Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Enough enemies in my learning network?

Sworn Enemies Nesting Dolls
Sworn Enemies Nesting Dolls
Abdullah's question, from Fridays elluminate session, "what if the network you created provides you with irrelevant or incorrect information/knowledge?" led to an extended discussion, in the elluminate chat roll, about enemies within a (your) learning network.
I have copied the chat roll into a google doc
 NB:I have deleted many comments that did not relate to this particular discussion.

there were several great points, for example....
Lisa directed the conversation to the need for 'diversity within a network' to avoid the 'echo chamber' effect
Mira pointed out the recognition of authority on a topic relates to traditional learning as much as it does in a  networked learning environment.
Simon pointed out that the individual learner is the 'agent' but the knowledge does not wholly reside within the individual in networked learning (I would be interested to explore this further)
Larry's response to Simon's comment was that there is both individual and network knowledge.
Many people then commented on the need to connect with or block 'enemies' (those we disagree with) in our networks. (another interesting point that I trust will be raised again).

I have reviewed the progress of the discussion to get it straight in my head and it has got me thinking....
Is my learning network diverse enough to allow me to gain a variety of perspectives on particular topics?
I believe that I follow (twitter, RSS feeds) many people who have inquiring minds and encourage dialogue of disagreement. But this leads me to wonder if I seek out disagreement or questioning enough in my inquiries, perhaps it is this 'difference' that will support my learning in understanding what something is by gaining a clearer picture of what 'it is not'. Am I getting all too philosophical now?

From this I have been thinking about the corporate culture that I am about to re-enter. I sometimes feel that corporate culture breeds agreement and often does not support or encourage open dialogue. The idea of 'open forums' can put a culture of agreement at risk (or it can reinforce the agreement, but it is a risk) and this is why I question if I will ever see a truly 'open' platform for communication and dialogue like  'twitter' (and now I am questioning if twitter is a truly open platform) adopted within a corporate culture.

Does anyone know of any examples of businesses that have successfully introduced internal 'social media' platforms? (or even an internal network or LMS that has discussion forums, individual blogs)

On re-reading this blog post I think I am turning into a .....critical thinker, and it's only Week 2. Hurrray!!
Happy Australia Day to all!

Image: Sworn Enemies Nesting Dolls 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Out of week 1 into week 2

I surprised myself by attending Friday's CCK11 live Elluminate session (Sat morn 4am), I am finding that I am getting a lot from joining live. I might even type a comment in the chat roll one day.
There was some great discussion and a couple of points that I want to pick up in this blog (blue text) over the next few entries/posts.

Nina asked Can we apply connectivism in non-technology environments?
This again made me consider my perspective of connectivist learning as the method by which I developed my parenting know how.
Being a first time mum I was 'overwhelmed' at my inadequacies in one moment and then overcome by instinct in the next. There were so many aspects of looking after a tiny baby that I knew I was completely underqualified many parents have been surprised that the hospital allows them to take this tiny human being home to care for it independently - medical care, feeding, sleeping, holding.. all of these skills do not come 'naturally' they are learned.

There are many skills or knowledge that must be known by a parent but soon after the knowledge or learning is forgotten because the sleep issue is overcome then you have to move onto the cause of the wind (or colic).
When it comes to the second time around (next baby) you are a little more relaxed (at least I know I was) but there are many learnings that you have forgotten, now you have more of an idea about who to contact to get an answer, support or advice. You have built a network of experts - probably contained in your head, but you know where to go or who to ask. This practise has been going on for years (and years) with parents drawing on their network of experts to assist and support their efforts in raising babies into toddlers into children.

I believe this is what George Siemens refers to, in his blip tv presentation 'CCK11: Quick overview', as 'connected specialisation' where "A single individual, because of the complexity of the tasks, isnt able to accomplish them on her own, so instead we have to rely on being connected to people who have the ability to amplify our knowledge or at least to make us intelligent in a different way than we are as individuals."

Another example I have been considering, having read many books on wealth building over the years, is the way entrepeneurs build their fortunes when they are not experts in their chosen area/field. Many use the technique of surrounding themselves with the best people in their specialist fields eg. accountants, technicians, advisors/agents. I propose that these are two valid examples of connected specialisation.

With that said I am thinking that the concept of 'connected specialisation' is, in fact, an ancient method of learning however all of the examples provided by George relate to technology in some respect (vehicle maufacturing, flying a plane) so I am thinking back to Nina's original question if connectivism can apply to non-technology environments. I wonder if I am on the right track?.

