Friday, February 27, 2009

Don't just say no

Just reading

Johnson, L., Levine, A., & Smith, R. (n.d.). The 2009 Horizon Report. Austin Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved February 27, 2009, from

The latest Horizon Report. In the critical challenges section they mention:

There is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy. The skills involved in writing and research have changed from those required even a few years ago. Students need to be technologically adept, to be able to collaborate with peers all over the world, to understand basic content and media design, and to understand the relationship be- tween apparent function and underlying code in the applications they use daily.

Just as important for faculty and admin to be technologically adept. Using Word docs and email attachments doesn’t quite do it.

Also in-house, institutional IT needs to get up to speed on many of the new ways of using web based tech for learning. New slogan: “Don’t just say no!”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Edupunk and Colonization of Web 2.0

Great debate/discussion going on between Jim Groom and Gardner Campbell in a series of videos posted on YouTube called EDUPUNK Battle Royal. Jerry Bayne on behalf of Educause is the referee/moderator.

One of the issues is the corporatization of education by major learning management companies who have been very aggressive (piratical?) about claiming many Web 2.0 features that have been developed by innovators and DIY ers.

The punk movement may not be the best metaphor for the counter-culture ethos arising in the face of the coporatizing of education. However, it works for the time being. As was pointed out in the video, the punk movement actually turned out to be the biggest corporate sponsored scam of all. Still the idea of resistance is there and to those that object to the punk meme, I think a true punker would say f**k em if they can't take a metaphor.

A couple of great images raised in this video. The notion of the big LMS companies corporate agenda to take over education is colonization. Certainly fits. They are like the Company of Adventurers moving in to Canada at "the pleasure of their majesties" and squeezing the last bit of juice out of a whole continent and leaving a devastated indigenous population and a servant class of colonialists.

Also love Grooms image of a LMS being a "florescent lighted space for learning". Really captures the dismal blandly uniform experience that passes for online education in many instances.

My ICT for Teachers course was constructed and conducted entirely using Web 2.0 tools. The object of the course was to increase teacher literacy with web based tools so what better way to do it. I think the course may be regarded with great suspicion by the institution. They use Moodle which means at least that they don't get involved with the type of hostage taking that Blackboard or WEBCT imposes on institutions. Still the institution is more interested in saving money and control than empowering learners with the possibilities of web based learning tools.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Personal Learning Networks, aka Skunk works

Picked up this great notion from a new Twitter connection Jim NacLennan. He described the steps necessary to make a skunkworks project a success. A wiki project being like a skunk works project. Old reference to a Lockheed Martin work strategy for secret projects undertaken with ad hoc resources.

Thought that went together well with the idea of personal learning networks. People put things together using whatever is at hand, whatever works.

It also brings together the notion of bricolage.

"Levi-Strauss used the idea of bricolage to contrast the analytic methodology of Western science with what he called a "science of the concrete" in primitive societies.11 The bricoleur scientist does not move abstractly and hierarchically from axiom to theorem to corollary. Bricoleurs construct theories by arranging and rearranging, by negotiating and renegotiating with a set of well-known materials." (Turkle and Papert, 1992)

I consider myself a bricoleur, putting things together out of bits and pieces using unconventional means. This certainly fits as part of the pedagogy of propinquity and also reflects a useful mindset for making sense out of the vast amount of resources on the Internet.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gotta be true, I read it in the paper the other day

Responded to a post on elearnspace

It would be nice to believe that we could be better informed if I has some guidance from the experts in the news media. The people who are trained to be skeptical about the facts, present an objective view and have a system of editorial oversight to ensure that we "just get the facts, ma'am."

However it is more and more apparent that the corporatist news media has made a science out of deceiving their viewer.

This recent article brings the argument together quite well. Although there is no shortage of evidence to suggest that academics and the editors of peer-reviewed journals might be just as likely to manipulate "findings" to support an agenda.

Stocking, S. H., & Holstein, L. (2009). Manufacturing doubt: Journalists' roles and the construction of ignorance in a scientific controversy. Public Understanding of Science, 18(1), 23-42. doi: 10.1177/0963662507079373.

Quote from the article"

Most research in mass communication has instead found journalism to be profoundly conservative in support of existing power structures and the status quo (Shah, 1994; Hallin, 1986; Gitlin, 1980; Gans, 1980).

In the article (p.23) there is also a nice concept map of Smithson's Taxonomy of Ignorance.
Michael Smithson,1989,Ignorance and uncertainty:Emerging paradigms., New York: Springer-Verlag.

Cf. earlier blog post on Agnotology and a companion mindmap.