Too much choice

I am still reflecting on my experience at the Networked Learning Conference and it has been heartening to receive supportive comments here on this blog, in emails and  f2f.

The conference in Birmingham yesterday was wonderful. Inspiring in many ways. It’s interesting to reflect on why it worked so much better for me than the Networked Learning Conference. It is obviously significant that I was involved in the planning of this conference – and I think relates to negotiated meaning. Etienne talked a lot about the importance of moving away from thinking about teaching, learning and education as being about ‘stuff’ (e.g. curriculum, grades etc) to being about meaningfulness. The B’Ham conference was all about ‘meaning’ for me and I think it was for some of the delegates too judging from the feedback we have been receiving. The Birmingham conference was also considerably shorter and smaller, but more importantly was more focussed in it’s content.

The good thing about the Networked Learning Conference is that it has brought into sharp focus for me, some of my learning preferences and abilities. So I realise I am more of a ‘small is beautiful’ person, although I did manage to participate in CCK08 until the end – but mostly from the confines of my blog 🙂

I have also been intrigued by Heli’s posts about the Networked Learning Conference, as although she wasn’t at the conference, she really seems to have much more of a handle on what went on there than I do! She has managed to stay focussed on her interests (connectivism) and not get distracted by the huge diversity of what was presented at the NLC, which I found bewildering.

So Heli’s blog has reminded me that I am the type of person who does not like large department stores – I can never find what I am looking for and prefer the small shops with less choice and more focus on my personal style. It also reminded me that although I love gardens and flower shows, my one and only visit to the Chelsea Flower show in London  many years ago also left me feeling disappointed. I could not see the ‘wood for the tree’s – or in that case the flowers for the gardens. It is more enjoyable for me to experience the Chelsea Flower show from a distance, via the television, radio  and newspapers – but does this mean that I abdicate choice to others and open myself to possible group think, echo chambers and lack of critical analysis?

There is so much talk nowadays about being able to traverse networks, being able to filter and select, analyse and synthesise from vast amounts of information, that I wonder if we will end up with a divide between people like me who tend to prefer a smaller number of connections and those who participate happily in vast networks. Or has it always been like this – but to a lesser degree?

3 thoughts on “Too much choice

  1. Carmen Tschofen May 11, 2010 / 1:32 pm

    Hi Jenny,

    Just barely keeping up with all your recent blogging, and you’ve got me thinking about a synthesis of reading I’ve been doing recently… about how people understand networked, connective, or, for that matter, any form of learning differently, and about discussions of transformative learning and resulting differences in orders of awareness, which might be creating these differences in understanding, and what that might mean for teaching and communication… but in the meantime, while I get all this sorted out (and don’t hold your breath:-)), I thought you might enjoy this video, which discusses how people’s approach to networks and more or fewer connections might actually be “partially heritable”…! (About 13 minutes in, if you’re in a hurry.)


  2. jennymackness May 12, 2010 / 8:42 am

    Hi Carmen -great to ‘talk’ to you again. I’ll look forward to reading your synthesis of reading which sounds like quite a big undertaking.

    Thanks so much for the link to the video – which I really did enjoy and left me with lots to think about.

    It’s an interesting thought – are we genetically disposed to be good networkers – but I was also interested on his take about the advantages and disadvantages of being on the edge or less connected as opposed to the advantages or disadvantages of being well connected and in the ‘middle of things’. Lots to think about – so thanks for that Carmen.

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