Coming to grips with a new learning management system, based on Blackboard, particularly after the long summer break, was a little confronting. Just when I thought I knew where to find what I needed, I found I had no idea.
The topics were all there, but the email notifications for responses did not seem to work all the time, and it became a case of checking in at log on and working out which thread had new messages.
Yes, there were fewer students in the cohort, but few participated in this type of networked learning in the manner peers had communicated in INF530 and INF536.
A sub-group of the subject became very active in their own PLN, using Twitter for regular question and answer sessions, and touching base with issues and concerns.
Twitter is a great space for developing and nurturing a PLN.
I have been a member since 2009
I have used Twitter to enhance my personal interests and my professional life with increasing degrees of success. It is quick and easy and seems to work when low Internet connectivity prevents other means of communication.
My Twitter account
Since commencing the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation), I have increased all aspects of my Twitter membership as shown in the above image.
Tweeting connection April
Connection with past and present study companions makes the learning journey more enjoyable and deepens understanding when links are shared.
Tweeting connections May
Reading over the connections through Twitter this semester is another means of reflecting on the nature and depth of learning it has enabled.
Module 6: Curriculum and learning design in a connected world.
The title for this post comes from Julie Lindsay’s blog and her follow up comments in another post. It was, therefore, imperative to find out what fishbowl technique actually is, and whether the concept might be useful for C21st educators to apply to their real or virtual learning experience design.
There is definitely a place for such a tactic in student-focused classrooms and also for adult participation in professional learning experiences. Designers of meaningful lessons based on Mystery Skype or Skype and author use a similar technique – allocating roles to participants to enable the process to unfold smoothly for the connected groups, and sharing the workload in a collaborative fashion. Fishbowl structure presents domination of any one individual during a debate or discussion.
The spelling in the title of this post is based on a pun of Julie’s during the development of her post when she believed that Karl Fisch was the creator of the technique. Knowledge networking resulted from this mistaken belief, with Karl participating in the online debate about the technique – and other connected learning experiences.
Theory and practice of connectivism in flat, global classrooms, are clearly dealt with real-world examples of different types of activities referenced. At about the 7-minute mark, Julie uses a new word: GLOCALISATION to sum up the type of knowledge networking involved. Cultural sensitivities must be considered when engaging with classes overseas.
At about the 10-minute mark, Julie comments that going global is a mindset, not a plane ticket.
Google I/O 2013 – Building an Online Education Platform using Google Technologies:
This video shows the range of considerations and developments Google has been working on to enable blended or flipped classrooms. The basis for driving this agenda come from the belief that the art of lecture is lost – we now have the ability to go back; lots of things about a book are better than a lecture; video production for supporting learning allow the luxury of rewinding and replaying until the process demonstrated or information presented is fully understood.
Jen Jonson explains what makes learning blended:
These terms are considered further in my next post.
Tom Barrett in his short and engaging book Can Computers Keep Secrets? How a Six-Year-Old’s Curiosity Could Change the World, poses a number of examples of the engagement of children in posing “what if” questions, and exploring imaginative possibilities as a way of developing understanding of the world (Barrett, 2013). He advises all of us to consider the role of playfulness in learning.
Many teachers introducing knowledge networking experiences into their classrooms and building on this concept of engagement, adding a layer of serious skill development and giving their students an authentic voice. One educator who exemplifies this is Silvia Tolisano, who blogs about her experiences in working with technology to enable her students to develop knowledge networks (Tolisano S. R., 2015).
The case studies she shares indicate the planning that must take place before starting this type of learning journey in order to gain the maximum benefit. Skyping an expert from any field requires preparation with the individual concerned, and also with the students. Most skyping experiences work best if the students have specific roles in both facilitating and recording the processes involved (Tolisano S. R., Amplifying Learning Opportunities: Part III of Literature Circles:, 2013). Using a service such as https://education.skype.com/partners/14-penguin-books teachers can link their class to an appropriate expert to provide authentic discussion.
