CCK09, EC&I831, Learning Community, Open Education

Is Your Education Open?

The term “open education” means different things to different people. There are many interpretations as to what open education and content means for learning. Often the financial costs, learning environments, accreditation and the role of the faculty are a few key issues that arise when discussed amongst educators.

I thought it was suitable to explore this topic, since I am currently enrolled in 2 open education courses, EC & I 831 & CCK 09 as a non-credit student. My goal in joining these open content courses was to collaborate with other learners, share resources, & establish on-going connections beyond the scope of the course, i.e. stay connected to people in the #edtech field for information-sharing and learning support. My participation in #eci831 & #cck09 has greatly enhanced my knowledge and research for my doctorate work at UNT, and I value the introductions to various topics, presenters, and peers.

Last week, Jon Mott joined #eci831 to discuss his experiences in open education. Here are the slides:

A few key take-away points, resources & quotes include:

  • Great Talk: David Wiley’s recent keynote on Open Education
  • openness allows for connection, personalizing and creation: allowance to share resources, ideas & knowledge
  • ability to move from passive consumption to sharing & collaborating amongst our connections
  • Creative Commons is a valuable entity that allows content to be shared & accessed
  • “Literacy is moving from being knowledgeable to knowledge-able.” ~Jon Mott
  • MIT Open CourseWare project is a solid model that offers free content for approximately 2000 courses
  • Open Courseware Consortium is a great database for other open education content
  • Other examples where education is open = Education Channel of YouTube,  iTunes U, and OER Commons
  • academic institutions vary their stance on content sharing, open education, etc
  • help students and instructors to understand the difference between “open” and “closed” education
  • need to seek sustainable models for open courseware and education
  • debates and questions continue about openness in education, with regards to Learning Management Systems (LMS), credentialing, faculty role, archeticture of courses, etc.
  • open education is more of a social & cultural issue, now that the technology is becoming rapidly available and accessible for learners/educators

The final thoughts prompted questions on how open education will impact our learners & how education will change in the future. More discussion about open education will continue tomorrow evening when Alan Levine joins #cck09 to share some of his thoughts around Openness & Transparency. Join in & share your two cents.

Learning Community, Networked Practice, PLE, PLN

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) & Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) & Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) are a forced to be reckoned with as technology becomes more accessible and user-friendly.

pler

On October 13-16, 2009, the online symposium on learning-centric technology shared ideas on how PLEs & PLNs are impacting the educational technology field. Here’s a bit more from the symposium organizer’s George Siemens & Stephen Downes:

The interest in Personal Learning Environments has grown with the emergence of Web2.0 technologies. Learning technologists can see how PLEs can help learners to organize their own personal learning, rather than that formal education institutions control the technologies that are being used and the way in which they are being used. Speakers will include developers and researchers of PLEs. All events will be hosted in Elluminate and recorded for archives. A discussion forum will be hosted in Moodle for asynchronous interactions.

Although I was working during the scheduled speakers, I managed to read posted materials and listen to the one of the recorded sessions . There are a wealth of great experiences & ideas archived online, and I hope to listen/learn more  in the upcoming weeks. Many of these speakers are leaders and pioneers in the PLE & PLN learning field.

For those of you interested and engaged in contributing your own educational experience with personal learning environments/networks, might I suggest you also check out the Call For Chapters for an upcoming eBook by Athabasca University and the National Research Council of Canada.

CCK09, Learning Community

Networks Influence Learning

It’s know what you know, it’s who you know. Dave Cormier believes that “knowledge is something that can be negotiated and validated in a community of knowledge.” This means that the future of education may be more connected and less constructed. This idea both challenge and invigorates educators alike.

A couple weeks ago, Dave & Stephen discussed/bantered about a few key concepts about Connective Knowledge for CCK09 Week 4:

  • Knowledge is the psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning.
  • Connective learning is a process of creating new knowledge patterns.
  • Networks influence how knowledge is shared.

The Online Ecosystem (Redux) by Jay Collier provides a good example of how online connections have become more integrated over the last few years in higher education:

online-evolution

In thinking about how networks influence learning and how integrative online environments impact knowledge-sharing, Dave presents two camps for education practice for online learning:

1) The Guild Model: designed with rules & regulations, peer learners, and methods to validate success; no restrictions & not a fully connected model

2) The Wild West Model: learning & knowing by being connected to a group of people who do the same types of things that you do, i.e. through Twitter, blogs, etc; knowledge exists in random locations; natural kind of learning

Both models of learning have value for the online education, however one method structures networks from the instructor, whereas the other connections are organically grown by the learner. There are many examples of learning technologies and numerous tools to support online initiatives, however it is important to establish methods to make connections and best practices in developing skills for effective learning. As online connections and environments evolve, this debate for how to best construct online learning continues.

EC&I831, Learning Community

At The Root of Connectivism

Connectivism is a pedagogy that I have latched onto for the realm of learning technologies. This is a new learning theory for the digital age, and is further defined by George Siemens as:

  • Knowledge as constellation of connections
  • Sense-making/way-finding
  • Network (social/technological) as assistive cognitive agent
  • Technology as externalization/extension

It’s not the tools that are relevant, but rather the connections made while learning.

Siemens made a guest appearance in the EC&I 831 course last week to discuss The Roots of Connectivism.

