Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


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Ours is smaller than yours

I read Stephen Downes’ commentary on a Chronicle post on MOOCs.

In his post, Stephen observes:

For me, what’s revolutionary about MOOCs isn’t size, it’s openness – and openness isn’t just about free content, it’s about ownership over the process. And I don’t see anyone who is bored (yet) of talking about open education.

42rdv39p-1353975764I agree with Stephen about ownership. My experience of the small open online course (SOOC) Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport was that the idea of openness is realised when participants own the opportunities to share and learn.

Just as I was finishing Stephen’s commentary I received an alert to Michael Rose’s explainer about fractals in The Conversation.

In the explainer, Michael quotes Benoit Mandelbrot “Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules which are repeated without end“. It seems to me that open education has this potential. Like fractals I do think open courses are scalable.

As with our SOOC it seems entirely legitimate to laud smallness … if it empowers ownership through self-organisation.

Photo Credit

The Mandelbrot Set (from Wikimedia Commons)


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Writing a SOOC

It is a month until the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport small open online course (SOOC) commences on the Open Learning platform.

I am delighted that we have assembled a remarkable group of course administrators. Adam Brimo at Open Learning has made the process very easy.

With friends in the United Kingdom we should be able to support the course for the whole month as a 24 hour forum. If not there should be just a very short change over period.

I hope to spend much of the month facilitating the course, which, given its non-linear nature, should be an exciting time. We are still working through some ideas around Open Badges for the course and my own thinking at present is to acknowledge peripheral participation (following the course) and to have a separate badge for engagement in the course. Open Learning has a karma measure that might help with the engagement badge. I am thinking that cooperation will be an important attribute too … and sharing. (Erin Knight provides an excellent insight into these opportunities and David Wiley offers a great example of how it does work).

I will need to look carefully at the Iconic open icon resource.

The people who will help me make these decisions will be the course administrators and Adam Brimo. The administrators are:

Adam Cullinane

Adam Hewitt

Alexis Lebedew

Chris Barnes

Danny Munnerley

Darrell Cobner

Mark Davies

Mark Upton

Matt Bacon

Robert Fitzgerald

Tania Churchll

Together we will be developing a five-part course that comprises:

* Connecting and Sharing

* Observing Performance

* Visualising Data

* Knowledge Discovery

* Augmented Reality

The proposal is that all participants look at the Connecting and Sharing module in the first week to establish a framework for using the Open Learning platform. Thereafter all modules are available for access in whatever order participants think appropriate to their interests and needs.

I have no doubt this will be messy and disruptive. But it is the first SOOC offered at an introductory level that has the potential to develop a polysemic experience.

Photo Credit

Crowded


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Open Educational Resources: The Writing on the Wall

I admire immensely Stephen Downes’ work.

Each weekday and Saturday morning here in Australia starts for me with a read of OLDaily over coffee.

Each day I find something that takes me on a journey of the imagination and to new connections.

Today I have been reading Stephen’s post on Open Educational Resources.

Stephen defines Open Educational Resources (OERs) thus:

Open educational resources are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone.

Stephen’s post elaborates how he came to define OERs. I noted in particular:

  • “it avoids needless redundancies. Specifically, it avoids phrases like “digital or non-digital’ which, on examination, mean the same as “everything”. It also avoids formulations like “OERs are resources that…” because this has the form “resources are resources”, which is not helpful.”
  • “What makes material used for learning an OER is not the license it carries with it, but rather, whether it allows anyone to access, use, modify and share the material.”
  • “the purpose of a functional definition – one based on the ability of a person to access, use, modify and share the resource – is that it enables a simple empirical test. Instead of metaphysical discussions about the nature of an object, we simply ask, “Can a person access the object, can a person use the object, etc.?”, and on being shown that they can, conclude that the resource is open.”
  • “The purpose of the word ‘freely’ in the definition is intended to stipulate that the resource may be access without conditions.”

