Sunday, April 25, 2010

R685 Week 15 Networks of personalized learning

I was looking for a final word to add to my blog for the semester this morning. It's not easy to sum up a semester filled with so many outstanding learning moments. A final word is a hard thing to do.

I suppose the final word is that there isn't a final word.

As our class syllabus listed this week as networks of personalized learning, I realize that fits my journey this morning. I opened Google and selected blog. I was going to reach my blog this way but instead was stopped by several items that caught my eye.
  • The Hubble space satelite was one that's at the top of this blog. I opened the link and learned something about time/distance. It mentioned that someone might be looking at us and what they would be seeing today was what the Earth looked like at 5940 BC.
  • I found Dr. Bonk's blog and was reminded of the Breeze session we had with Stephen Downes.
  • I went to Stephen Downes blog next.

I suppose my point is that I've learned about learning this semester using the web as a window to a immense source of information, knowledge and collaboration. I did not know this in January, but am beginning to understand now. Thanks Dr. Bonk.

Monday, April 19, 2010

R685 Week 14 Podcasting

This week's Breeze session focused on using podcasts in an English as Second Language class in a university in Tokyo. The professor shared her tactics and asked the R685 class for ideas for using podcasts in other learning scenarios. It was an excellent discussion.

I continue to be impressed with the quality of the Breeze sessions. Not only is the content timely, very appropriate to the class, the forms delivered are truly narrowing the gap between face to face and virtual. Video of the presenters is useful because it personalizes the meeting. Note the laughs shown in the attached picture above. Audio remains clear and with no time delay.
I also believe I'm seeing evidence of the value of a technical steward, in this case it has been Seolim. Her work has helped stabilize each meetings' presentation, guest speaker connectivity plus she keeps an eye on participants questions. I think this role is a value-add to virtual meetings and one I'll attempt to incorporate in my future web-based meetings, particularly when there is collaboration planned.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Week 13 R685 Educational blogging

The week started auspiciously with Dr. Bonk live on NPR. He was part of the Apple Does It Again discussion. The flexibility of the iPad to reach seemed appropriate to this week's class discussion about educational blogging.
We had an outstanding chat session this week with Stephen Downes presenting. I gained a new appreciation for personal learning. Stephen's delivery was very open and very interesting. I couldn't help thinking that he learned because of his blogging activity. He mentioned others might gain insights with his blogs and that was good, but I also sensed that the act of blogging was an educational experience for him. An interesting thought. It was as if the blog helped organize his thinking.

And it was really neat to hear my professor "live" on national news!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Week 12 R685 Synchronous vs Asynchronous

Yesterday I had a very interesting, rewarding email exchange with Dr. Bonk. It started after I explained my question about tidbit project delivery date. This led to a series of emails, almost conversational in delivery over the next hour. You can see the email string above.

What I realized afterwards was the quality of the conversation was equal to if not better than if we'd been on the phone or together in an office. We've talked about asynchronous communcations allowing time to reflect before responding and that was the case here. We had a few minutes between "posting" to think about what each had said previous and to build on those ideas. It was pretty neat and the pauses let me frame my ideas and questions in ways that allowed Dr. Bonk to help.

For example, I mentioned an amazement at how Dr. Bonk could keep all the Web 2.0 pathways organized. He seemed to be able to pull up specific examples almost at will whenever a classmate had an interest. (He'd done that for me a number of times this semester.) Within a few minutes, Dr. Bonk sent me comprehensive list of web-based links to my area of interest. This list will be very useful but at that instant I realized we'd had a learning moment. I hadn't planned on learning something like this when I first emailed Dr. Bonk but the outcome of our emails was just that. I learned. I thought then that this was a bit of "constructivism" at work.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Week 12 Google my blog

I found out that Web 2.0 could find me. The screenshot to the left shows two hits, one from my blog another from Leesa a R685 classmate!

The real lesson ties back to a theme Dr. Bonk has stressed throughout the semester about capability to find knowledge and learn from the web.

This example is evidence of that idea.

Week 12 R685 Community of practice

Dr. Bonk helped me contact two consultants with experience developing community of practices (CoP). I spoke with Josh Plashkoff and John Smith and I've read Digital Habitats co-authored by John Smith. Here are some things that I learned from these conversations:
  • CoP are mislabeled as teams. This assumes the group has a particular set of tasks that are part of a team. CoP's are more like neighorhoods where individuals have shared interests, live and work together and provide mutual support. Individuals get together to talk, share ideas, learn much as neighbors do over their backyard fences.
  • Technology is just a tool that CoP's use. There were CoPs before computers.
  • CoPs are all about relationships. Face to face can help establish relationships in a dispersed group. But relationships involve things like trust, personal disclosure, common interests. Friendship can be part of CoP characteristics.
  • CoPs occur around a domain or a practice. What do they talk about? What issues do members share?
  • Both Josh and John suggest that CoPs can't be created by management decree. Rather they occur naturally but can be helped through facilitation to evolve, grow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Week 12 R685 Mobile, Wireless and Ubiquitous Learning

My definition of learning has changed this semester. This week's discussion pushed the envelope even further. We had a lunch chat in Breeze that included the class, Dr. Bonk and a professor knowledgeable in mobile learning who joined from England! It was an amazing experience to be able to interact with such ease across such distances.

More importantly I realized that learning had another dimension. In January, I'd defined learning largely through formal higher education experiences. There were familiar structures to this form of learning. Sage on the stage, textbooks, independent study on a topic, occasional team projects with specific time lines, grades, diplomas......

Over the weeks I've come to see learning in other forms. Informal learning, collaborative learning, learning on demand, learning for the sake of learning instead of job task-based.

This week's discussion added more to the definition. Mobile can mean informal but it also can mean projecting the learners closer to the real context they are studying. Mobile can also mean reaching across vast distances that don't have infrastructure to support more traditional learning environments. Professor Traxler's slide that showed a tribesman in Africa holding an iPhone said many things. For instance, I saw knowledge conduits that extended well beyond historical ranges. And the knowledge pipeline could be two ways.

We have several more weeks in the semester. I wonder how my definition of learning will change?