Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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George-Siemens

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I was reading Will’s post today It’s Not Just the “Read/Write” Web and then thanks to twitter John Pederson’s post on Networks (I think that’s what it’s on anyway).

As I read I started thinking about a post I did back in January on defining School 2.0.

Not sure if it’s OK to quote yourself but back then I wrote:

School 2.0 although driven to change by the advancement of technology is not about technology, it’s about the advancement of society, of our culture as a world. Technology played a large part, but it is society that has changed. Everything from out-sourcing work to Asia, to the built in GPS in your car, to the phone/pda/web/music/video/picture iphone. Society has changed that’s why a new school is needed. If you think schools need to change because of technology…I’d argue you have it wrong. Schools need to change because our society has changed.

And I still believe this is true. What is School 2.0? It’s the new network world we live in. In the past couple of year I have started looking at everything differently. Is it just me or do you go around noticing all the ways our society relays on networks?

Today I went to the dentist where they took my picture because they are going  “Chartless.” Why? Because if all the information is in the computer they can easily access it from any room in the office. I go to room one and by the time I sit in the chair my chart is on the computer screen. The hygienist has a complete history of my visits, with pictures of my teeth and all the information she needs to do her job. The dentists in our area are also all forming a network to easily transfer and share files of patients. So now if I needed braces they would send the complete file electronically.

Or what about last week when my wife was looking for a new pair of shoes. The store didn’t have them in her size but the lady helping us scanned the shoe and then looked at the inventory of 5 other stores within our area to see if they had the right size. With a couple clicks the nice lady tells my wife that the shoes will be in the store in two days.

Will writes:

But here’s the thing that’s been sticking with me of late. For all of the talk about Classroom 2.0 and School 2.0 and Addyourwordhere 2.0, there still isn’t much talk about what fuels the 2.0…the network.

And I believe this is where we need to get. The tools allow us to form networks, to form our own personal learning networks continually connecting, disconnecting, and reconnection to the information we need. The tools allow us to become a learning nod for others, but I believe it’s been said before that RSS is the glue that holds it all together. It allows us to connect to these different nods. Pull them in, compare, contrast, mashup, and create new content based on the information you have and the information you want.

While at the EdBloggerCon at NECC I brought up in a session that we need to change teaching at its roots. At the very foundation….the pedagogy. Some disagreed with me saying that good teaching is still good teaching. I’m just not sure if I can swallow that.

Does good teaching in 1920 look the same as good teaching in 1950….1980…..1990…..200?. With the advancements in brain research alone can you say that good teaching never changes?
At this moment I think George Siemens Knowing Knowledge and connectivism theory of learning best represents how learning and knowledge has been changed in this new 2.0 world.

Connectivism

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.

Connectivism is a new theory based on networks and connections. A new theory brings with it a new Pedagogy that we need to understand. If we continue to use old theories to teach new skills we can never truly create the change we talk about in the blogosphere. I was taught the constructivist theory believe it is a good learning theory and is what is expected in an interview. But does it take into account the new networked world we live in? The new chaos and expansiveness of information today.

If we truly want to see the change we are all hoping for than I believe we need to look at the very root of education. We need to understand that the tools are only the things we use. It’s the network, the connections, the creating of new information in this open and free space that truly impacts learning, our society, and our world.

[tags]School2.0, connectivism, George Siemens[/tags]

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I’m returning this morning from my week of digital darkness. Although not complete darkness, enough so that the time away allowed me to refocus on what is important in life. My wife and I played Gin Rummy last night. The first time we’ve played in a really long time…it was nice.

I’ve been disconnected before. Usually when on vacation and traveling both of which are usually not voluntary. This was the first time that it was truly voluntary for me to give up being connected outside of the school day. After 3:00 I didn’t touch a computer….difficult indeed. I even managed to post my techlearning article this past week during my online time at school so not to break the week streak. I did not go complete screen free as doing so would mean sleeping the whole week. The one concession that both my wife and I made was our cell phone and text messaging. It has become so much a part of the way we communicate that just because we were trying to give it up for a week, friends of ours would still text us. Making it a necessity to communicate. Is a screen a communication tool? I guess so, it’s a visual tool that we use to communicate in different forms.

