So I am wondering: are there filters being imposed in the CCK08 class? I know I am applying my own filters. I decided early on I would keep up with blog posts and posts from the CCK08 twitter network. I stay away from the Moodle boards because they are very busy, and for at least the first couple of weeks they were also very negative (from my filtered view at least).
However, I click and read all the links sent via the daily as well as links from blog posts that come via my google alert. Vilpav Baxi’s post about Passion v. Reason showed up in the google alert today. I especially appreciated this comment:
“Secondly, it is very important to be able to base one of the distinctions between ”traditional” and “connected” in groups vs. networks, in the context of the dominant educational systems today, otherwise you do not have a base reference to what you are trying to revolutionize (and revolution is what is required, IMHO). In that vein, calling this an experience vs. a course and similar examples, only reinforce the point that we must contrast in order to expose. We must expose in order to change”
I think this is a very important point. We are taught how to learn in the “dominant educational systems” of our modern world. Even Dr. Terry Anderson acknowledged this in the Elluminate session I attended this week when he said (and I am paraphrasing from memory here) that we are taught to expect the instructor-led model, so that we expect to receive instruction (and thus have the tools to learn) from this one model. That rings true for me in Corporate Ed, because Instructor-Led training (ILT) is the method most preferred by our audiences. (A question for another post: if we are conditioned to prefer ILT, will they accept the more connected way of learning provided by Web 2.0 tools?).
Those of us who think differently, whether we are “gifted”, “dyslexic”, “autistic”, or whatever other learning label you they stick to us, may have an easier time with receiving instructions in different (more connected) ways. We had to figure ways around the normal teacher-led model to survive the dominant educational system. We are used to looking for other ways of learning.
I learned very early how to get around the library, and would check out every single book on a topic I didn’t understand, until I found some kernel of information that helped me make sense of it (my label was gifted). I also learned my times tables from School House Rocks (I don’t do well at all with rote learning, I always want to know WHY). My oldest was taught ways to endure the onslaught of sensory information so she could have the clarity to withstand ILTs (she has Asperger’s Syndrome and Sensory Integration Disorder). My youngest was thrown anything that he would read, but the only thing that ever worked was comic books (he still hates reading). He’s in college now and still relates EVERYTHING to comics (he’s doing a project now on how political times have influence the way Batman has been portrayed in the comic).
So the questions I see are two-fold. Did I need to learn my times tables? Yes, that was important. Did I have to work at learning them? Yes because I hate rote memorization. To this day I have to sing the “Three is a Magic Number” to get some of the answers. But I would never have been able to grasp binary or hex or octal without the times tables, and I would have never finished college, and never been doing what I can do now.
Would everyone best learn the times tables the way I learned them? Probably not. My nieces both just knew their tables. I don’t understand it. The question to me becomes: how do you ensure that everyone in a school setting learns what we expect them to learn. And what do we expect them to learn? Is there a list of what kids need to learn to survive in today’s society? Won’t a teacher’s own filters influence the way she allows her students to connect to the information they need?
One thing I want to add about filters. Vilpav’s post referenced the Moodle Forum Passion v. Reason. I am still smarting from being smacked down by Stephen Downes for simply asking if his definitions were the same as or different than the sociological or ethnographic definitions for groups and networks. I never got an answer, and was made to feel like I shouldn’t have even asked for the clarification.
I think Vilpav’s comments about being able to contrast and compare these definitions are right on: we have to be able to explain these differences to have an opinion on them.
I think Stephen is (perhaps unknowingly) creating rules and language for inclusion in the CCK08 group. For example, from reading his posts on this week’s topics, he seems to very much believe the sociologist view of groups and networks. I am not sure though, and am quite unwilling to ask now. Especially after some of the remarks he makes to others to trying to engage him in the Moodle forum:
“would not expect or require you to believe this. You can believe what you want. But I would expect you to understand the distinct that is being made here. Your posts suggests that you did not understand the difference.
Certainly, you made no attempt to demonstrate that you understood – you simply took a cheap shot without thinking about it. That does not play well either in the domain of reason or passion.”
“I’m sorry to be snippy – but I’m getting very tired of students in this course saying “I disagree” or “You’re wrong” without giving me even the faintest clue about what it is that seems wrong much less concrete evidence that they’ve read the work they’re disagreeing with).”
“Finally – please don’t feel singled out here. The remarks in this post are meant not just for you but for the other members of the course. Where I am indicating a dissatisfaction, I am indicating a general dissatisfaction, not just a dissatisfaction with you. It’s not personal. I am trying in my response to point to the standards I think are appropriate in a course of this level.”
So I feel stuck a bit in this course to be honest. I do not agree with Stephen’s argument that learning is not work (see my times table argument, also the only class I ever got a C in was stupid Earth Science and the rock test. GAH. Hated it). Sometimes learning base level knowledge is work, but it’s a necessary building block to understand higher order things like algebra (and all the good logical math that makes sense and I can deal with!). I am also having a hard time figuring out what he is actually saying, how it is different from existing definitions and work in group and network theory. I even tried working it out in a wiki, without much success.
But I also now feel I can’t participate in the CCK08 discussion. For some reason my words and methods of asking aren’t what one of the leaders of the CCK08 group expects, so I am in fear of being singled out for not understanding the language and norms. Effectively a filter has been created for me and the group.