Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing

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Gesture and Conducting Performance

One of my first activities of the day is to read Stephen Downes’ OLDaily.

Today he has a great link to a New York Times video that discusses the art of conducting with Alan Gilbert, the music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

The video is eight minutes long.

I was interested to learn about Alan’s role as a conductor and thought that his observation that:

There is no way to really put your finger on what makes conducting great, even what makes conducting work. Essentially what conducting is about is getting the players to play their best and to be able to use their energy and to access their point of view about the music. There is a connection between the gesture, the physical presence, the aura that a conductor can project, and what the musicians produce

was a great insight into teaching and coaching too.

The video has some fascinating animations created by New York University’s Movement Lab.

A Lab blog post about the making of the animation notes that:

The Movement Lab of New York University, in collaboration with the New York Times, installed multiple high-speed motion capture cameras in a studio of the Juilliard School at New York’s Lincoln Center in order to study the movement of Alan Gilbert, world renowned Conductor and Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Reflective markers were placed strategically on the conductor’s body.  Since Gilbert did not conduct the day’s musical program with a baton, the crew devised a novel finger capture method to record his hands.  Using advanced computer software with new visualization techniques, the team transformed this motion data, tracing the intricacies of Gilbert’s gestures and the movement behind the music.

There is a three minute video about the making of the animation too.

I think the New York Times article is an excellent resource for teachers and coaches to access.

I like Alan’s suggestion that:

One of the ways to make your sound better is to make it really obvious that you’re really listening and that it really matters to you what it sounds like. That’s not actually conducting. It’s kind of embodying or representing a kind of aspiration, if you will, and it’s uncanny how that actually can make a difference. As soon as it’s apparent that your ears are open and that you’re interested and you’re following the contour of the sound, then that very contour is affected by that.

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The Game Is Afoot

Yesterday I wrote about Philippe Mongin’s game theoretic paper.

Whilst writing it I was conscious that I had yet to join Matthew Jackson and Yoav Shoham‘s Game Theory Massive Open Online Course.

Matthew and Yoav point out that this course “will provide the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (game trees), Bayesian games, repeated and stochastic games, and more”.

I have downloaded a copy of Kevin Leyton-Brown and Yoav Shoham’s (2008) Essentials of Game Theory: A Concise Multidisciplinary Introduction and will start reading immediately.

I was mindful too of Stephen Downes‘ ongoing discussion of gamification.

David Zinger has some important insights to share about gamification. He observes that “I believe gamification is one of the key engagement approaches and tools for 2011 and beyond. I think the big challenge will be to ensure these approaches are meaningful, authentic and operate for conversion into work rather than a diversion from work”.

David links to some SlideShare resources that explore Gamification.

The title of this blog post comes from Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1 which in part includes:

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

It is also featured in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Abbey Grange.

My next few weeks will need to be a mixture of energy and detection.

Photo Credit

The Pattern Loft


Open for Learning

I have been thinking about open learning for some time.

The open online course CCK08 accelerated and focused my interest.

Since that course Stephen Downes’ OLDaily has nourished my thinking. (See for example his link to Jenny Mackness’s post today, The place of ‘the teacher’ in relation to open content.)

News of Sebastian Thrun’s development of Udacity (“We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost”) has added to my interest as did the video of his talk at DLD. (See this update.)

Matt Welsh ponders the “failings of the conventional higher education model for a minute and see where this leads us, and consider whether something like Udacity is really the solution”. Matt looks at three failings of ‘conventional’ universities: exclusivity; grades; lectures. Matt suggests that online universities bring to the table: broadening access to higher education; and leveraging technology to explore new approaches to learning. He observes that:

The real question is whether broadening access ends up reinforcing the educational caste system: if you’re not smart or rich enough to go to a “real university,” you become one of those poor, second-class students with a certificate Online U. Would employers or graduate schools ever consider such a certificate, where everyone makes an A+, equivalent to an artium baccalaureus from the Ivy League school of your choice?

I have been wondering how to offer sufficient rich experience to overcome the value laden and static nature of education credits. My aspiration is to encourage a collaborative approach to sharing and learning that personalises everyone’s learning environment and journey.

At present I am thinking about four stages in Open for Learning:

  • Invitation
  • Provocation
  • Transformation
  • Realisation

I have been wondering too about all this work being shared through Open Access, Creative Commons licensed material.

Participants in this Open for Learning model would:

  • Choose their level of entry
  • Follow any course without charge at whatever pace they wished
  • Decide whether they would like formal credit after successful completion of the course
  • Pay an affordable fee for a credit to add to their portfolio

My aspiration is for all these learning opportunities to have a fractal quality. Each learning opportunity would be scalable but would contain the principles of all other opportunities, particularly as learners moved to the realisation phase.

I see enormous benefits of using work integrated learning models for Open for Learning and I am particularly interested in the recognition of prior learning.

