CCK08: Week 1 (Part 3)

(Bridge Building over the Mongarlowe River)

I joined in the second of the two Elluminate sessions hosted by George and Stephen. It was a great time for me in Australia … 10a.m.. It was my first Elluminate session and rather like my first seminar at the University of York in September 1970 I chose not to talk! I had a USB microphone hooked up just in case!

Thanks to the post on The Daily with the link to the recording of the session I have been able to re-visit the exchanges that were occurring. In real-time it was quite a challenge to monitor the range of narratives that were underway: I recall people writing messages to say hello, news of a baby, wonderful exchanges of links and advice, statements about the (un) connectedness of personal interaction and questions about comments on blogs. At the same time I listened to George’s facilitation and the orderly taking of the microphone.

I had to leave my computer half way through the session to do some domestic tasks but turned up my audio to hear the voices of contributors (continuous partial attention!). Away from the computer I thought about some of the exchanges about about connectivism as a theory and noted that The Daily drew a distinction between the two Elluminate sessions in this regard.

The thoughts that were running through my head were:

1. It was 11 September in Australia and people from all over the world were connected by a mutual interest that had intrinsic value.

2. Does each of us have a different (relative) sense of the necessary and sufficient conditions of theorising and a theory? I will follow up on Stephen’s slides to see what he has to say about absolutes and universals in a postmodern world.

3. Connectivism attracts remarkable people. As George indicated in one of his contributions during Session Two, we ‘know’ of each other in a virtual sense. This knowing is phenomenally rich in possibilities (and depth). In one of my few posts in the written exchanges in Session Two I mentioned anthropologists’ use of the term ‘polysemic’. (This is a good example, I think.)

4. I shared a lot of the experiences of other participants in the session! I have failed miserably to join Second Life. I wonder if I should add a comment on all the blogs appearing in the CCK08 space to affirm each writer’s commitment to sharing ideas, thoughts and reflections. Should I have asked questions about the baby’s weight?

5. Most of all I thought myself very fortunate to spend an hour in the company of fifty colleagues from around the world. (I was interested to learn that on the same day as our conversation there was a presentation at the Alt-C conference in the UK entitled ‘What if learning technologists ruled the world?’)

Now where is that Buntine Oration I should be reading (it is 00.30 a.m. 12 September and unable to sleep)?

Afternote: Clive Shepherd posted this about Webcasting at another conference on the same day.

CCK08: Week 1 (Part 2)

I have taken an opportunity to read Maarten de Laat‘s (2006) thesis on Networked Learning. I enjoyed the range of Maarten’s work and must revisit the detail in each of the chapters. Chapter 3 has a discussion of theory and praxis and I read with interest Maarten’s discussion of Lawrence Stenhouse’s work.

(Lawrence Stenhouse, Donald Schon and Eliot Eisner had an enormous impact on my thinking in the 1980s. They are my antecedents of connected, open communities of practice able to reflect on and transform learning).

I noted too Maarten’s observations about networks, communities and learning:

  • Networked learning provides the opportunity to gain more active control and take ownership over learning agenda.
  • Networked learning environments provide open learning spaces where people are able to develop meaningful interactions between each other.
  • Networked learning happens spontaneously between people who decide to share their interests.
  • it is the communities that people build that open the doors for ‘new’ learners to enter their knowledge domain, take part in their conversations and learn about their practice.
  • It is the community that keeps knowledge alive and accessible over a longer period of time, through
    fostering meaningful lasting relationships.
  • Communities are social learning spaces.

I hope to read more of the Additional readings! My next stop is re-reading Stephen’s Buntine Oration.

CCK08: Week 1 (Part 1)

I am trying not to read ahead of the course!

Today I worked through the Background reading for Week 1 and luxuriated in the range of ideas available for reflection. ( to learn is to practice and reflect)

I found myself pondering about second order approaches and thought about some of my early initiation to philosophy at university in the early 1970s. Historical materialism was much debated then and considerable time was spent contemplating Marx’s (1845) Theses on Feuerbach.

Thesis VIII is:

“All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.”

Thesis XI is:

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”

By the time I got to LSE to do a part-time Masters’ course in Sociology in 1980 there was a postmodern turn occurring.

Each decade lays claim to distinctiveness, originality and uniqueness.

I am one of those people for whom connectivism resonnates. The background reading for Week 1 prompted me to think as much about ontology as epistemology.

I am left pondering (on a beautiful afternoon in rural NSW, Australia) if our discussions are about who we are as much as about epistemological foundations and networks of knowing.

I am saving up the Additional Reading for later in the week!