Connection not Content

A Blog for MOOCs and Other Animals

Archive for November 2011

#Change11 :: Disconnection not Discontent

with 4 comments

I’m trying hard to be a Lurker but keep being drawn in, fascinated by all the activity and the sterling efforts made by the facilitators in sharing their time and expertise. Now I’m reduced to throwing down a few disconnected notes – nothing like a bit of chaos and confusion! So here goes:

  • What’s Education for?  – I’ve pondered this before – society and the individual need myriad survival skills. These range from very basic to countless specialist skills for trades, professions, humanities and whatever else contributes to human wellbeing. The survival problems currently facing humanity are complex, global and inter-related. They will not be understood or competently addressed by under-educated populations. Also, the effective, rational and sometimes painful solutions to these problems are more likely to be democratically acceptable to educated populations.
  • What’s Education Theory for?  – Lacking the same solid factual (yes facts!) basis and predictive power of the widely accepted scientific theories, education theory attempts to guide rather than dictate. As all sorts of theories and metaphors bubble away in the pot, the body of knowledge surrounding education is debated, tested and refined. The more acceptable parts emerge to have a disproportionate influence on received wisdom and ultimately on practice. When I was a boy, corporal punishment was justified in schools and practiced by many otherwise competent teachers – now it’s almost entirely taboo. Presumably, this was the result of a steady percolation of ideas from broadly accepted theory to practice.

    If the purpose of education theory is to influence and guide education practice then how should a new theory be presented? Given the current situation of real classrooms, lecture halls, inflexible curricula and the burden of assessment, the concern of many educators will often be less with turning established pedagogy upside down than with cheerfully exploiting the bits and pieces of whatever theory or theories fit their particular circumstances. A theory with good predictive value and a compelling message that can be translated into the specificity of action deserves to be trumpeted loudly and clearly !

  • What’s Dave Cormier for? – Change of course, and that’s a fact! The massive effort he put into his Change11 week was very impressive. Regrettably, I’ve had little time to delve much into Rhizomatic Learning but I did find the recordings informative. On the mattter of ‘alienation‘, I can understand why some aspects of the presentations might be considered unsettling. Trying to talk sense and keep an eye on the text chat while some participants simultaneously scrawl over the screen seems above the call of duty! Someone suggested that facilitators might consider initially setting the scene a little more formally – a prepared video for example and this makes good sense to me.
  • What’s this Blog for? – I’m beginning to wonder as it’s rambling all over and out of control – but this a MOOC and I’ll do what I like! There’s a bit of self-discovery involved – perhaps it’s becoming more like ‘notes to myself’ – but I’m not discontented and we’ll see how things go.

Written by Gordon Lockhart

November 15, 2011 at 7:54 am

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#Change11 :: How Now Sweet Cow? – the Social Artist who disrupted my MOOC learning

with 6 comments

@Gordon_L @jimgroom I showed ur MOOCcow here today
in Lyon @ #fossa2011 as example of openess in other domains.
Talked abt #ds106 too
NancyWhite via Twitter for iPhone

Found the above in my twitter stream the other day so ventured right out of Lurkdom for Nancy White’s presentation and now I’m so enthused I want to tackle this weeks assignment – find stories about social artists in their learning life! Trouble is – no inspiration yet!

MOOCow Mooc Cow
0 secs ago via Twitter for CowPhone

Gordon_L Gordon
@MOOCow – Yikes !! You’ve gotten a life of your own !! You’d better come onto this blog.

MC: Well thanks G – yup I’ve gotten a learning life! Look no further G, I’m a Social Artist !
G: 🙂 🙂 – sorry MOOCow but that’s really funny !
MC: Don’t I help create social learning spaces where people can work and learn together? Look at me in this pic at Opened11 inspiring Jim Groom to do his thing !!
G: It depends on what you mean by working and learning – I don’t see much of that in this or any other MOOC! Why, in my day I’d be up studying at the crack of dawn, 3 lectures before lunch and labs all afternoon before a couple of hours in the library at night. Now that’s real learning! The only exam I ever failed was engineering drawing so at least I learned I was no good at drawing or graphics stuff.

