Online Learning in a Networked Age


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Presentation given at SUNY Learning Networks SOLSummit in Syracuse, New York on February 28, 2013

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  • A few points regarding slide 19, one of the few I can see clearly.

    Consuming vs Creating:
    Except, you can have ALL the creators you want. If the creators have NO consumers... Well... I don't suppose you heard what happened to the US and the global economy? There has to be a balance between the 2. Take this slide show of yours. If no one consumes, if no one comments, you have no feedback. You may as well cry in the wind.

    Scarcity vs abundance:
    The trouble with most of the stuff on Youtube is it is junk. Or it is repetitions of already existing stuff. (eg: 12 copies of Sudbury Saturday Nite, by the late Stompin Tom.) And this huge Quantity, makes Quality hard to find. I have seen cases where one week I can find a certain video, but 10 days later, I cannot. It is likely still there, but not find-able. (It might be 26 pages in!)

    And one cannot favourite everything, or subscribe to every channel. (In fact I find myself now trying to get rid of stuff. And I am not the only one.) The challenge today is in organizing this in a useful manner. Solve that and.....

    Standardization vs personalization:
    As for standardization, well, we do need more of that in a lot of areas. Standardization can be good. it can also be bad. The same thing for personalization. They are just tools. There is great need for both. You cannot be on youtube, pinterest, twitter, facebook, email, socialcam, google+, and all the other 100 and some 'platforms' all at once. else you will be spread too thin, and your whole life vanishes in a maze of web postings. You have to pick and choose just where you will direct your efforts. (And hope you guessed right!)

    So here, standardization is needed. You can have too many resources, too many 'platforms', just as you can have too few. (Unless you are a big company, and hire people just to do that stuff for you. And even then, I am sure you are familiar with some recent pitfalls and disasters.)

    Indeed, I have seen cases where Microsoft, for example, has taken away a lot of personalization abilities and choices in it's products. They are not the only ones, just an easy target!

    The trouble, is that people, today, more than ever want to interface and share, and communicate with real people, eg: individuals.... (The networks, while needed, are also a tool.)

    And we cannot all just sit here, and type, Skype, and webcam away. There are still MANY real (and important) jobs that need to be done in the world.

    Locally, I know of a man who needs a good electrician. Can't find one. Another needs a master tin-smith. Not to be had. And one needs HVAC techs, easy to find.... Unless you seek true competence and ability. And then, horrors! Same for finding a good plumber. Try find a master brick-layer or a mason. Not just a guy who can lay bricks...

    And these things, well, you CAN indeed teach SOME (maybe even a lot of) theory online. But say, there is a Youtube video on how to fix the brakes on your car.... Now, would you trust yourself to watch the video and do that? No, you want a guy who maybe has watched the video, but who ALSO has had some formal hands-on training, and who preferably ALSO has done it before. And even if he has several years of experience, you might still want the job double checked.... And if you or your kid is walking down the street, I am sure you feel the same way about that oncoming car....

    Indeed, experience is badly needed in many places. Our challenge, is to see that it 'gets there'. And content, by which I mean good content, is still king. Don't believe me? Well the 'content' might be a well sung song. Who do you want doing it? Answer: Someone who can deliver. Same for your car brakes, or an electrical panel installation. Or a well cooked meal. Or a medical test and resulting report. If the content here fails, loss, injury, illness, even death can result.

    I do income taxes. I always put the return away for a bit, to double check later. When I worked at Block, and others, there were other people to double check. (I did it myself for others, and hated the work.) And even then, even with computers, the CRA double checks submitted returns. Why? Because and error, can be very significant, and not only financially.

    One hopes, that soon, some of these other huge challenges will also be addressed. Else, all the videos in the world, all the moocs in the world, all the educational theories on the world will not save us.

    But then you see, i come from the world of business, and the world of contracting. I (and others) have peeked in on the educational world. Might be time for the educational world to peek out on the real one. You might be able to make a useful contribution.

