Posts Tagged ‘CCK08’

CCK08 – Final Project

December 6, 2008

Allow my visitors to publish the final project in Spanish, my mother tongue. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. This new post will be published in SUR, a Buenos Aires Sunday newspaper.

CCK08 – Final Project. Conectivismo: una visión de la tecnología en la educación.

Por Jorge Crom

En las últimas 12 semanas he participado de una experiencia educativa única de la Universidad de Manitoba en Canadá donde se ha explorando el impacto transformador de la tecnología en la enseñanza y el aprendizaje en las últimas décadas y los cambios y reformas que la educación pudiere estar reclamando ante la irrupción de las nuevas tecnologías. El concepto central es Conectivismo, un nuevo marco conceptual del conocimiento y el aprendizaje que emerge de la construcción y la navegación de las redes de conocimiento. Al nivel neuronal, conceptual y social, las redes manifiestan de manera fractal su carácter conectivo en un ambiente complejo y distribuido de cognición.

El curso realizado por Internet fue conducido por George Siemens y Stephen Downes, dos especialistas en educación haciendo uso de un gran conjunto de herramientas en línea para compartir textos, audios y videos y colaborar haciendo uso de plataformas abiertas y gratuitas de educación a distancia (Moodle, wiki), redes sociales (Facebook, Twitter, Flikr, Google Groups, LinkedIn, Ning), aplicativos de capacitación y participación (elluminate, UStream, Articulate, slideshare, Wordl), indexadores y alertas (Google Alerts, Pageflakes, delicous, RSS, Google Reader, Technorati, diig), blogs (WordPress, Blogger),  redes de comunicación ( mails, Skype), mapas mentales y conceptuales (Cmap), video (YouTube, blip.tv) hasta ambientes virtuales como Second Life. Pero el elemento más sorprendente del curso es haber podido dar un ambiente de participación activa y polémica a 2400 alumnos de todo el mundo en los que se da en llamar un Curso Masivo Abierto en Linea (CMAL). 

En una nueva cultura participatoria apalancada por la Web 2.0 las redes sociales estimulan la expresión, la colaboración, la circulación de información y la permite novedosas formas afiliación que a su vez reclaman nuevas habilidades en red y demandan un amplio acceso a tecnologías de información y conectividad a internet. La producción individual de contenidos, nueva formas de emergencia del poder de la gente a través de las tecnologías de Internet y la comunicación son sólo algunas de las características de la  época que sin duda permean también los ambientes educativos.

El Conectivismo puede ser interpretado como la teoría educativa que reconoce que el aprendizaje como la habilidad de armar y transitar redes de conocimiento. Desde esta perspectiva,  el conocimiento es ENREDADO y está distribuido en espacios complejos y dinámicos en abundancia apalancado por la tecnología que replica fractalmente en la sociedad y a nivel individual la misma estructura de conectividad que se da a nivel cerebral.

 

REDES, REDES,  REDES.

El cerebro responde a las demandas ambientales, generando, creando,  fortaleciendo, debilitando y hasta  perdiendo conexiones neuronales. La mente resulta una construcción distribuida desde el cerebro hacia el exterior donde la plasticidad es su característica básica. Cuándo algo impacta esta red, las conexiones de la red cambian resultando en el almacenamiento de información. El  aprendizaje resulta de la integración de toda la información percibida y procesada que deja una traza física en su pasaje, generando nuevos patrones de organización en la red.

En los últimos años psicólogos, biólogos, matemáticos, físicos y científicos de diversos campos han compartido sus observaciones y construido un nuevo espacio epistemológico llamado la Nueva Ciencia de las Redes. Una nueva perspectiva teórica que por ejemplo está proveyendo a los médicos herramientas para enfrentar su batalla contra las epidemias, a los ingenieros a prevenir fallas en cascadas en los grandes sistemas eléctricos interconectados y a los analistas económicos a anticipar catástrofes financieras. Nodos, enlaces, estabilidad, sincronicidad, autosimilaridad, niveles, cascadas, epidemias, emergencia, resiliencia, fases, conectores, evolución, agrupamiento son algunas de las nuevas maneras de ver y pensar el mundo. Un mundo que conecta muy diversos fenómenos, entidades y realidades.

