Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Networking, Connected to the Full-Blown Stream of Life...

Wow, I have such a lot to catch up on!

This is coming out two days late, because so many landmark things have been happening.

I am now a US citizen, having been "naturalized" in a ceremony at a sports stadium along with 5251 other former green card holders last Friday, September 26th, 2008 (!) However, to me the word, "naturalized," smacks of cowboy films and culture from a former era, not 2008! I can just hear John Wayne telling me: "You're a US citizen. And you're gonna be for the rest of your "natural" life!"

Yesterday I took part in a charity walk which collectively raised $60,000 for the local hospital. Two people's lives very dear to me were saved there, (one of which was mine!) And we all look on it as being a vital local resource.

Enough of this - what about Connectivism? Well, I am looking at two ways of producing my Concept Map. I have started both already and I shall decide which one looks best to me. So far, I have been actively involved in the Moodle Forums, posting whenever and wherever something grabs my attention and feels like something I just cannot let go without some sort of counter argument.

Overall I am finding that there is a very wide divide between some of the participants and others in terms of Web 2.0 awareness and knowledge of Web 2.0 tools and resources.

Before I began this study of Connectivism, I was actively engaged in creating a Wiki for a commercial company, along with tools to facilitate the jobs of engineers employed there. The wiki was solely to facilitate capture of tacit knowledge and apply its practical use to the day-to-day activities of those individuals who needed to learn a proprietary methodology very quickly. I firmly believe that I succeeded in my chosen objective. Wiki is something that was never really used much before ever in the arena of academia and never in companies, because the thought of individuals collaboratively editing a document was thought of as being very nonacademic and therefore not very reliable as a source. After examining methods of attaining information, Wikipedia is still thought of as being very flaky for the serious study of anything academic. If this is the case, why do millions of people go there for answers? I credit Wikipedia as being the stimulus for other really great learning tools like Wiki Answers, Yahoo Answers, and practically all of the forums and posting grounds all over the Internet which are dedicated to a specific subject and which offer instant solutions to technical problems. This is the start, but it is by no means the end!

I am getting ready to promulgate my own position on Connectivism, waiting only to simultaneously publish this and the Concept Map. (I'll be there by next weekend, George and Stephen! Honest!)

I have met many wonderful new people in this course from all over the world. I have had exciting stimulating contact with people in Italy, Australia, Spain, Hungary, UK, Mexico and of course, Canada. It would also be remiss of me to exclude the USA. If I have left out a nation, it is because I missed it in my analysis and there is no excuse for me. (Wow, what a boo-boo I hear you all say!) But I am getting to the point of telling you all that I have tried to be an active part in Connectivas too. I was truly excited to hear that George had spoken at Second Spain in SL for 20 seconds, followed by a translation, followed by further talk, and after each 20 second segment had been translated, he allowed time for questions. I have saved a 41 minute MP3 of this. The only problem I had was that the Spanish translation contrasted with George's English version in that it was pretty badly distorted. I hope they have better success next time (and I sincerely hope that there will be "a next time.") I know that there was lots to talk about after this and it has shown, strangely enough, that there seems to be a really powerful platform for SL in a Hispanic community, probably larger than in the English-speaking community in the participants - the one that seems to dominate.

I have to briefly touch on the very interesting Elluminate session we had on Wednesday, where Valdis Krebs presented on the Meaning of Networks. So much was covered, from the association of people in simple groups to the meaning of larger networks, and how a terrorist organization could not be distinguished from a business organization's network diagram. we viewed many different network charts all of which were given a special meaning by Valdis's exclusive experience working at

Rounding out the week, I feel I have a better understanding of Connectivism, but I am beginning to feel just a little overwhelmed by all the subject matter.

Well, this is a longer blog than the ones I have been writing up to now, but so much has happened in the last few days... I hope that it continues in this way. Please note that I abandoned my use of the abstract because it seemed the right thing to do, and what is a blog if it is not completely ad-hoc?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gathering, Tethering, Collating and Beginning to Understand...

