Friday, November 28, 2008

Opportunities and Resistence CCK08

I am surprised by some of the ironies involved in the approach taken to connectivism and learning in the CCK08 course.
First jolt was a separation of those doing it for credit from those not. A two tiered system became established and no one commented negatively on this?
Then there was a philosophical intent of learning being because you want it to happen, but there's still a timeline and a curriculum of sorts. Admittedly, not doing it for credit means i dont give a damn beyond the fact that some level of social organisation is needed to make it possible to even bump into the people one might want to dialogue with. So serendipitous and individual learning benefits from at least some structural supports.
There was also a tendency to maintain one's own silos. Maybe an activity to deliberately select and cross from areas of habit would have helped here. I might have been enticed into 2nd life beyond the arrival space ... i might have been required to intersect this with that in terms of identifying a new area with one i had previously explored. I did this anyway, placing ANT (Actor-network theory) alongside connectivism, but will connectivism start having a look at ANT?

Nonetheless, I took opportunities to go where i hadnt before...and enjoyed the banter of connecting with dead people, as well as finding real live people who could expand on my own thinking of the intersect between ANT and connectivism. People such as Keith Lyons with a delightful treatise on wayfinding and both Roy Williams and Frances Bell brought a curiosity to ideas and applications I shared.

But the question i find most curious, is well addressed inside of ANT.
"Why is it so difficult to change the practice of education? What kinds of opportunities can we embrace if we are able to make fundamental and systemic changes?" For this is where ANT is most useful. For a formal read I recommend reading Latour on Reassembling the social." For a quirky approach, try Latour's Aramis. Not explicit about education but a great study in change, resistence, resilience...
If making the intersections in networking the ideas is in the too hard basket, take a more direct route, have a look at Bigum, C., & Rowan, L. (2004). Flexible learning in teaching education: myths, muddles and models. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 32(3), 213-226.
It is the network, the connections in place that sustains, and this also points to what might be altered. For it might always be otherwise, what's configured always takes work in being held the same and is always subject, at least potentially, to being reconfigured differently.

As Chris and Leonie say in the paper,

This matters because how we frame our work patterns are laid down, grooves formed, a kind of template is created which also limits, proscribes, {contains, constrains, constructs} what can come next...we need to be aware of how particular performances of flexibility close down what is possible, rather than the rhetoric suggesting an opening up ....
If we have a technology, a way of doing things, which is, in crude terms, an assemblage of people and things, then to justify replacing or adding to this existing way of doing things, a claim has to be made that things will be done better, faster, more efficiently and so on with the implementation of the new.
This is what Lee Sproull and Sarah Kiesler (1991) identified in their studies of communication technologies and named ‘first level effects’—‘the planned efficiency gains or productivity gains that justify an investment in the new (1991, p. 4). However, as they go on to argue, the only certain outcome of implementing a new technology is that things change: ‘ …people pay attention to different things, have contact with different people, and depend on one another differently’.
In telling of experiences and sharing ideas about how teaching and learning might be shaped, we too are shaped.

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