Connecting, Collaborating and Cooperating

2844866760_b9d96a9568_oI received some fascinating incoming links this morning. They prompted me to think about the ‘C’ words: connecting, collaborating and cooperating.

#ETMOOC is onto the second week of the second topic of the course, Digital Storytelling – Multimedia, Remixes & Mashups. The Advice for Participants page for the course notes:

We’re aiming to carry on those important conversations in many different spaces – through the use of social networks, collaborative tools, shared hashtags, and in personalized spaces. What #etmooc eventually becomes, and what it will mean to you, will depend upon the ways in which you participate and the participation and activities of all of its members. You may even establish and grow your personal and professional learning network (PLN).

Stephen Downes’ OLDaily took me to this Creative Commons post by Billy Meike. In the post, Billy reports:

The future of Open is a dynamic landscape, ripe with opportunities to increase civic engagement, literacy, and innovation. Towards this goal, the Science Program at Creative Commons is teaming up with the Open Knowledge Foundation and members of the Open Science Community to facilitate the building of an open online course, an Introduction to Open Science. The actual build will take place during a hackathon-style “sprint” event on Open Data Day on Saturday, February 23rd and will serve as a launch course for the School of Open during Open Education Week (Mar 11-15).

Richard Byrne shared a link to maps of the telecommunication cables that cross under oceans and seas.

I enjoyed discovering that Greenland is connected.


After looking at the maps, it was interesting to note Ryan Lawler’s post about Intel’s plans to build a Virtual Cable service for web streaming video content.

Via Clyde Street Daily I picked up a post by Valdis Krebs on Arrows on Twitter. I thought it was an excellent demonstration of social network analysis. In his introduction Valdis notes that “looking at a social graph from Twitter we can tell a lot by following the arrows…”


  • who is aware of whom/what?
  • whom/what is getting attention?
  • who is involved in conversations on specific topics?
  • who is central, and who is peripheral to the discussions?

Thanks to a link from Jackie Gerstein, I found the text of a danah boyd talk (30 January). In her talk, danah suggested:

Actively cultivating the right social networks both to activate in the moment and to help propel lifelong learning are actually fundamentally crucial.

After a morning of ‘C’ links I returned to Stephen Downes’ 2010 discussion of Collaboration and Cooperation. I think Stephen’s discussion of Autonomy, Diversity, Openness, Interactivity is very helpful in distinguishing collaboration and cooperation.

As ever, I marvelled today at the creativity of those sharing their insights and admired the way others connect to them and share them. I was reminded of Lyn Hilt’s post at #ETMOOC, Networking by Passion.

With the rise of social media and genuine online communities forming around passions of all kinds, there is no reason why educational leaders should limit themselves in terms of how and with whom they network.

Photo Credits

Connect with a Classic (TexasEagle, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Frame Grab from Submarine Cable Map 2013.

Facilitator graph (Valdis Krebs)

ET al

2910259262_117e5f260f_bI am fascinated by collective nouns.

I like the idea of: a congregation of alligators; a shrewdness of apes; a blush of boys; a rabble of butterflies; a fling of dunlins;  and a convocation of eagles. I do get confused about these nouns, however. Goldfinches charm, hippopotamuses bloat and jays scold. There is a fluther of jellyfish and an exaltation of larks. I am delighted that owls meet in a parliament.

I have been wondering whether there is a collective noun for massive open online courses. At present, given the diversity and availability of these courses, perhaps there is a flourishing of MOOCs or a pandemonium, or a murmation.

Whatever the noun might be, there are some wonderful resources emerging. #ETMOOC is in the midst of Topic 1 at the moment. I liked Alec’s summary. He gave me a lead to a lot of resources including Sue Waters’ discussion of staying connected. I think Sue writes with a delightful synoptic vision and whenever I read her work I do think of the power of connectivism.