El descubrimiento de estos patrones ocultos muestra gran regularidad en el Universo. La estructura interna de Internet, la vinculación  a través de enlaces de la red de documentos que constituyen la Web, la interacción de la gente en redes sociales son una sorprendente replicación de propiedades locales o acciones individuales que resultan en interacciones colectivas emergentes. La realidad también se manifiesta como intrincadas redes.

REDES Y ECOLOGIAS

La educación es compleja para ser confinada o reducida a un modelo mecanicista. Las metáforas de las redes y las ecologías como modelos de aprendizaje, conocimiento y gestión de la complejidad sirven mejor para entender los espacios donde ocurre el aprendizaje. Redes y ecologías son entonces, maneras de reflejar el caos y la complejidad de los ambientes educativos. Nos permiten reemplazar el modelo jerárquico actual de la enseñanza y explicar la emergencia de sentido y entendimiento de los alumnos, la formación de grupos,  las dinámicas de participación, el avance de una disciplina o hacer diseño curricular teniendo en consideración contenidos, contexto y conexiones. La figura central del experto se difunde como parte de una red social y se permite la diversidad de caminos que un alumno puede recorrer en su busqueda de sentido.

El Conectivismo se hace evidente en la educación no formal y en  la autoeducación donde el aprendizaje se desarrolla a partir de estrategias de autoenseñanza y se convierte en un desafío a la educación formal.  Cuando la curricular, la administración y los procesos de evaluación se diluyen, quedan las conexiones que hacemos a nivel conceptual y social en una experiencia de aprendizaje conectivo.

Las redes generan sus propias fronteras de excepciones, confidencialidad y lealtad, que se mantienen y renegocian continuamente. Las redes sociales son principalmente redes de comunicación que involucran lenguaje simbólico, restricciones culturales y relaciones de poder, Cada comunicación crea pensamientos y sentidos, que a su vez dan lugar a otras comunicaciones y así la  red se autoestimula como sistema social viviente. Ideas,  valores, creencias y otras formas de conocimiento constituyen estructuras de significado. Los textos, las obras de artes, la tecnología y los bienes materiales se crean con propósito convirtiéndose en la materialización de sentido compartido, generado por las redes de la sociedad.

Las redes emergen como una nueva forma de organización de la actividad humana. Internet se convierte así en una infraestructura crítica de la vida cotidiana que facilita la comunicación entre la gente y el acceso a información, servicios y recursos. Las redes parecen ser la forma organización de la vida, incluyendo las redes sociales donde la autonomía,  la diversidad,  la apertura y la interactividad son las propiedades fundamentales de las buenas redes. Aquellas redes donde se promueven estos valores son robustas, estables y confiables y se constituyen en una de las principales formas de organización social a nivel local y global luego de las tribus,  las jerarquías y los mercados.

REDES Y EDUACION

No hay dudas que las prácticas educativas están siendo influenciadas por Internet, la Web 2.0 y otras tecnologías de la información y la comunicación. El rol central del maestro está siendo desafiado al igual que las estructuras educativas. Los alumnos practican sus propias búsquedas,  exploran y descubren, creando información y conocimiento participando y apropiándose de nuevas herramientas, tecnologías y redes.

En este contexto, nos cabe preguntarnos cuál es el nuevo rol de educador. Sin duda, facilitará el tránsito hacia nuevas pedagogías promover en los educadores un mayor foco en las redes, reconociendo sus estructuras y dinámicas y navegándolas convirtiéndolos en campeones de la conexión de conceptos, personas, organizaciones y redes, gestionando a su vez sus propias redes personales que les permitan promover la capacidad en red de los alumnos. Es un futuro desafiante para la educación. Mientras tanto, podremos seguir presenciando alumnos que sobrepasan las capacidades en red de sus tutores, lo cual refuerza la urgente necesidad de un cambio de perspectiva hacia el conectivismo.

