Had some more time this week to return to online courses, one work related on Child Protection (engaging, scenario based format, relating to key themes, with links and statistics) and 2 on coursera: Creativity, Innovation and Change, and Accountable talk.
I want to try and link the ideas around types of creativity to knowledge framework of Cynefin. There is a scale of creativity according the course principles: adaptively creative, meaning you take the existing systems and parameters that define the problem and seek improvements or reformulations of the same process, vs innovative creative where you question the existing parameters and processes, ideas may be considered more ‘radical’ or ‘out of the box’.
The cynefin framework as far as I understand it, relates to situations where different amounts of information are available, from ‘simple’ – where all variables are known, we know know how each variable affects the other. In this case, I would say that the case for following established best practice, would be a good fit here. Then we move to environments that are more complicated. Here, many different variables are interacting with each other in ways that it is impossible to understand fully. However, there are experts out there who can help and be called upon to give advice about what to do. There are common attractor states and models to follow. However, there is some unpredictability. Perhaps, a change in circumstances, political turmoil, economic uncertainty, national celebration, new technology has brought about a change. In my view, this is when the ‘out of the box’ ideas come in. The parameters that you were once working within have changed. An expert has sufficient awareness of the the interacting variables within his field to know how this change in circumstances can allow for new opportunities. In the case of knowledge and learning, this might relate to utilising a new piece of software to lead to more productive learning experiences.
The other 2 elements to Cynefin are ‘complex’ and ‘chaotic’. The ‘complex’ situation is when many variables are interacting with each other in new and unknown ways. Everything is affecting almost everything else. In this case, I think the model of Intelligent Fast Failure overlaps with Cynefin model when it talks about trying things out and learning from them. This way you are able to understand the interactions between variables better and gradually formulate the best course of action as you learn. You should not expect to succeed the first time around.
The last sector is ‘chaotic’. In this situation, I would say everything is affecting everything else and its almost impossible to hypothesise on the best course of action to take to meet any goals. Perhaps the best policy to take would be ‘fail to safe’ / ‘do no harm’ while trying the IFF approach.
I’ve enjoyed looking at the course material so far and have been prompted to reflect on my creative style. I wish to complete the project and will probably focus on my current online ekaola exam preparation site. I like the ‘morphological’ analysis involved of assessing the service again: ‘when, why, who, how’. It has also brought me awareness of the fact that there are many people out there like me trying to develop a currently small but potentially big business and that this takes ideas but more importantly – energy and drive. I think I need to plan out any achievements step by step and gradually realise the goals bit by bit.
Finally, the course on ‘Accountable talk’ relates quite directly into good training and classroom practice. This is about helping people to develop their ideas and reminds me of the auto tutoring systems I looked at a while back when thinking about developing reflective learning online. The example video of the students is nothing short of impressive with the students aged about 12 asking each other to extend ideas and reflections about the book they have read with almost no teaching prompting. I think this is going to be interesting to explore for teacher training work (online and offline) as well as trying to prompt better self-reflection and perhaps even peer assessment on the online course in future.
My submission of digitial artefact for the EDCMOOC is:
The robot introduces a world where human interaction in person essentially no longer exists as it is no longer necessary. People are constantly connected to each other, the internet has become a connection of minds and we are all simultaneously collectively intelligent. This vision is certainly trying to draw on some of the transhumanist principles of the human being, in particular – that it is a work in progress.
The most relevant derivative values from the Bostrom article that relate to the version of the future presented:
- Improving understanding (encouraging research and public debate; critical thinking; open-mindedness, scientific inquiry; open discussion of the future)
- Getting smarter (individually; collectively; and develop machine intelligence
This is an article from China Daily which as I see it, is used to present the China perspective to foreigners as a balance to the western media. In this article a Chinese professor criticises a Human Rights Watch report about surveillance of internet use by the government. In it, he outlines what I think is the general perspective within China regarding the internet, in that it is allowing for greater expression and freedoms but within boundaries. I would agree that currently, there is an expansion of expression happening at the moment. However, it’s far from utopian as all communication is monitored and sites which allow communication that cannot be monitored (for example google+ groups, hangouts, anything from youtube) are blocked and are only accessible via a VPN. The professor tries to justify the monitoring and restrictions. I would say that most Chinese people are aware of these and accept them (at least for the moment) as freedom of expression has at least expanded a little compared to previously. Corrupt officials are regularly exposed through social media sites. That said, my office colleagues are cautious about posting anything controversial, such as an official document signed at end the war with Japan. This showed that the Japanese conceded defeat to the Nationalist government and not to the Communists at that time. My colleague chose not to post it in case this was contrary to the popular understanding that the Japanese conceded defeat to the Communists although they were not in fact the recognised power in China at the time. (They defeated the Nationalist forces after the Japanese were defeated.) I wonder if the professor in the article would agree whether or not this should be posted and shared on social networks.
