I listened to the Collaborate recording of Pierre Levy and Tom Reeves this weekend. It was interesting for me to see how everything is starting to flow together. To listen to Pierre Levy and think about it with in the context of a book I am reading write now by Mark Page, “Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind,” They both discuss in my definition, how human by nature of their ability for social learning, or learning through communication with each other, or in small groups ..learn and that is what differentiates them from other species. They do describe how other animals do have social learning but on a smaller scale than humans, such as ants or bees that live in colonies.
Levy defined our current era as the knowledge era. He discussed the current digital mediasphere: ubiquitous, interconnected and automatic manipulation of symbols. He notes that this is the end of the mass media era, the end of massive self-reproduction and diffusion of the alphabet and other cultural symbols. Scientific notation progress. Industrial economy:
Levy has defined the following and has a vision for this universal language:
Much of what Levy has to say about semantics is over my head. I did find this reference oto Information Economy Meta-Language:
Information Economy MetaLanguage. It is :
(1) an artificial language that translates itself automatically into natural languages,
(2) a metadata language for the collaborative semantic tagging of digital data,
(3) a new addressing layer of the digital medium (conceptual addressing) solving the semantic interoperability problem,
(4) a programming language specialized in the design of semantic networks,
(5) a semantic coordinate system of the mind (the semantic sphere), allowing the computational modeling of human cognition and the self-observation of collective intelligences.
Ultimately, though I am reading that it all comes down to language and how we connect via languages. He discussed how we can use technology to help us to learn better together, to interconnect. Computer give us “more memory,”
I found another online recording of Stephen Downes on MOOCs on ZaidLearn. Stephen talked about the grown of massive online open courses and what are the essential elements necessary to start one. He defines the MOOC as a distributed course, which means that not everything takes place within a learning management system environment. The MOOC is accessible publicly on the web and is open to anyone and everyone who has Internet access and a PC. What is needed to create a MOOC, are there standards of quality/ Minimal standards for a course includes syllabus and state date, end date and a schedule. There can be outcomes, but he noted that for most participants outcomes a personal and defined at the individual level.
If there are synchronous sessions they should be planned far ahead of time so participants can plan when they need to participate or be available. It is also standard practice, Downes notes, to have guest speakers available for presenting in the course.
There are various platforms to deliver the course content from, these include Edmodo, Moodle and Google Groups, the platform should have the capability for sharing research, discussions, etc.
Tom Reeves as another presenter for #change11 that I listened to over the weekend. Tom’s discussion was in regards to research. I am not sure that I will ever again be doing much in-depth research for education but knowing the practices that are out there is useful His focus was on educational design research.
This definition of educational design research, which I retrieved from this website, is very similar to what Reeves discussed:
While there is an ongoing debate about what constitutes design-based research (Van den Akker & et al., in press), the definition of design-based research proposed by Wang and Hannafin (2005) captures its critical characteristics:
a systematic but flexible methodology aimed to improve educational practices through iterative analysis, design, development, and implementation, based on collaboration among researchers and practitioners in real-world settings, and leading to contextually-sensitive design principles and theories (p. 6)
Finally I did review the materials and did a web search on Geetha Narayanans she cautions against using technology for technologies sake, emphasizes slow learning, and community in learning. Geetha has developed new methods and models for education that are specifically well suited to the needs in her country, India. She has established community learning centers in her country these are hubs for learning and the concept is spreading.
Geetha provided the definitions for the term technological fluency and technological determinism which is the thoughtless and widespread use of technology as the universal solution to the rising need for fast knowledge.
I am an advocate for the use of technology in learning when it has a purpose, I think that is Geetha’s point as well. Technology has to be integrated and supporting the learning it must be unseen and in the background. The benefit, I see in technology, I see is that it has expanded access, all be it to those who have Internet and a PC or a mobile device it has still provided the means through which that occurs. I suppose one could argue that while we were focusing on the technology as a solution others may not have been considered, that maybe the case. Take India for example it is projected that this country will need 24oo new universities by the year 2020,if that is the case they will need to open two a week between now and then..but who will teach at these institutions? The solution for India to date has been open courses and technology.