Where am I?

Posted: May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

What I am up to……

I am in the middle of my Literature Review. #change11 MOOC has officially finished and Dr.Bonk’s MOOC is still on for another week with Blackboard Coursesites. I have made some contacts within coursesites so I will be able to learn more about the “creation” of a MOOClike course from a scaffolded LMS point of view. I still need to learn how to create one common blog (home) for the RSS blog feeds, Twitter posts, other networking discussion options (diiego, themeefy)and how to send out daily e-mail updates. I am hoping to work on the “practical” part of the “I don’t know how’s” after I finish the Lit Review. I am going to the “first”anadian ConnectedCA Conference this weekend in Calgary. The conference should give me an opportunity to chat about the miniMOOC ideas as well as turn to other possible guest lecturers. I have had no real problems finiding people to guest lecture. However, all but one are from BC, and are from my “inner network”. Reingold supports branching outside of your “inner” network” in order to create even better ideas.

Lit. Review Musings:

Howard Rheingold’s “Net Smart” has completely intrigued me.

I took forever to get through it – not because it was boring, but because it was FULL of ideas and links to great resources. The first chapter wa slow and difficult for me as it focused on how our brains “learn” in a digital environment. However, from chapter 2 onwards I was bookmarking every page and underlining key points that really pushed my “social media” awareness. I especially enjoyed his comparisons of the “social media” revolution to the Literacy Revolution after the invention of the Gutenburg Press. He also went back in time to compare Socrate’s criticism of “writing” as a form of learning (as opposed to oral expression).  (Through Wolf’s analysis of the History of Literacy) As a social studies teacher, who has covered these major events in my classroom during different courses, I was amazed at teh correlations – and pleansantly surprised. The comparisons certainly gave me a better insight into undertsanding of the “fear” of technology.

Some of Rheingold’s outstanding resources include danah boyd (a fromer graduate student of Howard’s, I had no idea) the Ito siblings who have researched the positive learning experiences of teenagers through various types of scial media (gaming, facebook etc). In fact, now I am wondering if our job as teachers is not so much about “teaching” students using “their tools” (facebook, twitter, gaming) (because the evidence seems to support that they are learning a lot about “learning” all by themselves). Instead, our role as teachers is to help facilitate critical thinking techniques and encourage reflection to make their learning more meaningful? I will add to this thought at the end of this post….

Comparing Rheingold to others…..

Comparisons to other Connectivist research in my Lit Review could be based on Rheingold’s explanation of how we can take “Collective Action” – Networking, Coordination, Cooperation and Collaboration. This analysis of how we can learn together is an example of “Connectivist” principles. Kop and Hill (2008) research focuses on if connectivism is a new learning theory or if it is a combination or extension of previous theories. While I am not debating if connectivism is a new learning theory, I am intersted in the theories they presented because I am able to compare what we are already doing online – to what I would be planning on doing differently in a miniMOOC course. The combination of Kop and Hill’s research combined with Rheingold’s examples of “how” we can act collectively offer me new insights into what we are missing and what direction to follow in emerging online teaching options. This will help me choose my chapters from G. Veletsianos book about Emerging Online Technologies and focus on key parts of Garrison’s E-Learning in the 21st Century.

I am in the middle of McCauley, Stewart,  Siemens,  and Cormier’s article. Their explanation of a MOOC adds to my “insight” on the possible direction of networked learning as well. An interesting comparison may be made between Rheingold’s explanations on social media as an influence on the economy and MOOC’s influence on the economy. He cites examples through playbor and crowd sourcing. The recent debates among the MOOC community on the differences between the MOOC courses offered may be able to help differentiate MOOC “crowd sourcing education” and MOOC’s as an alternative form of online learning. There is an emphasis  in McCauley, Stewart, Siemen’s and Cormier’s article on MOOC’s and the digital economy (based on thier research questions). While I am interested in this topic, this is an example of an area I cannot delve too deeply into if I am to ever finish my Lit Review. The “fear” that MOOC’s and various forms of FREE open online courses have a huge influence on the future of the “look” of Higher Education is not lost on me…..I just have to focus on how to integrate connectivist ideas into a k-12 course.

So…..upon reflection……my two major research questoins have now become:

1) What does connectivism or “Networked” learning look like? What are the different forms of  connectivist learning in our world today?

2) How can connectivist ideas be integrated into a k-12 course?

  • What is the role of educators inconnectivist learning? If there is research and evidence to support learning in social media and gaming by teenagers (Ito and boyd) then maybe we as “educators” should foscus on what the kids are doing well, and hepl them do it better (while learning for ourselves at the same time?)
  •  focus on Rheingold’s “Five literacies” – Attention, Crap Detection, Participation, Collaboration and Network Smarts would be an ideal “curriculum focus” for all k-12 students?
  • What would a continuum of Five Literacies look like if we started in Kindergarten?

I also think that I need to compare Rheingold to Anya Kamenetz  http://www.smashwords.com/books/download/77938/1/latest/0/0/the-edupunks-guide-to-a-diy-credential.pdf

And a look at Alec Couros’s MOOC http://eci831.wikispaces.com/11-02-10

Alan Levine’s course also looks icredible….http://ds106.us/members/cogdog/posts/

So much learning, so little time!!!

I will not be able to add to my Lit Review, if anything I will cut articles/blog reviews and post “my summaries” on this blog…if I get to them before August!



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