Assignment-project: Sustainable learning

I promised to publish my report on my ITU-project. I finished the project just before Christmas, and I’m now waiting for the exam in end of january.

I haven’t had the ressources to translate the report. It is written in danish, the language og 5 million happy people in the cold North. I put a link to the pdf-file in danish. And I copied the text into three posts on my danish blog,  Google-translate will help you understand something, I hope. My english is not much better than Mr. Google.

The project is titled: ‘Sustainable learning’. Someone wrote ‘sustainable learning’ in a chatbox during an elluminate session, but I can’t remember who, and where. But I kept the words in my memory.

In the project I search arguments for establishing a simple system of free, social tools to support personal learning. Very much inspired by the connectivistic approach and the discussions along the cck08. And supplied with danish, norwegian, german input.

I hope you succeed in reading.


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Hi CCK08!, f2f+online=success

I’m still working with connectivism. Right now it’s a project for my course on ITU, due  17.12.08. I’m trying to make an edudesign . Blogs for the students to make ‘sustainable learning’. Very modest, no bullshit. Blogs for the students to support f2f-learning.

I ran into this post from Sharesky about the good experience with f2f, but only because students had spent hours online to collaborate and getting to know each other. Very much like the experiences from Italy, Andreas Formiconi.

Jorgen C

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Tickling the changing roles of educators, assignment 2, cck08:

A few weeks ago my friend and former colleague, Karen, connected my personal cellphone to make me help collecting money for children living as fugitives in Africa.

I am usually reluctant to participate in this kind of donation, but she persuaded me.

It was a great learning experience. I visited parts of the city that I thought familiar with. But I wasn’t. Behind the façades I rediscovered the diversity of lives lived very different from my everyday circles.

The way I was received when ringing bells and knocking on doors, mirrored my own thoughts and understanding of people walking from door to door to motivate giving and helping: religious, fanatic, lonely, ‘get a life’, pity.

That was my learning experience thanks to Karen, who moved me to take part.

I learn when my circles are disturbed, when I discover something I did not expect, when I’m surprised I’m motivated to the search for new experiences. When you get something you did not expect your brain will reward you with a kick of dopamine. Dopamine is the brains ‘pleasure drug’.  A crucial knowledge from neural science. (according to Tor Norretranders, ‘Glæd dig, p 68). You get the reward when you are not certain to get what you are going for. So you navigate after getting more than expected. When  your model of the world is challenged you feel joy, happiness. To be surprised you need to give in on control and be open. The mechanism of reward prediction error. (WikiPedia).

This theory explains why you can’t tickle yourself. When you try, you discover that it isn’t fun. You know what’s going to happen, so you’re not surprised=no joy

Learners have to face increasing complexty in the learning proces.  In complex environments you can not obtain control, so a relevant way of handling decisions in complexity and chaos is to act ( Kurz and Snowden) The first and main project for the teacher is to enable the  learner to act, and to sustain, to stay in action.

Digital literacy ( in a very broad sense) is is the primary focus for the teacher to help develop autonomous, selfdirected learners. A practical approach to this was presented by Nancy White on elluminate-talk:

Enable people to:

  • discover & appropriate useful technology
  • be in and use communities and networks (People)
  • find and create content
  • express their identity
  • usefully participate

To keep learners motivated, joyfull, happily learning, the teachers must remain in the role of tickler for a longer period. It’s control with out controlling. I find good practical inspiration,  in keeping this project simple and manageable in the work with italien students that Andreas presents on his study and student-blog. He is keeping the conversation vivid .

He is a tickler.

Jorgen C

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Emerging evaluation of CCK08

On twitter, I stumbled into a link, from Dave Cormier, to Pontydysgu blog, linking to an elluminate talk about MOOC, CCK08. Dave Cormier, is presenting some initial evaluation of the still ongoing course. For me it is very interesting to hear ‘second’ opinions about whats going on with the cck08. Other sources on networked learning like  Dave Cormier on EdTechTalk and Graham Atwell on Pontydysgu and others pose questions from my question-repository. I don’t know their blogs well, yet, ( I use that 3 letter word often? ;-)), but they seem to be worth following. I heard Graham Atwell talk in Odense in february.

One  question they deal with is how to come up with a model for online teaching that support students with ‘weak digital literacy’ to stay on board while they learn the basics.

The discussion on elluminate ads to my understanding of the challenges of online networked learning.


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Micro blogging- status updates

Twitter, Jaiku and other services are meant to enhance networking and connections.

I have signed up on a my Twitter and Jaiku. It seems to attract a lot of time spending. Occationally I’m luckey to fall over some nice thoughts, links and new people following.

