Thursday, January 04, 2007

Quotes & Links

From David Warlick writing at 2 Cents Worth

One thing that has happened to information, that should be impacting what and how we teach, is that information has become the raw material with which people work. We mine it, we work it, fashioning it into an information product that will be valuable to other people, and then express it in some compelling way. It may be a story, a report, a song, or a design. It may be a piece of computer code, or a sales pitch for a new marketing or distribution technique. It may be a new experience that people will enjoy. It may be a new way to grow wheat that is resistant to whatever wheat needs to resist.

We still teach too much as if information is the end product. We teach it, you learn it, we test it. Instead, we need to present information as a raw material. You access it, and then you do something with it, that adds value in some way. You construct your own knowledge.

Once again, I’m not saying that processing information replaces memorization. It’s just that learning to work with information is as important — as critical — to our students future, as learning it.

Also from David

... we are asking too many questions that require an answer, when we should be asking questions that require a conversation.

From Wil Richardson on Mogopop

Now I know this first attempt isn’t anything stellar, but seriously, in about seven minutes I put together this little aggregation of photo, video and text that you can now download to your video iPod (and, perhaps someday, your phone? Maybe?) and get a quick idea of what, um, my daughter looks like, the Wikipedia definition of Web 2.0 (needs some formatting) and a short clip of some kids at a workshop I did in the U.K. I know, I know…not much that’s useful there…except the concept.

So imagine if you will, a whole slew of quality content like this that learners can access and port with them, or better, learners putting together resources that can be shared with the community to further their thinking and discussion, or perhaps portfolios of work, or maybe personalized reflections in audio, video, text form, or… All deliverable to your iPod (or, perhaps someday…) What else?

From Dave Snowden writing at Cognitive Edge

Now we can look at natural numbers. Again this is illustrated in the picture. Informal communities link back to natural levels of trust, they need to be less than 15. For expert communities some degree of knowledge of the other participants is necessary, but deep trust is not. SItuation trust, contextual and professional trust all come into play. The 150 limit therefore cuts in here. For a formal community it does not matter, you have enough structure, and the material is at a low enough level of abstraction that anyone can use the material. For a crisis you need very small focused teams which is where the 5 limit fits in.

Now a critical qualification here. The numbers can relate to individuals,and they are good guidelines as such. However given the way social computing works we don’t have to restrict participation in this way if instead we think about identities or coalescences. Provided the central actors are limited by the numbers, the number of actual people can be large. Look at the number of lurkers in any virtual community, while the active participants tend to be about 15 overall, 5 in any particular thread. By observing natural clusters in the use of social computing tools, those clusters can be given roles or functions in wider groups. In effect this is a nodal network. The nodes stabilise their linkages and act as a focus for activity. By using simple analysis software you can not only monitor those patterns, but you can also measure and target their connectivity.

One final point here. All communities are networks, in so far as they are linked, but not all networks are communities. A community has a common purpose, it may not be stated, but it is known. It is the way we do things around here, which is not a bad definition of culture.

Plenty of food for thought in those nuggets. Enjoy!

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