Welcome to week 2 of NGL.
This week is really about consolidation and “girding your loins” in preparation for diving head long into the struggle and the wilds of NGL. An alternative metaphor might be a pause to catch your breath. In order to do this you’ll be asked to
- Read a short paper on networked learning as a threshold concept.
- Watch a brief video about different types of system.
- Spend a fair bit of time watching and thinking about the question of information overload and dealing with it.
The last step is perhaps the most important. It involves you explicitly thinking, sharing, and building the process you will be using for learning in this course. If you spend a fair bit of time on this task, you will get so much more out of the rest of the course.
Networked learning as a threshold concept
First, a quick reading.
Kligyte (2009) is a very short conference paper. While it’s brief it sums up nicely many of the problems you may be having with the concept of NGL. It starts with the idea that network learning is changing how we “create, analyse, and share knowledge” (Kligyte, 2009, p. 540).
The paper’s main message is to illustrate “threshold concepts” can be used to understand the difficulty and complexity involved in changing teaching practice to incorporate more technologies. To do this it draws on a threshold concept framework to examine how networked learning to understand networked learning and how people new to the practice and principles struggle in grappling with the implications.
Reading: Read the “Threshold concept framework” section of Kligyte (2009). In particular the table and its discussion of networked learning as troublesome, discursive, irreversible, liminality and integrative. What in this resonates with you and the last few weeks? Are you still in a “liminal” space? Is the “distributed world of information” appearing any more coherent and sensible? etc, eventually leading to questions of where you are headed? Are you changing how you are creating, analysing, and sharing knowledge yet? As learner? As student? As learner?
The rest of this week’s activities are intended to help you start crossing this threshold
The following video is intended both as a break from reading, but also as a prompt to get you to re-consider how you conceptualise learning, teaching, and the systems that often surround formal education. How are most formal learning experiences designed? Using the chaotic, ordered, or complex systems approach? As you engage with and learn more about NGL, which of these approaches do you think best suits NGL? Does that create any tensions? What about with respect to network learning in the context you’ve chosen to focus upon in your role “as teacher” for this course?
Are you feeling a little like the image here?
One of the participants from last year was certainly feeling this way about this time last year, and he wasn’t alone.
This is not a novel experience for students in network learning and to some extent this course has been designed so that you experience this. This is so that you are aware of this problem when you come to think about applying network learning in your own teaching. It’s also so that you gain some experience at trying to develop some strategies of your won that help you deal with this feeling.
Information overload or filter failure
You don’t have to watch all of the following video. The relevance to this course is that perhaps your problem is that your filters for (or other means of dealing with) this course aren’t good enough (yet).
Another explanation for the sense of being overwhelmed is that you’re being asked to learn lots of new stuff that challenges your own conceptions. This isn’t easy.
Roll your own
The solution I’m going to suggest is that you need to develop a solution that works for you as a student. To that end I’m going to recommend two short readings
- The Toolbelt and Universal Design – Education for everyone; and,This introduces an approach to learning the resonates with this course and provides Toolbelt theory and the TEST framework as ways for you to deal with the course (and much more).
- What is your PKM routine?.Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) was mentioned last week. This post shows off a number of different PKM routines that people have developed. They provide insights that may help you.
What’s your PKM routine?
So what’s your PKM routine? What tools are you going to use to help with PKM? Where do you think the tools you’ve already been asked to engage with fit within your PKM routine? How are these tools, PKM and Toolbelt theory going to help you as “student, learner and teacher”?
If you’re really interested take a look at this video that I created showing off a suggested PKM routine for an undergraduate course that I teach. It uses Feedly, Diigo and a blog (can you see where aspects of the design of this course originated?) but for a different course.
I’ve also quickly filled in the following table with a quick description of what I think my PKM routine is going to be for this course.
Mendeley gets a mention in the following, it’s not a tool you need to use. But it or something like it might help. It depends on you. Your PKM process will be unique.
|PKM||Critical Thinking Process||Tools and Strategies|
|SEEK||Observe & Study||Feedly – OPML file sending course and participant feeds into one place.
I also have a collection of other feeds in Feedly that I try to follow. This includes feeds from journals which keep me up to date with what they are publishing.I also rely on Twitter a great deal.
And obviously Google and Google Scholar play a large part in this.
|SENSE||Challenge & Evaluation, Form tentative opinions||This is mostly through writing blog posts. But I am also increasingly using Diigo and Mendeley for this. In particular, the annotation and organising capabilities of those tools allow me to make notes and “categorise” what I’ve found.|
|SHARE||Participate||Blog posts, Diigo and Mendeley also enable sharing – especially when sharing with the group.