I didn’t complete all my offline tasks this week, but did enjoy getting through Knowing Knowledge by George Siemens. I’ve been carrying the pdf around with me for some time and started awhile back posting my highlights here. I’ll be doing that again in the coming weeks, and this book really gets to the heart of knowledge today and how these networks are changing the way we think, learn, teach, and interact. I have a lot of thinking to do on what I read and plan on posting much of it here.  Good stuff. I will be buying the book when I get back to the states this summer. I’m also thinking of using this as the text for the class I’ll be teaching this summer. So much good stuff that really pushes and pulls at your thinking.

Enough for now….I’m back online, refreshed, refocused, and ready for some new deep thinking.

Thanks for stickin’ around. 🙂

[tags]knowing knowldge, George Siemens, TVturnoff[/tags]

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As I’ve been reading the book Knowing Knowledge the concept that George Siemens presents of offloading content and information into the network is finding a place with me.

I’ve been thinking about this for days now and how my netvibes page has become my network of information. No longer do I have to learn something just in case, but instead the skill of being able to find information when I need it is what I need to learn how to do.

Today was a great example. I’m getting a teacher all excited about creating digital stories. We were talking about me coming into the classroom to teach the students how to create the stories when I remembered that I really don’t know the ins and outs of Photostory3, the program we’ll be using. But I do know where to go to find that information. So a quick check of my PLN and my network of information and I found my del.icio.us bookmark to David Jakes Photostory 3 Tutorials.

It’s this notion of offloading information into the network that makes, in my opinion, RSS feeds to be the #1 best web 2.0 tool for everyday users, and should be the #1 tool we start with when teaching teachers. Once you are connected to nods of information, and understanding how those nods create a personal network for you, do you take the next step and start becoming a nod for others.

It would be interesting to see how many people started reading and collecting their nods of information before they became a nod themselves. I remember setting up a Bloglines account and adding feeds. Once I saw how amazingly cool this new tool was I was hooked and 3 weeks later I started this blog. I wanted to take this new network of information I was creating and add to it, remix thoughts, and add my voice to the conversation. Some people feel that way, others just read or read and comment using their network. Blogging isn’t for everyone (as much as I push everyone to do it) some people just don’t feel comfortable with it. (Fair enough, I don’t feel comfortable reading books)

So as my first semester technology classes come to a close I’m starting to think about how I want second semester to run. I’m dropping Moodle all together in favor of the WordPress MU site I just finished setting up earlier today, and of course I have a blog on the new network as well. (Just what I needed….another blog). The first couple sessions of class we will set up our personal learning network. We’ll probably use netvibes as I have found kids really like the interface and being able to add other tabs for themselves once they get into it is a plus. Once we have our network and our nods on that network established we’ll set up blogs. I’m looking forward to this, the possibilities for students to make more digital stories and embed them in their blogs, to create podcasts for assignments, oh the fun.

On thing that I started doing this semester was taking the first 10 minutes of every class for students to read through their network (RSS aggregator via Elgg). We then do a “What’s New” session where we talk about anything cool the students found while they were reading. Everything from the latest music release, to Google buying YouTube have been topics. The students enjoy it, and we get to discuss different items relevant to them every class period. If I were a Language Arts teacher, this would definitely be a daily routine. Think of the exposure these students are getting to the written word. CNN, BBC, and TechCrunch are three very popular sites the kids get their news from. Some days I give student time to write on their blogs about the news they’ve found, why they found it interesting and what it means to them. Being in a culturally diverse class makes it even more fascinating. As one boy from America follows the New England Patriots so we frequently get updates on how his team is doing. One of my Filipino girls follows the news out of the Philippines, another out of India.

