Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


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Open By Design

Art

My involvement with the small open online course (SOOC) Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport has encouraged me to think a great deal about facilitating open access and supporting disparate learning expectations.

I saw the SOOC as a modest approach to the educational issues raised by cMOOCs.

There is a growing (daily) discussion of the structure of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Yesterday I linked to posts by Alan Levine and Ryan Stacey. Today I was interested to read Dave Cormier’s post Why I think open courses should be about content creation.

In the post Dave observes:

There are many good reasons for creating content when we are learning. It provides an excellent method of personal curation of ideas, of being able to keep track of your work. It allows for others (beyond an educator) to be able to see and respond to your work. For some it provides encouragement to work a little harder, to polish a little more. It could also provide an excellent opportunity to explore other skills around publishing in numerous formats. These are all quite nice… but not what I’m on about at all.

When all participants create content, you have the potential for multiplicity. You can have a discussion from multiple viewpoints, from different contexts, from different life experiences. When different contextual beliefs are combined with difference in ability, race, gender, culture, race etc… a myriad of possibilities and viewpoints can come to the fore. When the course is opened up to the world, your chance for this increases manyfold.

I think there are language issues in there too.

An alert to Inge Druckrey’s Teaching to See film encouraged me to think about the aesthetic and design possibilities for Dave’s multiplicity (note Dave’s comment on this post about Deleuze and Guattari’s work). I was delighted to learn that Edward Tufte was the Executive Producer of the film.

Once again a combination of disparate elements freely available has taken me off to think about re-presentation. Dave’s conclusion helped me to do this:

We have the capacity to connect with each other, to share experience and perspectives and to learn both from and in spite of each other. I’m certainly not suggesting that we should live in some fantastical utopia where everyone’s opinions should be shared and equally valued. Quite the contrary. One of the most difficult thing about learning with shared content is the vast amount of crap you need to sift through. Just like life.

Photo Credit

Frame grab from Teaching to See (3 minutes 20 seconds)


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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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Working Together

Last year I wrote a large number of posts about personal learning. Towards the end of the year I started to think about how spaces provide opportunities to connect personal learning. This year I am hoping to develop these ideas about Commons spaces. I hope too to explore how we talk about and write about these spaces.

My first post for 2011 is about collective intelligence. Back in September, 2010, Science published a paper by Anita Williams Woolley, Christopher F. Chabris, Alex Pentland, Nada Hashmi, and Thomas W. Malone titled Evidence for a collective intelligence factor in the performance of human groups. The authors noted that:

In two studies with 699 people, working in groups of two to five, we find converging evidence of a general collective intelligence factor that explains a group’s performance on a wide variety of tasks. This “c factor” is not strongly correlated with the average or maximum individual intelligence of group members but is correlated with the average social sensitivity of group members, the equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking, and the proportion of females in the group.

The ACA Wiki observes of this study that:

c was correlated with the average social sensitivity of the group and in the equality of term turn-taking as measured through socio-metric badges in the group. It was also correlated with the proportion of females in the group although OLS regressions implied that this was because females were more likely to take turns an to be more socially sensitive.

I was intrigued by the mention of socio-metric badges in this report and discovered from a paper by Benjamin Waber and Sandy Pentland that these badges are capable of:

  • Recognizing common daily human activities (such as sitting, standing, walking, and running) in real time using a 3-axis accelerometer.
  • Extracting speech features in real time to capture non-linguistic social signals such as interest and excitement, the amount of influence each person has on another in a social interaction, and unconscious back-and-forth interjections, while ignoring the words themselves in order to assuage privacy concerns.
  • Performing indoor user localization by measuring received signal strength and using triangulation algorithms that can achieve position estimation errors as low as 1.5 meters, which also allows for detection of people in close physical proximity.
  • Communicating with Bluetooth enabled cell phones, PDAs, and other devices to study user behavior and detect people in close proximity.
  • Capturing face-to-face interaction time using an IR sensor that can detect when two people wearing badges are facing each other within a 30°-cone and one meter distance.

Larry Irons has an interesting discussion of this work in his post Gossip, Collaboration and Performance in Distributed Teams.

There are some very important privacy issues in using these badges. Benjamin and Sandy discuss them in detail in Reality Mining. I would be very happy to wear such a badge as art of my daily working environment. I am keen to discover how working together in real spaces might add to working together in virtual spaces.

There will be some interesting opportunities for me to explore collective intelligence in 2011. At the University of Canberra I will be able to work in a number of shared spaces and explore the emergence of pedagogy and practice. In cyberspace I hope to participate in a number of massive open online courses (MOOC) including Learning Analytics and Knowledge, and Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011,

Some colleagues from an earlier MOOC (CCK08) have provided some fascinating insights into MOOC behaviour. Recently Lisa Lane discussed a spectrum of MOOC design. Jenny Mackness has been exploring connectivism and lurking. Carmen Tschofen has been helping me understand situated learning and ‘legitimate peripheral participation’ (and led me to this infed blog post about communities of practice).

