Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Feb 28 09

The impact that learning environments will have on the way we work, Internet freedom, and the future of libraries are just some of the hot topics inside this week Media Literacy Digest.

Photo credit: Jason Rhode

Has the Web been helping the true growth of a greater freedom of thought, allowing individuals to develop a critical attitude and question their beliefs?

Tough the question remains open, it's certainly true that the Internet has greatly helped to foster the sharing of knowledge and the exchange of opinions. Forums, online communities, or even comments to a blog post, are often the occasion to start a debate and look at things from a different perspective.

As every week, you can use the pointers and open questions raised in this Digest as a compass helping you explore and make greater sense of the subtle, but disruptive changes that our society faces in these times.




eLearning Resources and News

learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends

by George Siemens


Network Weaving

Network weaving is a great term to describe how people and organizations interact, connect, share information, and form relationships. In this 20 minute video, June Holley talks about her experience with weaving networks.

The term "networks" is so broad it's tough to talk about it meaningfully without first spending time clarifying terms. Barabasi stated that "networks are everywhere. All we need is an eye for them". I agree. While networks share structural properties (connections between nodes), how and why networks form differs with network types.

For example, how does a social network translate into learning? How does being connected to a certain group of people translate into understanding? (if you're interested, I posted a presentation last year on the subject of different ways to see learning as networked).


Net Gen Skeptic


Mark Bullen's blog has changed from Net Gen Nonsense to Net Gen Skeptic (I criticized the first title when he set up the blog last May / June. Now I think I prefer it).

He reports on a recent survey at BCIT on the use of technologies by age.

Short answer of the outcome:

"The results clearly show that generational differences are not the issue. Contextual issues such as the nature of the program are more important considerations when making decisions about the integration of learning technologies."


Second Life


As with any tool that embodies a potentially new medium of interaction, Second Life has been the subject of much hype. Many companies that first embraced SL as a tool for connecting with customers have since left. Reuters, for example, set up a news bureau, reporting on all things SL.

In October of last year, they closed it. The obvious response is to say something like "see, Second Life isn't practical / useful... it's over-hyped".

I think it's important for companies to experiment and explore how new technologies might inform their interaction with information and with others. I'm sure Reuters has learned much more through this "failure" than they would have if the project had been a success.

The value of experimenting is often found in the process, not in the outcome.


Future of Libraries


Libraries are often cited as a dying concept. In my home community, we recently built a new, expensive library... and it looks like a library. Bigger than the older building and with more books. Not much in the innovation category.

However, on universities campuses, libraries are often among the busiest areas on campus. It might have something to do with free wireless, Starbucks, comfortable seating, etc.

Regardless, the library field has managed to effectively reposition itself for the digital era. Academics have much to learn from the libraries to learning commons change.

Confessions of a Science Librarian has compiled a list of 29 reports on the future of academic libraries.


CCK08 Wrapup Recording


This afternoon, we held a wrapup conversation for CCK08... the recording is now available.

We discussed a wide-range of topics, including lurking in online environments, lessons learned from CCK08, Stephen's serialized course feeds, what we'll do differently for the September '09 offering of the course, etc.

At about the 40 minute mark, we had an interesting discussion on assessment in education.

My own view: assessment should be seen as matching patterns: what the learner knows and what she / he needs to know in order to achieve a degree / certificate. Instead of assessment conducted after a course, a combination of PLE / e-Portfolios and the patterns we exhibit through our daily online interaction / learning could serve as the basis for determining what field we are more qualified to work in.

If I decide I want a career change, I should be able to match my existing skill set and expertise against the established criteria of other fields... and receive information on transference of existing learning.

"George, you possess 48% of the needed knowledge to be a plumber, 35% to be a dentist, 105% to be an investment banker"... and then I should only be required to "gap fill" what I know vs. what I need to know. I could change careers every year!


The Liberty of the Networked


Instead of an aversion to pain, I think I have a desire to walk toward it.

Last fall, during CCK08, I was blessed with the opportunity to experience Prokofy Neva (Catherine Fitzpatrick). Many course participants found her distracting (rude). I didn't find myself nodding in agreement with her too often, but I valued her contrarian voice.

We should be questioning our assumptions, our broad frameworks.

I find Andrew Keen to be an important voice - not because he's accurate or on target with his criticism - but because he is willing to question what many assume as given (though he does so in order to sell books, but similar criticism could be directed at Shirky, Scoble, and others).

Ideas in tension is a good thing. Whenever I find strong agreement on principles (such as is increasingly occurring at conferences touting the value of Web 2.0 in education), I find myself wanting to push back and take the other perspective.

Anyway, Tony Curzon Price discusses networks, individuals, and the collective:

"We need to exercise our collective freedom to preserve our modern liberty...

Society gave power to the individual, but also had absolute power over including or excluding the individual. Collective power was bought at the cost of individual rights and certainties.

One of the most troubling aspects of the wired world, with its assault on privacy and its technologies of manipulation, may recreate and amplify this aspect of the world of the ancients."

The comment by Fitzpatrick, complete with techo-communism references (such as Stephen and I were subject to during CCK08), raises an issue I've been thinking about lately.

What will become of the individual? Collectives are great for many things. But any view of society that does not start with the individual is disconcerting.

Originally written by George Siemens for elearnspace and first published on February 28th 2009 in his newsletter eLearning Resources and News.

About the author


To learn more about George Siemens and to access extensive information and resources on elearning check out Explore also George Siemens connectivism site for resources on the changing nature of learning and check out his new book "Knowing Knowledge".

Photo credits:
Net Gen Skeptic - Mark Bullen
Second Life - VSTE
Future of Libraries - Ndul
CCK08 Wrapup Recording - Marc Dietrich
The Liberty of the Networked - scol22

George Siemens -
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Saturday, February 28 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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