I liked Matt Walsh’s observation about grades:

Can someone remind me why we still have grades? I like what Sebastian says (quoting Salman Khan) about learning to ride a bicycle: It’s not as if you get a D learning to ride a bike, then you stop and move onto learning the unicycle. Shouldn’t the goal of every course be to get every student to the point of making an A+?

In my thinking getting an A+ grade is not a chronological event. It is, I believe, a kairological experience.

Just as I was completing this post I noticed this ABC post about homeschooling:

As a new school year begins, more than 50,000 Australian children will be home-schooled and in most cases, their parents are doing it illegally. It is compulsory to send children between the ages of six and 16 to school, or register them for home schooling, but more parents are opting out of the traditional school system and keeping their children at home. However, thousands of parents across the country are not registered and that means they potentially face prosecution.

I wondered what would happen if wherever we learned we were at home and overwhelmed by the interest someone took in us as a learner rather than a commodity.

Photo Credits

Primer in the Classroom

Private Wallace Tratford arrives home on leave


Connecting, Sharing and Curating

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 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


Share Your Ideas

Librarian Action Figure


Probability and Sensemaking

This post evolved out of two links I received yesterday.

The first came from Stephen Downes’ discussion of evidence-based decision-making. The second from an IBM post The Next 5 in 5.

Both links extended my interest in a probabilistic approach to decision-making.

Stephen linked to S L Zabell’s discussion of Rudolf Carnap‘s Logic of Inductive Inference. I noted Zabell’s observation that:

Carnap’s interest in logical probability was primarily as a tool, a tool to be used in understanding the quantitative confirmation of an hypothesis based on evidence and, more generally, in rational decision making.

The paper is a detailed mathematical account of Carnap’s work and is way beyond my allocation of logical-mathematical intelligence. However I did note:

Carnap recognized the limited utility of the inductive inferences that the continuum of inductive methods provided, and sought to extend his analysis to the case of analogical inductive inference: an observation of a given type makes more probable not merely observations of the exact same type but also observations of a “similar” type. The challenge lies both in making precise the meaning of “similar”, and in being able to then derive the corresponding continua (p.294).

in the application of inductive logic to a given knowledge situation, the total evidence available must be taken as basis for determining the degree of confirmation (p.298).

Carnap advanced his view of “the problem of probability’. Noting a “bewildering multiplicity” of theories that had been advanced over the course of more than two and a half centuries, Carnap suggested one had to carefully steer between the Scylla and Charybdis of assuming either too few or too many underlying explicanda, and settled on just two. These two underlying concepts Carnap called probability1and probability2: degree of confirmation versus relative frequency in the long run (p.300).

Zabell concludes that “Carnap’s most lasting influence was more subtle but also more important: he largely shaped the way current philosophy views the nature and role of probability, in particular its widespread acceptance of the Bayesian paradigm” (p.305)

Stephen Downes cited Zabell in a discussion of  an evidence-based approach to demonstrating value in the future of libraries. In this discussion Brian Kelly argues that:

We do need to continue to gather evidence of the value of services, and not just library services.  But we need to understand that the evidence will not necessarily justify a continuation of established approaches to providing services.  And if evidence is found which supports the view that libraries will be extinct by 2020 then the implications need to be openly and widely discussed.

I picked up on Brian’s assertion that “the evidence will not necessarily justify a continuation of established approaches to providing services” and pondered the implications of this for my use of probabilistic approaches to sport performance. Rudolf Carnap’s work via S.L. Zabell’s synthesis has pushed me further to consider how much evidence I need to have to support an approach to performance in sport that can describe, predict, model and transform. I am going to follow up on Brian Skyrms and Jack Good too particularly in relation to ‘total evidence’!

By coincidence just as I was coming up for air after an early morning visit to induction and evidence I received an Economist alert to IBM’s 5 in 5 predictions (At the end of each year, IBM examines market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s global labs, to develop a multi-year forecast).

The fifth item in the list is Big Data & sensemaking engines start feeling like best friends. Jeff Jonas writes “Here at IBM we are working on sensemaking technologies where the data finds the data, and relevance finds you. Drawing on data points you approve (your calendar, routes you drive, etc.), predictions from such technology will seem ingenious.”

He adds that:

This new era of Big Data is going to materially change what is possible in terms of prediction. Much like the difference between a big pile of puzzle pieces versus, the pieces already in some state of assembly – the latter required to reveal pictures. This is information in context, and while some pieces may be missing; some may be duplicates; others have errors; and a few are professionally fabricated lies – nonetheless, what can be known only emerges as the pieces come together (data finding data).

Earlier in the year Jeff wrote about massively scalable sensemaking analytics. His post has links to his other writing in this area:

Sensemaking Systems Must be Expert Counting Systems, Data Finds Data, Context Accumulation, Sequence Neutrality and Information Colocation to new techniques to harness the Big Data/New Physics phenomenon.

Jeff’s G2 system (Privacy by Design (PbD) has seven features: Full Attribution; Data Tethering; Analytics in the Anonymized Data Space; Tamper-Resistant Audit Logs; False Negative Favoring Methods; Self-Correcting False Positives; Information Transfer Accounting.

