Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weaving a Dream

In his book Mable McKay: Weaving the Dream (1994) Greg Saris tells an ethnohistorical story about Mabel, a Pomo basket maker while also discovering his own heritage in the process.  At the end of the book Saris asks Mabel why she allowed him into her oral history which so few outside the Pomo knew.  Her response...."because you kept coming back".

In our education circles we are very busy dodging, planning, creating, and dealing seemingly "against" a system that is hell bent on making the corporate and managerial school a model for reform that is palatable to our communities. I see in your tweets, blog posts and videos that education innovators are struggling and letting it be known.  It is a rough and emotional road.

In a recent blog post and Monika Hardy forwarded to me along with some sage advice coupled with my last few days at PFUNC 11 I am reminded that all of our wranglings in education need not loose site of our learning communities, and the humans behind them. We need to come back, consistently to young people.  Do you remember beyond the banter of struggle what the noise of young people learning sounds like, looks like....?  Do you remember the feeling you had; the heartache of happiness,  body and mind full of  hope.....hope.  Do not loose these feelings, even in your radical reform work to help, political struggles and battles in education. But do not rest in your classrooms, learning centers and other space of education either.

Keep coming back to the learner: not the standard, model, curriculum....Weave your dream with learners as a learner, and never forget that they are there, watching, waiting, worried and hopeful.  Listen to young people and they will do more than follow your lead, idea, design....they will lead, ideate, and design.  Your dream will be successful, inspirational and world altering precisely because you kept coming what matters to us all.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A nLearning Ecology Core Design

A Networked Learning Ecology (NLE) Core Design

Image: Wiki|Networked Learning Ecology

This Core  design  exists within a framework of socially driven integrated curriculum, and at a nexus  between place based and international learning.

A Vision:

Building a Networked Civic Culture for an interdependent world.

A Strategy:

An integrative and integrated curriculum enabled through eLearning in a series of new spaces for learning .  The NLE is a powerful answer to the myriad of questions that face the failing infrastructure of the traditional school in the twenty-first century.


A Nexus of Curriculum Integration and Networked Learning (nLearning)

Curriculum Integration

Building on work and scholarship since 1904, NLE will seat its core design in the frameworks of curriculum integration.  Most recently, the clearest voice for this visionary approach to learning is Dr. James Beane (retired Professor of Integrated Studies, National Lewis University). The following sections on curriculum integration weave the work of Beane (1997) and specifically his salient discourse in Curriculum Integration: Designing the Core of Democratic Education  into the overall discussion. This approach to learning will be inherently learner centric.

Integrated Curriculum: Young people involved and engaged in an enormous range of knowledge, from information to values clarification, and including content and skills from several disciplines of knowledge integrated in the context of themes and activities within them.  Organizing centers are are significant problems or issues that connect the curriculum to the larger world. These centers serve as a context for unifying knowledge.  Knowledge in turn is developed as it is instrumentally applied to exploring the organizing centers (Beane,1997).

Integrative learning: Collaboratively planning a curriculum with young people (Beane, 1997).

An integrative integrated core curriculum with problem[/passion] based central themes, and meaningful concepts to drive authentic activities where ideas are explored and acted on (Beane,1997).

Personal Knowledge:
Addressing self concerns and ways of knowing about self (Beane, 1997).

Social Knowledge:
Addressing social and world issues, from peer to global relationships, and ways of critically examining these (Beane, 1997).

Explanatory Knowledge:
Content that names, describes, explains, and interprets, including that involved in the disciplines of knowledge as well as commonsense or popular knowledge, (Beane, 1997)

Technical/Twenty First Century Knowledge:
Ways of investigating, communicating, analyzing, and expressing. Finding,Validating, Leveraging, and Synthesizing Information; Communicating, collaboration and problem solving in a technologically rich environment (Beane, 1997).

 nLearning: From Curriculum Integration to Learning Ecology

The approach to learning embodied in an integrated and integrative curricular core will be intensified through nLearning.  This nexus between highly student based curriculum and  nLearning will provide the learning community with a new learning ecology. This ecology will embody the NLE vision as it allows young people and their communities both local and around the world to connect in authentic, effective and exciting ways.

nLearning systems

Project based and collaboration rich software will enable our learning spaces to have a flexible web 2.0 enabled system to work within the NLE's many project based learning endeavors.  Throughout our first year of operations and then on a continual basis, the whole community at NLE will find and validate new nLearning tools for the proliferation of our learning spaces. This integrative process will allow for young people to use and develop the technologies they see as integral to their learning.

Mobile Learning (mLearning)

NLE learning ecologies will provide the frameworks necessary to utilize mLearning in expansive ways.  Mobile Learning using, iPhones, netbooks, and other portable tools will offer the learning community a chance to take learning in highly dynamic situations to a new level.


Networked ePortfolio (nPortfolio) assessment will be a way to weave assessment into the learning ecology as a learning tool.  The design and flexible structures offered through the use of nPortfolios will enhance the learning spaces of NLE by allowing the whole community access to research and learning outcomes while at the same time providing a personal and learner centric environment for growth.  NLE nPortfolio's will provide the community with an in-depth look at student passion, interests, intelligences, growth, and accomplishment.

NLE  Learning Ecology

Foundations for Learning: The Learning Community and Space

Learners working via nLearning in project pods locally and internationally in blended learning settings.

A learning Mesh that inspires and houses the NLE learning community

Organizing Centers Core Curricular Design: IGCC Whole Learning Ecology Programs

The core design of NLE organizing centers will emerge out of learner outcomes in Whole Learning Ecology (WLE) programs.  WLE programs will be both integrative and integrated and serve as methods investigations in learning how to learn.

Twenty First Century Literacies (TCL)

Learning how to find, validate, synthesize, leverage, communicate, collaborate and problem solve.  What is essential about the TCL's is that the investigations will engage learners through a practice of relationship building.  How to approach an interdependent world will be the focus of these sessions.  Learners may be involved in active listening workshops, architectures of empathy workshops, or design and research methods courses. The goal of these investigations will be to ready IGCC participants for the innovative and world changing work they will do in their learning spaces and toward their organizing centers.

Integrated Learning Center (ILC)

ILC programming will emerge out of the special needs or interests of learners. This program is currently being created as a space for intensive individual study, travel, or invention/business creation outside of the organizing centers that will drive most of the learning spaces in the IGCC core.

