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

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From George Siemens’ Knowing Knowledge:

Change is happening on two levels:

  1. …the context in which knowledge occurs, and
  2. …the flow and characteristics of knowledge itself. pg. 69

Our society is being restructured to align with knowledge. The barriers, inhibitors, obstacles, and unnecessary structures are giving away to models which permit effective knowledge creating, dissemination, communication, personalization, and flow. pg. 69

The fault of many schools, universities, and companies is the unwillingness to listen to the voices of those closest to change pressures and emerging methods. pg. 70

Who are these people…our students? Do we listen to them? Do we watch how they interact, how they communicate? Or do we just continue to take away their cell phones, tell them to put the iPod back in their locker, and tell them to leave their laptops at home. Instead of listening to our students and learning what it means to be connected in this new digital age, we try to disconnect them and focus on information that is not interactive, up-to-date, and well….boring.

People are able to connect, share, and create. We are co-creators, not knowledge consumers. Content generation is in the hands of the many. Co-creation is an expression of self…a sense of identity…ownership. We own who we are by the contributions we make. pg. 72

I agree. It’s one thing to watch YouTube it is another thing all together to create and upload a video to it. To have a video viewed over 100,000 times is very strange, and very cool. 70% of all YouTube registered users are in America. 50% of those are under the age of 20. Who’s creating this content? When are they finding the time to create it? And why are they not creating more of it during school?

We expect to co-create and experience the two-way flow models of knowledge sharing and dissemination. Our identities are exposed, revealed for anyone to explore. pg. 72

Our identities are exposed and this is something I think we need to come to terms with. We want to keep students safe on the web, but we can’t allow fear to take over and break that two-way knowledge sharing. We want our students work to be out there exposed to the real world, part of the growing body of knowledge, but we don’t want our students out there…not sure we can have it both ways. We need to be careful here, as our students are already in these spaces. We can try and keep them safe during the hours we see them at school. But if they are creating most of this content outside of school who’s keeping them safe then? And do we need to get over the fear of exposing our students so that we can use these social-network places to learn in?

Knowledge can now be expressed through the aggregate of the individuals-a deafening crescendo of contrasting and complementing opinions and views. pg. 72

We are being remade by our connectivity. As everything becomes connected, everything becomes transparent. Technology illuminates what was not discernible to the human eye. pg. 73

Siemens, G (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Lulu.com.

[tags]Knowing Knowledge[/tags]

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From George Siemens’ Knowing Knowledge:

Tools of individuality serve a greater good to society than tools of purely collective traits.pg 56

When we experience knowledge in application, we leave theoretical understanding of knowledge. pg. 56

Our desires and logic are shaped in an orchestra of context: acting and reacting, negotiating and dialoguing. pg. 61

We value what is different more than what is known…it pulls on logic towards not-logic directions. pg. 63

We are contextually holistic. pg. 63

We connect more than we construct. pg 63

The oppressed in the digital divide:

  1. Those without access to tools of global conversations.
  2. Those without skills to contribute to global conversations.

pg. 64

I like Siemens definition here at the end of oppressed. What does it mean to be oppressed in a digital world. Those without access and without the skills to contribute to a global conversation are at a disadvantage. As we become a global nation to ability to hold global conversations will be what separates the developing work from the developed world. China, India, and the UAE I think are three great example. Three countries that are working hard to become part of the “Globally Developed” world. Because of their access to tools and conversations these three developing 20th century countries are among the leading developed countries in the 21st Century.

Siemens, G (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Lulu.com.

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From George Siemens’ Knowing Knowledge:

Ultimately, whether online, face-to-face, or blended, learning and knowledge environments need to be democratic and diverse. A critical concept to keep in mind: The network and ecology must both be dynamic and capable of evolving, adapting, and responding to external change. pg. 47

Are our schools, and education in general, in a place that they can be seen as dynamic and capable of evolving? An interesting question. We were able to adapt and evolve to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) do to the pressures from the government. But if there was not money tied to the pressure to evolve would education have evolved on its own? I believe this could be part of the problem. We as humans do not evolve unless there is pressure applied to us to do so, and although we who are connected see the pressure to evolve, I do not think the typical teacher/school/district feels that pressure. That pressure only comes from us within the schools that are brining it to the attention of our administrators. There has been very little pressure put on the education system by corporations to change. Sure we see the reports, we hear Gates and others speak, but there is no pressure to change, therefore it does not happen.

