CCK08: Week 5 Stephen, George, Jon, Terry, Frida, Antony and Leonard

I have been looking forward to this week’s CCK08 Connectives and Collectives readings, viewings and listenings. I do not read ahead of the course and reserve each Monday for reading, reflecting on and writing about that week’s materials.

I am fascinated by the creativity of course participants and the emerging visualisations of the ideas, concepts, thoughts and reflections. This week I would like to add a music metaphor to the mix of discussion to make sense of connectives, collectives, groups, networks and affordances.

Although my knowledge of pop music is somewhat dated I recall that some musicians were listed by their names (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) whilst others were aggregated as a group name (The Rolling Stones). Sometimes a member of the group became pre-eminent during the lifetime of the group and had their name listed ahead of the group (Diana Ross and the Supremes). Sometimes a backing group was formed to support an established individual (Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds).  Sometimes the creative energy in a group had a centrifugal effect and groups disbanded (The Beatles). Still other groups chose a title to conceal the identity of the individuals even though their artistic flair was an individual (unique) contribution (The Traveling Wilburys).

Given the differences I perceived in Stephen’s, George’s and Jon and Terry’s contribution to Week 5’s discussion I thought I would list them as individuals in the title of the post rather than as The Collectives. As ever, I reveled in Stephen and George’s views. I found Jon and Terry’s social view of e-learning thought-provoking. (I was sidetracked by contemplating Figure 1 in their paper. Is the relationship between a network, collective and group symmetrical with equal space for each element and overlap?)

Whether it is serendipity or providence I have been listening to Frida Ohrn’s (Oh Laura) Release Me.

The lyrics are:

I am the wilderness locked in a cage
I am a growing force you kept in place
I am a tree reaching for the sun
Please don’t hold me down
Please don’t hold me down

I am a rolling wave without the motion
A glass of water longing for the ocean
I am an askful flower breaking free but you keep stopping me
Release me
Release me

I am the rain that’s coming down on you
That you shielded yourself from with a roof
I am the fire burning desperately but you’re controlling me
Release me
Release me

I think these lyrics embody the issues Stephen and George discuss this week.

A few weeks ago the SBS broadcasted a Leonard Cohen tribute I’m Your Man. In it Antony Hegarty sang If It Be Your Will. YouTube provides a link to Leonard Cohen’s own version of this song.

These are the lyrics:

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will.

In the context of this week’s readings it is fascinating to hear two distinct voices (Antony Hegarty and Leonard Cohen) with the same content. I am wondering if Frida, Antony and Leonrad encapsulate the issues under discussion this week.

By coincidence I have been working with someone who is exploring the works of G H Mead, Harold Garfinkel and Erving Goffman. Even with these three thinkers the profundity of the study of the self and social norms is enormous!

I am hopeful that I will remain an ‘askful flower breaking free’ whilst being nourished by the wonderful connections offered by a network (and community) in CCK08.

A Walk to Beautiful

The ABC in Australia shows some remarkable documentaries. I have written about the Merry Makers some time ago. Last weekend the ABC program Four Corners screened A Walk to Beautiful. Shortly after writing my post on dolphins, sharks and dead people I sat down to watch the documentary.

Source: ABC Four Corners’ website

The Four Corner’s website notes that:

It’s been 50 years since an idealistic young Sydney couple, Catherine and Reginald Hamlin, spotted an ad for doctors to go to Africa, then took a punt. Little did they know they were about to make the world a far, far better place.

The program discusses how Catherine Hamlin works with women who have obstetric fistula as a result of obstructed labour. The documentary introduces a number of women amongst the thousands treated at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital each year. All these women “have been ostracised by their husbands and communities. Left untreated, they face a lifetime of shame and rejection.”

The program will be available for a short time on the ABC’s iView. I thought the didactic content of the program was enormously powerful. It put my thinking about networked communities into sharp focus.

What if we exist to help and support each other? Imagine how powerful such a community could be.

Postscript

On 9 May 2009 the ABC reported the 50th anniversary of Catherine Hamill’s work in Ethiopia. The ABC reported the realisation of Dr Hamill’s dream to have a Midwifery School in Ethiopia.

r248736_1019519 Photo source: ABC

CCK08: Week 4 Faster Than A Turnip?

This week’s CCK08 readings on the History of Networked Learning encouraged me to think about  participation in and commitment to the diffusion of ideas. I enjoyed all three key readings.

I was fascinated by the detailed insights provided by Trebor Scholz in the paper on the Social Web. I tried to avoid deviating from the main text despite the enormous temptation of the myriad hyperlinks. I thought George’s Brief History of Networked Learning made good heuristic use of the five stages although I got sidetracked with the analogy that “When discussing network learning, we find ourselves on a small pinnacle of a large mountain.” For some reason Buzz Lightyear came to mind and I thought rather than being on a mountain we might be in infinite space.

Stephen’s Folk History of the Internet underscored for me the different narrative structures available to us in the CCK08 course. In order to grasp “the stories, trends and fables that characterize the internet experience” I had to indulge in the hyperlinks! I gave myself an hour to pursue a non-linear course through the folk history. I fely uneasy about using a chronological time measure for what is essentially a kairological experience. I did not stay up as late as bradleyshoebottom but like arielion in his post I have a sense of my own learning biography time line through the catalyst of Week 4’s readings.

Whilst preparing this post I tried to find a source for a statement about the rate of diffusion of ideas in agrarian revolutions. My recollection from an economic history course in 1971 was that in England in the agrarian revolution the rate of diffusion of ideas was a mile a year for the planting of turnips. (R M Hartwell?)

Although I did not find a source for the turnip diffusion metric I did find Louis Putterman’s (2006) paper that explored “differences among human societies in the time at which the transition from reliance upon hunting and gathering to reliance upon agriculture took place that led to differences in levels of technological development and social organization.”

Whilst researching a presentation about innovation in ICT in 2000 I found this note:

I discovered this paper by Desmond McNeil (2006) and the abstract notes that:

It appears that the rate of diffusion of ideas is increasing over time; and that the rate, and extent, of diffusion is more rapid when the idea is initiated/promoted in the policy or popular realms than in the academic realm. The most successful ideas are not those that are most analytically rigorous but those that are most malleable, achieving consensus by conveying different meanings to different audiences.

I think that the proposition that “The most successful ideas are not those that are most analytically rigorous but those that are most malleable, achieving consensus by conveying different meanings to different audiences” is a delightful way to contemplate just how fast connected communities are outstripping the turnip!