This week’s CCK08 readings on the History of Networked Learning encouraged me to think about participation in and commitment to the diffusion of ideas. I enjoyed all three key readings.
I was fascinated by the detailed insights provided by Trebor Scholz in the paper on the Social Web. I tried to avoid deviating from the main text despite the enormous temptation of the myriad hyperlinks. I thought George’s Brief History of Networked Learning made good heuristic use of the five stages although I got sidetracked with the analogy that “When discussing network learning, we find ourselves on a small pinnacle of a large mountain.” For some reason Buzz Lightyear came to mind and I thought rather than being on a mountain we might be in infinite space.
Stephen’s Folk History of the Internet underscored for me the different narrative structures available to us in the CCK08 course. In order to grasp “the stories, trends and fables that characterize the internet experience” I had to indulge in the hyperlinks! I gave myself an hour to pursue a non-linear course through the folk history. I fely uneasy about using a chronological time measure for what is essentially a kairological experience. I did not stay up as late as bradleyshoebottom but like arielion in his post I have a sense of my own learning biography time line through the catalyst of Week 4’s readings.
Whilst preparing this post I tried to find a source for a statement about the rate of diffusion of ideas in agrarian revolutions. My recollection from an economic history course in 1971 was that in England in the agrarian revolution the rate of diffusion of ideas was a mile a year for the planting of turnips. (R M Hartwell?)
Although I did not find a source for the turnip diffusion metric I did find Louis Putterman’s (2006) paper that explored “differences among human societies in the time at which the transition from reliance upon hunting and gathering to reliance upon agriculture took place that led to differences in levels of technological development and social organization.”
Whilst researching a presentation about innovation in ICT in 2000 I found this note:
I discovered this paper by Desmond McNeil (2006) and the abstract notes that:
It appears that the rate of diffusion of ideas is increasing over time; and that the rate, and extent, of diffusion is more rapid when the idea is initiated/promoted in the policy or popular realms than in the academic realm. The most successful ideas are not those that are most analytically rigorous but those that are most malleable, achieving consensus by conveying different meanings to different audiences.
I think that the proposition that “The most successful ideas are not those that are most analytically rigorous but those that are most malleable, achieving consensus by conveying different meanings to different audiences” is a delightful way to contemplate just how fast connected communities are outstripping the turnip!