So, to summarise I would say the internet is being embraced and seen as a good thing offering more ways to express ideas and connect to information. However, people are aware that the freedoms only go so far.
The original HRW article can be found here.
Exploring how to use connectivist mooc style learning for language learners.
I think the prospect of hastagging homework published online in the form of a digital story/learning artefact could bring learners studying from the same classroom material together to connect and interact together, is very exciting.
So, my digital story (click here) is an attempt to capture different moments of Spring festival eve a couple of days ago. I’ve tried to use video, text only and an image with context/commentary. Comments are possible in voicethread for audio/video or just by writing on the wall (or here on the blog in text / google group)
I’m only skimming the surface of this course and mostly posting reflections behind schedule. I feel it’s more formal than the ETMOOC but probably more conducive to indepth discussion. However, less accommodating for me as I’ve only got a moment or 2 here and there to read something (when kids are asleep and no spring festival appointments allow) and the videos never seem to play – probably related to the fact that I’m using a VPN to access them. But I’m finding the topics interesting nonetheless.
I thought it was interesting to read the piece about metaphors and the internet and then take a look at a piece on MOOCs from this perspective. I figure as a country where the press is trying to make money from journalism, the papers are probably reflecting the general views of their audience – not the case here in China. So, it would be interesting to attempt to correlate which category of metaphors seem to match which category of readership. I would make a very tentative assumption that the dystopia metaphor use correlates to the conservative aligned readership/news source and the utopian may correlate more to the democratic/left leaning readership.
The limitations of metaphor are interesting. The article notes that the internet as metaphor is conceptualised as a densely populated cityscape or transport system: ‘information superhighway’. The metaphors are useful to help people grasp a new concept within the realm of understanding but are of course approximations of the real thing. The, once understood, can ease the mind [cognitive disequilibrium is relieved]. However, when that individual moves to use the internet, consider it’s benefits, the utopian vs dystopian future they are really applying arguments and logic to only an approximation of the real thing. It would be easy to transfer feelings about the future of the transportation system (increased congestion, pollution etc) to the future of the internet.
Slow the revolution
These approximations of what the internet is approximating towards also slow the development I feel. Given that the internet changes the way we interact with the information and exchange ideas, learn etc, I think we naturally try to use it in a similar way as previous information exchange systems initially as this reflects how we understand the internet. The labels given to services and features are tranferred from a offline world to an online. First it was email, then to social networking and wikis etc. I think the internet and it’s use will evolve as people become more familiar with it’s affordances (posted on here in relation to #ETMOOC, I enjoy making the linkages from readings in one to the other). Digital storytelling is still about telling stories – the story itself might still need a premise etc to be interesting – but there are many other differences – these are now being reflected more and more in MOOCs to take one example. The metaphor of ‘joining a class’ is perhaps being broken down as 100,000s can access the same lecture asynchronously. For connectivist MOOCs, the concept of teacher, learner, course etc are all being questioned. Even the concepts of completion, drop-out, certification are all being questioned by the affordances of autograding, communities, etc.
As we get familiar with using the internet, I think the old metaphors are broken down and we move from surface learning to making deeper connections with previous knowledge and importantly – new experience. In a sense, the metaphor acts as a theory, but we need real usage time and reflection to fully comprehend the most effective way to use something. In this way, the metaphor is broken down and the affordances that allow real change start to speed up.
Language learning online courses are transitioning in a similar way. These offer a course of language learning that are basically the same as a course book for the ones that have more instructional design, or incorporate features of social networking. At the moment, there isn’t one that puts it all together but there are plenty of experiments that are pushing forward one element or another.
Found in #EDCMOOC – this could be a great tool for asychronous storytelling, personalising, communicating etc
I followed a couple of links and found this overview of storytelling in the digital age.
I think it offers a interesting dissection of the affordances of storytelling in a digital environment. Here’s my summary and thoughts on the 5 elements.