In my next post I will consider Abdullah's question "what if the network you created provides you with incorrect information", which led to an interesting discussion in the elluminate chat roll about 'enemies in a network'.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finding Waldo, I think he is on the back of a Turtle - The truth is out there

I attended the first CCK11 session this morn (4am Sydney time) and was encouraged to hear that confusion is all part of the process (that's the way I am interpretting it anyway), so I have started off on the right foot.

Another point I took from the session...
My "distinct perspective" will develop according to the sources (blog posts and references) I select (to read) and the topics that I choose to "curate"

I learned about turtles

So I have a clear perspective on what I want to achieve during this course, I plan to enjoy myself and the learning that comes out of the next 12 weeks, in my attempts to find Waldo.

I am going back to bed is 5:17am

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Starting Out on CCK11

The decision has been made to commit myself to completing CCK2011, from January 11th. I look at the commitment I have made to my own self-directed learning, which has not progressed as speedily as I would have hoped, but that's okay.

So now I am committing to CCK11 and returning to work in a few weeks. Am I setting myself up for failure...I don't believe so, simply because any amount of 'effort/output' that I put into CCK11 will measure how much I get out of it. The pressure is off, unlike a standard course where I have to get this or that done and submit bits and pieces, with a MOOC I can go with the flow, as long as I put my thinking out there.
Weekly Elluminate meetings - Wednesdays at 4am guest speakers, Friday at 4am faciliators discussion.
I am not soure exactly how many sessions I will be able to participate in (4 am wake ups are not healthy for me) but I will certainly listen to the recordings.

I have done a bit of prep by listening to Dave Cormier's What is .., Knowledge in... and Success in... a MOOC, while I was in You Tube I also checked out George's presentation for TEDxNYED from June 2010.

I commenced the readings for Week 1, about 'Connectivism ?' (the question mark is very appropriate). I thought I had an understanding of connectivism, I read George Siemens' "Connectivism; a learning theory for the Digital Age" and I started to align my experience with connectivist learning/thinking ie. I am considering that the way I learned to be a parent was achieved by connectivism, I am still thinking more about that.
I read Stephen Downe's 'Half an hour' blog which explains his perspective on "What connectivism is" and now I am not so sure I get connectivism. Let me say I really enjoy Stephen's writing because he writes the way he talks and I can hear him saying the words as I read it. Maybe by the time I do some more reading and participate in/listen to the elluminate sessions I'll 'get it' again or maybe not, let's get started, I'm keen.
NB: This blog will not continue to highlight my confusion throughout the course, I just wanted to get it out in the open to start.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reflecting and setting goals

Okay, okay!
Everyone has been reviewing the year gone by and many eager beavers are setting their goals for 2011, what do they think it is a New Year?

So it got me thinking about where I have been and where I am going.
The year (and a half) has been spent being a mum, looking after others' needs but in my own way - I'm the boss. I make the decisions and I run the show (even though I sometimes allow others to think they do have some control).
2011 will see me return to the workforce, which is exciting and challenging all at once. I will be looking after others' needs but I am not the boss (I'll still be bossy - in a nice kind of way) I'll need to keep my customers happy and work within a team again. With these upcoming changes I consider setting my goals for 2011 and realise that I am moving from a very autonomous role back into a team environment and in a different kind of way I'll be a 'negotiator'.

Reflecting on 2010
I am really satisfied with the technologies' (too many to list) that I have familiarised myself with, the listening and interacting that I have done (even though I do need to put myself out there a bit more - blog commenting).
I am so happy that I participated in FO2010 which has been one of my greatest professional achievements for last year. It has really provided me with the direction that I needed to continue my learning journey and individual development.

My goals for 2011

I really want to maintain interaction with my current personal learning network, which includes reading and commenting on blogs and connecting via twitter.
Read more text which may include purchasing ebooks to develop my understanding of elearning, instructional design, training, learning, OER and all that stuff.
Continue listening to learn. Podcasts have become yet another addiction and in my mind they epitomise 'mobile learning' because I can do all the other things that have to be done in daily life, hanging out washing, cooking dinner and exercising etc. I have an ever growing list of podcasts that I subscribe to but I am also working out how to cull those that are not maintaining my interest.
Further study which (as per my previous blog post) I have decided will be undertaken independently via the web rather than formal/enrolled education.
Creating a manifesto is something that I am working on including my mission and vision but as there is no hurry for this I am going to wait for the inspiration to ensure I get it right.

So I have set five goals as an independent learner but without any specific consideration of my role as a Trainer. Perhaps I need to wait until I am in the thick of it and it will come to me. It is interesting to consider that when I was previously working as a Training Coordinator my professional role was all encompassing and I found it difficult to set personal learning goals. I wonder how things will change when I am back at work.