Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


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Four Weeks at the SOOC

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Earlier this morning I wrote my final Daily Wrap for the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport small open online course (SOOC).

What a wonderful month it has been at the SOOC.

During November in Australia, Mark and Danny have been with me on the day shift in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, Darrell and Adam have been the custodians of the SOOC.

As I was compiling the Wrap I received a link to a new version of Burn Note. This application takes communication to a different level. What’s a Burn Note?

A Burn Note is an online message which can be viewed only one time by the recipient. Each Burn Note is displayed using our patent pending Spotlight system for resisting copies. A timer starts when the recipient opens the note and automatically destroys the Burn Note once the recipient is finished reading it. Once a Burn Note has been deleted it cannot be viewed again.

In contrast, the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport course will remain online and available. Adam Brimo writes:

The course will remain at the same url. What we can do to make it more open is remove it from the our homepage and remove or change the landing page to reflect that the course is open but no longer facilitated.

My hope is that more visitors will find the content relevant and interesting as it remains open. I am thinking it has the potential to become a dynamic wiki so that it updates links and references. We planned the course to be an introduction but we hoped there would be something for everyone.

To my knowledge this was the first SOOC of its kind. We aimed to present a fallible mode of sharing and to learn from the experience. I particularly liked the idea that it was an open course that encouraged non-linear journeys. I did enjoy the excitement of having Augmented Reality available from the first day if you chose to go there … as many did.

Whilst writing the Wrap, I received some timely links about massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Alan Levine (via a Stephen Downes alert) points out that in a recent Coursera Social Networks Analysis class:

61,285 students registered, 25,151 watched at least one video, 15,391 tried at least one in-video quiz, 6,919 submitted at least one assignment, 2,417 took the final exam. 1303 earned the regular certificate. Of the 145 students submitting a final project, 107 earned the programming (i.e. ‘with distinction’) version of the certificate.

He adds:

You see, the course moves at the speed it wants to, not mine. This mode does not use any of the affordances of online learning to be able to flex time and space for me to do work- it just marches on everyone rowing the boat together (or falling over).

Ryan Stacey discusses 15 ways MOOCs will change education. Item 7 on pedagogy is:

While MOOCs typically comprise video clips and perhaps a quiz, they will inevitably include more instructional devices to assist distance learning (and remain competitive). Over time, content providers will supplement their core offerings with live webinars, interactive exercises, discussion forums, wikis, social networks etc. Some may even organise real-life meetups at selected sites around the world.

As of today we had 517 enrollments on the course. It has been the most delightful month of meetings and glimpses.

We had a total of 23,490 page visits from 91 countries.

32% of the visits were from Australia, 27% from the UK, 8% from the USA, 7% from India, 5% from Ireland, 2% from France, New Zealand and Greece.The Seeing and Observing and Augmented Reality pages proved particularly popular.

The wonderful thing about an open world is that we do not have to say we will be back … we will always be here.

Photo Credit

Souq Waqif (Laika, CC BY-ND 2.0)


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Open Opportunities: Scaling Cooperation

We have had two extremely windy days in New South Wales.

On Wednesday there was a state-wide total fire ban.

This morning the winds of the Internet brought me a number of alerts that had me thinking about other kinds of fires … Plutarch‘s kindling kind.

Stephen Downes started me on my journey with two posts:

Those two posts led me to:

Slide 14 of George’s 41 slides is:

These posts in turn took me to:

 

Just when I was coming up for air I received alerts to:

 

I followed up on Harold Jarche and Jane Hart’s PKM Workshop and liked their description of their approach:

Our online social workshops are not traditional, formal online courses, take a look here at how they run:

  • Our workshops are designed to give just enough structure, without constraining personal and social learning.
  • We curate what we think are the essential resources on a topic and also provide additional links and resources for those who are interested.
  • We encourage all discussions to be done in the private workshop group area, so that people can learn from each other.
  • We try to find ways to help each person as issues arise in the conversations. Without these conversations, we would not be able to help in an informed way.
  • For those attending this workshop, the more they give, the more they will get.

 

I have assembled these links here as an ongoing consideration of issues to be addressed in the formulation of a SOOC that will be available in November on the OpenLearning platform.

As I was about to post this I received an alert to two posts by Paul Montgomery for the Kinetic-Athlete blog:

 

Paul’s insights were another boost to my interest in open sharing and his posts will make a great resource for the SOOC. Which takes me neatly back to Slide 14  ” Learners expected to create, grow, expand domain and share personal sensemaking through artifact-creation”.

 

Photo Credits

It was a windy day

Windy day ahead

A windy day indeed


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A Souq-Like SOOC

There has been a lot of discussion recently about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

I am grateful to Stephen Downes’ OLDaily and George Siemens for regular updates about MOOC opportunities and debate.

I was fortunate to be a participant in the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08) open online course. George Siemens writes of this:

In 2008, Stephen Downes and I offered an open online course Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08).  As our registration numbers increased to about 2300 students, Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander dubbed the course offering a “massive open online course” or MOOC. The term has stuck and both Dave and Bryan will eventually be inducted into the edtech hall of fame for great word inventage. Since that first course, Stephen, Dave, and I have offered a whack of different courses: CCK09, CCK11, CCK12, Future of Education, PLENK, LAK11, LAK12, Change11, Critical Literacies, and so on. All told, we are likely approaching about 20,000 registrants for our MOOCs (there is overlap from different courses, so the unique registrants would be less).

