Wednesday, 24 September 2008

cck08 - Week 3 - Connections in a small world

CCK08 Moodle is where I have posted the comment that I reproduce here.

Mária Hartyányi - from Hungary - answering to my post Week 1 - What is Connectivism? (2) added a comment "we are already twofold connected: a friend of mine (Istvan Bessenyei, how takes part in TENEGEN too) some days ago met with your fellow in Italy! We are all connected? Or would be the world really so small?".

George has now mentioned the same question in his presentation "Introduction to networks": slide 5, "Small world". He has cited the Six degrees of separation (see on Wikipedia): everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth.

I like the tool offered by ClustrMaps. You can see, on my blog, the Map of the people who have connected:
Nice to see the growth of red points from new countries.

I have known Maria - till now only virtually, not face2face - because she has contacted me as coordinator of the SLOOP project, an European funded project, on the sharing of open/free LOs. She intended to present to the European Commission a new project - TENEGEN, that has been approved and will start in a few days - based on SLOOP results.
I'm fashinated to see the ClustrMap of the connection to the SLOOP site (after the formal end of the project, I didn't know the tool before):

Can I suggest Stephen and George to add a ClusterMap to the CCK08 site? or to our CCK08 Moodle?

Saturday, 20 September 2008

CCK08 - Week 2 - Learning connections like a rhizome?

CCK08 course has proposed us, in this second week, an article on Rhizomatic Education, by Dave Cormier.

While reading the article (on my Mac), I used Google to search "rhizoma" and "rhizomatic", then I followed some links that seemed to be interesting.
Thus, starting from an article on a Learning theory, I learned:
- some botanical notions (types of stems and roots),
- some philosophical notions, for example that Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari used the term "rhizome" to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation (Wikipedia),
- some notions on the Guattari's theories on "schizo-analysis".
And I have developed an interest to learn more on such fields.

It's a confirmation that often the learning process is not linear (as the arborescent - single trunk - stem of a plant) but more similar to a rhizome stem (like Iris and Ginger):


I found also an article (in Italian) that - starting from the incorrect idea that rhizome is a kind of root (it's a kind of stem) - proposes an interesting comparison between superficial development (like the one of rhizome) and in-depth development (like the one of taproots). The author quotes Michael Tournier’s "Friday":
“It is a strange prejudice which sets a higher value on depth than on breadth, and which accepts ’superficial’ as meaning not ‘of wide extent’ but ‘of little depth,’ whereas ‘deep,’ on the other hand, signifies ‘of great depth,’ and not ‘of small surface.’.”

A part from the botanical mistake: interesting concept concerning learning (and teaching). I'll return on it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

CCK08 - Last reflections on the first week

CCK08 is now in its second week. But let me dwell a little bit upon the first one.
As all the participants, I have experienced a tide of nodes, deeply over individual possibilities of connections.
The course appears to have such a chaotic structure as the life has. Billions of connections could be set (in the life, at the moment in the cck08 course they are just a bit less), but we are able to set only few of them. What connections we establish, it's a question of choices and a question of chance. That way in the life, the same in the learning.
Thus I picked up here and there.

Being our Italian CCK08 community (LTever) not too extended I have read all the messages of my fellows.
Andreas - Let’so go for a walk in a wood and relax - has contributed to avoid my puzzling for the "chaos".
Silvana - Reflections on week 1 readings - speacking about "responsability" in learning has proposed the story of a mullah.
Emanuela - Week1- II part - proposes the extremely connections of her students (she is a P.E. teacher) when playing a team sport.
Antonio - A day of ordinary connectivism - tells us a story about connectivism: the one of his activities on 12th September from 7.30 to about 8.00; a story of a solution of a problem thanks to connections/networks.
Carlo's comments - Berlusconi, cognitivism and connectivism - start from a groundless but accepted statement of our premier, Mr Berlusconi.
I have referred - see the two previous posts in this blog - to how I feel my mind.

No one of us has faced the question - what is connectivism - from a theorical point of view but proposing connections to stories and experiences.

And now: I'll try to start with the second week activities :-)

Thursday, 11 September 2008

cck08 - Week 1 - What is Connectivism? (2)

Many years ago - 25? 30? - I read somewhere the expression "cognitive matrix". From then on, I think to my knowledge as a net of connections amongst information, concepts, stories, … I imagine it like in this figure

but tridimensional.
(I haven't studied neurophisiology: may be it corresponds to real links between neurons).

As I have written in the previous post, I feel to have learnt something when a new bit of information links in my mind to one of more of pre-existing nodes. Generally it's only a question of new nodes and connections. But sometimes happens that new nodes and their connections cause a reorganization of the matrix so that it has a new shape.
It has happened in my mind, for example, with the introduction of the open source concepts. They linked not only to pre-existing ideas related to computers, but also to economy, ethics, politics, ecology … in this way creating connections amongst nodes previously unconnected. My ideas on copyright and intellectual property changed and new ideas - sharing learning materials and cooperate in their production - grew in my mind.

This is the way I think my own mind. When I firstly heard "connectivism" - very few months ago - it sounded me very familiar.
To the question "what is connectivism?" I should answer: the way my mind works.

cck08 - Week 1 - What is Connectivism? (1)

In the last 3 days, the very first ones of the cck08 course, I have attended the Word Computer Congress in Milan. Interesting experience.
I'm starting a collaboration with AICA (an Italian Informatics Society) on the EUCIP certification. Thus I've attended the 5 sessions of the conference "ICT Professionalism and Competences". They are new matters for me.
The speeches were, for me, a flow of bits of information, often a simple flow of words. An experience very different from the one I normally have in conferences on eLearning, or in school teaching, that are my fields. Difficult to understand the meaning of a speech, its relevance, to make comparisons, …
Sometimes a light: a match - a link - with ideas (concepts, stories, theories, …) in my brain. When a connection appears, things start to have a meaning. My knowledge begins to growth.

"What is connectivism?" I'm not sure to be able to answer. I can ask: "Is this one?".