Organizing Centers Core Curricular Design: NLE Organizing Centers

NLE will offer learners a chance to create their own authentic experiences through fully integrated organizational centers (OC's).  These OC's will blend all of the NLE learning ecology together for projects that have lasting impact on the world. All of the OC's designed will have real world application and deal with the issues of living in an interdependent world. The outcomes of these projects will meet not only the curricular needs of knowledge acquisition but apply all learning to the real world.  The goal of all organizing centers is focused on integration of self into interdependent world systems for a sustainable future.

Related Posts: A Networked Learning Project: The Connected Day

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A new blog site.

Well, Tumblr was getting more action than my old Wordpress blog and needed to become what it was meant to be....a network aggregation space for me.  So here's to Blogger for inspiring me to move my writings and networked learning.  I look forward to it. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Networked Learning Ecologies Part 1

A Vision: Networked Learning Ecology: A mesh of open, free and participatory media (ICT's+) and situated learning that liberate humans to create networks for social, economic and ecological resilience. Voices: (Please add more in comments)

Leigh Blackall:

Stephen Downes:

  • Slideshare: Groups vs Networks: The Class Struggle Continues

  • Stephen Downes identifies significant differences between networks and groups, along four major axes. Drawn but not discussed at the Future of Learning in a Networked World event in Aukland, New Zealand. This short video explains the drawing at


Florian Schneider:

Roberto Greco:

More to come....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Networked Learning

Leigh Blackall presents a new view of learning that is critical, open, networked and participatory through his research.  In a recent twitter stream and blog post he is asks for collective and open deliberation for a definition of networked learning.  As a participant involved in networked learning research and praxis I will offer the following as an entry into the collective imaging and deliberation.


Open: Learning is free from institutions or understood to be actively participating in non-institutional learning.

Critical: learning does no harm or actively works for social, economic, and environmental sustainability and resilience.

Participatory: learning is integrative and inclusive of participants regardless of skill level or pre-determined social hierarchy.

Networked: learning happens in a blended mesh. Learners, pedagogues, and others are nodes that exchange information to different degrees, depths and forms both online and in the field.

The best defense of these definitions I have found is presented here by Steven Downes:

Image above: Watts and Strogatz model/small world network graph, credit: Arpad Horvath

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kenai Fjoirds National Park, AK....Pep Talk

Found this picture today of a conservation work crew of amazing young people I Co-Led with my wife in Alaska.  Everyone was quite uncertain about our pending 1500 foot assent in 1 mile with this 20 foot plank (to fix a bridge damaged in spring melt)....Que pep talk.

24/7 with young people in the back country of AK=ubiquitous learning.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A razor's edge

Listen closely to the "lesson I want to get across" at minute 6:31...."There is no opting out of new changes a society as a mediates relationships....the whole structure of society can change....we are on a razor's edge between hopeful possibilities and more ominous futures...."

At min 8:14 Wesch describes what we need people to "be" to make our networked mediated culture work, and the barriers we are facing in schools.  Wesch is right on. Corporate curriculum, schedules, bells, borders, and "teaching/classroom management" are easily assisted by technology. Yet to open learning and deschool our educational system represents the hopeful possibilities Wesch imagines and has acted on.  What we accept from industrial schooling, how we proceed in our educational endeavors, and what we do, facilitate, witness, and promote in our actions in education mean so much to learners of today and the interconnected and interdependent systems we are all a part of.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Young People, Action and Education

I was moved today by a video of young people taking action in support of indigenous rights, cultural rights and self determination:

This example of student driven action goes well beyond adult organized marches, or adult driven activity for social justice. Many of these young people show an enduring understanding of their interdependence and interconnection with a nation and the world. For example, at minute 11:00 in the video a young woman articulates a distinct article of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (More on the declaration and UNPFII here!)

For all of us who see open and free learning as a fundamental human right, it's important to recognize that there is global deliberation and decision making on issues well beyond neoliberalism happening in the UN and in other spaces....How we participate in these movements and with others around the world on these issues will shape the common bond we have as humans in the 21st century. As ecological and economic overshoot continues, understanding how to participate and network for education and global civic culture will increase in importance.


Since [UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples] adoption, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States have all reversed their positions and now endorse the Declaration.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Collective Joy

I was inspired today reading through The Blended Lifestyle a blog linked to the Dark Mountain Project site.  One of the things that drew me to Dark Mountain was the hope that Dougald Hine (a project founder) exudes in his writing (site, blogs, Twitter). I have been digging into Dark Mountain and enjoying what I find. My research into the site took a pleasant and unexpected turn as I linked out, and perused the favorite movies and books at The Blended Lifestyle.  After my last post of yesterday (writing that temporarily pulled me into a short malaise) I am overjoyed to get present and breath deep of my life today. I also look forward to reading Ehrenreich (2006) Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy....

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Farewell EDT 400 Spring 2011

"Democratic Living is not given in nature, like gold or water. It is a social construct, like a skyscraper, school playground, or new idea. Accordingly there can be no democracy without its builders, caretakers, and change agents...."-Walter Parker (2003)

"Imagining how events could be otherwise than they are is a hallmark freedom and power of human beings. Making social imagination work for us involves us in new concepts and principles, in new ways of using our minds to grasp complexities we do not yet comprehend. Thinking this way helps us construct new social realities both locally and globally. Social imagination is not merely for the sake of of academic knowing; it must include our feelings, and it must include our acting."- D. Bob Gowin in Boulding (1998)

May the river you all navigate call for your best....always answer with passion.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Conviviality, Autonomy, Interdependence

Illich, I. (1973). Tools for conviviality. New York: Harper & Row.

The symptoms of accelerated crisis are widely recognized. Multiple attempts have been made to explain them. I believe that this crisis is rooted in a major twofold experiment which has failed, and I claim that the resolution of the crisis begins with a recognition of the failure. For a hundred years we have tried to make machines work for men and to school men for life in their service. Now it turns out that machines do not "work" and that people cannot be schooled for a life at the service of machines. The hypothesis on which the experiment was built must now be discarded. The hypothesis was that machines can replace slaves. The evidence shows that, used for this purpose, machines enslave men. Neither a dictatorial proletariat nor a leisure mass can escape the dominion of constantly expanding industrial tools.

The crisis can be solved only if we learn to invert the present deep structure of tools; if we give people tools that guarantee their right to work with high, independent efficiency, thus simultaneously eliminating the need for either slaves or masters and enhancing each person's range of freedom. People need new tools to work with rather than tools that "work" for them. They need technology to make the most of the energy and imagination each has, rather than more well−programmed energy slaves.

I believe that society must be reconstructed to enlarge the contribution of autonomous individuals and primary groups to the total effectiveness of a new system of production designed to satisfy the human needs which it also determines. In fact, the institutions of industrial society do just the opposite. As the power of machines increases, the role of persons more and more decreases to that of mere consumers......

