Separated and Connected

509Earlier this morning I was corresponding with a friend from Estonia. Early morning rural Australia fits in well with late night Tallinn.

We were discussing how to share information with coaches and support staff. It is a topic that is at the forefront of my thinking at the moment and I have used recent posts to explore some ideas and links.

After saying goodnight to Tallinn, I started working through some of my feeds and found a treasure trove of connections.

From Paper.Li I was directed to a post by Keri-Lee Beasley about Twitter: A Cultural Guidebook. Keri-Lee acknowledges a range of people who helped with the project to produce the Guidebook and I noted her reference to Rodd Lucier.

In a post last year, Rodd looked at Seven Degrees of Connectedness. In the introduction to his post, Rodd asks “What’s the most significant event that causes you to pay closer attention to the learners in your network?” In answer to his own question, Rodd replies:

For me, it is meeting face-to-face. I’m more attuned to those people in my learning network whose voices are amplified because we met at a conference; exchanged stories; shared a meal. Fleshed out by personality and attitude, I find myself savouring the words and ideas I consume online.

  • Lurker (“Hey other people are sharing some cool ideas on their blogs”.)
  • Novice (“When I join in on the conversation people actually talk back to me.”)
  • Insider (“I’m beginning to know many of these familiar names and faces.”)
  • Colleague (“I rely on my network for the most important news.”)
  • Collaborator (“Why don’t we start a Google Doc to share our ideas?”)
  • Friend (“It feels like we’ve known one another for a long time.”)
  • Confidant (“I would rather talk to you in person, can you just call me.”)

Keri-Lee and Rodd reminded me of the discussion of three degrees of influence. In December 2008, James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis published “The Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network: Longitudinal Analysis Over 20 Years in the Framingham Heart Study,” in the British Medical Journal (337: a2338 (December 2008); doi:10.1136/bmj.a2338). In her review of the paper, Christine Nyholm observes “happy person can trigger a chain reaction that benefits friends, friends’ friends and friends’ friends’ friends”.

This is an interesting interface between connectedness and separateness. At the moment, I am finding the Paper.Li feed a very productive way of enjoying happiness at three removes. The same goes for Diigo.

For example, this morning a link from the Teacher-Librarian group took me to Greg Miller’s post, How do we measure a competency? Greg’s post is a delightful synthesis of some #21stedchat conversations. Greg provides links to some interesting documentation and summarises the conversations thus:

Many involved in the chat agreed that there needs to be a move toward students demonstrating their learning in more authentic ways, aligning with real-world situations. An emphasis on choice, performance assessments, portfolio building, and student-led conferences all came up as high yield strategies to better support the kind of learning needed today.  It was inspiring to hear from the many educators who are pushing the envelope with both learning and assessment.  Their ideas were both innovative and practical.

Greg links to a graphic from Alberta’s new Framework for Student Learning:

21st-century-1entejd1

 I am going to follow up on Greg’s discussion of a 21st-century-skills-report-card. (Greg acknowledges @PaulSolarz from Illinois in the use of this card.)
My morning’s reading ended with a visit to Rick Anderson’s Scholarly Kitchen post, The Shadow of the MOOC Grows Longer. Rick’s post prompted a comment by Rahim Rajan:
I think the real “disruption” is the effect that the MOOCs are having in initiating conversations on hundreds of campuses across the nation about the role (and need) for innovative technologies in teaching and learning – particularly as a replacement for large, impersonal entry level courses that have low success rates. The real opportunity for innovative campuses will be in leveraging these MOOCs for blended and flipped instruction. MOOCs are also forcing the question on campuses about the need for continuous improvement and course re-design, as well as issues surrounding non-traditional learners (now a majority of higher ed students) and cost/affordability. It’s very early days and no doubt these platforms and online courses will continue to evolve and change. In my opinion, MOOCs represent one of a number of innovations born in the cauldrons of the technology and internet revolution that will permanently change education.

Rahim gave his twitter account as the link to his profile. He is a Gates Foundation Program Officer focusing on e-learning and innovative educational technology; helping college students learn, succeed, and complete. Which provides me with another opportunity to negotiate separation and connection.

I am off to buy an electrical bike which might be a good metaphor for this conversation. The bike will help negotiate hills en route to face-to-face meetings – technology enriched wayfinding.

 

Photo Credit

Frame Grab from attempt to download the Cultural Guidebook.

 

Linking, Connecting, Sharing

Each day I receive a range of links to blogs posts and web tools. A post from the ABC (18 January) alerted me to James Fowler, Jaime Settleb, and Nicholas Christakis’ work, Correlated genotypes in friendship networks. Their paper encouraged me to think about linking, connecting and sharing.

The abstract of their paper notes that:

It is well known that humans tend to associate with other humans who have similar characteristics, but it is unclear whether this tendency has consequences for the distribution of genotypes in a population. Although geneticists have shown that populations tend to stratify genetically, this process results from geographic sorting or assortative mating, and it is unknown whether genotypes may be correlated as a consequence of nonreproductive associations or other processes. Here, we study six available genotypes from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to test for genetic similarity between friends. Maps of the friendship networks show clustering of genotypes and, after we apply strict controls for population stratification, the results show that one genotype is positively correlated (homophily) and one genotype is negatively correlated (heterophily). A replication study in an independent sample from the Framingham Heart Study verifies that DRD2 exhibits significant homophily and that CYP2A6 exhibits significant heterophily. These unique results show that homophily and heterophily obtain on a genetic (indeed, an allelic) level, which has implications for the study of population genetics and social behavior. In particular, the results suggest that association tests should include friends’ genes and that theories of evolution should take into account the fact that humans might, in some sense, be metagenomic with respect to the humans around them.

On the same day I found the genotype paper I received a link from a friend to a Linked Data post. I noted too that week 3 of LAK11 is focusing on the Semantic Web, Linked Data, and Intelligent Curriculum (the syllabus is here). I am missing LAK11 as I am CCK11. Week 5 of CCK11 is discussing Groups, Networks and Collectives.

Diigo lists have become an invaluable resource for me too. I am tracking the Diigo Community Group; a Teacher-Librarian Group; a Plurking Educators’ Group;  a Web 2.0 Group: and a Web 2.0 Tools’ Group.

In the last year I have been exploring ecology metaphors of sharing and post regularly about items that resonate with me. I am becoming interested increasingly in the visualisation of networks. Thanks to James, Jaime and Nicholas I am off to read Erez Lieberman, Christoph Hauert and Martin Nowak’s paper on Evolutionary Dynamics on Graphs and to ponder the friendship possibilities of such dynamics.

I am sorry that I am not at the Recent Changes Camp in Canberra this weekend. However I will follow their wiki as a peripheral participant.

Photo Credit

FlickrVerse 2005