In 2010 Jeff discussed sensemaking and observed that:

Man continues to chase the notion that systems should be capable of digesting daunting volumes of data and making sufficient sense of this data such that novel, specific, and accurate insight can be derived without direct human involvement.

I found his explanation of the role of expert counting in sensemaking very helpful. I am disappointed that I have not accessed Jeff’s work until now.

It is fascinating that two early morning links can open up such a rich vein of discovery. At the moment I am particularly interested in how records can be used to inform decision making and what constitutes necessary and sufficient evidence to transform performance.

I have a lot of New Year reading to do!

Photo Credits

What’s That? (97)


Computer Wire Art

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Cirrus 111208

This week I found links to:

The TL Virtual Cafe’s Open Mic with Joyce Valenza that attracted 138 participants. Gwyneth Jones was the moderator.

Andrew Preater‘s discussion of ethnographies of next-gen catalogue users.

Phillipe Blanchard’s discussion of shared goals for sport.

I expect current sport industry leaders to engage in attempts to master all kinds of data necessary to increase their legitimacy on one hand and become the ultimate storytelling platform for their sport and the other hand.

Phillipe points to a Claire Ritchie observation:

For a modern global sporting event, not having a fully functional communications infrastructure capable of withstanding an invasion of the world’s leading opinion forming sports journalists, legion of tweeting athletes and smartphone addicted spectators is akin to not filling the Aquatics Centre swimming pool with water.

Claire provides an insight into the infrastructure in place to support the London Olympics:

  • WAN, MAN, LAN and TV and broadcast services.
  • 80,000 voice and data outlets, 16,500 fixed telephone lines, 14,000 mobile SIM cards, and 1,000 wireless access points.
  • The London 2012 Games website ready for 12 billion page views.
  • Six Gigabytes of multimedia data every second generated by 14,000 cable TV outlets, 20,000 accredited media personnel, and Live Site screens in UK city centres
  • High demand for data transfer with such things as real time video streaming

The core communications network has:

  • 160Gbps between POPs and 20Gbps delivered to each of the venues.
  • A dedicated communications network for Olympic Broadcaster Services London (OBSL), the host broadcasting organisation for the London 2012 Games.
  • High Definition (HD) images shared with billions of viewers.
  • A massive fibre ring around the Olympic Park in East London, and communications arteries that will reach out as far as Hampden Park in the north, the Millennium Stadium in the west, Weymouth in the south, and Hadleigh Farm in the east – an estimated total of 94 separate competition and non-competition venues throughout the UK.
  • All joined together with enough cable to stretch halfway from Beijing to London.

I listened with interest to Emma Marris‘s discussion of The Rambunctious Garden on Radio National’s Counterpoint program and thought about eco systems and learning.

Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity. Emma Marris argues convincingly that it is time to look forward and create the “rambunctious garden,” a hybrid of wild nature and human management.

I heard about Nicholas Gruen’s Wellbeing Index via ABC666 and liked the points made about human capital:

One of the nation’s most valuable assets is not its physical assets, like buildings and machinery, but its human capital – the knowledge and knowhow embodied in our people. Education is the key driver of improvements in human capital.

The same ABC666 program brought me news of the canberra lab too.
canberralab is … the actualisation of a latent desire of a group of young architects to establish a discourse within Canberra’s design community. Through building a platform to critique/discuss/discover Canberra’s built environment the CL zine will foster and encourage an exoteric dialogue between architecture, design and art. More than that though, CL is about understanding Canberra… why it is the way it is, what works, what doesn’t …
Interspersed with these items were some great leads from Stephen Downes and OLDaily. I liked his links to sharing and friction, curation and new technology in research in particular.
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Live Blogging Synchronous Sharing

Reading Stephen Downes’ OLDaily is akin for me to entering Aladdin’s Cave.

My day starts with Stephen’s newsletter and a piccolo latte.

Yesterday I enjoyed Stephen’s post on How to Get the Most out of a Conference and followed up on his link to Matt Thompson’s post 5 reasons to liveblog instead of live tweeting.

I liked the detail in Matt’s post.

I am keen to blog about the talks, workshops and conferences I attend. I do so out of a sense of privilege and of a commitment to open sharing. I use my WordPress blog for my live blogging and tweet briefly about a topic or a speaker. Last week, for example, I attended the Launch of the Human-Centred Computer Laboratory at the University of Canberra and made a small number of tweets with #HCCL.

Matt suggests that live blogging:

  • Enables attention and engagement
  • Encourages writing
  • Is a service

(I have condensed his list of five characteristics to three.)

For my part live blogging is an ethnographic activity. It is an an opportunity to share a cultural context and whenever possible to provide thick description. It is an opportunity for reciprocal altruism too. A commitment to connected sharing. Thirdly, I do think that it is a phenomenographic activity. It is a personal opportunity to observe and share particular events.