I choose the term "conviviality" to designate the opposite of industrial productivity. I intend it to mean autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse of persons with their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned response of persons to the demands made upon them by others, and by a man−made environment. I consider conviviality to be individual freedom realized in personal interdependence and, as such, an intrinsic ethical value. I believe that, in any society, as conviviality is reduced below a certain level, no amount of industrial productivity can effectively satisfy the needs it creates among society's members.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I listened again Lisa and I imaged our future.

Exhibitions: open a human creation

As citizens have new choices, new chances for learning, their willingness to seek leadership should increase. We may expect that they will experience more deeply both their own independence and their need for guidance. As they are liberated from manipulation by others, they should learn to profit from the discipline others have acquired in a lifetime. Deschooling education should increase — rather than stifle — the search for [people] with practical wisdom who would be willing to sustain the newcomer in his educational adventure. As masters of their art abandon the claim to be superior informants or skill models, their claim to superior wisdom will begin to ring true. -Illich (1970)

To Exhibit Learning

Exhibitions beautifully disrupt institutions and show deep learning. An exhibition, in short, is a public presentation of learning.  Exhibitions are practiced at all levels of education and in all fields.  A learner or group of learners publicly exhibit their understanding of knowledge territories and connect learning to relevant issues of today. This is important and hard work that shows the individual and group that learning does not only happen within the walls of an institution but is a matter for society in general.  Inviting the public to view, question, comment, and participate in a learning community reveals, connects and networks learning communities.  Exhibitions also decolonize the pedagogue.  When educators open their process or teaching to the outside world they ensure an essential conversation to ensue on the import of the work they do. Whether you adhere to Ted Sizer and the Coalition of Essential Schools vision of exhibitions as assessment or just agree with performance assessment being public I have no doubt that you see the benefit of opening the learning process to communities outside of your institution, school, room.... in dynamic ways.

Enmesh our pedagogy with the world

Dynamism and the ability to imagine, collaborate, and co-design learning environments are hallmarks of effective pedagogues today. These are all skills that are not learned in the semester course on literacy or technology in education. Many of us face institutional constraints in our work in education and seek ways to open our learning communities. We work to collectivize, democratize, co-create and enable personal and group passions for flow in learning. Many of us have been, as a passionate educator once told me I would become prior to my first classroom experience, " a coalition in your own classroom" (sub whatever you want to imagine to replace coalition in your situation). But this is not enough. Learning is an ecology that is interconnected and interdependent. We must share our communities work, we must exhibit, the whole ecology must weigh its social imagination into the mix....We need to show learning, failure and iteration and ask for feedback, connect and network our work on new levels.... we must enmesh our pedagogy with the world.

Open a human creation

Exhibitions open education to the world. In the process of preparing for public participation in learning the individual looks deeply at the connections they are making....the common good in their endeavor....their learning moves from 8-3, 12:30-1:30, Tuesday and Thursday to their heart. When you face the public you face your heart....Yes nerves flash signals and the body quivers upon the thought of being on stage, but your heart tells the story. For the young person in high school the story might be "what does it mean to go to school in the 21st century....what is 'world history' 'literature', 'science', 'my life'.... For the pedagogue the story needs to be " 'what am I undertaking', 'what role do I have in society', 'who may look to me', 'how will I collaborate with the world'....". As one who believes in the commons and in learning as ecology I want to see more than a transcript and degree from any institution from "masters" of pedagogy or any field. I want to see a heart beating, a passion for learning....something different from books and sites....a human creation.

Find a learning ecology

Join me in finding ways to open education. Exhibitions are just one of these ways. We who have decided to be pedagogues as part of our learning ecology will benefit from making the learning communities we work within visible. This networking will help other communities change, become dynamic, and change again to make learning dynamic, resilient, and ubiquitous.

This week is exhibition week in one of the learning communities I work with

I look forward to being a part of this meaningful time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A learning mash-up.


We need them....dedicated and passionate teachers and learners who see learning as a design that the learner moves, shapes and feeds forward as positive action in our world....educational communities need them, those with social imagination....experts, yes experts. The more I get to know Rob Greco the more he reminds me of Illich's (1970) "people with special educational competence".
Three types of special educational competence should, in fact, be distinguished: one to create and operate the kinds of educational exchanges or networks outlined here; another to guide students and parents in the use of these networks; and a third to act as primus inter pares in undertaking difficult intellectual exploratory journeys....To design and operate the networks I have been describing would not require many people, but it would require people with the most profound understanding of education and administration, in a perspective quite different from and even opposed to that of schools.


Greco lives his educational experiences with the learners in his communities....he sees the messiness in learning, breathes deep of the essence, and trusts in the human capacity for mutual aid....I witnessed the outcome of that journey in an  Elluminate  session on Tuesday.  The middle level learners Rob guides worked as a community to exhibit what was important to them about learning and life.  I was awestruck with joy and hope.



Leigh continues to amaze me.  After a brief blogging hiatus, he is right back with thought provoking work, feeding forward amazing resources and inspiring.  His recent thoughts on "ubiquity" contribute much to the deschooling and networked learning conversation. Feeding forward Ian Hart's (2001) Deschooling and the Web was welcomed reading this week.


Howard Rheingold's bookmark quest for P2P learning networks brought me right back to Dougald Hine's School of Everything page.  I delved into his links on Free UThe Learning Exchange and the Young Foundation


If your not on the edge, you're taking up to much space

I have read, watched and learned from Dennis for many years....I am more amazed than ever.

Big Picture Learning Profile
College Unbound

Much more....P2P Foundation Wiki Blog



Monday, March 21, 2011

To Create, To Design

A video and education reform's 100 year failure

A timely video inspired by Michael Wesch came across my desk today and it comes at an interesting time in my thinking on education. The Future of Ed Reform? weaves a very short yet potent story about the realities so many of us face who seek to radically change the structure of education from "places of schooling" to "places of learning".

I have written about critical education in many posts and realize that most of my ideation, design and praxis towards democratic education has met with the realities of institutions, schooling an societal structures around education and official knowledge. I would like to say I met these challenges and take the path I do now, knowing I stand on the shoulders of progressives and a hundred years of work from John Dewey, L. Thomas Hopkins et al., and their contemporaries James Beane, Micheal Apple, Deb Meir and so many others who are in the field not writing prolifically but fostering experiences and learning.