My participation in Commons spaces will be guided as it has been for the last three years by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. They act as wonderful compasses for me. Dave Cormier has some advice too in his YouTube MOOC video:

What an exciting year ahead!


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Open Access and Sharing

Yesterday I posted news of the publication of the Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium of Computer Science in Sport. When I checked my WordPress Dashboard this morning I found this response to the post:

Overnight (in Australia) there were 200 visits to the post following an email alert earlier in the day. I have posted the Proceedings in Box.Net at this link and the Internet Archive at this link. To date there have been 20 downloads of the Proceedings from Box.Net and other downloads of SlideShare presentations.

By coincidence shortly after posting the Proceedings I received a request to provide an abstract for a Panel Discussion at the Australian Institute of Sport. The question I and several colleagues will address is ‘How can we optimise the research effort into high performance sport throughout the Australian network?’ This is my response:

There is a wonderful momentum growing around the aggregation of effort in many aspects of social and professional life. Following on from my presentation at the NESC Forum 2009 I am going to propose that a connected network of practice is essential for sport to flourish in Australia. This connected network will be open and through aggregation will ensure that we grow a research culture that has a cumulative approach to knowledge production. For this to be really effective it will require many institutions to transform their Internet presence. I will suggest there is no wealth but life .

The dynamic possibilities of online sharing enabled me to add an Addendum to the Proceedings this morning (a paper by Alexis Lebedew). Shortly after doing so I received an alert from the Scholarly Kitchen with Ann Michael’s post about the 2010 STM Spring Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ann reports that some common themes emerged:

  1. Librarians want to supply their users with content electronically and, more specifically, via mobile devices.  This is not limited to journals.  eBooks of both monographs and textbooks were also discussed.
  2. Librarians want all of these content forms at the same time.  They don’t want to wait for electronic versions.
  3. Tools provided to search library collections must be straight-forward and intuitive for users; training should not be required.
  4. However, training and preparation is needed in overall “information literacy.”  Especially at the undergraduate level, students need guidance in becoming discriminating consumers of content to develop the “mental maps” of context that help them to evaluate the quality of the content they come across.
  5. In relation to the academy, as budget pressures increase, the need to publish research is becoming more critical.  Research is an avenue to grants, contracts, and private donations. Since state funding is decreasing and tuition can only be raised so much, research-related sources of funding will be critical.
  6. Finally, several speakers raised the point that it’s very difficult to secure referees for the peer-review process.  Even authors who submit multiple papers often decline requests to review the work of others.

I should have been participating this week with 500 other colleagues in a delightful online course facilitated by Dave Cormier and George Siemens. The course resonates with so many of my interests:

Discussions and proclamations of the future of education, learning, training, and development are popular topics at conferences and in publications. For educators, leaders, and administrators, it’s easy to “get lost” in the numerous predictions. What is the next wave of technological change? Are learners really different today? Is our current model of education unsustainable? What can educators do to anticipate and respond to trends?

Unfortunately, predictions of the future are often more of a guessing game than a rigorous process. This course will utilize methods of futures thinking to explore a variety of trends and statistics and provide a series of potential scenarios and future directions. Participants will be actively involved in tracking critical trends, exploring their educational impact, and plan for ways to prepare for important changes.

In order to explore potential paths for education, learning, and training, we will spend time developing a framework for analyzing trends and for generating and evaluating scenarios.

The course will focus on developing methods and mechanisms for making sense of change patterns. Future-focused thinking is an important skill for all educators, leaders, and administrators. During the eight-weeks of this course, we will explore approaches to separating “the nonsense” from “the potential” proclamations of education’s future.

It has been quite a twenty-four hours. This week I am still dealing with my jet lag from my visit to the UK and so I have had some extra time to work on the web. The intensity of what happens in a global community underscores why connectivism is so important to emergent learning, open access and sharing.

Photo Credits

World Class Traffic Jam

Questions Answered


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Discussing Performance

I have been involved in coaching canoe slalom for the last two months. It is a busy time of the year in Australia when athletes compete for places in Australian teams. I travel to the Penrith Whitewater Stadium twice a week from my home in Mongarlowe. Each visit involves a 600 kilometre round trip and during these trips I listen to Radio National … there are some great programs at 4 a.m. to help focus my attention on the very quiet roads (I missed this program on recommendation and social networks!).

All week I have been musing about the CCK08 wrap held on Tuesday morning (Australia time) and it is fascinating how many other items have attracted my attention this week. I thought I would bring all these strands together in this post to explore some of my interests in performance and the connectedness of people and ideas. My most recent journey on Saturday morning (28 February) was the catalyst. During that journey between Braidwood and Tarago I listened to a fascinating discussion of whistleblowing in the workplace between The National Interest‘s presenter Peter Mares and Labor MP Mark Dreyfus, the chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee. The discussion was framed by this observation “History tells us that there’s usually a high price to be paid for whistle-blowing. Organisations being challenged understandably turn nasty and there have been few protections, even for individuals who act out of a sense of honesty or integrity.”