What is your experience with microblogging, status updates i Facebook and others?

Does it help your learning, creation of connections, manageing complexity, …?

What does it  do to your ‘focusing’, athomising, concentration, ?


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From devoted through sceptic to – ?

The grumpy old man’s position! When I meta-think of my learning I see that my position has changed over the last 6 weeks of study. I am learning.

I use to be the devoted user of new technologies in teaching. In my former job as a teacher I tried to convince my colleagues about the exiting possibilities in new technologies in edu.  When discussing these topics with sceptic friends and co-workers I have been the defender of new prosperous paths to follow. Arguing against their rather obsolete thinking. I see options in stead of limitations.

In recent weeks my thinking has been turned around. My participation on the cck08 is very interesting, I read interesting papers, blogs, elluminate-sessions and more, most of them matching my opinions and convictions, and enhancing my argumentation.

But I fail in the core element of connectivism: creating connections and turning them into valuable relations. I think that’s why my focus changes to the pessimistic and negative. Now I spot instances of fluffing and less successful stories. I joined the forcreditgroups synchronous meeting,- 1 connection and a nice chat, later no activity and , following people from cck08 on twitter, little content, had few reactions on blogposts, but very ‘friendly’,  started for students on ITU, no reaction, declining activity-curve on moodle,  Is the concept of any good  at all? Yes! Of course it’s my problem to overcome the difficulties. Stop whining!

But when a shift in my focus can change promising cases into ‘hot air’, is it then the case of ” The emperor’s new clothes”? We do a lot of ‘weaving’  and wishful thinking. Are we a self-sufficient, besserwisser ‘group’ externalised from reality? Is it just a question of patience, and to be persistant?

My activity on the cck08course has gone down a bit, that is, my readings and my lurking are minor compared to the first weeks. But I do a lot of thinking. The difficult part is externalising my thoughts. And that is an explanation to lacking connections, of course. I know. So?

How is the general level of activities on cck08! Is there some fatigue in the network?  Where is the activity of the 2000 students? Distributed! Moodle? Blogs? NingGroups? Twitter?

How is your role as a teacher in cases of despondency spreading? Can the network manage it? Which implications does it have on the ‘design’ of courses? Can you design courses to minimise dropout? Facilitator roles, feedback, mixing online-offline activity?

I’m searching a new role. From devoted to sceptic to … ‘realistic dreamer’? dreaming realist?..?

Take a walk in the woods.

/Jorgen C

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ckk08 Exformation- from bits to knowledge

Exformation is a very beautiful expression. You can sense the meaning of the word, when you know: ‘information’. It explains some aspects of what we are exploring about learning in a complex world. In the process of transforming data into information into knowledge, we throw away information. The thrown away context (exformation) give meaning to a more condensed information. Words and concepts are full of meaning, and they make sense for us if we share the same context.

Wikipedia has this example:

In 1862 the author Victor Hugo wrote to his publisher asking how his most recent book, Les Misérables, was getting on. Hugo just wrote “?” in his message, to which his publisher replied “!”, to indicate it was selling well. This exchange of messages would have no meaning to a third party because the shared context is unique to those taking part in it. The amount of information (a single character) was extremely small, and yet because of exformation a meaning is clearly conveyed.

I read ‘Developing Online from Simplicity toward Complexity: Going with the flow of Non-liear Learning‘ one of the papers for this week. I don’t think I find much new stuff. One point is, that complex learning can’t take place in linear ways. Learning complex matters is a complex process. But is the only way to learn to swim to jump into the deep water? You either sink or swim? Can/must we as teachers take away some of the complexity to ease the leaning process?  Or do you have to be in ‘complexity’ to make your own sense of matters? Is that what the network helping you through? Creating exformation in common?

Is poetry exformated information? Do long blogposts need to go through the exformation-machine? See Andreas’ post on that subject.

/Jorgen C

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Practical connective learning, Emanuela

Emanuela Zibordi posts practical tasks in teaching/handling/integrating ‘groups’ in networked learning.

Interesting debate relating the roles of teachers in a practical set up. Again its related to Valdis Krebs’ talk about network. A question here is how to ‘manage networks’. Or non-manage = let the market rule. As we see these days there is a certain ‘waste’ in market economy,  equal in classroom, complex learning set ups.

Teachers need good skills in guiding the learners to be responsible for their own learning. And get away from this scenery!

The teacher is active, at least.

The teacher is active, at least.

Which are these skills?


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Networks and confidence

I have had an account on Twitter, for about a year. But I have never seen the idea, why? A cck08 twitterer, encouraged me to add all cck08 student as followers. Something happened, but it was also a mess to read. Some ‘connections’ were made, and it could be a beginning of getting to know somebody.