The Future of Ed Reform begs questions of reform and stasis in education. "If so many years of reform, (including some almost 100 years old that espouse the same reform we are seeking in education today) have failed why do we think it will work....this time." A good question and one I had with a visionary leader and progressive educator in the field just yesterday: More on this in future posts.

The author of Future of Ed Reform is right to question these new "reforms" and their ability to succeed. The authors points at "the revolution failed" are right. The use of Dewey as an example is illustrative of the issues here. Dewey, Francis Parker, L. Thomas Hopkins et al. faced a backlash from an American society bent on order and standardization. Though their reform was brilliant and on the mark in many ways, school in the 20th century was an institution based on order and control just as it is today. Today as in the 20th century, linear schedules, corporate curricula, and the extra-curricularization of energy and interests still combine to hold firm what has been at the expense of what is. The School structure and its meanings are the issues of today just as they where a century ago.

Dewey did call for a revolution from schooling to learning, and espoused among so many brilliant ideas a call for deschooling on the grounds that control and order do little for learning. Dewey (1938) reflects,

Almost everyone has had occasion to look back upon his [and her] school days and wonder what has become of the knowledge he was supposed to have amassed during his [and her] years of schooling....but it was so segregated when it was acquired and hence is so disconnected from the rest of experience that it is not available under the actual conditions of life. (p.48)

We must reflect presently on the "reform" engines of today motoring throughschools and quietly accepting the structures imposed in what amounts to seeing learners and their communities as commodities and economies of scale, versus dynamic realities of human possibility. The author of The Future of Ed Reform? is calling out the realities of societal structures and the school not the reform which may have similarity to our 100 year past.

To Create, To Design

It is no mystery to many that I favor the design of new learning Ecologies that leverage much of what Dewey espoused and practiced in the fields of experiential and democratic education. I have also focused my work on the networking of blended learning ecologies. A combination of Illich's learning webs, the mesh ideas of OLPC and my roots in experiential and mobile learning in the big outside. This design like so many is at risk when placed against the onslaught of stasis in education. No Softballs here, we have heard them in detail. Yet I find myself asking are we ready for a networked learning ecology? Is society? What will it take?

So anthropologists, critical educators, deschoolers, unschoolers, reformers, what will make your vision work? Are you part of a revolution? If so why, and will that revolution be enough force to break the dam of traditional control and order schooling to create or recreate places of learning for society? I am interested in hearing your voice and working with you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yong Zhao on Educational Risk and the Reason to Deschool

From: Yong Zhao » Blog Archive » A Nation At Risk: Edited by Yong Zhao. (n.d.). Yong Zhao. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from

Indicators of the Risk

The educational dimensions of the risk before us have been amply documented in materials read by this editor. For example:

Time to Deschool

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Networked Learning Project: The Connected Day

A day in the learning ecology of Piper Hahn

Piper is a 15 year old who lives in Midcoast Maine, US. A year ago, Piper heard about a new way to learn, and decided to take part in a new learning experience called the Maine Networked Learning Project. Known as "the Mesh" to participants, this learning ecology offered Piper the chance to apply her passion for learning in highly experiential and collaborative ways with groups of young people of varied ages, adult and youth mentors with knowledge territory specialties and organizations focused on ensuring sustainable and resilient societies, economies, and the environment. This is a snapshot of her day.

A day in the learning ecology of Piper Hahn

Piper gets ready for her week by sitting outside sipping tea and looking at her smart phone. She is checking project updates sent from the team she has been working with for the last two months on her Google Reader and Twitter feed. The project Piper is checking in on deals with food justice in the rural communities of her bioregion.

Seeing many updates, and much activity she decides to look at the overall "mesh" schedule for the day. She notices that the MNLP van will be moving across the local region starting in an hour. To get a ride on this local transportation system she has to ride her bike to a station stop or have her parents drop her off at the regional mesh meet-up location. But before deciding this she reviews her weekly schedule on her mobile.

Piper notices that she and three others will be presenting at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars organization to a large group on the history of local food cultivation in the region. She and her Food Justice project group have spent a good deal of time completing ethnographic studies of the areas "locals". These participant interviews are seminal to their presentation as they show that local sustainability and resilience projects are not "outside" or "rich Peoples" pursuits, but can save local economies and the historical heritage this stakeholder group cherishes. The group has also been working in restoration crews on local farms as a service learning tie in to their studies. The project has been extensive. Piper and her group have covered mathematics, experimental sciences, writing, social sciences and much more in an integrated project framework. They have relied on their mesh mentors, local experts, and the internet for research, recording (writing, video) and exhibiting their knowledge and understanding to multiple community stakeholder groups.

As the project presentation pre-work is done, Piper contacts her group via twitter hashtag to remind all that they will need an hour to meet-up before the presentation and to ride their bikes to the VAW hall from the meet-up. Immediately she gets a response from three of the four other group members that they will meet prior to the VAW event. They remind each other that a collaborative learning session will be going on for applied algebra and trigonometry concepts at Noon. This session will be special, as an innovative regional planner from rural Scotland will be mentoring at the Self Organizing Learning Environment today along with their local quantitative reasoning/systems thinking mentors. She video chats with one participant letting her know that she will be at the SOLE, and is hoping to get a ride to her house after today's VAW presentation. That done, Piper checks with her parents and decides to ride her bike to a mesh station stop. She then rides the mesh van into town and catches up on posts and replies in her Reader on the way.

At the Meet-up location (a wide open space that reminds Piper of a open market of some kind), she settles in with the other young people in study, discussion and deliberation. Today she takes out her tablet and reads a work in global literature that was suggested by a mentor she has in South Asia. She will take notes on the work over the next hour and send those notes via blog post to the mentor. The mentor, other participants and Piper are involved in a global project combining cultural understandings of place into a wiki resource for future learners to use. She sees connections everywhere in her learning and after being inspired by an experience in India she's just read about, Piper adds content for today's VFW presentation to the shared presentation document for group review.

Piper takes a run with others from the meet-up, and then decides to review the quantitative reasoning skills that figure into the edible re-vegetation project from Scotland being discussed at the SOLE today. Piper will get another chance to apply her growing knowledge and understanding with today's SOLE because the re-vegetation work they are doing locally is based on the Scottish project being discussed.

After the SOLE, and successful VAW presentation the group meets at a Mesh group members house. The group has grown from five to seven now as the crew who filmed the presentation and ethnographies over the last monthes are with them to discuss editing and working on the script for the groups public exhibition of findings. Piper and her group know that the scientists, mentors, politicians, local, global participants, and their peers will attend the exhibition. This step in their project leads to funding and further action on their multi-year food security project. After Dinner with the host family, rides home for most, and ePortfolio updates the rest of the week will be full of networked, experiential, and mobile learning directly applied to creating solutions in an interdependent world.

