If you are trying to keep yourself informed about the subtle transformations happening and slowly affecting your work and the way you exchange and communicate with others, this short, weekly new media report may contain some interesting news for you. Check it out.
Photo credit: silense
In this issue of George Siemens' Media Literacy Digest, the need for tools to manage your online life, a model for technology adoption, back channels as an educational resource, and the ideal number of friends one should have, are the fascinating topics captured and analyzed.
"Where are the tools that help us to make sense of distributed (fragmented) information from multiple sources and interactions with many different people, networks, and organizations? They don’t exist."
George Siemens is right. It's not just a matter of information overload anymore. Now it's all about gathering and filtering all of the information you manage and receive from different parts of the Web.
What is really needed, are tools that help you aggregate all your online networks, collecting and filtering the specific information you really need, and allowing you to take advantage of such data in the easiest and most direct way possible.
If you are passionate about new technologies and the impact they have on society and on in the overall educational landscape, you can use the pointers and open questions in this weekly digest as a compass to navigate the disruptive changes transforming the way we live, learn and interact with each other.
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
In spite of dramatic changes in information creation, sharing, dissemination, and validation, tools don’t yet exist to help provide images and patterns of what information means.
Fragmented information means that the act of coherence making now rests with individuals, not with linear (or centralized) structures like newspapers, books, and courses.
Innovation has been limited in conceiving new tools for the task of helping individuals make sense of complex information patterns. Visual browsers such as KartOO help a bit with information. FriendFeed helps with tracking people.
Where are the tools that help us to make sense of distributed (fragmented) information from multiple sources and interactions with many different people, networks, and organizations? They don’t exist.
CognitiveEdge’s SenseMaker looks interesting, but it looks like I have to get accredited first (when are you coming to Winnipeg, Dave? Better yet, why not offer it online? I’ll help.). Bill Ives reviews Filtrbox - a service that offers more functionality (primarily as a market intelligence tool) beyond “basic, free services as Google Alerts”.
We’re still a long way off from where we should be with information tools. We’ll see much more innovation / progress in this area (I hope) over the next several years.
I’ve had many enjoyable conversations (i.e.arguments) about what is not suitable in technology adoption. In many instances, it’s a matter of misunderstanding (determining the context from which different speakers are arguing).
In my new found desire to communicate visually, I propose the following: IRIS model of technology adoption.
When we encounter a new tool or a new concept, we are experiencing technology at the innovation level. We’re focused on “what is possible”, not what can be implemented. We’re more concerned about how a new idea / tool / process differs from existing practices. After we’ve had the joy of a shift in thinking and perspective about what is possible, we begin to research and implement. This is a cyclical process.
Attention is paid to “how does it work” and “what is the real world impact”. At this level, our goal is to see how our new (innovative) views align with current reality. If a huge disconnect exists, reform mode kicks in and we attempt to alter the system. Most often, that’s a long process. I’m not focused on that option here.
I’m making the assumption that many tools can be implemented within the existing system. Finally, once we’ve experimented with options and we have a sense of what works in our organization, we begin the process of systematizing the innovation (UCalgary blogs appear to have largely followed this model).
A back channel is a secondary conversation stream that occurs simultaneously with a primary conversation. If you attend a conference, back channel conversations may be happening on Skype, Twitter, BackNoise, Today’s Meet, or similar services.
Back channels during live events in Elluminate can be more valuable for participants than the actual presentation. Some attendees (especially in Elluminate) find the side conversations distracting, at first, but most people warm to them after a period of time. Continuous partial attention is alive and well!
What makes a back channel successful?
According to Museum 2.0, a low barrier system (such as Today’s Meet) has greater participation than a registration service like Twitter. People who are already on Twitter will gravitate toward each other through conference tags. People who are not yet using back channel tools find low barrier tools more appealing.
I’d be interested in seeing an analysis of the quality of conversations and information sharing (especially after relationships / connections have been established) in both open access spaces and those that require registration.
Dunbar’s number says we can maintain relationships with about 150 people. Which then prompts people to consider What’s the ideal number of friends? Questions like this - and Dunbar’s number - are vague and almost useless.
First, what’s a friend? The article quotes Aristotle’s statement friends as people who’ve eaten salt together (what if you have high blood pressure?). Social technologies have changed, for me at least, what it means to be (or have) a friend.
When I travel, it’s rare that I don’t meet people I’ve only known online. And yet, when we sit and chat, our shared interest in educational technology makes for a very fluid conversation. Add Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other tools to the equation… and suddenly it appears that 150 is very small.
Ultimately it comes down to how the word “friend” is defined. Is a friend someone who knows you well - i.e. your likes, dislikes, things that stress you out? If that’s the case, I’d suggest Twitter - with the daily life stream of inconsequential and consequential happenings - completely alters the notion of “friend as familiar”.
About the author
To learn more about George Siemens and to access extensive information and resources on elearning check out www.elearnspace.org. Explore also George Siemens connectivism site for resources on the changing nature of learning and check out his new book "Knowing Knowledge".George Siemens -