The next hour from Tarago to Exeter was filled by Music Deli. Many years ago I worked at Dartington College of Arts and became fascinated by ethnomusicology at a time when my interest in ethnography was developing. Saturday morning’s program provided a great stimulus to reflect on those times. In the program there were two studio sessions the first featured the clarinet player Bobby Dimitrievski and his band from Sydney. He talked about his Macedonian musical heritage. In the second session, Italian musician Enrico Noviello sang, played and talked about traditional music from Puglia. I was enraptured by Bobby and Enrico’s discussions of oral tradition in music making. The podcast can be found here.

Early on Tuesday morning I was set for the CCK08 discussions and was keen to be part of the sharing ethos so prevalent in CCK08 and to be involved in the practice of connectedness. Stephen wrote that he was delayed in participating in the Elluminate session by clearing snow at his home, I failed to arrive at all because of Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3 Lulin). Conversations about CCK08 between the thirty-two participants went on without me and I became an asynchronous participant! However, I did see the comet pass over my part of Australia and thought that the once in a thousand years experience was a very important moment for me. (It was interesting to note other networks at work during Lulin’s journey and noted this set of photographs from the Alborz Mountains in Iran.) On reflection CCK08 was that kind of experience for me too.

I have written a number of posts about CCK08 in this blog and most of them are reflections-in-action. I have written some reflections-on-action too. As a result of CCK08 I think and act differently. My understanding of teaching and learning has been transformed and I hope I have a group of friends who will amplify my understanding and practice. My participation in CCK08 was part of a wonderful cosmos of energy, thought and engagement that CCK08 brought.

I have stored many of the resources shared in CCK08. I am storing my photograph of Lulin too!

lulin

I took a series of photographs with a Fuji camera using varying settings. Some of them have no trace of the comet! In retrospect that seems to be some course participants’ experience of CCK08 as they discussed the tools and knowledge required for participation in CCK08. Throughout the course I discovered new ways to communicate and share. I hope that by taking a fallibilist approach to learning I grew my understanding by the on-going inclusion of ideas and tools.

I mentioned earlier that I had been listening to Radio National. It struck me that no one talks about being a lurker of radio channels. I discovered the term ‘lurker’ during CCK08 discussions and note that it reappeared in the Wrap discussions. I have assumed that each of us has a different approach to engagement in learning. I find it hard to use the verb ‘to lurk’ let alone call someone a ‘lurker’. I noted too that there was some discussion about what to call a CCK ‘course’. I have tended to think of courses in a very literal sense. In the sport of canoe slalom participants navigate their way through a series of gates. On natural rivers the flow of the water varies as does the course of the river. Water courses and canoe slalom courses vary enormously even during the same event. I felt very comfortable in CCK08 and like Oh Laura was ‘a glass of water longing for the ocean’. I think the Wrap had some excellent suggestions for CCK09.

What struck me about many of the participants in CCK08 was their polymath interests. Last week there was enormous discussion about another polymath, Gail Trimble. This post attracted my attention on Thursday last week. I read, in particular, that:

The acclaim she has received for her stellar knowledge – “In the cautionary poem by Hilaire Belloc, what was the ‘trick that everyone abhors’, practiced by Rebecca…” to which she correctly answered “slamming doors” – has not been one-way. She has been ridiculed on social networking sites for being too geekily smart and one newspaper this week asked: “Why do so many hate this girl simply for being clever?”

I find it remarkable that a person with such a wonderful knowledge could be viewed as a threat to anyone. It seemed to me that CCK08 was able to celebrate knowing and the introduction of guests amplified the course for me. I am hopeful that CCK09 will develop its use of guests and the explicit role of the external voice that Dave Cormier provided. I am keen to participate in CCK09 and to be part of the evolution of a very special community. Next time around I may be even a participant in Moodle!

Whilst pondering all this I was dipping into Facebook and catching up with friends. One of my friends, Michael Herlihy, has been very active this week and has posted some great videos. (I have posted this about one of his video posts.) Michael posted two videos about sport performance and the videos provide an excellent end to my week of contemplating performance and the connectedness of people and ideas.

CCK08 opened up the enormous possibilities of growing through sharing. I have spent much of my last thirty years in elite sport. In this environment it was assumed that success was based upon secrecy. Michael’s video post about the analysis of Irish sporting performance offers an interesting juxtaposition of the openness and secrecy debate.

Alistair Gray offers this assessment of Ireland’s performance at the Beijing Olympics



This is Pat Hickey‘s response

The Irish Times gives its take on the review of Irish Olympic performance here and provides this brief summary of the key points of the review of performance.

What is exciting for me is that this discussion is a public one. CCK08 has given me enormous confidence to pursue an openness approach to performance that recognises that sharing enables transformation. There have been so many instances this week where the power of sharing is so evident. I see possibilities everywhere. I am excited that they are real opportunities rather than imagined connections.