Tuesday, February 06, 2007

OLCC2007 How the Read/Write Web Challenges Traditional Practice

Todays session of OLCC2007 was not about the learning theory as such but more about the oportunities for connected learning or as one chat comment said: I don't think there is a completely distinct line between this theory and others--for myself, I see this as one more set of tools to use

We see the undeniable effect of Web2 or public authorship tools creating an engaging and relevant context for learning. Students who would never write an essay contribute to Wikipedia, Youtube, Myspace etc. Players of World of Warcraft are heavily dependant on text communication. The old school will criticise it for bad spelling and grammar but it is effective communication, suited to modern times.

I have written previously on this blog on the value of WoW, as a programming environment, an example of economics but mostly as a supportive global village where children learn management skills from a community.

Second Life was mentioned in chat. I think that the attempt to re-create traditional learning spaces in SL is misguided, it remains a creative space with much potential.

The internet has given access to a wide range of educational material, Maths Demo's, Applets and Virtual Manipulative this is really fun stuff,

Networking creates the opportunity to meet people of common interests. The edublogging community is great for teachers, but have students benefited? We need to teach students to be lifelong learners, teachers need to model this, teachers need to be transparent learners. For example, kids need to be shown how they can set up RSS feeds.

The opportunities for collaboration have increased. My experience with kids learning mathematics and programming through making computer games is that you create an environment where peer tutoring arises naturally but that experience is not universal .

The concept of “trusted sources” worries me. The advice was to assemble a network who think like us. That could lead to isolated extremist thinking.

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Blogger Tony Forster said...

Postscript, re trusted sources, See What Connectivism Is by Rita Kop - Tuesday, 6 February 2007, http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=12

"Are you saying then that people believe things and people know things and that they can instinctively learn the right thing? At a time when religious fundamentalism is rising fast, where there are networks proposing that the Holocaust has never happened, should we not be more critical about the nature of the networks? Do people not instinctively try to find likeminded people which means that false information and knowledge could be at the core of the networks? People can, and do, start networks to create information slanted in a certain direction already, eg Coca Cola pays bloggers to tell us that their product is fantastic and better than others."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Christy Tucker said...

Hi Tony,

Thanks for quoting me! I'm glad what I said in the chat made sense to you.

As for the "trusted sources," maybe part of what we have to do is help students learn to listen to voices who are different from them as well as the same. I'm not quite sure how we do that, but valuing diversity in the network seems important. I don't think we can completely prevent the echo chamber effect for our students, but maybe we can show them that isn't the only way.

I suppose this is another advantage of transparency for teachers. If we show diversity in our own networks and let students see them, that has to be a step in the right direction, doesn't it? What do you think?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 1:15:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Kerr said...

So we have the problem of group think ("good post!") and the solution is diversity? I don't think so.

Diversity without discernment is not good either because there is far too much information around to cope with. You might make a point of deliberately reading opinions that differ from your own. But will doing that actually change your opinion?

One good idea is to ask yourself, "What would actually have to happen for me to change my opinion about topic xxx?" Thinking about your own thinking.

How is the skill developed of relatively quickly selecting materials which provide useful knowledge as distinct from junk knowledge? I find using the various features of amazon (readers reviews, alternative book recommendations, look inside the book, lists on the topic) to select books is very useful. But I think I developed that skill by reading and thinking critically about a lot of books, by gradually becoming knowledgable about books. People who don't know books don't know how to be discerning about the amazon features.

Scientific thinking, the scientific method, is a process by which critical discernment is promoted publicly. But then people argue over what the scientific method is or should be too, eg. Popper's falsification idea.

Saturday, February 10, 2007 2:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Christy Tucker said...

So, Bill, if I understand you correctly, you're saying that the answer is more critical thinking? Do you see that diversity of sources plays any role in that, or do you see critical thinking as the primary solution? I agree that critical discernment has to be part of what we do. There is so much information available, and knowing how to filter and evaluate is crucial. I think exposure to many sources is part of the solution though. I don't think it's the only solution or the be-all-end-all in and of itself. It's a step in the right direction, as I said.

The idea of reflecting on what it would take to change your mind is an interesting one, but I have to be honest that I'm not sure how practical it is. I'm not convinced that the process of changing your mind is that conscious or deliberate though; I think it just happens. We can look back afterwards and identify tipping points, but it is hard to recognize even while you're in the middle of changing your mind, let alone before you do. I don't see any amount of metacognitive training helping people do that consistently. Certain individuals, perhaps, but I don't see it being that conscious for the population at large.

Sunday, February 11, 2007 4:35:00 AM  

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