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Capturing knowledge the Y Worlds way

I just discovered a puzzling and wonderful site, Y Worlds by the Y Worlds Cooperative. It seems linked in some way to the SpaceCollective, who’s blogs I follow. Visiting the sites you get a ”Time of Aquarius”-feeling at first, but there is lots of very good stuff, packaged in a not-so-traditional way.

The Y Worlds blog presented a post today which is both insightful and hilarious despite the somewhat dry heading ”Knowledge Mapping Project”. What about this description of knowledge mapping:

We are on the hunt.
Our prey is accurate, systemic, comprehensive knowledge.
We understand that such knowledge exists within the wild and untamed frontier.
We do not intend to harm knowledge. Rather, we would like to capture it, record it, study it, map it, and if possible, breed it to generate stronger and wiser offspring.

Various species of knowledge roam the earth. Well documented sightings are scattered and rare. Specific variants of knowledge are known to live at corporate and non-profit breeding grounds. Herds of knowledge have been found to frequently congregate at conferences and universities and research centers. They are attracted to watering holes. And much of the population of knowledge roam the earth relatively alone and unrecorded.

For a previous researcher in professional, practical knowledge this humorously written approach describes very well the need for a respectful, ethical way of handling the delicate knowledge you find in the wild.

There is lots to explore at the web sites, what about this, under the rubric ”Objectives”:

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Assessment of knowledge in rhizomatic learning

David Cormier is the man – or one of them – behind the concept rhizomatic learning and he reflects on the assessment in the case of MOOCs in a recent blog. MOOCs are one of many possible ways of implementing rhizomatic learning, but I suspect that the nature of many of the MOOCs that will be organized by big universities in the near future will not be very rhizomatic.

Dave Cormier has come to a conclusion regarding assessment that seems relevant for the idea of rhizomatic learning:

IF

What we are learning is contextualized by each individual differently, according to their experiences, their understanding and purposes,

AND

The things that are learned are not definite, but flexible and complex

THEN

Assessing what someone ‘knows’ is an act of enforcement of a given point of view, not a helpful guideline to learning

Very logical.

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On meetings and thinking

David Gurteen’s newsletter is always full of wisdom and links to relevant sites.

In today’s newsletter he cites Andrew Armour  who says:

Most meetings, workshops and conferences are not viewed as an opportunity to converse, listen, build dialogue and explore solutions, but a means to present, report, control, persuade — to control your own plan, to get buy-in, to approve or deny.
No wonder then, that when the time does arise for focused, innovative, open and progressive conversation that most of the time –we fail.

This is common knowledge among reflective people, and in Armour’s listing of reasons why meetings, workshops and conferences are still organized in the way they are, lies the explanation – it’s a power game. Not showing up at a meeting in which you are supposed to participate (even if not personally invited) is seen as a lack of loyalty, however useless the meeting is for you.

This reminds me of The law of two feet, that David alluded to already in 2003:

… if at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing – use you two feet and move to some place more to you liking.

Another quote in David’s newsletter is by Ralph Waldo Emerson and goes like this:

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

This again reminds me of Scatman John’s words:

I want to be a human being, not a human doing

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Thinking in church

A little extreme, but that’s because it’s an answer to the US right wing activists efforts to eliminate teaching about evolution etc. in american schools.

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It makes me kind of angry…

Couldn’t agree more:

It makes me kind of angry that historians, human geographers, anthropologists, and at least 50 other academic disciplines, on top of practitioner disciplines, don’t talk to each other the way they should.  And, that the way they organize their knowledge makes it far to inaccessible to every day people who would really like to have a better understanding of their world!

Chris Tucker, MapStory Foundation

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Dump vision, mission and values

Any standard strategy work is quite mechanical and results in statements that are at their best naive, at their worst a total caricature of reality. Many organizations probably should follow these simple rules instead:

State

1. The goal of the business;
2. The 1-5 obstacles preventing achievement of the goal;
3. The 3-5 coherent response aimed at eliminating obstacles (the strategy);
4. Some leading and lagging indicators measuring progress.

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On Learning Styles

Despite reports funded but Government, academic institutions and professional psychologists, decrying learning styles theory, and VAK in particular, it persists across the learning world, promulgated by poor teacher training and ‘train the trainer’ courses. It would not be far wrong to describe it as a theoretical virus that has infected education and training on a global scale, kept alive by companies peddling CPD to teachers. Its appeal is clearly in the intuitive appeal that learners are different, which is certainly true but there appears to be little evidence to support the idea that they can be put into these simple boxes. Learning professionals certainly need to understand the considerable differences between learners but the debate seems to have fossilised around this caricature of a theory.

– Donald Clark

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Valued, not measured

People don’t like to be measured, they like to be valued

Blog post header of Social Media Today

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Why I didn’t finish my PhD studies

Harold Jarche points at a blog post by Curmudgeon which resonates with me in several ways. It can be seen as a description of the behaviour and thinking related to the complex, complicated and simple domains of the Cynefin framework. The last paragraph describes my way of thinking, where emotions are closely intertwined with the complex or often frustratingly chaotic intellectual processes.
The paragraph before that describes, I think, my wife’s thinking. That’s probably why she’s a professor and I’m not.
Making a PhD out of me is like making a dog out of a cat. Wish I would have known that 10 years ago when I started my PhD work… Or then again, no. I really needed to know the scientific community well, with it’s strengths and weaknesses, to be able to work alongside it, as I do now.

The schooled creative mind is a bright mind’s thinking tamed. It plods into its problem, satchel full of things it knows, ticking off its checklist as a pilot would, disciplined, methodical, incisive, systemitized, hoping to find a truth.

The feral creative mind, in panic to find a truth, jumps back and forth, turning over stones, sniffing the air, all at once, up and down, a niggling doubt removed, another rising, something far away related, something not, a howl in the night, until, through all the crumpled paper in a cluttered mind a light is struck that’s soon so bright a problem fades, and a feral creative mind can live another day. We need more of these feral minds.

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Need for dramatic change

However, when learners and educators have to fight the existing education system in order to learn and teach, it’s time for dramatic change.

– George Siemens

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