It’s this notion of moving knowledge to the network that should relax some people. I get teachers all the time come to me and say “I can’t possibly learn it all” and you shouldn’t. Allow the network to work for you, we are still caught thinking we need to “know it all” when what we really need is to “Know how to find it”. That’s a change for education. As George Siemens put it:

The content needs to be findable at the learner’s point of need, as compared to learning being provided just-in-case. p. 37

We need to help students and teachers build these networks of findable knowledge and quit teaching just-in-case knowledge. Your network will gather the information for you…you just need to know how to find it.

[tags]Knowing Knowledge, George Siemens, offloading Knowledge, nods, network, RSS, photostory3[/tags]

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You can find the other posts here and here.

From the book Knowing Knowledge by George Siemens the things I’ve highlighted.

Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known. p. 31

Learning and knowing are constant, on going processes (not end states or products). p. 31

A constructivist view of learning, for example, suggests that we process, interpret, and derive personal meaning from different information formats. What happens, however, when knowledge is more of a deluge than a trickle? What happens when knowledge flows too fast for processing or interpreting? p. 33

A network model of learning (an attribute of connectivism) offloads some of the processing and interpreting functions of knowledge flow to nodes within a learning network. Instead of the individual having to evaluate and process every piece of information, she/he creates a personal network of trusted nodes: people and content, enhanced by technology. The learner aggregates relevant nodes…and relies on each individual node to provide needed knowledge. The act of knowing is offloaded onto the network itself. This view of learning scales well with continued complexity and pace of knowledge development. p. 33

The problem rests largely in the view that learning is a managed process, not a fostered process. p. 33

The content needs to be findable at the learner’s point of need, as compared to learning being provided just-in-case. p. 37

Course are fairly static. Knowledge is dynamic-changing hourly,daily. p. 37

[tags]Knowing Knowledge, George Siemens[/tags]

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OK, my second round of highlights from George Siemens’ new book Knowing Knowledge. You can find the first round here.

What skills and processes do we need to work with soft knowledge? We have spent our history with hard/codified knowledge as a product. We now need to learn to work with soft knowledge as a process.-p 22

We can no longer rely on categorization to meet our needs in a rapidly evolving, global knowledge climate. We must rely on network-formation and development of knowledge ecologies. We must become different people with different habits. -p 23

Learning is more than knowledge acquisition. Often it is a process of several stages with several distinct components. -p 25

Knowledge today requires a shift from cognitive processing to pattern recognition. -p 26

Learning is the process of creating networks. Nodes are external entities which we can use to form a network. Or nodes may be people, organizations, libraries, web sites, books, journals, databases, or any other source of information. The act of learning (things become a bit tricky here) is one of creating an external network of nodes-where we connect and form information and knowledge sources. The learning that happens in our heads is an internal network (neural). learning networks can then be perceived as structures that we create in order to stay current and continually acquire, experience, create, and connect new knowledge (external). And learning networks can be perceived as structures that exist within our minds (internal) in connecting and creating patterns of understanding. -p 29

Not all nodes within a learning network continue to remain relevant. As an intelligent network, our mind continually reshapes and adjusts to reflect new environments and information. -p 30

A learner who continually encounters new information and knowledge, will dynamically update and rewrite his/her network of learning and belief. -p 30

Connectivism is a theory describing how learning happens in a digital age. Research in traditional learning theories comes from an era when networking technologies were not yet prominent. How does learning change when knowledge growth is overwhelming and technology replaces many basic tasks we have previously performed? -p 30

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, complexity, and self-organization theories. -p 30

Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. -p 30

I have been given time at tomorrow’s staff meeting to follow up on the presentation I made last Friday to the student body. I’m trying to find a way to bring the staff into this new world of learning. There are some quotes here that I know will help me explain this new world of information we are in, and what that means for our classrooms.

[tags]Knowing Knowledge, George Siemens, Connectivism[/tags]

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