Digital storytelling offers the chance to mix-up the different media. It also recognises asynchronous vs synchronous delivery, edited or not.
Related to this – I read an article on multi-modalities. This article offered me insight into the affordances to express meaning of different modes: writing, speech, image, moving image.
“By discussing examples from learning resources we show forms and changes and the epistemological and communicational effects produced in any changes. We ask what might be gained and what might be lost in changes of mode: from artefact and action to image, from image to writing, to speech, or to moving image. ”
Text allows the writer to lead the reader in a linear way, add emphasis through the positioning of clauses etc. An illustration allows for representation of an object and can be more helpful than a photograph as a this is only one particular example of that object. Also, for image – all the details are laid bare so to speak – whereas in text we can say ‘The man sat next to the woman on the bench’ if an image is used we must show whether the man is to the left or right of the woman, his expression etc. With text, we cna allow the reader to imagine the details to fit their own individual representation. (epistemological commitment). So then, audio, video – this has the addition of controlling pace – this can be helpful or maybe a hindrance if this relates to learning material. The article is related to how use of different mediums to present language might then affect how people use language …( I think that’s it anyway). So, now in relation to telling a story, I wondering how the choice of presentation mode affects the how the message is received by the audience. I also think that once the other 5 elements are taken into account differences in how meaning is portrayed with different modes in a digital storytelling format IS different to sitting round the camp-fire. The ‘old style’ was spoken message, respected leader to followers, purpose of message, controlled pace, lack of epistemological commitment.’ Digital storytelling is (for the ETMOOC at least) unknown individual to unknown individuals, with choice of modes that offer gains and loses from written to moving image. Also, digital sharing means competing with people’s short attention span and information overload…. Hence the make 6 word presentations, animated gifs? These are short and still powerful vessels of meaning that can be expected to be viewed and in the frame of MOOCing maybe receive comments and recognition for your efforts.
In terms of the media element: digital storytelling is asynchronous vs ‘live’ round the campfire.
Refers to 1) movement within the content (I take this as video/speech but also prezi presentations offer movement from static presentation mode to another static presentation mode), 2) movement required by reader (click to move to next slide, click on link, scroll down, press play, drag and drop)
Digital storytelling can offer movement within content as well as complex action out of it or only minimal if only one video/audio etc.
This is interesting I think. The content is measured on a scale of ‘open’ to ‘closed’. Open content allows the user to control sequence of presentation, pace or manipulate the content, add to it, personalise it. If the user cannot do any of these things the content is closed. Digital storytelling allows a choice for the meaning maker in relation to all these aspects to some extent. [Back when I was taking part in change11, another participant created a prezi and invited the other participants to add to the presentation online, mmmnn ideas beginning to brew for my own shot at this...]
Refers to linking story to other ‘stories’, articles, images, related information. For this there’s: when / why / what. I guess there is also a how: do you embed the whole video, image, audio or just leave a link for users to explore? Do you give it a full introduction, offer your reflections on it or just say ‘check this out’?
I guess within a MOOC we mostly drop in the link with a few lines introduction and hope people randomly click on it.
Refers to managing the affordance of 2-way communication with audience. Are the ways to communicate explicit? (comments on blog / comments on google+?, edit within message medium?) Are the comments moderated? What are the purposes of the comments?
Whatever the story is that I decide to do, I think I’ll definitely try to utilise as many affordances of ‘digital’ as I can: multi-modal, open (with encouraged personalisation and adding of content, contextualised through links, with a different purposes for communicating.
Just to get started – a quick thought on technological determinism. (Videos painfully slow to load on VPN from China, but read someonelse’s review, not entered discussions yet and skimmed through a bit of the core reading.)
I found the concept of technological autonomy interesting, thinking of Terminator, is technological takeover inevitable once the machines become self-aware? Is a loss of control inevitable at some point? This seems to me quite a prevailing conception.
Does using technology take away something from our humanness? I would say that technology changes who we are, so to maybe to be exact something is lost and something is gained.
I think we continue to strive to improve our abilities and enhance our ability to be better – but to be better at what, for what? Perhaps, this is biological – we live in a world of limited resources and are essentially competing with others for these resources to provide for our families. Embracing interconnectedness can offer greater access to multiple understandings and knowledge through technology of internet. This can also allow us to embrace the future, adjust to a world of interconnectedness, knowledge transfer, online relationships and digital artefacts.
And once we have embraced all that, human society will be dramatically different.