A few of the major points that I took away from George’s presentation include:

  • Learning is networked at 3 levels:
    • Conceptual-Cognitive: least developed; when ideas & concepts are combined together
    • Neural: biological; memories being formed as a sequence of connections (encoding in the brain)
    • Social-external: social network analysis, often completed by sociologist; external tools and resources to connect learning
  • Knowledge & learning as networked and emergent through:
    • Synchronicity – to understand how a student will learn is to understand & connect with their current knowledge & awareness
    • Amplification – participatory sense making & interaction with material creates learning at a deeper level
    • Resonance – why do students start to tune into learning a concept or new information? how do they connect with an association?
  • Educators need to understand connections at a very basic level to best learn how to influence connections for learning
    • What connections are?
    • How they form?
    • What attributes/structure they exhibit at formation?
    • What various formations mean?
George left the class with a few questions to ponder:
  • What are the implications for educators?
  • How do we “teach differently” in networks than we do in a classroom?
  • How should our priorities change in skill development?
  • As the field of networked learning grows, where do we turn for guidance direction?

Educators need to assess learning objectives to help students develop in the changing digital world. Instruction is not just about knowledge comprehension, but will shift to focus on acquisition of information and learner networks. “Teaching differently” will be instructional practice that encourages learners to think critically and engage in complex activities for deeper learning experiences. Learners will be challenged to connect meaning and knowledge that is currently known, to that of their shifting paradigm.

As networked learning continues to change educational environments, educators must empower their students to adapt and grow with the technologies . It will be up to the educators of today to remain current and connected to practitioners and  innovators in education who are leading the way. Whether it is following a stream of ideas on Twitter, reading the latest literature/publications, continuing professional development, taking an open-source course, or sharing ideas with online colleagues, educators who stay socially connected will provide engaged learning opportunities.

My quest to be a “Network Sherpa” for learners continues….

What are you doing to help your Networked Student connect to their learning today?

Connectivism video created by Wendy Drexler’s high school students inspired from George Siemens’ CCK08 Class.

Learning Technologies, Professional Development, Social Media

Keeping Up With Technology

With 2.5 online graduate courses, it’s easy to be consumed with everything digital this semester. In thinking about technology and how to best “keep up” with everything happening online, I stumbled upon a great video from Alan Levine (who will be leading a session in the EC&I 831 course), that reminds educational technology users to:

  1. Establish a network of colleagues & maintain these connections with online social tools, e.g. e-mails, RSS, blogs, Twitter, etc
  2. Tap into a sense of play & willingness to experiment.
  3. Don’t be afraid to continue to grow & learn new things.
CCK09, Learning Community, MOOC

Connecting to CCK09

Last night was the first meeting for the open course Connectivism & Connective Knowledge (CCK09) facilitated by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Approximately 708 students have signed up for either credit or non-credit learning to share ideas around connected learning and knowledge at any given time. In the live elluminate room, there were about 50 or so active & engaged students ranging from a wide field of interests and professional backgrounds.

mechano

Photo c/o http://londonskyline.blogspot.com


I decided to join this course for a few reasons:

  1. Connect with other like-minded individuals online.
  2. Join a learning community interested in sharing ideas around connected knowledge and online learning.
  3. To further explore the ideas around the pedagogy of connectivism – a term coined by George & utilized in an early research/pilot project at the University of Toronto.
  4. Ponder some theories and developments for learning/performance technology to enhance my doctoral research & studies @ UNT.

The meeting last night was more around the structure of the course and expectations for the participants. The opening session introduced a myriad of methods for continual connection throughout the semester, and encouraged networking and collaboration amongst our online peers.

Although there are few structured sessions and a CCK09 schedule, this does not limit anyones means for connections beyond the confines of the course. I think it is amazing to see the connections of a few of our peers flourish immediately on Twitter, through sharing of the blogs and more.  I’m looking forward to connecting further and engaging with the numerous resources and ideas that everyone is bringing to the digital table

TO DO List:

(before next class – September 17, 4:00 pm CST “What is Connectivism”)

Readings

What connectivism is

What is the Unique Idea in Connectivism?

Optional Readings/References:

http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/connectivism/?p=101

Little Boxes, Glocalization and Networked Individualism (.pdf)

http://it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/Paper105/Siemens.pdf


If you are interested in staying “connected” to CCK09, feel free to jump into the course as a non-credit student and/or use CCK09 tag to search on Twitter, Google Alerts, Diigo, Delicious and more! You are bound to connect to one of the members of the online learning community and perhaps take away an idea or two.

Hello to all my new online friends. Feel free to stay connected to me on this blog or via various ways I engage online –  HERE. See ya’ll on Thursday!

Learning Community, MOOC, Professional Development, Social Media

Open Learning Courses: EC&I 831 and CCK09

Summer always leads to much needed time outdoors and away from the computer. It’s nice to be off the grid, but also good to plug in and reconnect with friends and learning ideas online.

To kick off the new academic year, online education, and career development I have signed up for a couple of online, open education courses to compliment the grad program I start this fall.

open

Here are the two courses that I am connecting with mid-September:

1. Connectivism & Connective Knowledge 2009 (CCK09)

This course is led by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. The CCK08 Syllabus and supporting content can be found on the CCK09 Wiki.

You can register to receive course information here. Learners can also get formal credit as part of the Certificate in Emerging Technologies for Learning can enroll through University of Manitoba’s Extended Education Faculty. The course will begin on September 14, 2009.

2. EC & I 831: Social Media & Open Education

This is an open access graduate course from the Faculty of Education, University of Regina by Dr. Alec Couros. Although this courses is for credit, there is also an opportunity for participation from non-credit students. All lectures in this course, from September 15/09 to December 8/09 will be publicly available. To access the lectures, look for the appropriate date under “Synchronous Sessions“, then look for the weekly Elluminate link. I will also offer the appropriate Elluminate link via tweet via @courosa.

If you’re looking to learn from interesting and experienced educators, while connecting to peers and resources online, than one or both of these courses may be of interest to you. Sign up & join in the fun. Although I’ll be busy with work & school, I’ll be sure to continue to share my thoughts, ideas and resources that I learn here.

If you are currently interacting and learning from another open course… please share. Happy open learning!