Plasticity, Global Movements and Bioregion Change

Ideate on


From Sapolsky (2006)

"Thus the savanna baboon became, literally, a textbook example of life in an aggressive, highly stratified, male-dominated society. Yet within a few years, members of the species demonstrated enough behavioral plasticity to transform a society of theirs into a baboon utopia. The first half of the twentieth century was drenched in the blood spilled by German and Japanese aggression, yet only a few decades later it is hard to think of two countries more pacific. Sweden spent the seventeenth century rampaging through Europe, yet it is now an icon of nurturing tranquility. Humans have invented the small nomadic band and the continental megastate, and have demon- strated a flexibility whereby uprooted descendants of the former can function eaectively in the latter. We lack the type of physiology or anatomy that in other mammals determine their mating system, and have come up with societies based on monogamy, polygyny, and polyandry. And we have fashioned some religions in which violent acts are the entrée to paradise and other religions in which the same acts consign one to hell. Is a world of peacefully coexisting human Forest Troops possible? Anyone who says, “No, it is beyond our nature,” knows too little about primates, including ourselves."

The Economics of Happiness (2011)

A new documentary we will be showing in the Midcoast Ecoregion this spring!



Deep Ecology, Deep Culture: Vital Movements

The International Society for Ecology and Culture

Schooling the World: The White Man's Last Burden trailer from lost people films on Vimeo.



Friday, February 18, 2011

Roles Interupted

After reading an illuminating post today from Joss Winn that articulated his et al ideas for an institutional shift, I was struck by how similar the vision is in many ways to my work with the Institute for Global Civic Culture. Winn, explains in the paper entitled Pedagogy, Technology and Student as Producer that work towards critical networked learning environments can be powerful catalysts for change,

“Student as Producer is not simply a project to transform and improve the ‘student experience’ but aspires to a paradigm shift in how knowledge is produced, where the traditional student and teacher roles are ‘interrupted’ through close collaboration and a recognition that both teachers and students have much to learn from each other.”

I look forward to following Winn's work and perhaps collaborating in the future on projects for teenagers. The learning environments Winn describes could be vital steps to address the failure of educational systems and institutions today.

Also very interested in finding more out with regards to Winn's et al work on resilient education.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learning to change

Global Learning Ecologies

"Imagining how events could be otherwise than they are is a hallmark freedom and power of human beings" D. Bob Gowin (1988)

"a little girl came to the teacher after class and said to the teacher, "What did I learn today?" And the teacher said, "That's a funny question. Why do you ask me that?" The little girl said, "When I get home, Daddy will ask me, 'What did you learn today?' and I never know what to say." Seymore Papert: The Future of the School

First Words

The hierarchical, managerial, and corporate controlled curricular structures of the "school" are not adequate to meet the challenges faced by the worlds young people in the twenty-first century. Further, the one hundred year absence of systemic change in education provides an environment that is ripe for deep change. In 2010 global education systems still lack meaningful consensus on educational change. Though mainstream acknowledgment is beginning to solidify around the need for computers in learning to address the "21st century skills" (Hayes Jacobs ed. (2010); Bonk (2009) Davidson and Goldberg, (2009) the system of "schooling" is still static. The bulk of school and curricular policy remains dangerously static (Apple, 2010, Darling Hammond, 2010) and rooted in what Apple, Au, and Gandin (2009, p.3) have called "the ideological and institutional processes and forms that reproduce oppressive conditions". The realization that educational systems are harmfully unresponsive to needed change raises in importance when considering that our world systems are in decline and globalization operates without regard for much of the worlds cultures (Apple, ed. 2010).

Our interdependent world calls for a deliberative, culturally conscious, and collaborative generation. With this in mind the future role of education as a change agent has never been more important. In the following posts I will propose a new learning ecology that redefines rather than refines educational research, design and praxis. My thoughts are grounded in the seminal work of critical educators (James Beane, 1995,1997; Michael Apple, 1990,1996, 2009, 2010, Boulding,1988), Network Learning and Connectivist thinkers, designers, and practitioners (Roberto Greco  George Siemens, Steven Downes, Alec Curousa, Martin Weller, Graham Atwell, Leigh Blackwell et al), Learning Scientists ( Mitra, Sawyer, Krajcik and Blumenfeld, Fishman Davis, (2006), and visionary leaders in many different fields, spaces and times (Illich (1971); Mitra; Jacobs; Hine; Brazee; Maxmin; Alfred (2009).

The time for a deep change in education has come. As the world realizes ecological overshoot (Catton Jr., 1980; McKibben 2006, 2010), systemic global social crisis (UN millennium Development Goals, 2010; ICISS, 2001), and the exponential growth in global connectivity, education can and must help catalyze a new global civic culture through the radical restructuring of how we provide learning to our world.

A reflection.

As we consider the slight arc of change in global education over the last one hundred years the fact that the world is facing an uncertain future is not surprising. Similarly when we utilize our social imagination, it is not surprising that we ideate about myriad new configurations, wishes and hopes for education: "if only we could...., wouldn't it be wonderful if....,we need to change....". The change we seek might ensure that those facing uncertain futures might do so with the tools necessary for the systemic change needed. I will advance that what we need is a deep and systemic change in education to promote learning that bypasses the traditional structures of the status quo; which today define the purpose and products of the educational system in the twenty-first century. This post will spend little time addressing the status quo, for as in the climate change debate where there is no quantifiable argument against the fact that the world is warming because of C02 emissions from fossil fuel consumption, there to is no quantifiable debate in education about what the deplorable conditions in education today. Yes, there are myriad proponents of structures in education who defend the bricks and mortar school. These educationaires grind on in there protectionism of command and control managerial structures in education with impunity. These strong educational polities have exhausted the last 40 years with nothing more than millions of dollars spent and subaltern communities further rooted in there societal malaise. Minimally changing the status quo in education through reform large or small is a noble but ultimately futile endeavor as the factors that reinforce oppressive educational conditions have colonized education to the point of full enculturation. Revisioning research, design, and practice in education is therefore a vital step to realizing real change. The potentials for addressing real change in global learning through a nexus of Critical Education, network learning, experiential learning, and emerging learning sciences are real. As Elise Boulding (1996)remarked, "the materia prima is at hand. We can join the company of persons-in-becoming who are working to give it shape, or we can stand on the sidelines wailing. The choice is ours". For this century our choice is vital. We must seize our moment and give it shape.

An ongoing vision I have, what I want to be a part of....