 

A su vez, la apertura y gratuidad de diversas ofertas educativas disponibles  desafían y compiten con las organizaciones educativas tradicionales. La apertura y acceso a diseños curriculares, las herramientas de software gratuitas, los repositorios de contenidos de libre acceso y los cursos abiertos son sólo las primeras manifestaciones de este nuevo paradigma de apertura de la educación a nivel global. Estas tendencias impactan en los espacios y estructuras educativas que reclaman repensar el aula, los cursos y los programas. La educación tradicional está definida por los propios límites del aula, la jerarquía organizacional y esquemas mentales ligados a información y contenidos. Pero nuestra habilidad a aprender crece y se adapta a un nuevo ambiente donde el espacio de aprendizaje es la  ecología que promueve y soporta la formación de comunidades de participación y las estructuras de aprendizaje son las redes que vehiculizan y confinan la creación de procesos educativos, enseñanza y aprendizaje.

En los años 70 Paulo Freire llamaba a una reforma basada en el cambio de poder de las estructuras de la sociedad e Ivan Illich fundaba su motivación para una reforma en los altos costos de la educación y la inhabilidad del sistema existente en escalar y dar satisfacción a los nuevos desafíos. Una nueva pedagogía de la participación requiere el reconocimiento del rol activo del estudiante y su interacción con nuevas herramientas multimedia cada vez más presentes e invisibles, ubicuas y siempre en conectadas.

En el pasado el lenguaje y  los textos ofrecían beneficios fundamentales para los procesos del pensar y del aprendizaje. Ahora, pensar, aprender y conocer deben ser concebidos como actividades distribuidas a través de la mente, el cuerpo y la  comunidad. ¿Cuánto de esto está  presente en nuestra pedagogía actual? ¿Cuál es la pedagogía a construir frente a estos desafíos? Las redes importan porque son la matriz que subyace en nuestras vidas. Queda por  seguir investigando si es la estructura y dinámica de las redes lo que hace posible el conocimiento. Un mundo que necesita aprender a pensar en red.

 

CCK08 – Paper 3: Opportunities and resistance

November 27, 2008

 

Chinese do not have a word for crisis. Crisis is written using two ideograms: risk and opportunity.

Is education facing a crisis? If education means challenge and change, education will always be in crisis. Let’s face education as paradigm of permanent risk and opportunities.

The kind of crisis that Education is facing now is leveraged by technology. A new theory of knowledge and learning emerges out of the construction and navigation of knowledge networks: Connectivsm. Networks manifest its connecting character allowing the flow of distributed knowledge. Based on networks structure in a complex changing environment and distributed cognition a new paradigm emerges claiming deep changes at the fundamental basis of the theoretical and practice of the education building.

We have huge amount of evidence of the impact of technology at all levels in human society. We assist at signs of this crisis manifested in a generational divide. Or should we say that technology is deepening the generational divide? In the classroom this is quite evident. The practice exercised by learners around technology is completely different from that of the teachers.  Resistance and conservatism is the answer of many teachers to the presence of technology in the classroom. Would teachers be able to catch up their pupils overcoming the divide? In many cases this may be solved through intensive technology literacy training. But in some other cases, the divide is that. Like the rivers, they flow to different oceans.

We read this divide in the way that the space in the classroom is articulated. The central position of the teacher is a barrier to allow the pupils to develop their networks. But it is not only the teachers who are acting the resistance. The educational organization expresses the paradigm of conservatism as well as the curricula. He have seen some curricula being updated, but the pedagogy stays the same.

Considering this panorama, connectivism and connective knowledge will have better chances of unveiling all its potential in non formal education, postgraduate studies and new pedagogies experiences. It will take some time till connectivism will be seen not as thread to traditional education. Points of resistance will not be neutralized through the introduction of technology. On the contrary, it will deepen the crisis. Connectivism will has its opportunities as social networks of teachers and pupils will interconnect in a complex manner. Going back to the Japanese culture, they have recognized that the softer the elements are, the harder to change them. It is easier to change a technology. It is very difficult to change a culture.

The following question Will connectivism be able to produce the learning required to meet the complex challenges facing the future? should be re-estated. It is not a matter of connectivism. Connectivism will make evident the need of using the network and complexitiy metaphors in order to find a path to produce the changes that the future is claiming. The educational organizations will have the chance to react,  and some will demonstrate that there is a new way of allowing to learn. A more centreless education with more protagonist pupils.

CCK08 – Week 12: The best way to predict the future is to build it.

