In the course, we covered many interesting readings and attended many presentations. It was a rich environment in which we tried to understand what Connectivism is. In this presentation, I would like to share two additional sources to understand Connectivism from social and cultural perspectives. The first is Digital Youth Project, and the second is James Burke, a journalist/social historical on technology and society.
First, I’d like to share a couple of images. This photographic image represents my subjective image of the moment of innovation or achievement. In this picture, wind, blue sky and fling kites are all nicely aligned in a perfect equilibrium. A moment later, it might get unbalanced, but for this moment, everything is in perfect alignment.
Here is another image of “innovation” based only on paper transaction.
An image of a collection of Web 2.0 tools is often used to represent the new networked environment. This collection of tools became a strong reference point for us to ponder Connectivism.
In this last image, we see different types of network. In the course, we discussed Personal Learning Environment, and Personal Virtual Network as important building blocks for networked learning.
In the course, we tried to understand Connectivism from a theoretical perspective. However, we didn’t spend much time learning from the people who actually practice networked learning. In this respect, Digital Youth Project is significant. It gathered ethnographic data by interviewing and observing the kids who socialize in networked environments.
For the kids, it’s part of their day-to-day activities.
According to Itoh (2008), “..gossiping, flirting, and engaging in negotiations over status and popularity as kids have always done as they move between private talk and public performance.” Facebook, MySpace, Neopets, and Club Penguin support this friendship based mode.
Another way of socialization among the kids is Interest driven learning and participation.Kids with passionate interests and serious hobbies find peers online and mobilize around their interests. These are the kids who are identified as smart or creative. Their media creation is taking place in a social sharing context. According to Dr. Itoh, “some kids take the advantage of networks to reach out to new kinds of communities and special interests.” “Networked publics is about the lateral, peer-to-peer and many to many networks of people…” The network publics are “highly differentiated and socially activated.”
Technology “does not stand apart as an external force that impacts society and culture.”Itoh continues that “[r]ather, technologies are embodiments of social and cultural structures that in turn get taken up in new ways by existing social groups and cultural categories.” This is a longer way of saying “Medium is a message.”
The proliferation of freely available Asian TV animation and drama series on the Net is one example of the work done by the kids with the interest driven learning and participation mode. I am aware of one site with an amazing volume of TV anime and drama series from Japan and Korea that are freely available to view.
It was a bit of mystery for me for a long time that they all had decent or acceptable English subtitles.
Onlinefansubbing scene : they are actively involved in translating, producing subtitles, and distributing anime or drama episodes. I looked at one of fan subbing site called Fansub TV Network. The site is remarkably well run with basic guidelines and rules enforced by a long list of members who are in leadership position. They manage the site, contribute the content, organize and facilitate members. They are most active members of the network and promote themselves to the leadership position. The discussion varies from highly aspects, such as getting materials, providing translations and actually inserting subtitle texts into the screen, or existing or non-existing licensing issues, to Japanese popular culture topics or general social issues such as climate change. The people in leadership position can come from all over the world.
They produce a very professional and entertaining zine which provides the descriptions of the characters of a given anime series, and topics on Japanese popular culture including fashion and literature, and a cooking instruction of a Japanese dish. One of popular skill related discussions in the discussion board on PhotoShop.
This advertisement recruits people who want to get involved in publishing the zine. It’s very inviting and supportive: “We will help every step of the way, you don’t need any prior experience to take part. You can join the team and become a steady member of the team, or just write the occasional article…” Peer-to-peer learning is encouraged.
One paticipant in the Digital Project. His involvement in the fan subbing scene started with his interest in anime music and its lyrics when he first purchased Japanese games during his middle school years. He took formal Japanese language courses at college, and also was involved in fan subbing activities in his informal learning space. Because of his fan subbing activities, the Japanese language class is “a GPA booster.” He has now a level two certificate on Japanese language proficiency and wants to pursue a career using his understanding of Japanese language and his interest in new media.
He took the opportunity to be a quality control person for a fan subbing site that is well known for its quality translations. He made sure that his contributions were appreciated by the group. He knows that when he does a good work, the end product was being appreciated by many viewers. This is an example of learning taking place while he is socially engaged by building his reputation and recognition in the group and working on the things he is interested. He is highly motivated.