That’s what I’m missing on the course. I’m not a fast ‘truster’. I need some more different, diverse information to connect and to create valuable connections. I’m surprised that it’s so difficult for me, but I have to deal with it. I know.

Blanche Maynard/Louise Cote connected and commented on my blog about Twitter.  I see her often on Twitter ( she’s easy to find), and read her twits. Do I know her? A bit, more than many others. She posted  link to Thriving too.  About creating trust in online communication. Nice post referring to Jay Cross’s blog

How do you create connective confidence, trust?

Is trust important for you to act and learn online?

It’s an subject on the webex talk this sunday evening

/Jorgen C

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Outstanding outstanding questions, assign# 1

Connectivism offers a theoretical framework to explain and clarify what the concepts of knowledge, learning and teaching are in complex environments in the beginning of the new millennium.

My background in teaching originates in the political 70’es. I have a bachelor degree in teaching. We, the students, finished our exams in sort of oppositions to the main concepts of teaching.  It was in a reaction against the established society and its institutions, and one of these institutions was the ‘black school’ with ‘the gas station’ pedagogy. School and teaching were not ideologically neutral concepts but were preservers of society status quo.

We spent a lot of time exploring what the future requirement to socialisation and education in western society would be. And these expectations on skills and competences were in some degree consistent with working out new concepts of teaching in an emancipative approach.

Some of our readings were Freire, Dale, Lorentzer, Ziehe,

The objectives of teaching were to create knowledge, conscience of concepts and proportions in society enabling people to take part.

In this context, working with project organised- and problem based- education, with high degree of participant-directedness, collective working and product orientation, ‘emerged’.

This way of ‘teaching’ changed a lot of things in schools. The roles of teachers changed to consulting and students had to be ‘responsible for their own learning’.

My take on that was to work on a continuation-school for teenagers. The concept was to learn, be conscious, through practical-theoretical work in collaborate, collective frameworks. It was a boarding school, with work in the kitchen, in the farm with animals, the sieve factory, the music workshop, the media workshop, daily talks around ‘the news’, alongside with learning social skills and everything in the national curriculum for K12 exams.

Learning occur when you are in a connection with others, when your starting point is what you know, your own life/environment, when you generalise your experience. Learning is creating conscience and enabling ‘taking part’.

This concept merged into all kinds of edu-institution, where it has been a leading understanding of teaching and learning for about 20 years. With some success: The country has been ahead in commercial competition and happiness for several years.

Maybe we have a problem evolving? An increasing amount of students in college and universities drop out of their studies. Working as a teacher is low-status. It seems to be very difficult to engage teachers in transforming schools to be in keeping with the times. I’m seeking explanations on why this happens?

My understanding of teaching, my learning experience and my pedagogical basis aligns very well with connectivism. I know that knowledge isn’t in a repository. I’ve grown that knowledge. Understanding the dynamics of network help me cope with why students react on the group oriented teaching, why it’s so difficult for me to create relations in a ‘virtual’ world. I have experienced, that technology multiplies my ability to connect with people and concepts to enhance learning.

And I have seen the resistance against committing totally to e-learning concepts. On my course on IT-university student don’t want to engage in connecting online. They attend class for lectures and go home to read. I am disappointed, but the teachers have tried models like CCK08-course without success. How long do we have to wait? Is there something wrong with the concept?

A Danish philosopher, priest, poet and teacher, Grundtvig, coined the phrase about teaching: “The Living Word”. It’s in the live connection and conversation we learn. Maybe it’s in the marrow of the teacher’s bones that they must confront their student, and that a conversation on the internet cannot replace presence IRL. Or even supplement?

I think that connectivism is in sync with the technological and overall development of modern society.

But I have some scruples on connecting totally to the concept. I’m reluctant and cautious because I very easy become caught by nice ideas. For myself I think its very interesting and I learn a lot, but it’s difficult. I don’t have a degree in pedagogy, but I have practical/theoretical experience on some level, and still I feel like being connected with weak ties, in the green area of the network chart(Valdis Krebs). My fellow students on the IT University reject to participate in connectivist activity. The teachers in fundamental schools keep teaching as they use to even when they have lots of computers, internet connections, IT courses. Who has the capacity to attend? Is it only for  specially invited? Nerds like myself? Self managed learners? What about the drop-outs? What happens to community when we have developed our autonomous self to act in the network? Is market mechanism hot? Is politics not?

In this course I’m learning skills for participation that hopefully lead me through conversations to answer some of my outstanding questions

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