Monday, March 7, 2011


Indeed, almost a month between posts, of listening and reading more than "speaking" (CCK11 on Facebook excepted). There's a lesson there. There's always a lesson somewhere, everywhere ~ up to us to make connections, analyze the information, draw and apply conclusions, taking note but not worrying overmuch when conclusions don't match those of cohorts or even guides. Information, however, should not ramble too far off the reservation. Presumably, we are all working with the same or at least similar information. Conclusions will vary but, adjusted for purpose, perspective and other parameters, should not be wildly inconsistent.

Translated that means (among other things), briefly, not all of us are here for the same purposes and hence will not take away same resources, not use MOOC, analytics and connectivism lessons or data for the same purposes. My interests are not the same as administrators or IT managers. Theirs are not the same as mine. They may not even the be same as most teaching co-participants. None of the preceding takes listening to, following coversations, reading, sifting ideas and sharing resources off the table.

image from a connectivism wiki

Remember the admonition: follow according to your focus/interests and take what you can use. Share and collaborate with all, regardless of their focus. It's a network, not a group; networked, not hierarchical.


So where have I been coming from (not to mention where headed)? I am not an administrator, manager, IT designer. Retired, I am not even a full time educator any more. I remain a learner with PLN, a volunteer, an activist, a community networker and interested in both education and online learning as they applies to all of the preceding. 

And what am I doing with, how do I hope/intend/plan to use, all this? Can't say for sure just yet but creating public self-regulated learning programs for open community access is part of it. This grows out of community blogging and volunteer teaching ESL online. It is as nourished by IRL experiences and networks as it is by the online. 

As for analytics, numbers / data don't lie but are not always complete (insufficient data), subject to being applied out of context and can be manipulated. Word is that the Gates Foundation has done just that with some of the analytics massaged data used to support Foundation positions on education. Caveat emptor.

Yes, use knowledge analytics but remember its indirect but not unrelated antecedents: GIGO, double bookeeping, gaming the system, the very old practice of manipulating numbers (I've done field accounting on T&M jobs) and stats, derivatives as a form of analytics abuse. Learn more, enough to use analytics as an aid to improve learning and teaching and to question analytics based conclusions supporting purposes counter to yours. Know and understand well enough to be able to ask the right questions. There are others ways of knowing the world. Don't let them supplant instincts and lived experience. 

Analytics and connectivism: I've been searching the webz for something that specifically discusses how they relate. Not coming up with much, at least not that I can or care to use. Is this an iformation gap or what? Just tagging a post or tweet with both does not make a relationship anymore than sitting in the garage makes me a car. Bumper sticker version: a tool to apply to and analyze the theory's complexities. Bleh but it will have to do for now. Go ask the network...  ANT seems to fit in here too. Just don't ask me for a coherent explanation, not yet - maybe later. 

Connectivism (or this explanation from Stephen Downes): E.M. Forster was right. it's all connected. Leaving other networked domains aside for the time being, onlline and IRL connections create, grow and sustain our personal networks as well as those underpinning institutions and social practices. Some are denser and more connected than others. Trying to make learning theories (imo all connected) discrete, separate, even adversarial, is another form of silo building in the kingdom of Toxic Treehouses. Is there a unified field theory of teaching and learning?

Connectivism, open access, self-regulated learning and community networking and how they relate (connect!) are what I'm most interested in. More on that later along with (I hope) more specific comments on what I am taking away (some of which, however, may not become apparent until later)

Ditto comparing courses on basis of delivery. organization, experience, impressions, participants and whatever else comes to mind: Learning and Knowledge Analytics; Multiliteracies (mini-MOOC at TESOL's Electronic Village Online); Connectivism and Connected Learning

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