My thinking about learning was transformed by CCK08 and has been developed by peripheral participation in a number of the other MOOCs George mentions.

I have been contemplating a modest alternative to the MOOC … a SOOC (a Small Open Online Course). I do think the principles of MOOCs are scalable.

I like the idea of a SOOC that has characteristics of its like-sounding souq. According to Wikipedia a souq is:

an open-air marketplace. Historically, souqs were held outside of cities in the location where a caravan loaded with goods would stop and merchants would display their goods for sale. Souqs were held when there was a caravan or more available. At that time, souqs were more than just a market to buy and sell goods; they were also major festivals and many cultural and social activities took place in them.

The SOOC I have in mind is a mother SOOC that will lead to daughter and granddaughter SOOCs. I am planning a five topic SOOC in The Observation and Analysis of Performance in Sport. One of the challenges for me is how to support non-linear personal learning. At present the SOOC’s five topics are:

  • Connecting and Sharing
  • Observing Performance
  • Visualising Data
  • Knowledge Discovery in Databases
  • Augmented Reality

 

I see the Connecting and Sharing topic as the key to supporting involvement in the SOOC. I am keen to persuade colleagues that sharing is the competitive edge in sport. Thereafter there will be a weekly progression through the topics but I realise that the caravans that bring ideas and energy may not coincide with this rhythm.

I am exploring too how this kind of approach resonates with open badges and formal recognition of learning through a qualification framework.

My concept of the SOOC is that it is a fractal of all other activity imbued with a commitment to open, self-paced intrinsically motivated learning.

I see each step in the geneaology of the SOOC triggered by the parent SOOC but increasingly open through generational change to including and crowdsourcing participants’ interests and knowledge. I hope that this approach establishes the connectivist aspirations of this form of sharing.

I am looking at ways to develop this SOOC with tools developed by Adam Brimo at OpenLearning.

Photo Credit

Life offers you tools …

Souq, Aleppo


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Community and Trust

I have been thinking a lot about communities of late.

Last week I wrote about trust, connectedness and kindness to exlplore some of these ideas.

Community

Sue, my wife, is reading Donald Epstein and Nathaniel Altman’s book The 12 Stages of Healing. We have been discussing the ideas in the book in relation to wellness.

I was attracted in particular to Donald and Nathaniel’s discussion of community as “a way of being” that has a number of facets that include:

  • Bodymind
  • Primary relationships
  • Shared interests

Donald and Nathaniel observe that:

It is human nature to draw boundaries or imaginary ‘circles’ around our lives. Some people draw these circles and around their experiences to the exclusion of everyone else. Others expand their circles to include family and friends. Many enlarge their circles to include members of their religious denominations or those who share their nationality or political beliefs.

They suggest that as we broaden our circles:

we often draw on divergent energies (like arguments, disagreements and conflicts) to us. However, as we increase our sense of community and connection to others, we find that arguments, disagreements, and conflicts are only labels we place on divergent energies as a means of drawing attention to them.

They conclude that “what appears to be chaotic on an obvious or intermediate level is the basis of order within a larger context”. Divergent energies are essential to the flourishing of a community “because it is only through challenging our patterns and perspectives that we can learn to live more deeply within ourselves”. As a community accepts divergent energies it is able “to achieve a higher level of evolution and order”.

Trust

I am profoundly interested in community flourishing and see the integration of divergent energies as a key to lasting change. As I was contemplating this integration I came across a story in the Education Guardian (thanks to an alert from Sue’s RSS feeds). Wendy Berliner, the author of the story, discussed a survey of teachers in the UK . She introduced her discussion with this paragraph:

Disrespected, often bullied, fed up with governments that don’t trust them and despairing of the decline in parenting skills, you’d think teachers would be scouring the jobs columns for other careers, but, according to the Guardian Teacher Network survey published today, the reason they aren’t in larger numbers is because so many of them still love teaching.

One teacher quoted by Wendy observes that:

I have never before worked in a place where I have not been treated as a professional. My every move is monitored. I am not trusted to do the job I have trained and gained qualifications to do. It has had a great impact on my confidence to do the job.

Another teacher notes that:

I feel we’re missing a trick. Surely if we support colleagues rather than berate them, and focus on delivering engaging lessons, we will have a much happier staff whose love of what they do will rub off on the pupils.

I feel sad that many teachers are now, more than ever before, expected to be social workers, parents and teachers all rolled into one as there is a lack of parental support. Children are hoofed into schools and we have to do the groundwork of teaching them manners and how to behave properly.

Surely the school should just be one link in the chain? Parents, teachers and society at large all have a role to play in producing rounded, responsible members of society.

Energised by Divergence

I see differentness and the willingness to accept it as important cornerstones of community flourishing. I do see connectedness as the filament of community development (it seems to be a cosmic ‘reality’ too).

The current #Change11 MOOC suggests that “being connected changes learning. When those connections are global, the experience of knowledge development is dramatically altered as well.” This week in the course Allison Littlejohn is discussing connected knowledge collective learning.

My thinking about and practice of connectedness was transformed by a community of practice in 2008 (CCK08). Since then I have been keen to explore what Donald and Nathaniel refer to as the Twelfth Stage. I see trust as the trigger for this stage … trusting yourself and trusting others.

Photo Credits

Beware: Graffiti artists

Glogauer Strasse


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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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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