So let’s review how we were first introduced to the idea of connectivism. Here is a concise description provided by George being cited by Stephen. information patterns? Can we actually objectively discern the patterns? Is it more like actively engaging in and playing some socially significant role in order to mobilize a common interest? Do they mean meta-cognition?
1. Diversity, but also the focus must be some shared interest and passion? 2. In case of fan subbing groups, those sites are the nodes and not just information. The sites are the location of social activities. 4. Is it more like the skills to align one’s activities and deliver more desired and better results? (Maybe, this is too utilitarian in orientation?)
5. In case of fan subbing scene, it sounded like learning is by-product but not their main objective. 6. Socially relevant and productive? 7. For Lantis as an example, “currency” might mean what is the most timely and relevant and productive for the network?
For James Burke, human history, past, present, and future, always has been and is and will be about “Connectivism.” He never called it that way, however. For him, change doesn’t happen in a linear, predictable way as we traditionally learn to view our history. Burke says, “how seemingly random, unrelated events have given birth to innovative ideas that changed history.” Innovation is hard to predict. According to Burke, institution today is backward looking trying to handle high rate of innovation with the procedures established in the past, with the technology of the past, to solve the problem of the past. Modern market is designed around trade scarcity, and it’s out of sync in the 21 century.Burke sees network nodes as people, events and ideas. He uses network mapping to connect people and historical events. He is working on a project called Knowledge Web. This will be a free educational web site for young people to acquire the skills to predict changes and significant happenings so that they can forecast possible outcomes by exploring networking paths that they choose to investigate. He produced three different editions of Connections since the 80’s to document his view of human history and progress. You can view a number of episodes from his series on YouTube. I will finish this presentation by showing the last episode of the final series entitled, “Balanced Anarchy.”
Connectivism: Navigating through Cultural & Social Layers
Connectivism:Connecting & Sharing the MeaningsNavigating Through Cultural & Social Layers<br />Asako Yoshida<br />CCK09 Project<br />November 2009<br />
Digital Youth Project<br />A three-year ethnographic project<br />22 case studies by 25 researchers.<br />Over 700 interviews.<br />Over 5,000 observation hours online and offline.<br />
What Web 2.0 Tools for the Kids?<br />Their everyday engagement with new media, in homes, afterschool, and other sites of socializing and play.<br />It’s not really driven by technology<br />It’s their social and technical ecology = researchers call “networked publics.”<br />
Social Media SitesFriendship-Driven Networks <br />
LANTIS<br />A college graduate<br />Involved in fansubbing scene since his middle school years.<br />Became a connoisseur of anime and fansubs.<br />He took the position of quality control for the site that is known for its high quality translations.<br />
Peer-Based Networked Publics<br />Reputation<br />Learning<br />Recognition<br />Consequential and visible in the here and now of kids’ public participation.<br />
Connectivism<br />The capacity to form connections between sources of information, and thereby create useful information patterns, is required to learn in our knowledge economy.”<br />George Siemens (2005) cited by Stephen Downes (2006).<br />
Connectivism<br />Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions<br />Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources<br />Learning may reside in non-human appliances<br />Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known<br />
Cont’d…<br />Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.<br />Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.<br />Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.<br />
Cont’d….<br />8. Decision-making is in itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.<br />
James Burke<br />Connections: The Day the Universe Changed<br />Knowledge Web Project<br />…in some way, everybody and everything are interconnected.<br />
References:<br />Ito, Mizuko (2007). Networked Publics: Introduction<br />http://www.itofisher.com/mito/publications/networked_publi.html<br />Ito, Mizuko (2008). Participatory learning in a networked society: lessons from the Digital Youth Project.<br />http://www.itofisher.com/mito/publications/participatory_l.html<br />Dr. Mizuko Ito was the lead investigator for the Digital Youth Project funded by the MacArthur Foundation. For other useful sources are available at her web site<br />http://www.itofisher.com/mito/publications/participatory_l.html<br />James Burke’s speech in Sacramento, CA, May 2009:<br />http://www.govtech.com/gt/679840<br />Many video clips of the episodes from Connections: The Days the Universe Changes are available on YouTube.<br />Downes, Stephen (2006). Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge.<br />http://it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/paper92/paper92.html<br />