If you are interested in learning about new media trends, communication technologies and about the changes that are shaping our future, in this issue of Media Literacy Digest, open education advocate George Siemens, explores and reports on new fascinating stories and insights and on the impact that these new tools have on the way we learn and work.
Photo credit: Zothen
Inside this Media Literacy Digest:
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Anytime someone provides a list of steps to achieve complex tasks, my reaction is to turn and run.
Lists are generally only useful for the people who make them.
Situations and contexts change rapidly.
What works now in one organization will likely not work in the future in another organization. But, complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty are difficult to manage.
So we turn to little techniques and ploys that provide us with a pseudo-sense of what is really happening.
Consider this article: The 10 Stages of Social Media Integration in Business. This is exactly how not to implement social media… at least if you are looking for the transformative impact the author cites early in the article.
If you make lists for managing social media, you have misunderstood social media.
Barabasi has a focus on mathematical and biological networks. Fowler focuses on social networks. Get the two together, and you get an interesting discussion on:
It is still early enough in the new year to declare 2010 the year of "whatever you think is important". To this end, have a look at 2010 - The Year of the Neighborhood.
As the geosocial revolution continues - creating more and more intimate links between the digital space and our physical spaces via mobile devices and data driven services - the word "neighborhood" is becoming more and more prominent.
A neighborhood (in urban terms, larger than a block, smaller than a zipcode) is the perfect granularity to connect with users as we spend a good chunk of our time there.
I have been playing around with foursquare and yelp. These services allow individuals to post where they are... which conceivably then results in blurring physical and virtual worlds as we meet up with others (and extend our social networks). Combine this with Blippy and we essentially declare all our ongoing activities to our network.
All we need now is a means to share bowel movement routines.
Perhaps the wearable human recorder system will help with that.
Media consumption increased in almost every domain - web, TV, music, games, etc. Print was down.
Two parts of the report were interesting - though mainly for lack of useful information or clear correlation: Distinction in media use among whites, African, Americans, and Hispanics... as well as a bit of a psychological profile on high media users (basically, they are less happy, have poorer grades, and have more issues).
Take a few minutes (ok, maybe about 30). Read this transcript of Hillary Clinton's presentation on Internet freedom. Leave the politics out of it. It is, I think, an important speech that has the prospect of serving as a touch point for advancing the freedom online discussion - delivered by a senior government official who recognizes that the Internet is more than an add on to our daily lives. It has become a "new nervous system for our planet".
The speech is at times practical, touching, and idealistic. But mostly it raises the importance of theoretical discussions of democracy, rights, and freedoms in a networked age.
The final freedom I want to address today flows from the four I have already mentioned: the freedom to connect - the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the Internet, to websites, or to each other.
The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly in cyber space. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate in the name of progress.
Once you are on the Internet, you do not need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society.
I have stated (many) times that the most significant impact of the Internet is the externalization (capturing and recording... and then making available for future analysis) of all aspects of our lives.
How much do we need to commit to memory when we can search Google? What does it mean to "know" something today? To have it in our heads? Or to have it at our fingertips? I argue that to know means to be positioned in a network in such a way as to have ready access to what we need in varying contexts.
"Knowledge was once an internal property of a person, and focus on the task at hand could be imposed externally, but with the Internet, knowledge can be supplied externally, but focus must be forced internally."
Small point that needs clarification - and this short article does not provide it: When I externalize something, it is information. When someone connects it in some manner, it becomes knowledge.
Knowledge is essentially relatedness / connectedness.
I would likely subscribe to an exceptionally informative newspaper or magazine online.
Publishers face a challenge in the amount of free content that is readily available. I say let the market decide.
If you want to charge for content, add value.
Avatar, for example, is one of the most pirated movies in history. This has not stopped the theatre version from setting new revenue records. The value-add of the theatre experience will likely make the downloaded version pale in comparison.
Organizations that choose to compete on a revenue model with free online content, but do not provide noticeable extra value, will fail.
Chaos theory can provide a useful model for learning: A limited range of inputs can provide a significant variety of outputs. Because the output range is so diverse, it is easy to assume that the process itself must be astonishingly complex. It is not.
Systems that are complex and even chaotic function according to a few simple rules (see agent-based modeling).
Scientific American reports on how scientists are using the multiple inputs driven by basic rules in order for a robot to "learn" (it is not exactly learning, it is more about negotiating and reacting to chaotic stimuli... learning would require some pattern storage, which the video states is a future research task).
About George Siemens
From late 2009, George Siemens holds a position at the the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute in Athabasca University. He was former Associate Director in the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba. George blogs at www.elearnspace.org where he shares his vision on the educational landscape and the impact that media technologies have on the educational system. George Siemens is also the author of Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age and the book "Knowing Knowledge" where he developes a learning theory called connectivism which uses a network as the central metaphor for learning and focuses on knowledge as a way to making connections.
George Siemens -
Stages of Social Media Integration - Jpsdk
Networks - Mathematic and Social - Adrian Hillman
Neighborhood - Matthew Hurst
Internet Freedom - Kheng Ho Toh
Age of External Knowledge - Dogbone
Learning: Extracting Order From Chaos - Jón Helgason