November 25, 2008

 

In order to answer the questions on the future of Connectivism and Connectivism Knowledge, some vision of possible futures may help.

Futurelab, a UK not-for-profit organization committed to research on change on education policies and practices, in its document 2020 and beyond: Future scenarios for education in the age of new technologies  tries to build a vision for personalized learning facing year 2020. The report proposes five key areas in the field of digital technology of potential interest to educators:

1. Personal devices. Technology will be invisible embedded and distributed in most objects. Audio communicators, visual displays and communications devices and other sensors will be embedded in  keys, clothes, shoes, notebooks and newspapers.

2. Intelligent environments. The environment will adapt to the individual and connect and know everything about him.

3. Computing infrastructure. A blanket wireless connectivity to the network for relationships between users and software for complex simulations and experiments with infinite storage capacity.

4. Security. Access to all of your embedded devices, interactions with intelligent environments and connections to the network.

5. Interfaces. Interactions will be with things and people and not with machines, screens and keyboards.

In summary, interaction with digital technologies will be more pervasive, seamless and invisible enabling ongoing interactions with people, buildings and materials and with a constantly connected network with unimaginable computing power and reliable storage capacity to interact more with more intelligent (and responsive) technologies to use simulation and visualization tools to solve problems, experience alternative realities and prepare for new experiences.

In the past language and text offered fundamental benefits for thinking and learning processes. Now, thinking, learning and knowledge may be conceived as a distributed activity across mind, body, community and digital resources. How much of what is our present pedagogy artifact is based on the constellations of community and resources available? What is the pedagogy to be built facing this networked vision? Let’s build it.

CCK08 – Week 8. Power: Networks vs. networks.

November 3, 2008

 

Networks as organization pattern in Biology and Society.

Biological systems exchange molecules in networks of chemical reactions, social systems exchange information and ideas in networks of communications. Biological networks operate in the realm of matter. Social networks operate in the realm of meaning.

The difference between a living organism and a dead organism lies in metabolism, the ceaseless flow of energy and matter through a network of chemical reactions, which enables a living organism to continually generate, repair and perpetuate itself. The two basic aspects of metabolism are this continuous flow of energy and matter and the network of chemical reactions that process the food and form the biochemical basis of all biological structures, functions and behavior. The network is a pattern that is common to all life, the very basic patterns of organization in all living systems. Wherever we see life, we see networks.

They are functional networks, networks of relationships between various processes. Their key characteristic is that they are self-generating. Living networks are self-generating. All living organisms have a physical boundary that discriminates between the system – the self and its environment. The existence of membranes is therefore an essential condition for cellular life. The boundaries of living networks, then, are not boundaries of separation but boundaries of identity.

Network generates its own boundary of exceptions, of confidentiality and loyalty, which is continually maintained and renegotiated by the network of communications.

Social networks are first and foremost networks of communications involving symbolic language, cultural constraints, relationships of power. Each communication creates thoughts and meaning, which give rise to further communications, and thus the entire network generates itself. Living social systems are self-generating networks of communications.

Social systems produce non-material structures.  Ideas, values, beliefs and other forms of knowledge generated by social systems constitute structures of meaning, which we may call semantic structures. The culture’s semantic structures are documented. These material structures – texts, works of art, technologies and material goods – are created for a purpose. They are embodiments of the shared meaning generated by the society’s networks of communications.

Biological and social systems both generate their own boundaries. A social network, a non material, cultural boundary, which imposes constraints on the behavior of its members. Natural sciences deal with material structures while social sciences deal with social structures, essentially rules of behavior. A sustainable community is designed not to interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life. The principles of organization that nature has evolved to sustain the web of life.

 

The Network Society

Networking has emerged as a new form of organization of human activity. The term  Network Society describes this new social structure. Internet is becoming a critical infrastructure of everyday life, crucially enabling individuals to network in new ways that reconfigure and enhance their communicative power- as a type of Fifth Estate. The communicative power of networked individuals is key. Individuals and institutional, networks of networks. People able to reconfigure their access to information, people and other resources.