Elsewhere, I am mindful that Stephen Downes is guiding me daily through this flourishing of MOOCs. I enjoyed his link to a post by Mike Caulfield, MOOCs and Textbooks Will End Up Courseware. Mike observes “the best way to think of a MOOC isn’t really as a class brought to your doorstep — it’s more a textbook with ambitions”. (He is referring particular to xMOOCs, I believe.) He notes that this shift “marks a shift from the class seen as an event to the class seen as a designed (and somewhat replicable) learning environment”.

He adds that this shift:

subverts traditional divisions of labor, and has the potential to radically change what we mean by education.  It will force us to understand the physical classroom as a learning environment as well (albeit a different one) much as the emergence of recorded music created the conception of live music.

2930524407_775fe499dd_oI followed up on an earlier post by Mike as a result of Stephen’s link. In that post Mike discusses a centralised course with distributed sections. I liked Alan Levine’s comment on this post and Mike’s reply.  I noticed that Bon Stewart had commented too. The post and the comments resonate with work underway in Sport Studies at the University of Canberra.

Sue’s views on connecting within and between communities prompted me to think about backchannels and assessment (constructive alignment). I had been thinking about Silvia’s a modern classroom and Greg Miller‘s discussion of a 21st-century-skills-report-card. By good fortune, Richard Byrne has been writing about Classroom Backchannels and Informal Assessment Tools. He shares an excellent 32 page PDF of ideas and directions (available from the blog post). Richard is another person whose energy and openness I admire. I am always pleased when one of his tweets appears in Paper.Li. I am going to follow up on his links to Today’s Meet and Socrative.

I am mindful too that I need to develop the community skills that Jane Hart is sharing in her Online Communities workshop this month. I had better add gamification to my list too following Tina Barseghian’s post.

My reading today ended with an Evernote from David Thornburg shared by web20classroom via Twitter. David recalls Marshall McLuhan’s observation that “It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame”. He adds that according to Marshall McLuhan  each new technology does four things:

  • Creates something new
  • Obsoletes something old
  • Rekindles something from the past
  • Flips into something new (and sets the stage for its own destruction)
Given what is going on at the moment and with my appetite for exploring these opportunities perhaps the collective noun for MOOCs I am seeking is a busyness of MOOCs.
Photo Credits
Dunlins (Sergey Yeliseev, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

After Snow Fall

4079094816_9740c4ef90_zThe title of this post reads like a first line of a Robert Frost poem.

However it is a link to my thinking after experiencing John Branch’s New York Times’ story, Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.

A post by my son, Sam, moved me on. Sam used his experience to start transforming his About Me page. In it he has explored some of the tools that animated the Snow Fall story.

In his post, Sam observes:

Unsurprisingly, pretty early on I realised that engaging the user in the way the Times article engaged me, was pretty tricky. I persevered and through the use of Google Earth, HTML5 charts and a JQuery plugin called “Parralax” I was able to hopefully bring the page if not to life, then at least to semi-consciousness by amongst other things, making my photos move around, video that fades in and automatically plays when you scroll to a certain point.

In addition to the three tools listed, Sam used:

(I was particularly interested on the fourth item on this list and eventually it led me to David Walsh … and a one hour diversion reading about a remarkable developer.)

A link to today’s Cowbird story by Gemma Weiner brought me back from the world of code to narrative structures. I thought it was a delightful, expressive story … which encouraged me to think even more about the issues Sam discussed and David has explored in his work.

A link from #etmooc sent me off to a December 2012 post by Rachel McAthy. She lists fourteen visual storytelling tools: TimetoastDipity; Google Fusion Tables; Tableau; Datawrapper; Meograph; Storify; Storination; Popcorn; I am familiar with Storify and Cowbird but thist leaves me with twelve new learning experiences.

Other links from #etmooc (@robinwb) introduced me to seven collaborative websites for storytelling, free digital storytelling tools for nonprofits, myBrainshark, ShowMe and reintroduced me to Voicethread.

Just viewing these options was a powerful experience. Before I launch off to try all these I think I will seek out some good examples of use.

I am going to track #etmooc with great interest. Day 1 has taken me on from Snow Fall to a community that will introduce me to remarkable creativity.

Photo Credit

Herbert George Ponting and cinematograph (National library NZ, no known copyright restrictions)