Last week I had the opportunity to visit Ballarat to discuss Edgeless Challenges and Opportunities. I have been thinking a great deal about learning spaces and the function (rather than the form) of the university of late. In part these thoughts have been stimulated by the University of Canberra’s development of teaching and learning commons.
This week I have been overwhelmed by the number of connections I am finding in relation to open learning and sharing. Some of these connections include:
- George Siemens‘ post (10 December) about Connections, Clouds, Things & Analytics in which he observes that:
many universities have an educational technology department that is focused on PD. Research institutes devoted to understanding the intersection of education, technology, systemic reform, and pedagogy are less rare. Several years ago, Phil Long (CEIT) and I discussed the need for a collaborative network of research labs/academies/institutes that were focused on researching learning technologies, not solely on driving institutional adoption. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that idea.
- Discovering A.K.M. Maksud’s 2006 paper The Nomadic Bede Community And Their Mobile School Program after listening to an interview with Irene Khan. Boat schools bring a different perspective on edgeless learning opportunities and mobile learners. (Sharing this paper with a colleague brought me Simon Shum and Alexandra Okada’s paper Knowledge Cartography for Open Sensemaking Communities (2008) from the Journal of Interactive Media in Education and from another colleague Kenn Fisher’s discussion of Mode 3 Learning: The Campus as Thirdspace.)
- Finding Cisco’s paper (June 2010) on Hyperconnectivity through a Diigo link. Hyperconnectivity is defined as:
active multitasking on one hand, and passive networking on the other. Passive networking consists largely of background streaming and downloading. Ambient video (nannycams, petcams, home security cams, and other persistent video streams) is an element of passive networking that opens up the possibility for the number of video minutes crossing the network to greatly exceed the number of video minutes actually watched by consumers.
- In the past year, the Cisco paper notes that:
it has become clear that visual networking applications are often used concurrently with other applications and sometimes even other visual networking applications, as the visual network becomes a persistent backdrop that remains “on” while the user multitasks or is engaged elsewhere. This trend accompanies what is sometimes called the widgetization of Internet and TV, as network traffic expands beyond the borders of the browser window and the confines of the PC.
- Nancy White‘s post (8 December) RSA and Connected Communities in which she shares news of the Connected Communities: How social networks power and sustain the Big Society report by Jonathan Rowson, Steve Broome and Alasdair Jones. She shares this quote from the report:
Traditional approaches to community regeneration which define communities in solely geographic terms have severe limitations. They often failed to deliver on key social capital improvements such as improving trust between residents or fostering a greater sense of belonging.
In this report we argue for a new approach to community regeneration, based on an understanding of the importance of social networks, such an approach has the potential to bring about significant improvements in efforts to combat isolation and to support the development of resilient and empowered communities.
- Following a lead from a friend to minimally invasive education to a blog post to a conference presentation by Sugata Mitra and the contemplation of an idea whose time has come (Kalkaji).
- Wondering what insights might be gained about the structures of learning and their cultural forms after listening to Patrick Wilcken’s conversation with Ramona Koval about his intellectual biography of Claude Levi-Strauss, Claude Levi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory. Realising that I may have to revisit Bronislaw Malinowski and Ramon Jakobson‘s work too … and then move on to evolutionary psychology.
- Receiving news about two new positions (resources and services) at the National Sport Information Centre in Canberra to support the development of a Clearinghouse of sport knowledge shared openly.
- Noting in Harold Jarche’s post Innovation through network learning that he now takes for granted his “network learning processes, using social bookmarking; blogging and tweeting, and these habits make collaboration much easier”. He observes that:
However, these habits and practices have taken several years to develop and may not come easily to many workers. One difficult aspect of adopting network learning in an organization is that it’s personal. If not, it doesn’t work. Everybody has to develop their own methods, though there are frameworks and ideas that can help.
- Catching up with Leigh Blackall’s news about his social media workshop and reading Michele Martin’s discussion of Jane Hart’s thoughts on nurturing social media.
All this before I started exploring the treasure trove that arrives in my in box each day from Stephen Downes! Early on in the week I noted Stephen’s comment on Education and the Social Web: “A theory of connections can’t be just about forming connections; it has to be about the organization, shape and design of networks of connection, patterns of connectivity. And to me, this means that we need to design learning systems to meet personal, not political, social or commercial, objectives.” Later in the week in a discussion of two MOOC posts, Stephen suggests that: “It’s about attitude and approach. If you’re looking for someone to tell you how it works, you will find a MOOC confusing and frustrating. But if you take responsibility for your own learning, you will find any connection in a MOOC either an opportunity to teach or an opportunity to learn. No instructions necessary.”
This week has underscored for me the rich possibilities that can occur in shared spaces. My thoughts keep returning to Dharavi and the opportunities for personal wayfinding in shared spaces that afford a collective, connected experience too. I am very hopeful that the University of Canberra’s Commons ideas can stimulate innovative use of place, space and time and lead to an exciting edgy practice.
A day after posting this I received a link to a delightful flash mob video. I wondered if open learning spaces might stimulate this kind of event.
2nd Annual Learning Commons Development and Design Forum, 30-31 March 2011, Brisbane.
- Learning Commons strategy and organisational structures
- Planning and design
- Case studies and best practices
- Digital information and technologies
- Online resources