CCK08: Week 9 Stacks

This has been another slow blogging week for me in CCK08. I have just returned from a visit to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia.

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The Great Ocean Road website notes that:

The mighty Twelve Apostles are world-recognised icons of the Great Ocean Road. These giant rock stacks soar from the swirling waters of the Southern Ocean…

The Twelve Apostles are sea stacks (geological landforms created by hydraulic action and erosion). I took a lot of pictures and posted six of them on Flickr. In the process of posting the pictures I discovered there were lots of pictures of the Twelve Apostles. (Flickr alerted me “We found 13,927 results matching Twelve Apostles.”)

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I visited the Twelve Apostles on a very windy day. The wind was so strong that it was difficult to stay there very long. My photographs catured a particular kind of visit. Despite the brevity of my stay I was in awe of the scale of the sea stacks and realised very graphically how changes occur in lanscape in geographical time.

Strange that I should be thinking about CCK08 at such a moment! I was accessing my email whilst on the road and thought that the course had a tide running from a southern ocean.

There were a number of voices questioning the exercise of power and the after-effects of Stephen’s week 8 impact. Jenny wrote a thoughtful post about this after her week away (four CCK08 colleagues responded to her post directly and it was included as the first item in The Daily). Wendy provided some visualisations that in her post “It just seemed logical for me to differentiate between individual, group, and network power, as well as perceived and actual power.” A link to Wendy’s post appeared in The Daily. Grant shared his take on the week and linked to Lisa’s post to discuss ‘personality’. ‘Turning up the juice’  as a personal response to the exercise of power struck me as a great approach for confident learners. I wonder if it has a lot to do with hair?

John Mak discussed his take on power and argued strongly that “we learn through our senses, emotions and feelings, and that make us a better person, not a better ‘machine’, which could be switched on or off. And we have empathy in which no computer network or artefacts could ever learn.” Ariel wrote graphically about the Third Rail and shared his New York origins to explore ideas about the Fifth Estate. I was delighted to read’s Sia’s post and relieved to hear that “I am still here! I will read and listen further. I still do like it very much to be a participant in this course.”(Later in the week it was great to read Maru‘s post. She has been very supportive of many of the CCK08 participants.) (After the first post of this summary I found Michael‘s discussion of power to enforce involvement.)

Carmen’s post made me smile. The blog post title was great and the content thought-provoking. I should have commented on the post when I read it. I liked the follow up post on paradigms and power. Carmen‘s posts throughout this course have encouraged me to celebrate humour as a powerful (sic) device.

Pierfranco brought an interesting insight to readers of his post in the discussion of social class and power. His writing has encouraged me to think how a course in connectivism can be enriched by the granularity provided in languages other than English. (I wondered if I read and spoke Italian well enough my understanding of Gaetano Mosca, Robert Michels and Antonio Gramsci might have been very different.)   Andreas‘s post confirmed this for me. Jon did demonstrate what a forthright language English can be in his post. Viplav reviewed some of the Moodle discussions about ‘power’ and The Daily linked to Bradleyshoebottom‘s discussion of ‘authority’. In the same edition of The Daily, Ailsa’s post in the Moodle Forum was noted. I realised that I have not addressed the ANT issues in my own thinking and thanks to Ailsa’s post need to follow up on Foucault too.

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Discussions about power and authority were interspersed with questions about the ‘failure’ of CCK08. Ken’s post has received 15 comments (to date) and led Ken to post this a few days after the Failing post. In between The Daily alerted readers to Ken’s post and Ken posted this aside. He posted this too. He argues strongly that “I am beginning to think that the vision of a network as value-free, autonomous etc. is nothing but a mirage.” Stephen posted this item on 4 November in The Daily. Ken and Stephen both demonstrate the possibilities of discourse in their posts but I take Stephen’s points to be axiomatic of engaged participation in web based discussion. I do have a utopian vision for connectivism. I feel that is is infinitely preferable to dystopia. By the time Lori posted about lurking, success and failure I was ready to comment. The same for Matthias‘s post too. Jason discussed failure issues in his post and offered a pragmatic way forward. He linked to Tom‘s post on wasted time. (This combination of Jason and Tom sent me off to look at John Perry’s Structured Procrastination website.

And then Mike‘s post appeared… I have an enormous admiration for Mike’s knowledge and skill. I was amazed by his Dylan rendition in the video in the post. However I was relieved … for some reason I had already pictured Mike as the Arlo Guthrie of the ICT world. I thought the content of his post was a delightful addition to this week’s discussion (the post has drawn five responses to date). It encouraged me to think about the conversive trauma potential of education (as discussed by David Hargreaves compared to the aversive trauma of schooling.

There was a flurry of writing on other topics too.  Irmeli shared her thoughts about writing and rediscovery. Pat wrote about Digital Identity. I tried to read Joost‘s post and hoped my German would help with the Dutch. Joost observes that “Niet alleen de inhoud van de cursus is voor mij interessant. Ik verwacht juist ook veel inspiratie op te doen over de wijze waarop George en Stephen de cursus hebben opgezet”. (Shortly after I posted this Joost commented on the post and helped me translate what he actually wrote “participating in the CCK08 course was not only for me to learn about networks and connectivism. I hoped to learn also from the way George and Stephen actually use technology in this course and to experience what that feels like as a learner.” Joost adds that “At this moment I can tell you that i’ve learned many thing from that and in that respect CCK08 has been a wonderful journey for me.”)

