Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


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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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Food for Thought 2.1

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I had hoped to add to my Food for Thought 1.1 post last week but events overtook me! I was thinking that by the time I reached Adrian Hill‘s blog I would have written a Food for Thought 1.4 post. Instead I am at week two in the Rs.

In this week in review, Ruth Demitroff posted about Blip.fm, Chief Justice John Roberts and Barack Obama’s Inauguration Address. In her post on the Address, Ruth links to a new York Times article by Stanley Fish. Ruth draws attention to text as parataxis and I think this has implications for how we write in our blogs.

Rodd Lucier posted about the inauguration too (as did Pierfranco Ravotto with links to YouTube, Lee Kolbert on the first digital presidential portrait and Lani Hall). In other posts this week Rodd discussed: online identity (and offered advice about security, see too Kristina Hoeppner’s post); pendulum swings in education and included a Teacher 2.0 podcast (see Nellie Muller‘s post along these lines); and concluded the week with a post about Creative Commons.

Rhondda had a busy week of posts. Early in the week she reviewed the Icerocket search engine. In her next post (It’s not about the technology) she observes that “In the past 12 months I have found an amazing world on-line, that offers me so much for my own professional learning, making me a better teacher and I hope that some of my posts/links have assisted others as well”. She then posted about Worldometers (world statistics updated in real time) and day later abour reading options and DailyLit. Rhondda’s week concluded with her post about useful links. All this whilst preparing for a new school term in Melbourne, Australia.

Pat Parslow’s most recent post was a position paper (with Shirley Williams and Karsten Oster Lundqvist) on the future of social networking.

Nellie Deutsch has been incredibly busy with the Digifolios and Personal Learning Spaces Ning site. Most recently she was involved in a Wiziq discussion about online identity (recording available at the Ning site).

This week the LibraryTechNZ Source post provided an update on digital libraries and library innovations from around the world. In the post

it is the smart and sensitive teacher, endlessly re-inventing her practice, noticing what works for individual kids, that makes the difference. Or the creative and flexible principal, willing to suspend the Big Expensive Program, guaranteed to yield (and I hate the way this word has been co-opted) results–in favor of something that meets the needs of real kids.

Milton Ramirez had a busy week of posts including teaching as an attractive and exciting career opportunity, the results of the PEW report, a discussion (inspired by a post by Doug Johnson) of the impact of books, blogs, articles and columns, three posts on Barack Obama, and a discussion of connectivism. Milton’s last post of the week introduced me to Sugar Labs. I hope to return to Sugar Labs soon!

Mike Gotta drew attention to a Web 0.0 paper from 1991 in his first post of the week. He followed this up with a discussion of the importance of Lotuspere 2009 and Lotus Connections and SharePoint.

Mike Bogle’s Techticker was a mine of information this week. He discussed free culture and Creative Commons and linked to Lawrence Lessig. (Melanie McBride posted about Lawrence Lesig this week too.) Mike’s post reports how he has created an audio archive of Lawrence’s four free culture presentations. Mike includes the workflow of how he did this.

… in the interests of transparency and respect for open source purists, I wanted to include the work flow process I used to ultimately produce the OGG version.  I relied upon as much open source software as I could (as always), however there are two notable exceptions that I’d like to menition. Namely, the process was conducted on Windows XP and included the MP4 codec during the initial rip from YouTube.

(See Mike’s discussion of Open Source this week for his take on sharing.)

Mike’s second post of the week was a slow blog about the Digital Youth Project and includes a video blog about his thoughts. Mike observes that “the results (of the project) point to a dynamic and complex ecosystem of interaction amongst young people that I believe we would do well to consider in discussions on elearning and new media – and in particular the manner with which education should seek to foster engagement and lifelong learning amidst young people.” His final post of the week discusses TOTLOL and children’s digital literacy.

In addition to her post about Lawrence Lessig, Melanie McBride shared news of her presentation at Web Weekend in Vancouver in February. Her talk, “Magazines2.0: The Sharing Revolution,” will consider existing and emergent issues related to the publisher and reader of web2.0 publications.

Matthias Melcher considered connectivist taxonomy this week. His post addresses the visualisation of a taxonomy in a very interesting way and he draws upon his native German landscape to to help him. He concludes that “the concept cluster of learning network/ ecology/ space is too overburdened and deserves some dissection.”

Lisa Lane discussed videoconferencing this week. She reflected on a Business Week article to develop her own use of videoconferencing. Mike Bogle commented on Lisa’s post and shared this link. Lisa responded with a discussion of Seesmic and its potential. (It was interesting to read Kristina Hoeppner’s post on the lens-eye after reading Lisa and Mike’s exchange.)

Lee Kolbert’s post this week took a close look at the potential of Nibipedia for teachers and students. She considers some of the access issues that might occur with some of the content and one of the creators of Nibipedia, Troy Peterson responds to Lee’s observations.  (Stephen Downes posted on Nibipedia too this week.)

Kristina Hoeppner posted three times this week. In her first post she discusses some of the issues raised by the availability of Userfly (a new online service which allows you to record a screencast of anybody who comes to your website) and the appearance of Tumbarumba. Her third post of the week reports the discovery of an apartment in Leipzig that was in an untouched condition from almost a decade before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I was unable to access Konrad Glogowski‘s blog at the time of writing this summary.

Kevin Jones’ post this week reports on How Conferences Should Be Done and points to the Americorps Ning site.

I could not think of a better place to end my alphabet review this week with a visit to the busy week of Karyn Romeis and her learning journey. Her blog is “a catch-all for things that have caught my eye, links to helpful information and the odd soapbox moment”. Tuesday’s picture of the day was ‘Computer Hell‘ ( “Oh, for a techie to come and look over my shoulder and say, “Ah yes. I see what the problem is.” And then FIX it.”) (By Thursday the Articulate User Community had come to her rescue.) Karyn linked to Blurb in another of her posts and discussed the idea of publishing your own bespoke book.

There are 16 Js in my Nourishment list so I will draw breath here and hope that nature and workflow this week give me an opportunity to write Food for Thought 2.2. I am off to Sydney to celebrate our son‘s birthday. Somehow we have persuaded him that a trip to a Leonard Cohen concert is just what he needs!