With Stephen’s guidance and Leigh Blackall‘s help I have been keen to explore open sharing in my work at the University of Canberra. Recently, the #HOPAU project with the Australian Paralympic Committee  has given me opportunities to explore openness in a very practical way.

Stephen’s post today has helped me clarify the essential characteristics of this project. This is a writing on the wall time (about aspiration and country)!


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Treasure Trove

Introduction

Last week was another treasure trove week for me. It started with my daughter Beth’s first blog post and concluded with news of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) running at present.

Treasure Baskets

Beth’s post about treasure baskets set me off thinking about the possibilities of guided discovery in play. I thought too about the personalisation that might occur in learning as teachers and coaches adapt the idea of a treasure basket to their own learning environments. A treasure basket is a collection of everyday objects chosen to stimulate the different senses. I followed up on Beth’s discussion of the role the basket has in heuristic play.

Elaine Lambe notes that heuristic play “is the term used to describe play for babies, infants and toddlers that actively encourages exploration by using and developing their senses.” As with all treasure troves one discovery leads to another and through Elaine’s post I found Elinor Goldschmied‘s work. Valerie Jackson has provided a great insight into Elinor’s work. I liked Valerie’s observation that:

Elinor understood the importance of accepting every child as a unique and gifted individual. She didn’t waste time trying to categorise or label children as having special needs, additional needs or anything else. They were all children and we were all the people tasked with the responsibility to encourage and raise good citizens.

She understood that learning to negotiate and compromise are positive skills to allow children to develop so that friendships grow and become strong in the nursery years so that the process of maturation and finally reaching adulthood becomes less arduous and isolating. If a child has one particular adult with whom they can develop a positive relationship during their time away from family, such as in the nursery, then their stay is less traumatic and their play and learned behaviours become more positive. From this, the idea of a key person has evolved and is currently promoted by the Early Years Foundation Stage in the United Kingdom.

Elinor worked with Sonia Jackson to write about People Under Three. I think their work has enormous implications for all learning. I will follow up on their key person ideas. “The key person makes sure that, within the day-to-day demands of thesetting, each child for whom they have special responsibility feels individual, cherished and thought about by someone inparticular while they are away from home.”

MOOC

The concept of a key person was reinforced for me this week with news of two MOOC events. Learning and Knowledge Analytics (LAK11) has been underway for a week. After my participation in CCK08 I have viewed George Siemens as a key person in my learning and trust implicitly his making sense of the world. I am impressed constantly by George’s energy as a guide and catalyst for learning. I will struggle to be an active participant in LAK11 and hope that legitimate peripheral participation is acceptable. There are some great resources available at LAK11 … a wonderful trove. I liked Dave Cormier’s post this week about the roles that can be played in a MOOC.

Stephen Downes is another key person in my learning. I have been writing about Stephen’s work from the origins of this blog. Many of my posts are inspired by links Stephen shares in OLDaily. Stephen is facilitating CCK11 with George Siemens. The course outline is here and week 1 news is here. I was interested to read George’s observation that “We are doing away with the central-space of Moodle – our final break from the LMS and will be using only the commenting feature within gRSShopper. While it might not seem like a huge change on the surface, it is probably our most significant experiment to date.” I found a newer version of Kroc Carmen’s post about RSS via a link in OLDaily.

Both courses are treasure baskets for me. It is great to start the day in Australia with news of goings on in Canada. I have an opportunity to explore ideas some fifteen hours ahead of convivial discussion in the Northern Hemisphere.

Conclusion

Sonia Jackson points out that Elinor Goldschmied’s first job was “in the junior school of Dartington Hall, the “progressive” school in Devon, where she stayed for five years. Dartington in the 1930s provided an exciting cultural and political environment which changed her view of the world.” The post that started me off on this reflection on treasure trove was written by a pupil at the Park School, Dartington. Beth was at the school in the late 1980s and like Elinor has been profoundly influenced by the possibilities of play in learning.

I am immensely proud of Beth’s entry into blogging. Her vision is to find ways to share knowledge and connect parents of young children. She, George and Stephen have a great deal in common in the altruism of connecting.


