Connecting 131009

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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. Paper.li 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)

A Souq-Like SOOC

There has been a lot of discussion recently about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

I am grateful to Stephen Downes’ OLDaily and George Siemens for regular updates about MOOC opportunities and debate.

I was fortunate to be a participant in the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08) open online course. George Siemens writes of this:

In 2008, Stephen Downes and I offered an open online course Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08).  As our registration numbers increased to about 2300 students, Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander dubbed the course offering a “massive open online course” or MOOC. The term has stuck and both Dave and Bryan will eventually be inducted into the edtech hall of fame for great word inventage. Since that first course, Stephen, Dave, and I have offered a whack of different courses: CCK09, CCK11, CCK12, Future of Education, PLENK, LAK11, LAK12, Change11, Critical Literacies, and so on. All told, we are likely approaching about 20,000 registrants for our MOOCs (there is overlap from different courses, so the unique registrants would be less).

My thinking about learning was transformed by CCK08 and has been developed by peripheral participation in a number of the other MOOCs George mentions.

I have been contemplating a modest alternative to the MOOC … a SOOC (a Small Open Online Course). I do think the principles of MOOCs are scalable.

I like the idea of a SOOC that has characteristics of its like-sounding souq. According to Wikipedia a souq is:

an open-air marketplace. Historically, souqs were held outside of cities in the location where a caravan loaded with goods would stop and merchants would display their goods for sale. Souqs were held when there was a caravan or more available. At that time, souqs were more than just a market to buy and sell goods; they were also major festivals and many cultural and social activities took place in them.

The SOOC I have in mind is a mother SOOC that will lead to daughter and granddaughter SOOCs. I am planning a five topic SOOC in The Observation and Analysis of Performance in Sport. One of the challenges for me is how to support non-linear personal learning. At present the SOOC’s five topics are:

  • Connecting and Sharing
  • Observing Performance
  • Visualising Data
  • Knowledge Discovery in Databases
  • Augmented Reality

 

I see the Connecting and Sharing topic as the key to supporting involvement in the SOOC. I am keen to persuade colleagues that sharing is the competitive edge in sport. Thereafter there will be a weekly progression through the topics but I realise that the caravans that bring ideas and energy may not coincide with this rhythm.

I am exploring too how this kind of approach resonates with open badges and formal recognition of learning through a qualification framework.

My concept of the SOOC is that it is a fractal of all other activity imbued with a commitment to open, self-paced intrinsically motivated learning.

I see each step in the geneaology of the SOOC triggered by the parent SOOC but increasingly open through generational change to including and crowdsourcing participants’ interests and knowledge. I hope that this approach establishes the connectivist aspirations of this form of sharing.

I am looking at ways to develop this SOOC with tools developed by Adam Brimo at OpenLearning.

Photo Credit

Life offers you tools …

Souq, Aleppo