by Stephen Downes
Nov 07, 2016
Theories of learning – epistemology of connectivism
Stephen Downes, Nov 07, 2016, Regional Forum on ICTs in Higher Education of the Arab States, Beirut, Lebanon
Presentation of major branches of epistemology, placing connectivism into this content, and then describing learning theories in this framework. This becomes a basis for a discussion of the process of learning underlying learning technologies, from which, ultimately, a learning technology value chain is presented.
I want to highlight a couple of points from this short article. First, "There is no one model for the future, there will be a wide range of different interpretations from traditional to innovative." This is what was wrong with Sebastian Thrun's prediction that after MOOCs only ten universities would remain. These new technologies create a proliferation of models, methodologies, and institutions. Second, and related to this, traditional credentials, while they may persist, will be supplemented by a wide range of qualifications. "If the new credentials are verifiable and trustworthy and employers accept them then they will become hard currency."
I can't watch these at the moment but I can't just pass them by. So here's a link, for my own reference. "The entire six-part interview series with McGraw-Hill Education’s adaptive learning experts is now up on YouTube."
I'm not suggesting so much that you join this group (unless you live in British Columbia) as I am recommending this document (and Mattermost, an open source software alternative to Slack) as a model for the formation of your own cooperative with similar objectives. Or as a model of network-based learning generally. As the Cape Town Open Education Declaration says, "open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues."
We can't, of course, stop having this conversation. "There was a time, in an previous democracy, where learning how to interact in your democracy was the most important part of an education system. When i look through my twitter account now I start to think that learning to live and thrive with difference without hate and fear might be a nice thing for an education system to be for." When I came back from my hiatus in 2006 this question was top of mind for me, and I addressed a couple of talks to it: here and here.
This article cites a couple studies arguing that ethnic, racial and gender diversity increases returns and growth in corporations. But the bulk of the article is intended to show "nonhomogenous teams are simply smarter." They focus more on facts, argue David Rock and Heidi Grant Halvorson, they process those facts more carefully, and they're more innovative. Not a long article, but well written and tightly argued.
These are probably the same people who will be pioneering this art form professionally in a few years. Hands-on experience like this is invaluable. "As Michael Chaney, a professor of film and television and one of the faculty leads on the project, explained in a video about the production process, 'We consulted with the leading pioneers in this industry and we ourselves are becoming pioneers." It's worth visiting the project website, which gives you a far better idea of the project than this short article.
The Durability and Fragility of Knowledge Infrastructures: Lessons Learned from Astronomy
Christine L. Borgman, Peter T. Darch, Ashley E. Sands, Milena S. Golshan, ArXiv.org e-Print archive, 2016/11/07
Yes, it's a specialized case: "Research reported here draws upon a long-term study of scientific data practices to ask questions about the durability and fragility of infrastructures for data in astronomy." But from what I observe these trends exist in every discipline (and most fare worse than astronomy). "Infrastructure is fragile, even for one of the most durable of sciences – astronomy. The invisible work necessary to maintain individual systems, tools, technologies, standards, and other resources – much of it done by information professionals – may only become visible upon breakdown." Why not take a look for the websites, articles, conferences and other digital artifacts from our discipline from just ten years ago? It's astonishing how much has been lost, because nobody's taking care of it.
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