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Edging to Open Learning in Open Spaces

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Ballarat to discuss Edgeless Challenges and Opportunities. I have been thinking a great deal about learning spaces and the function (rather than the form) of the university of late. In part these thoughts have been stimulated by the University of Canberra’s development of teaching and learning commons.

This week I have been overwhelmed by the number of connections I am finding in relation to open learning and sharing. Some of these connections include:

many universities have an educational technology department that is focused on PD. Research institutes devoted to understanding the intersection of education, technology, systemic reform, and pedagogy are less rare. Several years ago, Phil Long (CEIT) and I discussed the need for a collaborative network of research labs/academies/institutes that were focused on researching learning technologies, not solely on driving institutional adoption. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that idea.

  • Discovering A.K.M. Maksud’s 2006 paper The Nomadic Bede Community And Their Mobile School Program after listening to an interview with Irene Khan. Boat schools bring a different perspective on edgeless learning opportunities and mobile learners. (Sharing this paper with a colleague brought me Simon Shum and Alexandra Okada’s paper Knowledge Cartography for Open Sensemaking Communities (2008) from the Journal of Interactive Media in Education and from another colleague Kenn Fisher’s discussion of Mode 3 Learning: The Campus as Thirdspace.)

  • Finding Cisco’s paper (June 2010) on Hyperconnectivity through a Diigo link. Hyperconnectivity is defined as:

active multitasking on one hand, and passive networking on the other. Passive networking consists largely of background streaming and downloading. Ambient video (nannycams, petcams, home security cams, and other persistent video streams) is an element of passive networking that opens up the possibility for the number of video minutes crossing the network to greatly exceed the number of video minutes actually watched by consumers.

  • In the past year, the Cisco paper notes that:

it has become clear that visual networking applications are often used concurrently with other applications and sometimes even other visual networking applications, as the visual network becomes a persistent backdrop that remains “on” while the user multitasks or is engaged elsewhere. This trend accompanies what is sometimes called the widgetization of Internet and TV, as network traffic expands beyond the borders of the browser window and the confines of the PC.

Traditional approaches to community regeneration which define communities in solely geographic terms have severe limitations. They often failed to deliver on key social capital improvements such as improving trust between residents or fostering a greater sense of belonging.

In this report we argue for a new approach to community regeneration, based on an understanding of the importance of social networks, such an approach has the potential to bring about significant improvements in efforts to combat isolation and to support the development of resilient and empowered communities.

  • Noting in Harold Jarche’s post Innovation through network learning that he now takes for granted his “network learning processes, using social bookmarking; blogging and tweeting, and these habits make collaboration much easier”. He observes that:

However, these habits and practices have taken several years to develop and may not come easily to many workers. One difficult aspect of adopting network learning in an organization is that it’s personal. If not, it doesn’t work. Everybody has to develop their own methods, though there are frameworks and ideas that can help.

All this before I started exploring the treasure trove that arrives in my in box each day from Stephen Downes! Early on in the week I noted Stephen’s comment on Education and the Social Web: “A theory of connections can’t be just about forming connections; it has to be about the organization, shape and design of networks of connection, patterns of connectivity. And to me, this means that we need to design learning systems to meet personal, not political, social or commercial, objectives.” Later in the week in a discussion of two MOOC posts, Stephen suggests that: “It’s about attitude and approach. If you’re looking for someone to tell you how it works, you will find a MOOC confusing and frustrating. But if you take responsibility for your own learning, you will find any connection in a MOOC either an opportunity to teach or an opportunity to learn. No instructions necessary.”

This week has underscored for me the rich possibilities that can occur in shared spaces. My thoughts keep returning to Dharavi and the opportunities for personal wayfinding in shared spaces that afford a collective, connected experience too. I am very hopeful that the University of Canberra’s Commons ideas can stimulate innovative use of place, space and time and lead to an exciting edgy practice.