Networks appear to be the organizing form of life, including social life. Networks reconfigure themselves in real time, on a global-local scale, and permeate all domains of social life. We live in a network society, not in an information society or a knowledge society. Technological paradigm is the dominant medium for social organization. The proper identification of our society, out of ruling if it is the Fourth of Fifth Estate, is in terms of its specific social structure: networks powered by microelectronics and software-base information and communications technologies.

Internet can play in reconfiguring access to people, information, services and resources. It can change the way we do things. Internet can alter the outcomes of these activities. These networks can blur the boundaries of households, organizations, institutions and nations. They enable individuals –not only institutions- to create local and global networks.

Autonomy, diversity, openness and interactivity are not properties of networks generically, but the properties of good networks. Networks in which these values are promoted are robust, stable and reliable. They are good knowledge engines because these principles align with connective knowledge. The web is an engineered space that creates a distributed information space.

Internet has the potential to reshape the communicative power of individuals and groups in numerous ways. Internet is as creating a space of flows, in contrast to a space of places. This new space of flows connects with people and places.  This space of flows enables a multitude of actors to reconfigure access to information, people, services and technologies. Through the space of flows, the networks of networks, the Internet is enabling the development of a Fifth Estate that is enhancing the accountability of many sectors across all societies.  

Networks constitute the newest major social organizational form, after tribes, hierarchies and markets.
Commerce was organized around markets. Technology is organized around networks. But networks have their structure and dynamic that imposes laws whatever is the realm where it is present. We recognize in complex linked network an unbalanced distribution that makes its nodes different one to another. That is the case of the 80-20 law formulated by Vilfredo Pareto, the existence of hubs and the free scales networks configured following the preferential attachment dynamic as described by Barabasi. This emerges as properties of a super organism that has its consequences, as described by Manuel Castells :

1.       Network society expands on a global scale.

2.       Networked organizations out-compete all other forms of organization, particularly the vertical, rigid, command-and-control bureaucracies.

3.       Networking of political institutions is the de facto response to the management crisis suffered by nation stated in a supranational world.

4.       Civil society is reconstructed at the local and global level through networks of activists.

5.       Sociability is transformed in the new historical context, with networked individualism emerging as the synthesis between the affirmation of an individual-centered culture, and need and desire for sharing and co-experiencing.

6.       Whole range of social practices, both global and local, communicates in the media space, with its infinite capacity of integrate and exclude.

7.       In the network society, power continues to be the fundamental structuring force of its shape and direction.

Power is located in the networks that structure society and is exercised by specific configurations of these networks that express dominant interests and values. Networks matter because they are the underlying structure of our lives. To counter networks of power and their connections, alternative networks need to be introduced: networks that disrupt certain connections and establish new ones. Network vs. networks.

CCK08 – Week 7 – Instructional desing. Which is the design of our self teaching strategy?

October 26, 2008

Learning begins with connections. We find connections in the learning process at the neural, conceptual and external/social level. So we are able to say that learning is the ability to form networks.

Through the instructional design we may work, for instance, with the sequences of content, the interactions and the space or ecology. For the design we should have in mind the context: learning needs and situation of learners

It is helpful, in this design stage to use the metaphors of chaos and complexity. Chaos metaphor helps us to be able to find in it some degree of hidden order and to be able to recognize the sensitivity to initial conditions. Complexity helps us to understand the multiple interactions of elements of a system that results in particular incomes. In brief, we should be able to design for adaptability, that is finding ways and patterns for sense making and achieve particular outcome through distributed approaches.

We may use a design model taking into account content, context and connections (concepts and others)

 

Tension in between traditional education practice and connectivsm vision

The following chart summarizes the tension in between the traditional education paradigm versus, what we may call a connectivsm ecology that takes profit of the web 2.0 social networking tools.

Traditional Education

Connectivism ecology

Need to reflect

Build cumulative on existing knowledge

Develop individual understanding over time

Speed and immediacy

Ability to access a vast amount of information

Individual testing

Recognition of individual contribution

User participation, mash ups, remixing and co-construction

Plagiarism?

