Documenting and Sharing

Signal Noise, The Economist and Siemens have worked together to visualise the fan energy in FC Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.

The visualisation includes: game timelines; fan energy; highlights; players; and social ripple. The visualisation provides the user with a rich array of options.

I think this is a great example of the analytic turn in sport and highlights the data expertise available to sport.

Earlier this year, Signal Noise hosted a Data Obscura exhibition that explored the relationship between data and truth. The exhibition was launched with a panel discussion that considered whether transparency and truth should be the ultimate aim online, and asked “how much is ‘true enough’?”.

This interplay between practice, epistemology and ontology is fundamental to anyone contemplating a career in sport analytics at a time when:

Multiple filters are applied to the information that we see: algorithms distill a world of opinions to give us a distinct view of events, and authenticity is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity. (My emphasis) (Data Obscura, 2018)

This contemplation could lead to a consideration of epistemic cultures and the machineries of knowledge construction. Karin Cetina (1999) writes:

Everyone knows what science is about: it is about knowledge, the ‘objective’ and perhaps ‘true’ representation of the world as it really is. The problem is that no one is quite sure how scientists and other experts arrive at this knowledge. The notion of epistemic culture is designed to capture these interiorised processes of knowledge creation. It refers to those sets of practices, arrangements and mechanisms bound together by necessity, affinity and historical coincidence which, in a given area of professional expertise, make up how we know what we know. Epistemic cultures are cultures of creating and warranting knowledge.

This process involves what Maurizio Ferraris (2006) defines as ‘documentality’. For Maurizio, documents are social objects (such that they involve at least two persons) “characterised by the fact of being written: on paper, in a computer file, or simply in people’s heads”.

His theory develops in three different directions:

  • an ontology (“What is a document?”)
  • a technology (an explaination of how documents are distributed)
  • a pragmatics (an understanding of the efficient distribution of documents)

Sharing the Signal Noise, The Economist and Siemens venture into the Allianz Stadium here has led me to reflect on learning journeys.

The volume and quality of data analysis opportunities positions this generation of data analysts in sport in a very important ontological and pragmatic space.

There are more ways to share primary data and analysis than ever before. Each of us can make an informed and transparent decision about the machineries we choose to construct information sharing and stimulate conversations about knowledge and understanding.

In my case, I use the WordPress blog platform to connect ideas that strike me as important. I discovered news of the Signal Noise project on Twitter. The tweet came as I was re-reading Maurizio Ferraris and editing the Ethical Issues page of the wikiEducator course Sport Informatics and Analytics. In sharing this process openly, I am hopeful that readers can make informed decisions about authenticity and contemplate these issues as worthy of consideration.

Photo Credits

Frame grab Reimagine the Game

FC Bayern (Twitter)

#coachlearninginsport: knowing ourselves



Many, many years ago, I was introduced to ‘epistemology‘ and ‘ontology‘ in a political philosophy class at the University of York. I was enchanted by the words and their potential to help me think about second order questions.

Subsequently, I was enchanted by the ‘sociology of knowledge‘ and ‘personal construct psychology‘.

Three reading this week have brought back memories of these enchantments and have prompted me to think about knowing ourselves in coach learning environments.


Epistemic Cultures and Machineries of Knowledge Construction

The first prompt came from a 2007 paper written by Karin Cetina.

Karin proposes that a knowledge society:

is not simply a society of more knowledge and technology and of the economic and social consequences of these factors. It is also a society permeated with knowledge settings, the whole sets of arrangements, processes and principles that serve knowledge and unfold with its articulation. Epistemic cultures are the cultures of knowledge settings. (2007:361ff)

Her paper took my breath away as it articulated many of the ideas I had explored through my enchantments.

The notion of an epistemic culture captures “interiorised processes of knowledge creation”. It refers to:

those sets of practices, arrangements and mechanisms bound together by necessity, affinity and historical coincidence which, in a given area of professional expertise, make up how we know what we know. (2007:363)

Epistemic cultures are “cultures of creating and warranting knowledge”.

The sentence that stopped me in my tracks was “the focus in an epistemic culture approach is on the construction of the machineries of knowledge construction” (2007:363). (My emphasis).

Anne Edwards points out that Karin’s focus on machineries “directs attention from simply what experts know to how they know and how they build knowledge” (2010:9).


The second prompt came from a recommendation from a PhD student, Jo Gibson.

Jo suggested I look at a paper on the nursing profession that explored public image, self-concept and professional identity (Yvonne ten Hoeve, Gerard Jansen and Petrie Roodbol, 2014). It is a meta-review of the literature.

Yvonne, Gerard and Petrie observe:

Worldwide, nurses have developed themselves into professionals with a great deal of knowledge, as witnessed by the development of nursing protocols and guidelines. Despite these developments towards professionalization, previous studies on this subject have shown that nurses are not given due recognition for the skills they have (2014:296)

They propose “there is a strong need for a discussion on the image, the self-concept and the professional identity of nurses in a global context” (2014:297). They define self-concept as “the way we think about ourselves” (2014:303).

The paper explores how nurses might change public perceptions of their role by challenging stereotypical expectations of behaviour.


Connecting the Dots

The third prompt came from Esko Kilpi. His Medium post was a perfect synapse between the first-order review of nursing and Karin’s second-order epistemic culture discussion.

In his discussion of connecting within organisations, Esko points out “The cognitive opportunity of connecting lies in the fact that as we don’t all select the same things, we don’t all miss the same things”.

He asserts:

When we see information as a power plant that has the ability to organize, we realize the power of diversity and openness across boundaries. When information is transparent, people can organize effectively around changes, customers and purposes.

He adds:

What we have still not understood is that people need to have access to information streams that no one could predict they would want to know about. Even they themselves did not know they needed it — before they needed it. Thus information architectures can never be fully planned in advance.