Photo Credits

Kaptai Lake

Hole in Wall

Moodle on the Move

Postscript

A day after posting this I received a link to a delightful flash mob video. I wondered if open learning spaces might stimulate this kind of event.

Other Links

2nd Annual Learning Commons Development and Design Forum, 30-31 March 2011, Brisbane.

  • Learning Commons strategy and organisational structures
  • Planning and design
  • Case studies and best practices
  • Digital information and technologies
  • Online resources


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Op Shop, Connectivism and Mutual Flourishing

This is another post that has been waiting to be written! Michael Clarke’s post on Sounding the Revolution gave me the impetus I needed.

I like the idea of Op Shops. Wikipedia points out that:

Charity shops are a type of social enterprise. They usually sell mainly second-hand goods donated by members of the public, and are often staffed by volunteers. Because the items for sale were obtained for free, and business costs are low, the items can be sold at very low prices. After costs are paid, all remaining income from the sales is used in accord with the organization’s stated charitable purpose. Costs include purchase and/or depreciation of fixtures (clothing racks, bookshelves, counters, etc.), operating costs (maintenance, municipal service fees, electricity, telephone, limited advertising) and the building lease or mortgage.

I take connectivism to be a kindred social enterprise. Each day, because of the generosity of others, I discover wonderful opportunities to learn and then share. I have an opportunity to participate in the move from information to coordination.

Recently I was struck by Sally Fincher‘s Op Shop credentials. I found her work through a Mark Guzdial post Tell Sally Your Stories: Monthly for a Year. The Share Project is researching teaching practice. Sally points out that:

we are investigating how academics represent, share and change their practices. One strand of our investigation (this one) is designed to collect material on the everyday lives and normal routines of academics. If you sign up, we’ll ask you to keep a diary for a day—the 15th day of each month—detailing what you do (especially with regard to teaching) and what you think and feel about it.

I was struck by a post by Kent Anderson in the Scholarly Kitchen that prompted me to think that this really is the age of social enterprise:

An interesting change has come in the modeling of society over the past few decades, namely the move from a generation gap to a fixation on youth to a reorientation on youth showing elders the way. Now, a study from the Pew Research Center indicates that older adults are adopting social media quickly, with those 50-64 years old picking it up at an 88% greater rate in just one year. Overall, 47% of people in this age group now use social media, up from 25% in April 2009.

Tools like Greplin are giving us the opportunity to range far and wide in our sharing.

As a conclusion to this post I thought I would add Clay Shirky’s TED video from 2009 about the transformed media landscape and the Internet as a site of coordination.


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False Relations and Muscle Memory

Emma Ayres introduces some fascinating themes in her Classic FM breakfast program. Two days ago I was listening to a Thomas Tallis composition (Honor, virtus et potestas) on her show after which she discussed false relations:

A false-relation is nothing more than a chromatic contradiction between two notes in a single chord or in different parts of adjacent chords. Within the confines of academic tonal theory this is considered a “syntax error” but it has been used throughout the ages by composers for expressive effect; a sort of a musical poetic license.

My take on what she was saying was that the listener can be surprised or have attention changed by false relations.

With my interest in the links between different kinds of performance I was intrigued to listen to Emma Ayres’ discussion of muscle memory during the same program. She was exploring ideas around how one returns to a musical instrument after decades away from it. She noted the research in sport on practice, expertise and its application to music.

Her juxtaposition in the same program of false relations and muscle memory prompted me to think about the guided discovery possibilities of play and the structured learning opportunities provided in a developmental and personal training program.

I do think the lessons we can learn from composition and performance of polyphonic music can help us explore individual difference. I wondered if acts of creativity or inspiration in sport might be a form of false relation. Contemplating the potential of muscle memory has important implications for how we plan for and support motor learning.

I realise I need to go back to Edward Thorndike‘s work now to look at his theory of learning. In particular:

  • Readiness
  • Use and disuse
  • Belongingness

What a surprising journey one radio program can initiate!

Photo Credit

Two men on a Northwest Aircraft

Stongfjorden Songlag