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Posts tagged ‘#el30’

What makes us human?

This post is in response to the question asked by Frank Polster in his post about the conversation between Stephen Downes and George Siemens.  I found the question via Jenny Mackness’ post. The basic question was What are the core qualities that make us human?


Here’s what my gut says:


Primitive machines were reactionary. They performed functions. We perform functions too (and are often reactionary), but, as a human I have the synthesis of agency, vision, and drive in self-efficacy. Put super-simply: my belief that I can do something. There’s a lot in there. Read more

Graph #el30 Week 3

Stephen has tasked us all with creating a graph of some sort for #el30 this week. Questions that came into my mind were:

  • What are the parameters?
  • How do they interact?
  • How can I make visible the potentials?

I’m thinking of learning and what’s visible, what we bring, resources, and what is ideal to implement in each of our situations. I began with things I know (or have seen) and the examples of music and astronomy guided me to an image. Read more

Containers (part 2) and Harvesting feeds in #el30 Week 2

It’s coursework day for me and I did two things: Watched the video on Applications, Algorithms and Data: Open Educational Resources and the Next Generation of Virtual Learning and I sorted harvesting the course feeds in both Feedly and gRSShopper, which was a suggested task to go with this week. This post is divided into two sections, to address each of these in turn and I promise to use headings so it is easy to navigate (that means if you want to skip to whatever interests you, that’s ok too.) My earlier posts for #el30 can be found HERE. Read more

Building with learning #el30: Week 2

While watching the discussion between Tony Hirst and Stephen Downes as part of the cmooc #el30 (my other posts are here) there were moments of clarity on my part but also I found myself really not understanding. Things that I thought were the important points were not. My lack of understanding only came clear when I talked to a professional who designs and uses containers (although in a non-academic world). You could say I used the ‘phone a friend’ option for help. My friend said things like:

By maintaining a common interface and abstracting the internals you can make changes to the contents of the container by patching it or updating it without changing the interface, as in DevOps.

He went on to talk about CICD and although he said it was an elegant model, and suggested shifting in the direction of Kubernetes (which comes from the Greek word for helmsman) instead of Docker. He did suggest chapter 1 from the book Docker Deep Dive by Nigel Poulton. Thank you to the author who provided a sample of the book via his website! (yes, that’s what I linked to)

– at this point I looked like a tree (that is to say, standing there, and not communicating in an understandable way). With articulate patience he explained containers in terms I, your ordinary academic practitioner, could understand. 🙂 yay! Here’s the non-technical, common person, explanation: Read more

Installing gRSShopper for #el30

Today I took advantage of that extra hour when the clocks went back and everyone else was asleep and got stuck into some more of the #el30 materials. I started by reading this article/page on Linked Open Data and thought maybe I could contribute. Then I read more, opening this article by Tim Burners-Lee, and my brain was being squeezed a bit like when an octopus goes through a very tiny opening, but not so successfully in my case.

I moved on to watch the next video for Stephen Downes’ cmooc #el30. This one was about how to install gRSShopper. Now I do have a technical mind, but I haven’t moved with the times and got left behind in the second year of calculus in high school and never really got to grips with coding past basic. (yes, basic, but heck, that’s fun too.) Here’s the spoiler though – I DID IT!!!! and if I can, you can too!! Read more

#el30 Notes Week 1

This week in the connectivist course #el30 Stephen Downes spoke to Shelly Blake-Plock, Co-Founder, President and CEO – Yet Analytics. They talked about learning, LMS, experience, users, and data and provided plenty to think about- My blogpost contains 1. My #el30 notes form the hangout, and 2. My thoughts about application and implications as an educator (and I kept them brief! My post from Week 0 is here)

Notes from the hangout:

Shelly began by introducing his company and what it does: Read more

Teaching learning, teaching for learning, or teaching learning through living?

Learning and understanding learning is one of my favourite topics and I love tinkering with how people think and what it means for learning and life. This post is a short reflection on a conversation between Stephen Downes and George Siemens as a part of the open connectivist ‘class’ #el30.

George began with a lovely sentiment that we as humans learn. As long as we live, we learn- whether as intentional, sub-conscious learning or otherwise – we learn.

I do believe that is a truth. He then went on to ask a valuable question:

Why are we teaching in a way that is counterintuitive and not personally satisfying to students? 

-What should we be teaching in our school systems.

(As an aside, I have an issue with the ‘system’ – the first time George said ‘school system’ far earlier on in the conversation, I twitched and thought – oooh a Freudian slip there- why would he call it a ‘system’ when school and learning should be anything but ‘systems’. A system makes me think of flow charts and expected outcomes, pre-conceived and defined content, outcomes, answers, and worse – commercialisation. I’ll leave that thought in brackets so it doesn’t pollute the rest of this post!)

I prefer learning as part of a journey. I might go a bit down the road and then perhaps for the course I’m on, I look around and document my journey so far. For me there is no ‘arriving at the answer’ even if there is an externally observable outcome like a performance. That is a stepping stone and I stand in that place at that moment, it is not an answer. If there was an answer to have, I promise I would have put my money where my mouth is and bought that one already.

About an hour before this George-Stephen chat, in Stephen’s conference presentation, he asked:

Why would we employ tests and quizzes ‘inside’ the learning environment when the learning [we aim for] is intended for use ‘outside’ the learning environment – in life & work? It’s about application in context, not memorising content.

For me the bigger question is about the purpose- both the personal, community, and collective perceived purpose and meaning of being, action, and interaction (what we think, what we do, and how we internalise one another).

George commented:

There is something about those things that aren’t measured by our university or school systems today, and yet end up being the most consequential in a societal or work-based environment.

And Stephen added in summary:

It’s precisely in the things that can’t be measured where we have the greatest potential of being what computers aren’t.

Yes. and more yes. and how funny that George asks for an accurate depiction for how to develop learning…. but that is an in-built oxymoron. You can’t have the answer. 🙂 …it takes me back to your meditating monk – the answer will come, but depends on the individual and their purpose and perspective – and that answer changes with time (and I don’t mean age or the passage of time, but simply with the orientation in the now and how that relates to the rest of the now around us).

Featured image CC BY-NY-ND by James Laing 

(I liked it so much I put it at the bottom here too, so it could be bigger 🙂 )