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Archive for March, 2011

Our paper…….

Emergent Learning and Learning Ecologies in Web 2.0

Roy Williams, Regina Karousou, Jenny Mackness

…. has finally been published in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. We ran a webinar about this paper in February (with permission of IRRODL) in the ELESIG community (see https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/emergent-learning-webinar-recording/) and have been waiting for the paper to be published ever since.

It is great to see familiar names of other authors in the issue of the journal and I’m looking forward to reading their papers and gaining further insights into connectivism.

I’m also hoping that we will receive feedback on our paper which was very enjoyable to work on – thanks to Roy and Regina 🙂

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Within the CPsquare community there is an ongoing Research and Dissertation series where members are asked to share their research, either completed or in progress, with the community.  This week Jeffrey Keefer is sharing his research. The title of his research is Educational Research and (Virtual) Identity in Postmodernity.

Jeffrey is discussing this with CPsquare members, but also on his blog ‘Silence and Voice’ and today has made a post about what constitutes the ‘A-Ha’ moment in learning, what is a transformative learning experience, what is a threshold concept?

In thinking about this on a personal level, I realise that I like the fact that Jeffrey has used an energy saving light bulb as an image on his blog post. These bulbs as you will know don’t instantaneously give us a bright light. My experience is that transformative experiences are not instantaneous, but take place over time. Sometimes it takes a while to know that something has changed or been learned.

So what is a threshold concept and where does the ‘A-Ha’ moment fit in? According to Meyer and Land

“A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress.” (Meyer and Land, 2006:3)

Read more at Introduction to Threshold Concepts and Erik Meyer and Ray Land’s develop Occasional Paper 4: Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge

A brief look at this paper by Meyer and Land has made me wonder which comes first, the A-Ha moment, the threshold concept or the transformational experience and also to question how much control does the learner have over these experiences.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about how Jeffrey approaches his research and what he is finding about the relationship between transformation learning experiences and identity formation.

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Week 8 of the CCK11 course focussed on power and authority on online networks.

Overview
Networked technologies have changed power and authority. This, networked learning has a great deal in common with approaches to learning that focus on personal empowerment and freedom.

The speakers for this week were Frances Bell and Ailsa Haxell. Their session was recorded as was the follow up session by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. Both are well worth viewing/listening to again.

There were many thought provoking ideas in these sessions – but the one that caught my attention was the idea proposed by Ailsa that if knowledge and agency are distributed across the network then accountability must also be distributed. She asked, ‘Am I responsible for the ways that others around me act’ and answered her own question with a ‘Yes’ – there is networked accountability.

Given the activity on my blog for the past two weeks I have found this interesting to think about. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about ‘Attacks on Connectivism’ which to my surprise has attracted a lot of attention and comment. The interesting thing is that this attention and comment is not about me or what I have written, but about Stephen Downes, George Siemens, connectivism and those who have something to say about connectivism as a theory.

If we take the metaphor of blogs being a place where we can invite people to come and sit on our front porch, as opposed to forums which can be viewed more as a market place with lots of hustle and bustle*, then my blog has felt a little more like a market place recently – with a number of people visiting and holding their own discussions.

*(see Mak, Sui, Fai, J., Williams, R. & Mackness, J. (2010). Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools in a MOOC. In Networked Learning Conference, Aarlborg (pp. 275-284). Retrieved from http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/organisations/netlc/past/nlc2010/abstracts/Mak.html)

All this has been very interesting for me, but I have not felt the need to be involved in further  discussion about this – so to what extent am I accountable for the ideas expressed in the comments made on this particular blog post and does it matter?

I know some of the reasons for this post attracting such a lot of attention. First the ‘jury is still out’ on connectivism as a learning theory and there are plenty of people out there who are following associated discussions. More than this George and Stephen made reference to my blog post. That always results in increased readers on your blog. But mostly it was Twitter. For some reason there were lots of tweets about this post.  Am I accountable for all this? Am I responsible for the ways in which others have reacted to this? If I am, does this mean that the network has some sort of power over me and what I can post on my blog? How does this relate to autonomy, which is a key principle of connectivism?

Week 8 Readings

 

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