Well, the FeedRaider turned up some rare stuff today. Having signed into Second Life for a walk around Second Spain and Virtual Atlantis, I gathered up enough strength to create a new face for myself, complete with a rock musician's hairdo and my favorite skin and eyes... Boy did that feel good wearing my Versace torn blue jeans and suede leather jacket! I took a good look around. I could almost smell the fresh clean air and balmy fragrance of a Mediterranean and mid-Atlantic shore wash my feet, as the warmth of the sun seemed to kiss my face. Yes this did feel like Final Fantasy, but without the magic and weird creatures. The girls actually looked like girls (I mean they didn't have a cat's face or a big long tail...) And I saw the massive projector screens and whiteboards. Wow, you could build a dream of a classroom here...! Just paint the sky right, no sun looking like a messy runny fried egg. Definitely over easy, lending a calm, almost artificial pleasance to the surroundings.

Some days I just don't feel like Twittering. I guess my Twitter has turned to Twoot. And George had some great stuff to tell us all on that TV station thing about the year 2050. They should have David Bowie on this class as a lecturer. He'd have a thing or two to tell... "In the year 2525...."

I am getting a lot of criticism for my views, not a lot of support and strange silence from people who were once vociferous. I wonder what it all means?

Well - I have been just a couple of weeks on the Connectivism course at Winnipeg in Canada and I can see some really nifty stuff now where before I was pretty much unaware of it.

So in real terms, I wonder what will be down the road from here? I always liked the WWW. Now I love it for its storehouse of goodies and delightful experiences, along with the knowledge that we are all learning here, very rapidly!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Paradox of Ambient Awareness

by Steve Tuffill - Tuesday, 9 September 2008, 04:05 PM

We stride down the pathway of life, looking straight ahead and glancing through the facility of our electronic peripheral vision, at Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and MySpace, to observe our transitory contacts (we don't dare call them "friends" do we?)

Another email pops up, glancing at it, I carry on valiantly with the dissertation I am writing on the meaning of life, thinking that it is all pretty meaningless without some form of physical contact.

However, that contact is "tissue-thin" and just as fragile. Have you noticed how close people can get to each other in Asia? It is way closer than my North American comfort zone... Try Alaska, it's far safer.

Going to work, I am wired to my Blackberry, typing with one hand as I listen to the tele-conference with one ear and take technical support calls with my free hand jammed over the other, while whichever spare finger I have makes last-minute configuration changes on a light-sensitive keyboard to a distant server.

My brain hurts with the abuse. Where were the banks of green willow, I find myself asking? What happened to the autumn days where the weather was cool and the sky was blue? Where were the hours that were uncountable? Everything has been captured in a little box, for later retrieval. When? I hear you ask? Whenever...

Getting a Feel for Connectivism in the Abstract

by Steve Tuffill - Saturday, 13 September 2008, 04:42 PM

Continuing the abstract theme, I am going to explore the central theme of connectivism. What is it?

Calling upon the tools of collective awareness, we plunge into the sea of collective unconsciousness, feeling others all around us. The thrill of participation is intense. We sense the urgency of some of our colleagues' thoughts and dreams, hopes and fears.

We are all very literate, in many different ways. Some of us choose to alliterate. Others choose to presume. And others would prefer to look it all up in some learned tome. (But the tome is fast becoming the Internet!) Again, some would care to argue for whatever reason, intellectual, political or for fun. Yet others may choose to claim ownership of each others' intellect, (but who would be wise to read the piece by Stephen Downes on copyright, ethics and theft!) Most of us are literate in one way or another. (P.S. I really liked the video of Ken Robinson on Ted with regard to schools killing creativity as did the video produced by the Kansas State University which took a much more down-to-earth approach to the theme of Students today, and how they spend their time in class! Last but not least, I was entertained by the simple shout from our young people: Youth for Human Rights #18 Freedom of Thought Now back to my abstract ponderings...)

Many of us have produced mind-maps. These are in apposition to our twemes pages, our Twitter connections, and our PageFlakes, and work wonders in hooking up our understanding of what is being said...

This is an awesome and wonderful time, a golden age, where we have everything we could possibly want to go where we want to go.