Jim Groom introduces MOOCs during a rollicking keynote at opened11. “Open education is not a resource, it’s an experience”
MC: Err .. what about your drawing of me then, the iconic MOOC Cow, now popping up all over the web?
G: Huh! – oh that was LibreOffice and I used somebody else’s cow drawing so all the fuss took me by surprise – I’m no artist.
MC: But you learned to reuse and remix! Take it from me, MOOCs possess superpowers in the unexpected.
G: I’m not saying I haven’t learned anything at all in these MOOCs but I’m quite capable of going off and teaching myself rather than being forced to comment on peoples’ blogs or play silly games in chatrooms.
MC: Look G, MOOCs move around in the informal social regions that normally surround other courses, so it’s hardly surprising that quite unexpected things happen. What you learn is unpredictable and uncontrollable and probably not what you think of as ‘academic’. If I could tell you what’s being learned right now in this very MOOC !! People changing long-held beliefs, challenging their employers, taking their communities to new levels, making life-long friends, finding new lovers ….
G: Hey! – steady on MOOCow, I am British you know! All I can say is that apart from the cow drawing nothing very unexpected has happened to me.
MC: Does it have to be about you? What about your young grandson?
G: Eh?
MC: You gave him a copy of your drawing so then he wanted to do one for himself. Now he’s learned how to find an image, copy it, load LibreOffice, paste in the image, adorn it with stars and fancy fonts – all by himself and he’s only 7! Here’s one of the pics he did – what do you think of that?.
G: Well OK yes, and I’m very proud of him but what’s this got to do with MOOCs?
MC: You’ve learned to teach by example G! Look, one of the very few wise things you ever said about a MOOC is that it’s NOT really a course, at least in any conventional sense. The name, ‘MOOC’ has stuck and maybe that’s unfortunate but as far as learning is concerned, expect the unexpected! Like, how’s photography?

Grandson (7) follows G’s example and learns to mix and mash his own computer drawings.
G: Photography? Now you’re quite off topic MOOCow!
MC: Remember that nice Australian lady on your last MOOC who commented on your blog and then encouraged you to put up some photos onto Flickr and then made some really positive comments on them – mediocre though your photos assuredly were!
G: I thought they were OK! Hmm … I see what you mean though but I get tired of making comments on peoples’ blogs, particularly when I try to be helpful and they don’t even bother to respond.
MC: They’re all in a MOOC for different reasons G and haven’t you noticed how different humans are? Some, like you, are shrinking violets, wouldn’t say “Boo!” to a goose, while others comment on every comment going, blogging and twittering away like mad every single day of the week. Besides, some are not so um, ….. less mature than you. Anyway, I didn’t see you interacting much during Nancy White’s presentation!
For jam, but spurred on by comments from Down Under, G learns to improve his photography. (OK, OK … he’s a slow learner!)
G: Well, I didn’t know how to work the pencil, I don’t have a mike, she was speaking too quickly, my PC was on the blink – OK I’m British and I just don’t do interaction !
MC: THEN GET OVER IT! – or not, it’s completely up to you G. As a social artist I paint with a very broad brush – you alone decide exactly where you want to fit into the big picture. Well I’m off to do another presentation now but here’s a thought for you. When your grandson’s an old f*** like you he might just want to dig into the archives where I’m storing every single word, letter and pixel generated by you and your cronies on this and every other MOOC – Byeee !!

Wow! …. Well I guess this is where I wake up and find it’s all some sort of bad dream?

MOOCow Mooc Cow
0 secs ago via Twitter for CowPhone

Hmm … think I’d better nominate MOOCow as a Social Artist for the assignment.

Written by Gordon Lockhart

November 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm

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