Sanguine voices are heard on a coastal beach in Maine as a group of high-school age young people gather around multiple mobile devices that are networked to their peers in China, New Zealand, London, Uganda and Bolivia in a project called "The Interdependence of Global Water". This international project based learning pod are gathering, some waking at 1:00am to view sea run Salmon return to spawn on the Penobscot River in Maine, United States. These young people are doing more than watching; they helped make the Penobscot River viable for this process again through their combined research, writing, and service efforts. In partnership with indigenous communities, business interests, academics, local, regional and national governments, and conservation biology organizations they have joined a coalition to remove dams and restore native salmon spawning corridors. There study was intense, memorable and had lasting impact on all involved. As these young people wove service and action into their "core" themes of study: society, environment and economics, there lives were changed, and they helped catalyze a movement for new learning around the world. What we find out is that these young people are collaborating together on similar projects in all of the six world regions mentioned and in concert with each other in a new learning ecology. There are no "walls" in this learning ecology, rather these students learn year round, individually and in groups at regional based learning centers where they come to collaborate, problem solve and socialize with other project based learners. The bulk of the work these brave young people accomplish is done in the field, at home, or traveling in "mobile learning labs" utilizing the most innovative eLearning tools imaginable. The blended eLearning networks used to collaborate on the integrated global projects mentioned, where also leveraged to connect domain territory specialists and mentors to young people as they constructed an understanding of quantitative reasoning, social sciences, literature, experimental sciences, and visual arts in integrated project based learning. The ePortfolios of each learner on that beach in Maine and around the world would be constructed to exhibit learner mastery of knowledge territories and to meet international and national standards in education. This is international learning done across cultural, environmental and economic borders; creating a global frontier for critical education.

I know I have missed a few below (will update)....

Alfred, G. R. (2009). Wasase: indigenous pathways of action and freedom. Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press.

Apple, M. W., Au, W., & Gandin, L. A. (2009). The Routledge international handbook of critical education. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M. W. (1995). Education and power. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M. W. (2000). Official knowledge: democratic education in a conservative age. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M. W., & Beane, J. A. (2007). Democratic schools: lessons in powerful education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Beane, J. A. (1997). Curriculum integration: designing the core of democratic education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Boulding, E. (1988). Building a global civic culture: education for an interdependent world. New York: Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in capitalist America: educational reform and the contradictions of economic life. New York: Basic Books.

Catton, W. R. (1980). Overshoot, the ecological basis of revolutionary change. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The flat world and education: how America's commitment to equity will determine our future. New York: Teachers College Press.

Jacobs, H. H. (2010). Curriculum 21: essential education for a changing world. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Illich, I. (1971). Deschooling society. New York: Harper & Row.

McKibben, B. (2010). Eaarth: making a life on a tough new planet. New York: Times Books.

Sawyer, R. K. (2006). The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Apple (2010) Global crisis, social justice, and education

For some time I have been deeply interested in the work of Michael Apple. Apple's writing on the politics of curriculum (specifically 1990, 1995, 2000), his work with James Beane on democratic schools (see 1995, 1999, 2007), and more recently his edited works in the field of critical education (2009, 2010) have helped me form some of my core values around learning, society and humanity.

Over the last month, I have also taken an interest in the work of Leigh Blackall(Leigh's Blog). Leighs interests in deschooling, free schools and social change caused me to contact him. After looking over some blogged reading notes of Leighs, and having a short Twitter conversation with him I will be posting a few reading notes of my own starting with Michael Apple's newest work here. I hope they are helpful to those considering these topics.

Apple, M. (2010). Global crisis, social justice, and education. New York: Routledge.


This is a very important work for those seeking change in learning. Global crisis, social justice, and education is an affirmation of so much thinking and reading I have done on the need for a mutation in education. My doctoral research looks at a nexus of critical education and the possibilities of networked learning ecologies to fundamentally shift the non-democratic systems of education. This book has been a good resource in many ways. The silent power of neo-liberalism is easy to set aside in the world of internet freedoms. Apple helps us remember that as reseachers, designers, and practitioners in the field we have a role to play in international human rights, the common good, and as critical scholar/activists in our learning communities.

Apple uses Rosa (2008, p.4) in Global crisis, social justice, and education to introduce the seminal arguments of critical education (p.19):
Radical Democracy is not just born out of our option to participate in the ordinary political infrastructure. It is a process involving the ongoing democratization of civil society, the constant interrogation of how exclusion on the grounds of multiple markers occurs even when progressive projects are unfolding, and problematizing of conditions that fail to clal into question the various ways in which economic systems undermine political cultures, The term encodes democracy as unfinished. Educators need more exposure to such language given the reality of schools as highly undemocratic spheres where various oppressive ideologies converge in front of a captive audience. A democratic political system cannot com to fruition if the institutions of that society are undemocratic, anti-democratic, or fail to (re) create the structures and conditions that lead to further democratization. Democracy flourishes when democratic cultures are the norm.


In Global crisis, social justice, and education, Apple outlines an argument and challenge for critical educators and weaves the need for critical education (a nexus of scholarly endeavor: ideation, research, development, and activism), post-colonial mentalities and systems thinking to address the multifaceted pressures facing global education, in a globalized world.


Apple et al. use four regional case studies, the US, Japan, the Israel|Palestinian state , and Latin America to prove that critical educators (teachers, researchers, learners) and social movements are needed to countervail the neo-liberal, and neo-conservative designs (against social justice and progressive education) surfacing as reform movements around the world as entrenched facets of globalization.


Apple frames global crisis using a neo-marxist (world sytems theory) and radical democractic framework to explain how an integrated international economy effects core and periphery states. Global crisis emerges when the states both core and periphery adopt neo-liberal (market based reforms that further marginalize subaltern groups ,and place increasing power with corporations and business) and neo-conservative ( hegemonic control through militarism and economic policy). Apple argues that these forces denude social justice through "reform's". These reforms focus on socio-economic policy, and education. Apple argues that neo-liberal and neo-conservative "reform" actively sideline democratic and progressive education initiatives that foster awareness and action for the subaltern and state in favor of curriculum standardization (US, Israel, Japan), unfair distribution of educational resources to subaltern groups (Palestinian State, United States, Mexico) and in many cases human rights violations Palistinian State, Isreal). Apple et. al use this framework to highlight effective progressive movements working to counter neo-liberal and neo-conservative reform and to call on those in the field of education to proliferate the frameworks of critical education in research and practice.

