CCK08: Connectivism Week 2 Readings

Here are some thoughts on Week two required readings:

Stephen Downes Types of Knowledge and Connective KnowledgeI can’t really disagree with any of Stephen’s discussion of the qualitative or quantitative nature of knowledge and the knowledge of networks and knowledge created and stored by networks.

Stephen Downes Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge First off, I noticed Stephen doesn’t use a bibliography or foot/end notes for most of his writing. Instead, he uses hyperlinks. Good use of technology however there are two situations where this technique falls down and can cause problems for readers int he future 1. Broken links because the linked in info is no longer stored in the same place or at all (This is a big problem with web publishing) and 2. What if the info is not available on the web because it is legacy info (a book Amazon does not carry. I think there is still a place for traditional citation styles. If the link can incorporate publication information, then even better, but I do not know of any standard that when you build a link, you add author, title, publisher, date, place etc.

Now onto what he had to say…

I am not sure what Stephen has against the PISA international education scores. I would like him to explain that in more detail.

Stephen talks of a personal Learning Environment which is a good idea. The Royal Military College creates semester long course based on a number of modules. Students complete readings, writing, participate in blogs, pod cast to meet the module’s knowledge objects. But what is really neat and that I have not seen any other public education institution do is that the student can stop taking the course in mid-stream and pick it up within a year because of work, personal, medical or military operational reasons. This means students do not have to take the whole course again. wouldn’t it be great if all universities adopted a modular content approach so that students can pick up where the left off if they run into difficulties. The course I teach have about 50% attrition rate so the ability to restart the course later where you left off is very important.

I noted by inference, and not by anything Stephen said, that he seems to be a likely fan of the DITA XML authoring language because DITA XML is open source standard where content is separated from the publishing format.

Shifting From Knowing Knowledge. Not much to say on this one. Well written and argued well.

Dave Cormier Rhizomatic Education: Community as CurriculumI liked his comment Knowledge becomes a negotiation. From an instructors point of view, questioning by students forces the instructor to re-evaluate base knowledge and interpretations especially if the student digs up information not previously encountered by the instructor.

Carl Bereiter Rethinking Learning I agree with Carl, the metaphor “the Mind is a container” is rally bad. It implies it is can be full and what do I do when it is full. This is analogous to the idea the mind is like a computer and RAM gets full. What about the other containers out there. How do they connect? Can I partially empty my container?

Metaphors are inherently bad and should not be used. In technical writing, we now follow the practice of internationalization which means getting rid of non standard English like sports analogies and common conversational language.

Carl discusses mental models and way finding, two subjects dear to my discipline, information architecture. Mental models are often skewed as I discover taking to workers. Interstingly, I find about 75-80% of people have the same perceptions. These core perceptions then find their way into a solution for the problem the people are experiencing. The other 20% may be unique requirements that then need evaluation as to how critical they are for resolution. Way finding is tracking how people remember disparate pieces of information. While in in training as an IA, I was told to document how it was that I accessed certain features on my computer and on the web. Way finding is in part learning to know where to go. My wife is still amazed at my ability to navigate in unfamiliar cities. AS a former pilot and army officer, I was “one” with maps and terrain. I learned how cities get laid out, their topography, sectioning of a city, history (British survey pattern versus none). As such, I can be approaching a city with 4 exits and by reading a few navigation signs figure out that the commercial district is actually the 3rd exit. Previous way finding signs just didn’t have enough symbols to warrant the part of the city I wanted to go to.

Carl then talks about how do you train a knowledge worker to write about knowledge (software). I would say this is no different than trying to train a person to be a non-fiction writer. There as to be some affinity to the subject, there has to be self-reflection, organization, discipline, and practice, practice, practice! The non-fiction writer has to recognize subjects work writing about and then tel them in a compelling way. They can do a better job if they have gone through a similar experience although this can sometimes taint the story.

Stephen Downes Introduction to Connective Knowledge is a good background read. Not much controversial I found in there.


2 Responses to “CCK08: Connectivism Week 2 Readings”

  1. Stephen Downes Says:

    > I am not sure what Stephen has against the PISA international education scores. I would like him to explain that in more detail.

    Please see my paper ‘Understanding PISA’

  2. bradleyshoebottom Says:

    I read Stephens article on Understanding PISA. See my reply here:

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