Having experienced a mystery Skype lesson as an adult, the excitement of the challenge, the online “conversation” and the desire to beat the others to work out the solution are powerfully engaging (https://education.skype.com/mysteryskype). Setting this up in advance as the teacher, and allocating roles to the class members ensures all are involved and the learning is central to the process (Tolisano S. R., Framing a Skype Learning Experience, 2011).
Tolisano provides a framework for teachers to use to assess the desired learning outcomes from such an experience (Tolisano S. R., Amplifying Learning Opportunities: Part III of Literature Circles:, 2013)
She has analysed the learning that arises from a Twitter experience:
This ensures that learning is assessed against rigorous expectations. A rubric for teachers to use when assessing such skill sets can be found here (Evidence of Learning in the 21st Century Classroom, Classroom Observation Rubric To Guide Leadership for Learning by Instructional Leaders, 2008) .
Other educators are also blogging about a wide range of activities which go beyond just linking up with other locations and contacting an author. Shannon McLintock Miller’s Rainbow loom project, for example, contains links to schools in another country as well as within the students’ own country (Miller, 2014). Again the entire project has been carefully weighed up in terms of learning outcomes.
Such educators provide crucial skill development across a broad spectrum of education for the students in their care. Their wok deserves emulation in a wide range of classrooms.
Barrett, T. (2013). Can Computers Keep Secrets? How A Six-Year-Olds Curiosity Could Change The World. Edinburgh: No Tosh.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagniappe A lagniappe (/ˈlænjæp/ LAN-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.” Serendipitous learning – always a source of joy!
Visser (2011) believes that being a curator is both being a strategist and a curator and then defines the roles of a curator. The curator (not the strategist) will have four main roles:
Searching, filtering and selecting content to become a taste-maker for the target audience.
Providing curatorial leadership to help other workers within an organization understand what makes valuable content for the brand — so they can be enlisted to create and maintain content based on these evolving criteria.
Spotting trends, and feeding these to the strategists who will use them to help define future direction.
Distributing— identifying channels and fine-tuning them.
Not everyone has the skills to be an effective curator for other people. Personal curation is quite different to curating for other people to retrieve. For personal access and use, any individual can collect and store according to their own processes. If others are to benefit, there need to be guidelines spelt out and common understandings agreed to by all involved parties; alternatively there needs to be a designated interpreter.
Human filters make a difference. Librarians can be filters in the best sense of the word. Librarians can synchronize communities because they are skilled at taming the information flow for the purpose of aiding discovery and knowledge building. They have access to a range of appropriate tools with which to find, collect and curate; many have of these tools have the additional power of being able to be used collaboratively. Teacher-Librarians are not one interest curators – hence their strength.
Curating for different categories of people requires a different style:
“While many curators effectively serve to vet signal from noise, curators may also, intentionally or unintentionally, function as gatekeepers. Does individual curation serve to narrow the lens? Can we learn to assess not only the credibility of information creators, but the credibility of information curators? The following issues deserve consideration:
Issue: How do we avoid the role of gatekeeper?
Does individual curation serve to narrow the lens? Can we learn to assess not only the credibility of information creators, but the credibility of information curators?
Issue: How do we avoid the “filter bubble” (Pariser 2012)?
Is only the curator’s (or the searcher’s) point of view represented?
Issue: How do we evaluate quality and relevance in emerging information landscapes and recognize exemplary curation practices?
Do credibility scores (e.g., Scoop it) give data without identifying bias?
Does a curation effort model passion about a topic, shared knowledge, and updates through knowledge-forming communities?
Issue: How do we protect and promote ideals of intellectual property?
What are the legal concerns when posting/using work of others? What are the ethical, moral, and professional concerns? “
Clay Shirky – the distant man on the stage -makes some valid points based around the premise that knowledge networking is based on having a common interest and working with like-minded people. Of necessity, the incorporation of finding like minded people, connecting with them and following their interests, forms part of this process.
