Connecting 131009


I enjoyed an exchange yesterday about my Connection 131008 post with Irmeli Aro.

Irmeli observed that “I’ve discovered the most heartfelt and productive collaboration through disconnected nomadism!” In my haste to respond, I wrote about my admiration for Irmeli’s connectedness. In terms of the Dan Pontefract’s matrix I was sharing, I thought Irmeli was a wonderful example of a collaborative learner.

I was thinking about the personal learning network Irmeli has developed when I read in OLDaily today that Stephen Downes will be discussing self-directed learning. Stephen linked to Jeff Cobb’s post about self-directed learning.

In his post, Jeff proposes that “the successful lifelong learner”:

  • Takes initiative
  • Is comfortable with independence
  • Is persistent
  • Accepts responsibility
  • Views problems as challenges, not obstacles
  • Is capable of self-discipline
  • Has a high degree of curiosity
  • Has a strong desire to learn or change
  • Is self-confident
  • Is able to use basic study skills
  • Organizes his or her time
  • Sets an appropriate pace for learning
  • Develops a plan for completing work
  • Has a tendency to be goal-oriented
  • Enjoys learning

Stephen picked up on Jeff’s point about being comfortable with independence:

Self-directed learners do not always act autonomously or independently. Indeed, increasingly they must cultivate their networks to learn effectively. Nonetheless, successful self-directed learners know how to be self-reliant.

Perhaps this is where my exchange with Irmeli comes together … nomads are self-reliant but have some fundamental lessons to share with others in an eco system flourishing through cooperative and collaborative networks.

Today brought another example of the opportunities to learn through open sharing. brought me a link to Maria Popova’s post on How to be an Educated Consumer of Infographics.

I have been think a lot about visualising data after visiting the Sydney Moderns exhibition. I liked the quote from David Byrne in Maria’s post “It’s not easy, as one can be seduced relatively easily by colors, diagrams and funny writing”.

I take one of the real benefits of connecting with our networks is that our seduction helps us to appreciate and learn. (Beth Kanter’s post is an excellent first step.)

I am hopeful that connecting does enable us to become the connoisseurs Elliot Eisner so appreciated and enabled to flourish.

Exchanging ideas with a colleague in Finland from rural New South Wales in Australia underscores just how exciting trying to become a connoisseur can be.

Photo Credit

Practicing (Irmeli Armo, CC BY NC-ND 2.0)

Connecting 131006


Earlier this month, Katherine Schulten asked What might “connected teaching” or “connected learning” — that is, using technology to build communities and share knowledge — look like in practice?

She shares twenty-eight examples of connections in her blog post.

I was thinking about Seth Godin and his Krypton course initiative as I read her post.

The logistics of the Krypton courses include:

  • Every week for four weeks, a course meets.
  • A course is a group of people learning together.
  • You can host each of the four classes of the course in your office, your home or a coffee shop.
  • The ideal size is 6 to 15 people, but you might want to invite a few extra folks as insurance.
  • We call the person who organizes the classes within a course (that’s you) an organizer. No credentials required, other than a generous desire to lead and share.
  • Every four weeks there will be a new course.

#KryptonTuesday shares news of some of these emerging courses.

Given the expertise that is used to facilitate these Krypton courses, I have been thinking even more about ePortfolios as records of participation and engagement. I like the idea of blending physical presence in convivial meetings with reflection and research in a transparent way.

I think the four-week scale of the courses raises some important issues about intensity and learning. Increasingly, I see remarkable opportunities for self-paced and self-directed learning that can be aggregated and shared through tools like Accredible.

I think this leads inevitably to important debates about equivalence with formal award qualifications. I can see the ability to connect and demonstrate this connection having fundamental implications for accreditation processes too.

I hope that the articulation of formal and informal learning opportunities and the transparent sharing of this articulation might be a worthy topic for a Berkman Center for Internet & Society fellowship application.

Photo Credit

Elliot bay: Seattle’s legendary independent bookstore (Nicola, CC BY 2.0)

Connecting 131004

BC1I missed attending in person this week’s ePortfolio Forum at the University of Canberra.

I was able to participate virtually in the Forum through Blackboard Collaborate and the #eportforum activity on Twitter.

Angela Shetler has created a Storify link for the event too.

I felt very fortunate to be able to connect this way … and to find some new colleagues to follow on Twitter.

I thought it was a rich vein in a serendipity economy of social capital. Particularly when there are so many other connected educator events taking place this month (Ronnie Burt has an Edubloggers’ Guide to the month).

My reading in the past two days has had strong connection themes.

I was interested to read Tom Whitby’s take on whether we really need connected educators. He notes “Using technology is less generational and more about learning. Social media and its acceptance in our culture has been a catalyst to connectedness”. He adds:

Once an educator connects with other educators, they begin to collect them as sources in a Professional Learning Network of educators, a PLN. A connected educator may then access any or all of these sources for the purpose of communication, collaboration, or creation. This connectedness is not bound by bricks and mortar. It is not bound by city limits or state lines. It is not limited by countries borders. The only nagging inconvenience is dealing with time zones on a global level.

My connections are focussed by connectivism. I was delighted to discover that Stephen Downes had written a Half Hour post yesterday that explored the epistemological and ontological foundations of connectivism.


I noticed too that one of my colleagues in CCK08, Cristina Costa, has written this week about the participatory web and digital scholarship. One of the main findings from Cristina’s study was that “research participants clearly felt the benefits of practising digital scholarship, and it has influenced their entire approach to scholarly practice”.

One of the aspects of this practice I am always trying to resolve is auto-sharing. I was delighted to read Mary Hiers’ post today. In it she discusses five auto-share options:; BufferViraltag; SocialOomph; GaggleAMP.

One connected educator who impressed me immensely this week was Andy Miah.

Andy has two Prezi presentations to share this week:

Everyone Everywhere


Everything Everywhere


Both presentations are wonderful examples of the digital scholarship discussed by Cristina. They contribute to a key theme of this Connected Educator month about “how to move from merely connecting with other educators into collaborations that push pedagogy and the education conversation forward”.

A fascinating two days!

Photo Credit

Connecting the Dots #TP164 (Irmeli Aro, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) (Irmeli is another colleague from CCK08)