational for our world view; I acknowledge the importance of online resonance between persons, and I even understand howdiscussions can literally reside between people. But I cannot grasp societal knowledge as lying between people in the same way as individual knowledge resides in the connections between concepts or neurons. Using the same word “knowledge” for both phenomena, appears to me as too stretched, or as a lifelessabstraction, while the common neuronal metaphor can be much easier understood.

Any hint or reference is welcome.

Connecting, Sharing and Curating

by Keith Lyons

The New Year has prompted a range of posts about trends in connecting, sharing and curating.

Some examples I have found in the last few days:

Stephen Downes linked to Nick DeNardis’s post Why now is a great time to do an OAuth audit. Nick points out that “The beginning of the year is a great opportunity to start fresh and look at everything with a new set of eyes. Something that is easily overlooked is who (or what) has access to your social media accounts. It’s easy to change your password and revoke access from co-workers but it isn’t as easy to identify which websites and services have access to your accounts.”

Alistair Gray shared a link with the International Sports Management LinkedIn Group to a Dan Schawbel discussion of optimising use of LinkedIn. Dan identifies two fundamental principles of networking in his conversation with Jan Vermeiren, the founder of Networking Coach: the networking attitude (give and receive); and the Know, Like, Trust factor.

A Diigo Teacher-Librarian Group link from a Scoop.it page to an Apollo Research Institute Report (April 2011) on Future Work Skills. The Report identified ten skills “vital for success in the workforce”:

  • Sense-making: an ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
  • Social intelligence: an ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
  • Novel and adaptive thinking: a proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
  • Cross-cultural competency: an ability to operate in different cultural settings
  • Computational thinking: an ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
  • New media literacy: an ability to assess critically and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
  • Transdisciplinarity: literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
  • Design mindset: an ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
  • Cognitive load management: an ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
  • Virtual collaboration: an ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team

Robin Good observes that:

By looking at the set of emerging skills that this research identifies as vital for future workers, I can’t avoid but recognize the very skillset needed by any professional curator or newsmaster.

This week’s presenter in the #change11 MOOC, Howard Rheingold has discussed five essential literacies:

I’ve concluded that one important step that people can take is to become more adept at five essential literacies for a world of mobile, social, and always-on media: attention, crap detection, participation, collaboration, and network know-how. The effects of these literacies can both empower the individuals who master them and improve the quality of the digital culture commons.

Stephen Downes shared a great link to Alec Couros’s end of year Social Media and Open Education blog post about student work. Alec notes that:

I wanted to use the last post of the year to share a few examples of the great work that is being done by my graduate and undergraduate students. I am so very fortunate to have creative & hard-working students who are committed to improving their knowledge of teaching and learning in light of our new digital landscape. I hope that some of these examples will inspire you to take up new challenges in your own context.

These examples included student projects using: stop-motion technique; Glogster; Freemind; Xtranormal; Screenr; Jing; Voicethread; TikaTok; Prezi; and Knovio.

SlideShare compiled 12 presentations that look at change in 2012. I was particularly interested in Skytide’s 7 Online Video Trends to Watch in 2012 and the discussion of Adaptive Bitrate Streaming. Skytide suggest “As adoption of adaptive bitrate protocols grows, providers of legacy streaming methods will find themselves under increased pressure to prove their added value. Witness the recent decision by Adobe to cease further development of its mobile FlashPlayer.”

I noted from an iSportConnect alert that the Philadelphia Wings Lacrosse team is using Twitter handles on its shirts (and following on a lead from two football teams (Valencia and Jaguares de Chiapas). Whilst looking at the Twitter possibilities I saw the Twitter blog post about New Year’s Eve activity. The post includes a video visualisation of tweets.

Phil Davis has written a post for The Scholarly Kitchen, Tweets and Our Obsession with Alt Metrics, that offers another perspective on tweeting. He discusses Gunther Eysenbach’s paper in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), Can tweets predict citations? Metrics of social impact based on twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact. The comments on this post make for fascinating reading and raise some salutary issues for me about connecting, sharing and curating.

I thought I would end this post with a link to Tagxedo. It is a word cloud generator and I have used it here to summarise the content of this post.

Photo Credits

Connecting

Share Your Ideas

Librarian Action Figure

Technophobia has no place in education

A recent article in the tes looks at how mobile and computing devices have historically been banned which reinforces an older model of education where the teacher churns out teaching and collaboration is restricted. The author mentions a school where they are investigating use of devices on an individual basis but the devices will not be allowed outside of the school itself, restricting learning within a specific environment and context. He notes the need for real change for learner autonomy in the future:

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6162155