3.00 mins into the film Shirky states that when previously impossible problems become trivial, they become unimportant. Does teaching fit this description??
5 mins into the film he surmises that networking is the difference.
27.21 into the film he also comments that anyone with a large collection of books can now start to build upon it. Shared investigation and work = power.
This was a most disconcerting method of sharing Shirky’s presentation and did little justice to his delivery. Actually sitting where this person was located in the audience would have been bad enough for attendees – for a virtual audience member is was incredibly irritating.
A good example of how not to create a digital artefact!
This post assesses the ways in which personal knowledge management works according to Jarche, H. (2013). PKM in 2013 [Blog post]. Life in perpetual beta. Retrieved March 8, 2014, from http://www.jarche.com/2013/01/pkm-in-2013/ viewed 9 May 2015
“This is not a linear process, as in from information we get knowledge, which over time becomes wisdom. Gaining knowledge is much messier than that. …
Even today, we cannot become complacent with knowledge and just store it away. It has a shelf life and needs to be used, tested and experienced….
Knowledge shared inflows over time can help us create better mental pictures than a single piece of knowledge stock, like a book, can ever do.”
Collecting and curating knowledge is only part of the equation. In order for knowledge to become wisdom it must be used, compared against other sources of information related to the same topic, experienced. Developing a sense of knowledge flow within a classroom, school, or business can assist all co-workers to create a better understanding of the issue at hand.
This sense of creating a knowledge network (or ideas network, or a community of practice) will lead to enhanced serendipity and increase the value of personalised information seeking and understanding.
This diagram is interesting because it indicates that some modes of information sharing may be more valuable to organisations.
Collaboration is seen by Jarche to be goal oriented and structured, communities of practice combine collaboration and cooperation; social networks are more informal and are based on cooperation. Jarche contends that innovation thrives in environments where social connections are weak and diverse. Strong social ties, on the other hand, enable the sharing of complex knowledge.
Some critical questions to consider: Are innovation and goal orientation mutually exclusive?
1. Are innovation and goal orientation mutually exclusive?
2. Are innovation and goal orientation mutually exclusive?
3. Does being driven by opportunity preclude innovation?
Knowledge development, as well as knowledge management, is a social and connective activity that is no longer easy for organisations to control. In this digitally connected world, anyone can gather content, curate it according to their own needs and share it with others regardless of where people live or work. Company (or school) control over information is almost impossible to achieve, even if it is still seen to be desirable.
Source: McInerney & Koenig. p. 10
For most schools the situation varies from classroom to classroom, teacher to teacher and subject to subject. Traditional learning/teaching models fall very strongly into the top left-hand space, and the continuing dependence on textbooks, and focus on content, ensures that this will continue for many colleagues and their classrooms.
Giving students the power to find and evaluate information results in a much richer learning environment, in which the teacher becomes a co-learner, both modelling information that is considered reliable and ethical, questioning what makes such sources valuable; and additionally, it allows for the vibrancy of serendipitous encounters.
These concepts present us with a great learning idea – having students search the same keyword and comparing what they get back could be very powerful.
Problem with filter bubbles problem is we don’t get to choose what gets in and we don’t even know when things are being collected.
6.54 We are now back in 1915 on the web because we are being exposed to a selection of information over which we have no real input.
Information curation and knowledge networks could either enable filter bubbles or break through them.
It is our role to educate our students so that they know how these websites work and what they collect and present to each one of us separately. The way in which our actions are summarised and utilised differs depending on the website we are using. Comparing this to the way in which our library catalogues respond is a worthwhile educational exercise. The speed at which information is being added to the web in combination with these mining algorithms is a critical C21st skill, and one we should be including in our overall education programs.
To balance information or to personalise it?
The issue of who has control is the answer to this question.