Learning is continual. pg. 47

The more connective a knowledge stream, the more valuable. pg. 50

So the more connections you can find to the knowledge the more valuable it is? Interesting…isn’t this the same theory some search engines use to do page rank? The more connections made to a page the more valuable that information must be, therefore the link gets pushed up the page rank?

Knowledge moves too fast for learning to be only a product. pg. 51

I like this! Knowledge can never be a final project because of the rate of change. If knowledge can’t be a product, then it has to be a process in which you take an active role in developing and maintaining. How do you assess learning when learning is continual? Can we rely on standardized tests that focus on product to truly give us feedback on a process?

If what is before us is too unlike what is within us, we are not capable of forming a connection. pg. 52

I think of teachers when I read this line. What lies before us in education is too unlike where we are or where we’ve come from, therefore we are not capable and do not understand where we need to go. If you could picture yourself standing on a time line of education like on a train track, and you look one way back on education you would see a very linear progression of growth, with very few large bumps. If you where then to turn and look at the future you would notice that the train tracks do not exist that actually you are standing at the end of the line why? To steal a line for Back to the Future: “Roads….where we’re going we don’t need…roads.”

And I think that is what scares education. The future is changing so rapidly and education is not set up to be dynamic and evolving therefore we’re not sure where it is we are suppose to be going too. All we can see is what’s out there somewhere. Every child, no matter where they come from, is successful in life (Please note I use the word ‘life’ not ‘school’).

The capacity to connect produces the capacity to adapt. pg. 52

We have in the past seen knowledge as an object and learning as a product. But knowledge is really more of a stream…and learning more of a process. A product is a stopped process. pg. 52

We are too impatient with knowledge. We categorize it by imposing our models of organization.pg. 54

The ability to organize knowledge as we want it is a defining characteristic of our era. In the past, knowledge has been defined for us through editors, teachers, and experts. Now we do the organization ourselves. pg. 55

Knowledge is still seen as something we hold/possess based on its merits or application. This model will change quickly. Knowledge will be less of a product, and more of a process. pg. 55

How true this is. I think a Master’s Degree is the perfect example. I can not tell you how many times I’ve heard teachers say “Now that I have this piece of paper I’ll get paid more.” I’m sure we all know people who have gone through school gotten the piece of paper just because that’s what you are suppose to do. I did it. I did learn something from my Master’s program but what I was really after was the product. The diploma and grade transcript that says I have passed these classes and have now learned something. Education is a product driven industry. You strive to earn the product of a diploma no matter what level of education you are at. Learning is not a process in our schools, it’s a means to an end. In just a few weeks seniors around the world will be handed their diplomas, and if they are like me…they’ll learn more in the next couple of years, then they did the 13 previous ones.

We like our products, and I really don’t have a problem with them as long as they are a product that allows us to assess the process of learning and is used to further that process for each individual student. If products are created as an end result, then we stop the learning process. Products should be viewed as part of the learning process, be kept over time, and used as a way to show progression in learning (can someone say portfolio). When we use products to assess the process we allow the process of learning to change, evolve, and be dynamic in nature.

OK…getting deep…I need to rethink some things.

Siemens, G (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Lulu.com.

[tags]knowing knowledge[/tags]

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During TV Turn Off week I was able to spend some quality time with Knowing Knowledge. The recent book by George Siemens.

Here are my highlights and thoughts:

Learning is mess and chaotic pg. 41

A great line that Brian Crosby from the Learning is Messy blog talks about constantly. Learning is messy, chaotic and spontaneous…that’s why I love it!