We need a community of people who willingly participate and provide their insights to address increasingly interdependent issues. Collaboration is necessary because one person no longer has the answer. Answers reside in the interaction, between the different views to reality, between all of us.


Knowing Ourselves

Karin’s paper disturbed me in the best possible way. My readings in the philosophy of science had encouraged me to think about the fabrication of knowledge (in the sense of making). My sociological background has moved me to think about the social construction of knowledge.

Eski’s invitation to connect the dots resonates powerfully with my desire to connect those involved in coach learning and to do so openly to engage in reflections in and on practice.

I have shared Yvonne, Gerard and Petrie’s paper as a diligent attempt to discuss self-concept in a profession. If we are to do the same in coach learning, I think we must address how the knowledge we draw upon is constructed.

I do think ‘epistemology’, ‘ontology’, ‘sociology of knowledge’ and ‘personal construct psychology’ have a place in our lexicon. I hope that in making such concepts explicit we can engage in profound conversations about who we are and how we know ourselves.

Photo Credits

Keith Lyons (CC BY 4.0)


Highlighting, connecting



The ABC carried a brief story this week about Australians’ use of social media.

It drew upon survey data from Tumblr to frame the story. It used this introduction:

Australians are using social media to curate their image, rather than connect with friends and family

An Impulse Gamer post provided more detail about the survey and discussed the importance attached to social presence. The Tumblr survey suggests that social presence involves curating as well as creating content.

We’ve become so conscious online that a carefully selected like, comment or share is now akin to a public announcement of our thoughts and feelings.

I found the ABC introduction to the survey after a week of thinking about Douglas Rushkoff’s 2014 post, How Technology Killed the Future. In that post, Douglas observes:

Sure, the rate at which information spreads and multiplies has accelerated, but what’s taking place now is more than a mere speeding up. What we’re experiencing is the amplification of everything that happens to be occurring at the moment, and a diminishment of everything that isn’t. It’s not just that Google search results favor the recent over the relevant; it’s that suddenly an entire society does.

Douglas’s Present Shock suggests:

People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, and compile knowledge. We strove for an instantaneous network where time and space could be compressed. Well, the future’s arrived. We live in a continuous now enabled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technological shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.



These connections, discovered through other people’s highlighting, sharing and curation, have encouraged me to think about pedagogy in the time of an elusive “now”. Two other prompts supported my thinking too.

Kate Schwartz and Keara Duggan have been discussing tweeting our way to collaboration and personalization. They shared their experiences of using Twitter to develop their practice of blended learning.

Inspired by an entire twitter-savvy crew of teachers, administrators, and instructional specialists, we wanted to grow the positive effects of the Tweet chats. As our conversations and learning around blended learning became more intense, more focused, and more realistic, we realized blended learning chats would elevate the online discussions.

They added “Twitter provided teachers with a space to continue learning and sharing”.

My second link came through Darrell Cobner‘s assiduous curation of online resources. He alerted me to Cornelius Puschmann and Marco Bastos’ discussion of two blogging platforms. They point out:

A recent survey by Nature Publishing Group suggests that new instruments for sharing and communicating research are gradually being viewed with more seriousness than was previously the case, though national and disciplinary differences persist.

Their PLoS ONE paper (2015) provides the background to their blog post. Their review of HASTAC and Hypotheses led them to conclude:

HASTAC is driven by newness and what you might call a revolutionary, cross-disciplinary aspiration, compared to the disciplinary focus of Hypotheses. New media, new forms of teaching, learning, and collaboration, are discussed more often in HASTAC, while Hypotheses includes more content dedicated to the transferal of traditional humanities and social science research into a new environment.

Their 2015 paper includes this observation “HASTAC’s blog entries are conceptually more like casual conversation rather than academic writing”. They do have a caveat: “the toolbox for analyzing blog platforms is still evolving and that the results need to be treated with care”.

What I take from their research and from Kate and Keara’s post is that a diversity of platforms and connections helps us to develop an epistemic culture that is agnostic and open. I think this is what Karin Cetina explores in her discussion of the machineries of knowledge construction.

Within and Beyond Now

Ironically, as I was writing this post, I received an alert to a post by Nikki Usher written in September. Now meets curation in my sharing it here. I am engaging too in the social presence discussions that introduced this post.

Nikki writes about using Slack, Twitter and Medium in her teaching of a journalism course. She observed:

Big worry about introducing all this technology: Did I obscure the point of the class while throwing too much tech at the students? Hey, you’re going to be on Twitter, and Tumblr, and Etherpad, and Slack (yup, all that) — oh, btw, you’re going to be learning about Habermas and the future of news, and let’s also talk about the burning questions facing journalism. This is the delicate balance: trying to get them to use new tech in the service of learning ASAP class starts, but also trying to make sure that it doesn’t overwhelm. And I felt maybe that I overwhelmed them.

She concludes:

What I’m most worried about is the balance between preparing my students to use technology journalists and other organizations/professions are using and also impressing upon them the fundamental ideas of the course in these critical first few days. I think the next two classes will help, though, as we begin talking more specifically about how journalism is changing in the digital age.

I thought I would use her post to conclude my discussion of highlighting and connecting. As with all my posts, I see open sharing as an opportunity to explore ideas and reflect on pedagogy in a digital age.

I do think that being from an age before digital technology that the benefits I see from it are so important to me. The opportunity as a teacher for me is to engage with the ‘nowness’ of our world and support critical engagement with it.

Photo Credits

Tweet Me (Kate Ter Haar, CC BY 2.0)

Teaching (Nathan Russell, CC BY 2.0)

Bristol Then & Now 1941-2010 (Paul Townsend, CC BY-NC 2.0)