Erik Duval Masterpost, week 10 [Learning in Times of Abundance]: http://change.mooc.ca/week10.htm
Dave Cormier Masterpost, week 9 [Rhizomatic Learning]: http://change.mooc.ca/week09.htm
Dave’s response to questions:
George Siemens on MOOCs, youtube video:
OpenStudy Questions to Track:
Erik Duval explored Moore’s Law and its consequences for the future of education during his presentation week at #Change11. Moore’s Law is a rule that describes a long-term trend in computing history: the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years(x). Current analysts expect this trend to continue until at least 2013, when the rate will slow to doubling every three years. According to Duval, this exponential increase in computing speed, capability, network accessibility and processsing speed has created a world where we as humans are “connected, open and always on.” I’ll be posting my thoughts on that specific phrase later, but for now, I want to examine Duval’s presentation alongside Jane McGonigal’s thoughts on Collective Intelligence as it relates to website construction and gaming, which she examines in her paper “Why I Love Bees”. The full text of her article can be downloaded here.
Before I get into that though, let me provide a key definition for this post:
Jane McGonigal is a game architect who was the lead designer responsible for I Love Bees, “a Web-based interactive fiction that used websites, blogs, emails, jpegs, Mp3 recordings, and other digital artifacts to create an immersive back-story for Microsoft’s sci-fi shooter videogame Halo 2”. McGonigal was in charge of researching, recording and responding to the collective intelligence of the game’s players. The website, named I Love Bees in a nod to its purpose of creating a hive mind among it’s followers, launched in August 2004 and contained only the barest scraps of information regarding its objective. The website prominently featured a countdown timer with the deadline of August 24, 2004. They had 4 weeks to collaborate and discover what I Love Bees meant. THe site was constructed with ambiguity on purpose to draw participants. McGonigal states that when it launched, I Love Bees was only 60% designed and coded. The remaining 40% of the sites content and design came as a response to the player’s actions and participation inside the site.This is an important distinction to be made concerning collective intelligence! It needs freedom to evolve or change as its participants dictate. McGonigal got it right: provide a basic structure with enough space and variables to contain the evolution of collective intelligence inside those constraints.
By the deadline date of August 24, the players had decoded a series of GPS coordinates, figured out their meaning and constructed a physical network among themselves that allowed them to be present in hundreds of locations across the United States at a certain time to recieve a payphone call from the designers of I Love Bees with information regarding Halo 2. The site’s evolution and progress is too lengthy to go into detail here, but I highly encourage you to read McGonigal’s paper for an in-depth look at the website’s implementation and success regarding collective intelligence.
This mobilization of the I Love Bees participants is a great example of the success attainable by members of global networks. This MOOC course we are currently participating in is a product of collective intelligence. Its structure may differ from a gaming site, but its objectives are the same: aggregate knowledge from a large people base, disseminate said information to subscribers, facilitate conversation and in turn educate participants.
I’ll end with a quote from Pierre Levy that emphasizes the simplicity and necessity of a universal knowledge pool: “No one knows everything, everyone knows something”. Thanks to the proliferation of the internet and other computing networks, we are connected to each other like never before. We must harness this power into possibility.
It’s Erik Duval’s week to take on Change 11. He’ll be presenting all week on my topic of interest: Learning in Times of Abundance. If you aren’t already, you can follow the discussion here: http://change.mooc.ca/post/357
This week I’m planning to participate by blogging daily about my thoughts in regards to Erik’s research and presentations. These reaction blogs will probably go up around 10 am each morning- I’ll attempt to enforce some structure on myself here!
I want to start my reaction blogs by investigating this idea of connectedness that underpins Duvals research and is fostered by the internet. It seems like the internet is rapidly morphing into a place where you can (and are expected to?) drag a digital footprint along behind you. A simple example I quickly thought of is Spotify, the latest free music platform, which allows a user to collect songs on playlists. Then, when you play your playlist, it connects your Spotify account to your Facebook account. This allows everyone on your friendslist to see what you listen to in real time. Spotify is just one of many examples- whether crossposting your thoughts between twitter and Facebook, checking in on Foursquare, updating a Tumblr account, commenting on the Huffington Post, consuming news via Google Alerts- we never disconnect.
In fact, it seems to be a requirement in this modern age to place a facsimile of yourself online. “Psuedo-you” can be as detailed as you like. So what does that mean for engagement in the classroom and the process of learning?
Rhizomatic learning is a metaphoric term assigned to the learning process as a Rhizome is the root function of a plant that spreads out underground, connecting and diverting endlessly. Learning in this way is supposed to lead to an intuitive grasp of the learning process and material. It is difficult to satisfactorily define, as Cormier sums up: “The problem with that, of course, is that the whole idea of rhizomatic learning is to acknowledge that learners come from different contexts, that they need different things, and that presuming you know what those things are is like believing in magic. It is a commitment to multiple paths.”
I apologize for the overly-dramatic title, it sounds like I’m confessing a deep, dark secret! I’m not, but I will be honest, I’ve had difficulty staying current with this MOOC. I haven’t posted an entry on Tumblr since September 25th. I do receive the Change 2011 e-newsletters and read them every morning, but of course, my audience would have no way of verifying this. So I think a greater level of engagement with this blog from here moving forward is necessary, if only to provide myself with the structure I need to participate successfully in Change 2011. This is my first time participating in a MOOC, and my first online class ever. For that reason, I don’t want to be too harsh on myself, because it is an adjustment to learn online. But now that I’ve settled into the class and figured out how I want to contribute and participate, it’s time for this blog to reflect that.
I think that learning online requires a different mindset than traditional classroom learning as the onus is on you, the participant/student/user/whatever title you prefer, to log on and contribute. Learning this way is more hands on- you have to go out and track down knowledge, it isn’t passed onto you by way of the classroom. In a MOOC this size, the number of topics and discussions being thrown around is overwhelming!
So, the online class environment demands engagement that is different from a traditional class structure. As I will be considering Erik Duval’s lectures the week of November 14th-20th on learning in this content-rich 21st century, perhaps my personal experience with MOOC Change 2011 will be helpful in understanding his POV.
After looking at the MOOC schedule for the upcoming semester, the subject I am most interested in is Eric Duvall’s proposed lecture titled “Learning in Times of Abundance.” The advent of the internet has afforded current students (as well as lecturers and life-long learners) an embarrassment of riches- information about any topic is only a web browser away. But with that comes the danger of oversaturation- where one becomes so inundated with opinions and perspectives and knowledge that it’s difficult to dig some meaning out of the glut.
I read Nicholas Carr’s essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains” for another class this semester, but I also find it applicable here. Carr worries that the constant flow of information into our brains via the internet is negatively impacting our cognitive processes, including decreasing our capacity for concentration and contemplation. The ability to lay hands on any piece of knowledge at lightning speed is extremely useful, but has it removed the desire to learn or approach a problem from all sides (to really own it) in order to hammer out a satisfactory answer?
Carr also calls current students “decoders of information” rather than the “engaged text interpreters” of previous generations. While the end result is similar: knowledge is accumulated; the process by which we arrive at that knowledge is totally different.
As a student, I recognize in myself both the the challenges and rewards of learning during this “time of abundance” and am anticipating Eric’s response to this current issue.