Twitter is also something I use, but not as well as I should.
The challenge for you now is to develop your own PKM routine. In reality (and just like mine above) it’s probably going to be something you keep developing throughout this course. Use the table above or perhaps mirror one of the graphical approaches taken by some of those in Jarche’s blog post to develop a representation of your PKM routine.
Activity: This would be a good candidate to share on your blog.
Applying the TEST framework
PKM identifies a set of Tasks you need to complete to participate in this course. You can probably identify a few more. The TEST framework provides a way to think about the combination of Task, Environment, Skills, and Technology.
As part of your PKM routine you will have identified a range of technologies you’re going to use. Are you familiar enough with what those tools can do? Do you have the skills necessary to complete the identified tasks?
Activity: Now would be a good time to seriously reflect on these questions, share your reflections via your blog, and take some steps to address them. I and the other participants in the course can help, but there’s also a great breadth and depth of network resources that can help you develop these skills.
The following are some very specific tasks that you might need to complete during this course. They are provided here as a challenge and also an aid to completing the above task. The task list includes
- Write a blog post the links to another a post from another participant.
- Write a blog post that has a YouTube video embedded in it.
- Use Feedly to know about the most recent resources shared via the EDU8117 Diigo group.
Last week you were asked to think and write about you as student, learner and teaching. These are the three foci that you should be using throughout the course. For example, here’s what I wrote about me as learner in: 2014 and 2015. The 2014 attempt didn’t go to far, and I am having reservations about the 2015 plan.
At this stage, you aren’t expected to have finalised your plans for these three roles. However, by the end of week 2 you should be fairly set in your plans and have started working on your “learner” activity. Some of the tasks below become more useful if you have identified your foci as they will guide what you do.
For more inspiration, here’s my post “as teacher” from 2014. It includes a pointer to a couple of contributions from 2014 participants.
The aim here is to really start making links in our respective networks, both within the course and outside.
As I write 3 of the 8 students enrolled in the course (2016) have registered their blog on the Study Desk (please do that now). This time last year 6 of the 15 participants in the course have created and registered their blog as asked in Week 1.
Soon I will update this OPML file which you can download and import into Feedly to keep up to date with the posts of other participants.
Activity: If you haven’t already, create and register your blog.
Activity: Integrate into your PKM process how you are going to follow the posts of other participants.
Activity: (Once it’s updated to include more student blogs) Use the OPML file/Feedly or other means to learn more about the other participants in the course. As you are reading about each participant try to identify two participants. First, identify a participant that is most like you (using whatever criteria you wish to employ), then identify a participant that is most different from you (again, whatever criteria, even a different one). Write a post on your blog that explains your choices and provides links to the blogs of the two folk you chose.
The next step is to create connections with people outside of the course. Hopefully people with something interesting and useful to say about NGL. In 2014, I started sharing a list of potential interesting people via the Diigo group.
Your task now is to find some folk to follow that are related to your foci for this course and contribute them back to the Diigo group (use the tag “people”).
The aim is that these people are going to help give you interesting insights and resources about NGL as it applies to your role as “student, learner and teacher”. With a particularly important focus being on your role as “teacher”. You should be looking for people thinking and doing interesting things around NGL in your teaching area.
How you find such people will involve creativity. Google searches etc.
Finishing up for the week
The following offers a quick list of tasks you should be making significant progress towards by the end of this week.
- Be able to offer some explanation of what networked learning is and how it relates to what else you know about learning.
- Have designed and implemented (at a least first version) of your PKM routine.
- Made connections with some of the other participants in this course.
- Finalised on your choice of what you will be focusing on this semester in your role as “learner” and “teacher”.
- Made a start on learning something using NGL.
- Started making connections with people from outside the course relevant to applying NGL to your foci.
- Given some thought to how some of the conceptions introduced above connect with your foci.
Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2007). Collectives, networks and groups in social software for e-Learning. In World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (pp. 2460–2467).
Goodyear, P. (2014). Productive Learning Networks: The Evolution of Research and Practice. In L. Carvalho & P. Goodyear (Eds.), The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks (pp. 23–47). London: Routledge.
Goodyear, P., Carvalho, L., & Dohn, N. B. (2014). Design for networked learning: framing relations between participants’ activities and the physical setting. In S. Bayne, M. de Laat, T. Ryberg, & C. Sinclair (Eds.), Ninth International Conference on Networked Learning 2014 (pp. 137–144). Edinburgh, Scotland.