    Anyhow, take care, and consider some (or all) of these points. They might just inspire you. Which if they do, then I achieved my humble goals....
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Online Learning in a Networked Age

  1. 1. Online Learning in a Networked AgeDr. Alec CourosSLN SOL SummitSyracuse, New YorkFebruary 28, 2013
  2. 2. #slnsolsummit
  3. 3. me
  4. 4. The Blur
  5. 5. Personal Open Spaces
  6. 6. “Web 2.0 tools exist that might allow academics to reflectand reimagine what they do as scholars. Such tools might positively affect -- even transform - research, teaching, and service responsibilities - only if scholars choose tobuild serious academic lives online, presenting semi-public selves and becoming invested in and connected to the work of their peers and students.” (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009)
  7. 7. changes
  8. 8. current context - new affordances tools, content, networks
  9. 9. tools
  10. 10. MobileEarly Days of PCs in Schools Today’s Social/Mobile Reality
  11. 11. Convergence
  12. 12. significant shifts in media atoms <---> bits scarcity <---> abundance consuming <---> creatingstandardization <---> personalization individuals <---> networks
  13. 13. “in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000”“72 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or one hour of video is uploaded to Youtube every second.”“More video is uploaded to YouTube in one monththat the 3 major US networks created in 60 years.”
  14. 14. shifts in edtech Group growth Individual growthObjectivism Cognitivism Constructivism(Leinonen) (Schwier) Social Learning
  15. 15. content
  16. 16. Informal Learning • “Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning.” •George Siemens
  17. 17. 17-Year-Old Heather Traska 86 days, 30+ characters, 13 songs recorded, edited, produced arranged by ear
  18. 18. “Today knowledge is free. It’s like air, it’s like water... There’s no competitive advantage in knowing more than the person next to you. The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is what you can do with what you know.” (2012)@drtonywagner
  19. 19. networks
  20. 20. HAT’SNO T W AN T P O RT IM
  21. 21. Six Degrees of Separation“the idea that everyone is on average sixsteps away, by way of introduction, from another person in the world.”
  22. 22. Strength of Weak Ties “There is strength in weak ties. Our acquaintances, not our friends, are potentially our greatest source of new ideas andinformation.” (paraphrased from Gladwell, 2010)
  23. 23. Where Good Ideas Come From “The trick to having good ideas is not to sitaround in glorious isolation and try to think bigthoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table.” (Steven Johnson, 2010) “Chance favors the connected mind” ~ Stephen Johnson
  24. 24. networks provide ...1. affordances: enable communication, collaboration & cooperation in ways that were once impossible with people who were once unreachable.2. inspiration: connect us to new ideas & expand our thinking & potential for innovation. * ‘us’ meaning those who have access.
  25. 25. affordances & inspirationsvalue of free, crowdsourcing, visible learning
  26. 26. value of free
  27. 27. “Gift cultures are adaptations not to scarcity but to abundance .... In gift cultures, social status is determined not by what you control, but by what you give away. (1997)@esrtweet
  28. 28. “the song intentionally lacked a copyright so that people would be encouraged to create theirown online parodies, in essence their own "XYZ Style"”
  29. 29. 21st Century Learning Networks
  30. 30. 21st Century Learning Networks
  31. 31. crowdsourcing
  32. 32. @dlnorman
  33. 33. @giuliaforsythe
  34. 34. @noiseprofessor @noiseprofessor
  35. 35. @noiseprofessor
  36. 36. @timlauer
  37. 37. making learning visible
  38. 38. MYOB Learning
  39. 39. “To answer your question, I did use Youtube to learn how to dance. I consider it my ‘main’ teacher.” “10 years ago, street dance was very exclusive, especially rare dances like popping (the one I teach and do). You either had to learn it from a friend that knew it or get VHS tapes which were hard to get. Now with Youtube, anyone, anywhere in the world can learn previously ‘exclusive’ dance styles.”
  40. 40. How are you makingyour learning visible?
  41. 41. How are you contributingto the learning of others?
  42. 42. cMOOCs
  43. 43. #eci831 (open-boundary)
  44. 44. network mentors
  45. 45. non-credit students
  46. 46. course trailer
  47. 47. student-controlled spaces @jonmott
  48. 48. learned to love the hashtag
  49. 49. What We Learned• Open access be low-cost, high impact.• ‘Courses’ as shared, global, learning events.• Openness as a way of connecting students to a greater, authentic learning community.• Amazing serendipity in open spaces vs. walled gardens.• Importance of student-controlled learning spaces.• Connectivist pedagogy first focus on connecting & interactions; content important, but secondary.• Development of sustainable, long-term, learning connections.
  50. 50. #etmooc
  51. 51. origins
  52. 52. ~2000 participants from ~70 countries
  53. 53. spaces
  54. 54. /tweets
  55. 55. random artefacts
  56. 56. #lipdub
  57. 57. concluding thoughts
  58. 58. Private PublicClosed Open
  59. 59. (Joichi Ito)
  60. 60. “The developed world is in the midst of a paradigm shift both in the ways in which people and institutions are connected. It is a shift from being bound up in homogenous “little boxes” to surfing life through diffuse, variegated@barrywellman social networks.” (2002)
  61. 61. “Don’t limit a child to yourown learning, for he was born in another time.” ~Tagore @courosa