Combining sources, cut & paste, editing on other peoples’ work

 

Respository of ideas and resources

Cross referencing, difficulty of identifying source of ideas

Individual to be an expert on the field

No one is an expert but part of a social network

Predicating teacher as privileged expert

User generated content, mass participation, co- construction of ideas

Subject fields static and unchanging

Subject field fragmented and diverse

Hierarchical administrative and assessment processes

Participation and negotiation

Institutional tools

Personalized tools

 

Whenever assessing tools in the education practice we may map themusing the following dimensions:

1.       From individual to social learning

2.       Learning through information to learning through experience

3.       Learning passively to learning actively

Engeström states on social networks:

1.       The fallacy is to think that social networks are just made up of people. They are not: social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object.

2.       In education the primary social object is content.

3.       Education value is not in the content itself but the social interaction, which occurs around the content.

So to design in educations using social networks we must follow these five principles:

1.       Clearly define the social object your service is built around

2.       Define the verbs that users perform on the objects, so that is it clear what the site is for.

3.       Make the objects shareable

4.       Turn invitations into gifts

5.       Charge the publishers, not the spectators

When we finish our formal education, we continue to learn defining self teaching strategies. What is the design behind this strategy? The answer is connectivism. When the curricula, administrative and assessment process is gone, there it is the connections we make at the conceptual and social level. Is here where we need to find a natural way of practicing connectivism that would help us to bring to formal education the successful everyday connective learning experience.

CCK08 – Week 6: Living and learning with complexity

October 19, 2008

In previous blogs we have affirmed that connectivsm states that knowledge is in the connections and in the networks (neural, conceptual and external).  Connections together with nodes are the fundamental particles of networks. Networks have structure and dynamic. For change we require structures that also change. And networks are these kinds of structures.

Learning is complex to be confined or reduced to a mechanistic model. Instead, we use networks and ecologies as a model for learning, knowledge and managing the complexity of the environment where learning takes place. Ecologies and networks are reflective of chaos and complexity theories main tenets and provide a suitable replacement for the current classroom and hierarchical model of education. This complex environment we find in education explains the emergency of learners understanding, group formation, advancement of a discipline, etc.

 

Science of complexity

Cynefin framework is a sense making device to make sense of the complexities based in three ontological states: order, complexity and chaos. Cynefin is a Welsh word for place for multiple affiliations. All human interactions are strongly influenced and frequently determined by patterns of our multiple experiences both personal and collective expressed in stories. And patterns are what we use to order the world and make sense of things in complex situations.

Cynefin framework is not about “objective” reality but about perception and understanding. It helps us to think about the ways in which different people might be perceiving the same situation. And this understanding can be used to one’s advantage. Even dough we may define the ordered and un-ordered domains, things are both ordered and un-ordered at once, because both intertwine and interact. But a fifth domain still exists, disorder.

 

Un-ordered domain

 

Weak central connection

Ordered domain

 

Strong central connection

 

Strong connection between components

 

 

Complex relationships

 

Knowable causes and effects

 

 

Weak connections between components

 

 

Chaos

 

 

Known causes and effects

Cynefin Framework

In the realm of complexity chaos, unpredictability that occurs in systems that obey predictable laws as defined by Strogratz  may be seen as “deterministic unpredictability” where a type of order is discovered.

Complexity theory is concerned with open, non-linear systems. Non-linear means ecologically embedded, non-additive, inseparable, heterogeneous, interactive, asynchronous, lagged or delayed. In complexity the autonomy of agents adds an additional level of complexity. In learning we have individual parts, dynamic interaction, criticality of feedback in influencing adaptation and openness

Complexity provides a perspective on learning based on non-linearity of thought and variation as a source and outcome of thinking (Bloom). Networks and the web are non linear environment. So we should benefit of complexity and non-linearity in online learning or learning in general. There is no escape. The system behavior brings stability, emergence and adaptation. Structure is linked with behavior.

Emergence is the outcome (understanding) that arises from different agents interacting and producing unanticipated outcomes. Emergence may manifest through collective self-organization, un-programmed functionality, interactive complexity or/and incompressible unfolding

For an autonomously developing system to acquire knowledge about a realistically complex environment, it must be able to interact extensively with that environment. Such interactions require very sophisticated sensors, which bring information into the system so that the system can test its understanding of the outside world.

We may be able to develop a Global Brain, an intelligent system that links all cognitive and physical resources in the most efficient way possible. Let’s leave for another discussion what efficiency may imply in this context.