Too often, we bend our pedagogy to the tool. pg. 41

Determining the tool and approach…

  • Intended outcome
  • Nature of the learning task
  • Match task with appropriate medium
  • Consider profile and needs of learners
  • Meta-learning elements required (are we trying to teach content or process?)
  • Diverse tools/spaces/ecologies

pg. 41

I like this bulleted list. A great place to start when designing lessons that involve any tool, not just technology.

The entire ecology of learning is the accurate whole. pg. 42

It is not content in general that we want. We want content that is current, relevant, and contextually appropriate. pg. 42

…when we create connections between content-we create a network or aggregation of different ideas…which adds meaning (pattern recognition) to the individual voices. Connections change content. pg. 43

Connections change content….I like that. Through the connections we make between learning nodes content changes. Reading a blog from Iraq, from a U.S. solider stationed there, and a newspaper article, your content changes because of the connections you have with these information nodes. Each node is a source of learning. Each new connection allows you to create personal learning for yourself within that context.

Our relationship to content has to change when content creation accelerates. We can no longer consume all relevant content items. pg. 43

With my netvibes stating I have 707 unread items don’t I know this is the truth.

If content has a short lifespan (as new information is acquired), then it would logically imply that our education and training systems should not be about content in particular-they should specifically be about current content. pg. 43

What we need to know is more important then what is known today. By only using written, published text are we supplying our learners with the most current content? Textbooks can be a historical resource, but can not, specifically in the field of science, be used as an example to teach what is currently known about a subject today. As the half life of knowledge continues to accelerate so must the tools we allow students to use to access that information. A textbook can not help us access accelerated knowledge. Once printed it does not change, does not adapt. A living breathing textbook is needed. (Check out Wikibooks)

When we stop seeing knowledge as an entity that is possessed within a person and start to cast it as a function of elements distributed across a system, we notice a dramatic impact on the education process: the educator becomes a supporter (not the center), the content is not as critical as the connections, learners find value in their aggregated perspectives, learners become content creators, and learning is continuous, exploratory, and sustained (not controlled or filtered by only one agent). pg. 44

We need to separate the learner from the knowledge they hold. pg. 44

The underlying assumption of corporate training and higher education centers on the notion that the world has not really changed. pg. 44

Employees require the abiltiy to rapidly form connections with other specialized nodes (people of knowledge objects). pg. 44

How do we separate the learner from the knowledge? By focusing not on the content they need to know (content changes constantly and requires continual updating), but on the connections to nodes which continually filter and update content. pg. 44

To be adaptive is to be perpetually current. pg. 45

Siemens, G (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Lulu.com.

[tags]Knowing Knowledge[/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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It just so happens my pre-bedtime blog run coincides with Clarence Fisher’s pre-breakfast blog run, once in awhile we catch each other on Skype for a little around the world chat. About a week ago or so Clarence mentioned George Siemens’ new book Knowing Knowledge, which can be downloaded for free from the website. I downloaded it started reading is. Made it to the 3rd page and took it to our print center and had 5 copies made for my administrators.

Then yesterday while waiting for my wife at a Starbucks I started reading. Made it 3 pages again, and had to go buy a highlighter. So over the next couple of weeks (I’m a slow reader) I’ll be giving you my hightlights of the book. I think this could be interesting, to see the words, phrases, and passages that stuck out to me. I’ll cover the first 20 pages here.

Knowledge rests in an individual; it resides in the collective. -p. 14

Knowing and learning are today defined by connections. CONNECTIVISM is the assertion that learning is primarily a network-forming process. -p. 15

Through a process of expert validation and acceptance of the public, knowledge acquires solid states. Over the last several decades, more of our knowledge has shifted to soft knowledge. When things change rapidly, many knowledge elements do not have time to harden before they are replaced or amended. Managing hard and soft knowledge (as a continuum, not distinct points) requires different processes. -p. 18

We can no longer create our filters in advance. We must learn to dance (engage and interact) with knowledge in order to understand what it is. -p. 20

There you go, my highlights from the first 20 pages. I keep thinking about these over and over in my head. Last night I couldn’t sleep because I was trying to wrap my head around this. Anyway, those are only the first 20 pages…it’s gonna get better!

[tags]knowing knowledge[/tags]

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