Apple et al. illuminate the social movements, critical educators (p.40-45 Byrd Academy)(1), (p.55, role of "schools") and the power of new networked learning;(p.94-100),(p.136-153 see note 17 Caspi(1979) and The Kedma School,(170-185 CEAAL), that are challenging neo-liberal, and neo-conservative hegemonic proliferation. In doing so we are given both inspiration, and example of movements, projects and people working to address critical education and globalization. These progressive schools are unique according to Apple because they have risen in opposition to neo-liberal and neo-conservative "reforms" in areas where where these policies are prolific and well entrenched (The United States, Japan, Isreal/Palestinian State, and Mexico).

Specifics of Interest: On Our Role as Researchers and Practitioners

Apple states that the new critical educator may engage in research acting as secretaries to social movements centered around education....Apple et al provide reminders, ideas and resources both theoretical and empirical regarding critical education, and the role of the "organic",or "Public" intellectual. (He uses Gramsci from the Prison Journals well here (p.17).
"I and many others have argued that education must be seen as a political act"

" The restructured role of the researcher--one who sees his or her task as thinking as rigorously and critically as possible about the relations between the policies and practices that are taken for granted in education and the larger sets of dominant economic, political, and cultural relations, and then connects this to action with and by social movements is crucial to what we are doing with this book."

Apple reminds us that education can and should be viewed as activism.

I have at my core a belief and share with Apple as a critical educator that education can be the determinant of peace and unity in our world. That said I believe that world systems theory and the economic division of the world described by Apple et al. has led to a very dangerous place for humanity. The huge division of wealth and access to resources in the world has led to radicalization and anti-democratic policy's in education.

How we recognize the role of critical education in our network learning ideation, research, design and practice is of concern to me. Leigh Blackall, Stephen Downes, and George Seimens and recently Florian Schneider have all given me cause for hope.


Apple on Critical Education: this is a good Introduction (translation is edited out here) See original here.

Apple, M. W. (1990). Ideology and curriculum. New York: Routledge.
Apple, M. W., & Beane, J. A. (2007). Democratic schools: lessons in powerful education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Apple, M. W. (2000). Official knowledge: democratic education in a conservative age. New York: Routledge.
Apple, M. W. (1995). Education and power. New York: Routledge.
Apple, M. W., Au, W., & Gandin, L. A. (2009). The Routledge international handbook of critical education. New York: Routledge.
Apple, M. (2010). Global crisis, social justice, and education. New York: Routledge.
Apple, M. Theory, Research, and the Critical Scholar/Activist. Educational Researcher March 2010 39: 152-155)
Gramsci, A. : Prison Journal's on Education and "selections 1st ed."(1971)
Rosa, R. (2008) Savage Neo-Liberalism Education Review, 11, 1-17

Friday, February 11, 2011

The past our memorials and mLearning

The gift of mLearning is in unlocking the barriers to experience placed upon the learner in our "schools" interpretation through experience changes the learning process is ever-present in an mLearning event. There are the shades of a decolonization of learning students reflect, the mentors pace, the chance to dwell in a place is not remotely akin to the "school" experience of disjointed timed obsolescence in learning. mLearning is also more than a "field trip" to a museum. Phones, flips, video, collaboration, purpose, reflection, network, connection.....this organic experience is meaningful and lasting.

Being in this Museum with learners who are engaged outside the borders of the school makes me preflect on a day when we will be mentoring mLearning trips to museums of learning where our past will seem painful because of the time it took to change education from a schooling process to a learning network.

I look forward to reading that memorial.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What would they say to you if they could?

Would you listen?

A Note to an amazing group of teachers and learners....

I have been encouraged by our meetings in EDT400 this spring semester. But today you showed the desire to innovate in clear terms. You saw that learning-not teaching is what education is all about. The barriers to seeing and acting to move learning from irrelevance into a networked, purposeful, fun, and useful....environment for the young and old are real. Your candor and imaging today gave me cause to be hopeful. Your passions will guide you well as teachers and learners. I also saw many ah ha moments today! If machines can replace teachers, they will. Who will be replaced.....

Much for us to discuss.....networks in learning, opening the school, mLearning revolutions, design based learning.....

Thank you all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning Structures as barriers to Connection

What do our "buildings" do to learning....

Thank you for feeding this forward Micheal Wesch

Connectivism is about networks|place, global, internet

Can you have connectivism without computers….could you treat the classroom/learning center and face to face “time” like a connectivist hub? If so, where would the student go to find, validate, leverage, analyze and synthesize information in that place? Could she problem solve and communicate in an unrestricted way to learn freely? ….”

Connectivism is about networks of learning that connect individuals with the world.  This may be messy and no, it most likely does not fit neatly into the institution of "schooling".  That said, connectivist praxis can happen wherever we choose to embrace the learning theory and experience.  We need to work to find ways to learning that are meaningful and stop squabbling over old institutional theories that fit neatly into our outdated vision of the school.

As Sawyer (2006) states,

Educated graduates need a deep conceptual understanding of complex concepts, and the ability to work with them creatively to generate new ideas, new theories....and new knowledge (p.2).

We need to focus on active connections, networks, and our ability to revision the places education happens.


Sawyer, R. K. (2006). The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This post was inspired by a student....and new teacher in the field

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From Stephen Downes National Research Council Canada March 9, 2005

"And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the centre of our existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."

Going Home (Robert Patterson)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We Must Resist Change

Irresistible play on Apple inc. original.

The real question is why we need a LMS to begin with....

I recieved an A, but I failed?

In a welcomed twist to our review of educational theory on Tuesday a few folks in section 2 of EDT400 sought to deliberate on Behaviorism and specifically the issue of grading with letters and numbers as reward and punishment. Reflections on the import of grading centered on "not knowing where I was, or what my learning meant" because of assessment systems that "looked and felt" "different". The use of "check marks" in elementary school (lasting effects!) and a high school experience at one of the most innovative schools in Maine if not New England, where letter grades and rank are not used in favor of more authentic assessment modes (see below).

Why we learn is as important as what we learn when attempting to understand educational theory, and underlying issues with teaching and learning. To this end I am very interested in this discussion. EDT 400: can you receive an A on something (a paper or in a course) and still fail? If so what does this mean for networked learning in a blended VLE such as ours? How should you be assessed? Why are you involved in the learning community? These are well worn questions and important for a course like ours to deliberate on. We seek to imagine new ways of learning at the same time old ways of learning are dominant and this is difficult. You are involved in important work.

So for those of you who are attending or participating in any learning episode for a good grade; is this all you need to advance? What do you really want out of learning? What if I were to give everyone in EDT 400 an A now? What would happen? Let me know if this is what the community wants, my ears and eyes are open.