Joost’s post and his comment emphasised again for me the multilingual aspects of connectivism and that the Connectivism wiki is available in six languages. Michele‘s post discussed some of the convivial aspects of on-line behaviour and her thoughts reminded me of the Not an Island video I posted a few weeks ago. In my utopian world I do believe like Michele, that “if anything, social media brings out the best in people. There is an inherent sense of sharing,  transparency and community that these tools can build that I’ve seen over and over again.”

I got all my times wrong on Thursday and missed the Elluminate session. I thought it was with Nancy White but discovered that the first session was her time in the course. I like The Daily‘s follow up with notes shared by Christy, Diego‘s post and Bob‘s screen capture. (Jenny‘s post gave me more reason to rue my absence as did Michael.) Just when I was looking forward to listening to Nancy, The Daily posted this link (via Leigh Blackall) from Nancy. I thought I was managing my time reasonably well in CCK08 but I have eleven other tantalising options this week.

Lisa’s post later in the week sent me off thinking about metaphors and educational roles. She led me to revisit my PhD supervisor Maureen Pope‘s work on metaphor and personal construct psychology. I had a look again at As it is in Heaven, Conversations with my Gardener and To Be and To Have. (I have shared these films with my daughter Beth as an antidote to an assignment she had three years ago ‘Dystopia in the writings of Russian Feminist science fiction writers.)

My WordPress Tag Surfer has alerted me to Ken‘s second paper, a number of posts by John Mak, a paper on the Simnet blog, Bradleyshoebottom’s paper, Adrian‘s reflection paper and many others!

I did read Lani‘s post and her post like many others reaffirmed my utopian vision of CCK08 this week. Some of the posts this week were visually stunning. Irmeli‘s post in particular was rich in images and discussion. (I did try to visit every Google alert this week) … and this takes me back to the Twelve Apostles!

The day we visited it was very, very windy. Despite the low temperature and the driving wind, hundreds of people were making the most of their time there. Some of them are people who will take Flickr over the 14,000+ count for the Twelve Apostles. The wonderful feeling of being there will mean that many of them will return there either physically or virtually. It is an intuitively right place to be.

Sychophant or not I think that CCK08 is that kind of place and that we have been strengthened by the cumulative events of the course.

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CCK08: Week 8 The Alchemy of Give and Take

I finished Week 8‘s reading with Manuel CastellsAfterword in the Demos publication Network Logic (2004). I was trying not to start with the Afterword. I hold Manuel, Stephen and George responsible for my involvement in CCK08. Saving up the Afterword made this week’s readings delightful.

I enjoyed William Dutton’s (2007) paper on the Fifth Estate. I noted in particular his discussion of a “space of flows”, Internet-enabled networks and the reconfiguration that is occurring in regard to people services and technologies. I thought Table 1 provided a useful guide to the scale of the Fifth Estate.

I read the entirety of the second reading this week, Network Logic. The title for this post comes from the frontpiece to Karen Stephenson’s Chapter 3. I think the suggestion that:

Reciprocity is key to the power of networks, the alchemy of mutual give and take over time turning to a golden trust…

is the essence of CCK08. I believe unequivocally that a space of flows flourishes when ego is subsumed in collective flourishing. Dr Perri 6’s network signatures framed this thought for me in Figure 1 on page 135.

Given Manual Castells’ protest background, I was drawn inexorably to Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs chapter. I liked in particular his assertion that:

The ‘killer apps’ of tomorrow’s mobile infocom industry won’t be hardware devices or software programmes but social practices.

I enjoyed reading about Paul Skidmore’s six characteristics of leadership and these resonate with my own thoughts about energy giving in reciprocal relationships in flat organisations (a legacy of my Celestine Prophecy days!).

Then to the Afterword. Reading it reminded me of the  Jerzy Kosiński novel (1971) and Peter Sellar’s film Being There. (Some YouTube links to the film here.) I noted with reverence the conclusion to Manuel’s chapter:

Networks matter because they are the underlying structure of our lives. And without understanding their logic we cannot change their programmes to harness their flexibility to our hopes, instead of relentlessly adapting ourselves to the instructions received from their unseen codes. Networks are the Matrix.

CCK08: A Moodle Kind of Day!

One of my aims this week was to become involved in the CCK08 Moodle Forums. Stephen’s email alert (04:04:01 PM PDT) enabled me to do that today. I thought I was quick in as the 7th response (05:13 PM) to Stephen’s post.

I have been working at my computer for most of the day and so have read almost all of the 60 posts on the Forum following Stephen’s lead. The big plus for me is that I have read posts from course colleagues whom I have not seen before. The less exciting part has been having my MobileMe account refresh itself on virtually every click (Bandwith in rural Australia).

It is almost 11 p.m. here and I have just read Stephen’s post on The Daily and was prompted to post a comment. With wonderful irony I received this message

and realised how good it is to have an impish sense of humour.

My Moodle day ended as a recidivist back at the Forum to find this 59th post:

Perversely, I have enjoyed today. I noted Lani’s post and her take on the day and Jason’s response to the exercise of power. ( I saw Tom’s post too through The Daily link and Ariel’s post through the WordPress Tag Surfer.)

The day has been a didactic success for me. It has engaged me in Moodle and encouraged me to think about my ownership of my learning environment. I chose not to reply again to the thread to avoid adding to the in-boxes of co-CCK08 travellers.

I am on the road (physical and metaphorical) tomorrow (Wednesday) … but Twitter and tweeting is another goal for me this week. (In a dyslexic moment I almost wrote gaol).

Goodnight from Australia.