Thursday's Meeting

A few more considerations for our meeting on Thursday: How do the following TPCK and SAMR models square up with Constructivism and Connectivism?

TPCK - Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge - TPCK. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2011, from

Ruben R. Puentedura's Weblog: As We May Teach: Educational Technology, From Theory Into Practice. (n.d.). Hippasus. Retrieved February 02, 2011, from

Monday, January 31, 2011

A look back today inspired by Alec Courosa

....originally written in October 2010

The Institute for Global Civic Culture was launched this May and our pilot program Global Civ is proving to be one of the most inspiring projects I have ever worked on. Global Civ is a wall-less learning ecology featuring a socially relevant project based curricula designed around the concepts of Society, Environment, and Economy in place based and international studies. Our 2010-2011 pilot program features one high school aged "fellow" and is truly a redefinition of education. Critical literacy across the knowledge territories, experiential learning, service learning and eLearning provide a framework for Global Civ and the results have been amazing. This year the projects are focus on the North American Experience (NAE). An integrated study of North America, "place", and the international interconnectedness of humanity, NAE has already proved a success. I was recently reminded of this success as the project fellow exhibited his ePortfolio artifact for a current project exhibition. The ePortfolio artifact focused on indigenous North Americans and the ramifications of contact with Europeans. The project fellow found, validated and leveraged a TED talk from the Canadian Anthropologist Wade Davis:

In the TED talk Davis chronicles the need for a new imaginary toward the conservation of cultural heritage around the world and the understanding of our shared "ethnosphere" essential for the 21st century. This ePortfolio struck me deep in the heart and inspired me beyond my expectations for our project. At the Institute for Global Civic Culture we are committed to providing a framework for creating a new imaginary for cultural heritage conservation around the world. We applaud our first Global Civ fellow and his construction of meaning to this end. His is critical work and shows a careful and enduring understanding of the world and a passion for the world. This is the mission of the Institute for Global Civic Culture and Global Civ.


For more information about Global Civ: see the Institute for Global Civic Culture home page.


Wade Davis has a Massey Lecture on Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Conversation for a Global Civ Fellow

What elements of this presentation apply to our work?  How might connectivism and connections highlighted here be introduced (in some cases) and honed (in many cases) in your work? 



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Capturing Educational History

Be an Applied Educational Anthropologist!

Upon reflection and after spending time with the participants of EDT 400 today, I am thrilled at the potential of Michael Wesch's new project! What are the legacies of American History, and how do these interface with you on a daily basis? What change is occurring in the spaces of your learning that you feel are effective? As pre-service teachers and professionals I can't think of a better way to capture the common and uncommon educational experiences you are a part of. Remember to let me know what you need! (Disclosure: this is not a course requirement)

How are you going to teach? What support might you need?

Education, History and Learning

This week we take a good look into the history of education, technology, and the realities of today. Remember that we're trying to use our blended course spaces to expand on the materials we are reading, viewing and connecting to in EDT 400 and beyond.

Our conversation on Thursday will build on the sources you have for the week including the Darling-Hammond piece, Curriculum 21 and the Asimov Interview. We will use issue ID's to generate deliberation on these topics, so be careful in your construction of this piece of writing. A reminder about issue ID's from the course site:
The second component of the Reading response is the identification of some issue that can be suitable for discussion. This can be one or two sentences long, and it can be as simple as identifying a quote from one of the readings that you find illuminating and interesting or questionable and briefly stating what important issue you see in the quote. You might also raise a point of comparison between readings, video or other media. The issue may be related to your topic discussion, though it need not be.

On Twitter

Remember to use #edt400 for relevant Twitter activity, and look for excellent ideas that expand the topics of this course in new ways. On Twitter, @falsweeney excellent idea of viewing Waiting for Superman is an excellent idea! This film brings up many issues in the American Education both historically and today. As mentioned already the film has also has caused a bit of a buzz in the US, always a good sign for our topics!

Looking forward to seeing you all this week.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CCK11: A Reflection on Week One

I have been following George Siemens and Stephen Downes for two years now. After an attempted CCK10, my participation in CCK11 is fulfilling a need in my life and learning. At times I look at the projects I am undertaking and the interests I have and want to chide myself using some institutional diatribe about "having to much on my plate", "Depth vs Breadth", "Ph.D. vs action and service in the field (to teach, experience and design)". What CCK11 is re-enforcing for me is that my paths are natural, can be connected, and that those connections can and will grow, focus, change, and enhance my experiences and those of others. I am grateful and inspired. So how have I done in my estimation so far?

Dave Cormier (2010) lists the following index of success:

Orient: Done to date: Readings: good (most this week had been read), Know where things are and have bookmarked/essentials!

Declare: Blog, posts, tags, twitter.....yes

Network: Following via Twitter #CCK11, Have read and commented on Blogs and Replied to those who have commented....Need to do more at this point. Who? Much may depend on clusters, how will we find clusters!

Cluster: Eagerly awaiting....See Network

Focus: Is the end in mind? Yes, I do know what I want out of this set of experiences, looking forward to seeing where this goes....

As put in my last post Stephen Downes encourages us to: Aggregate, remix, re-purpose and feed forward information....I will be working on this design daily.

Autonomy, Openess, Diversity, Interactivity|Technology is Philosophy, Technology is Ideology

Aggregate, remix, re-purpose and feed forward information

I want to feed forward these amazing talks from Stephen and George. The clarity and focus shown in both are incredible. I would be very interested in others views of these talks and want to encourage you to reply to this post as interested.

Stephen Downes

Specifically I am interested in the theory and practice of free learning that Stephen puts forth and its relationship to the current structures of education in general. Stephens scholarship and rebuttal of instructionism is honest and deeply meaningful. What examples of systemic change in education have you seen on the ground? How do you see connectivist theory and praxis increasing these changes?

George Siemens

CCK11 participants. What are your initial reactions to the following quotes and Tedx Talk by George?

"The purpose of education is to prepare individuals for society, to contribute...." "technology is philosophy, technology is ideology"

"The primary task of education in the future is to collapse its functions, its curriculum, its teaching methods, its very mode of inquiry to the point of connectedness. Why do connections form, what patterns do they leave when they form, what is the ultimate impact of that, how do we foster it, how do we create structures, that permit individuals to not be better corerate citizens, but how do we create that so we have students and learners that leave our class spaces who are better citizens, who are better members of society because to change education is to change society ".

As I think of the confluence inherent in a clustering process in CCK11, I would love to hear different viewpoints on these topics and create more initial connection with participants.