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WE/ME in epedagogy design


Seminar: Premesis of virtual Learning

March 19th, 2008

Hello ePedagogy Fellows!
Within the first week of April my first Seminar for the ePedagogy Program will start. The Title will be “Premesis of eLearning” and it deals with… yes, eLearning. 😉
You will find the description of the Seminar here.
22 Participants from Hamburg already signed up, but the concept of the seminar takes into account that there might be participants from anywhere else where you will find a Internet connection.
We will have some synchronous Sessions on Tuesday 10.00-12.00 (UTC/GMT +1 hour) and a lot of work in groups, more or less asynchronous, but you should be available (online) during this time.
There will be Tasks every week, and if you like you can already start with the first one
If you don’t have time to join us regularly think of participate via the blog even sometimes, would be nice.


Epedagogy, learning and Second Life: a course

January 23rd, 2008

Owen says “hello”.

He adds: I am running a course on Learning and Second Life for anyone interested in doing it as part of their epedagogy masters. The course will be worth 5 credits.

The course will be entirely online, and will involve chats in Skype; inworld explorations in Second Life (and hopefully Active Worlds by way of comparison); and course timetables, project plans, documentation and discussion on Airset.

The course starts on Tuesday February 5 at 20.30 Helsinki time, with an introductory Skype session. So you know what you will be getting into, I have published the current version of the course description on Zoho, and you can read it here.

If you want to enroll then please email me at owen@owenkelly.net. If you know someone who might want to enroll then please tell them.


Spread the word!

January 18th, 2008

Hi, as you all have already read the Application period (is) open. Help us getting more students into our program by spreading this information throug your blog, website whatever and bring some posters on the wall of your home university.
In order to inform potential new students about the MA program and the Application period I designed a poster which I would like to share with you. If you have designed one as well it might be interesting to have that one also on the blog!


iPod for learning

December 20th, 2007

Mobile learning popped up several times in our last international Seminar. Cocerning to that I found a nice article which shows 10 Ways to Make Your iPod a Better Learning Gadget

  1. Put Wikipedia on Your Ipod
  2. Watch DVDs on Your iPod
  3. Load YouTube Videos to Your iPod
  4. Make Other Video Formats iPod-Ready
  5. Convert MP3 files into One Big iPod Audiobook File
  6. Create eBooks for the iPod
  7. Record Web Audio and Move it To Your iPod
  8. Get a Civic Education on Your iPod
  9. Load Maps onto Your iPod
  10. Study Foreign Languages, Take University Courses, and Listen to AudioBooks on Your iPod – All for Free

I like these ideas and may be one of them saves you from organizing last minute christmas presents 😉
Merry Christmas from Hamburg
Merry Christmas
Image Source: welovepandas


Social Networking in Action

September 12th, 2007

I have been teaching a course on social software. During this I decided that Facebook offers a very good front end for a lot of “serious” activities, including the epedagogy MA. I have therefore started an epedagogy group in Facebook. So far it has 5 members, and a link to this site.

It would be very good if everyone else on the course (past and present, staff and students) would also join Facebook, message me and then apply to join the group. (I have set it as a closed group so you have to apply to join. This stops people messing around with it.)

I think we could use this as collective action research. My initial hypothesis is that using this as the front end to our online networking will be good because we will then get a richer picture of each other, and this will enable us to engage in more fruitful collaborations.

BTW, for those with genuine privacy concerns Facebook is VERY privacy conscious. You can set everything to be viewable only by your friends, if you want – and people can only become your friend by applying to you and waiting for you to say yes or no. It is absolutely NOT like MySpace, Bebo, or similar sites.

Later that same day:

I wrote a slightly longer argument in favour of this on my site (which is now being updated again) here.


Web 2.0 in Educational Settings

August 31st, 2007

This is the file we promised during our presentation in Helsinki during our last Seminar.

In case Alex and me are not surprised by unexpexted circumstances we will soon start our little tour through the web 2.0 with all of you inside this blog.


Help needed in Hamburg during July

June 20th, 2007

Dear all,

I am sorry to have missed the Seminar in Helsinki in the beginning of June, but I was occupied with a PR campaign in Manchester, UK. I’m writing a bit off topic here, but hopefully our network can also function as a bit of an alumni, even if our graduated student rate is jet low :).

The company I work for, Miltton, is arranging a PR campaign in Hamburg during the second week in July. Now we would need help from local people that are innovative, outgoing, social and who are interested in new approaches toward marketing and media. Naturally my first thought was my co-students in Hamburg. Do you think some of you might be interested in participating in the campaign? We need involvement for 1 – 2 weeks in July.

I guarantee it’s something new and fun. You can e-mail me (clindeberg(a)gmail.com) for more information and please spread this around your co-students in Hamburg, even if they don’t study at the E-pedagogy programme.

And to everyone: have a great summer and I hope I’ll see you at the next seminar!

Wey-Han Tan

Connectivism and paradigmatic shifts

June 12th, 2007

I think there is indeed a ‘demand’ for a new learning paradigma, as it was with behaviourism, cognitivism or constructivism. Technical progress and emergence of medial formats call for some generic term to cognitively and linguistically bundle and handle this plethora of phenomena (add a grain of sarcasm plus a dip of melancholy here, especially concerning the notion of a ‘paradigmatic shift’).
There’s a definitve lack of fitting expressions of what is going on, having led to an explosion of “e”s, “2.0”s, of a turn to hawaian and kisuaheli in webspeak.

Unfortunately, from my point of view – as a sympathiser of radical constructivism – there’s no ‘neutral’ scientific theory of learning, since every learning theory, every teaching methodology has and will always be tainted by the socio-political and the technical reality of its time, as well as by the imagined utopia of its developers and practitioniers.

For this, I was very interested in George Siemens’ presentation of his proposed ‘learning theory for the digital age’, as much for it’s theoretical foundation as for its epistemological tilt.
By reading his text “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age” (2004), three key topics arose which I had hoped would lead to a lively and critical discussion:
A perceived objectivistic turn, the allocated role of technology, and the supposed new way organisations learn.

Unfortunately, only the first one got some attention, since the time for discussion – 11 minutes (!) to discuss a ‘paradigmatic shift’ – was much too short.

So, my first question about the objectivistic turn was as follows:

“(…) chaos states that the meaning exists – the learner’s challenge is to recognize the patterns which appear to be hidden.” (Siemens 2004)
Connectivism seems to be a rather profound return to an objectivistic concept of knowledge, meaning knowledge can be discovered, instead of being constructed, in the informational noise of networks.
Is this epistemological turn one out of necessesity, to ease the plight and responsibility of the learner/searcher in a chaotic flood of information – one of constructicism’s grave weaknesses? Or does connectivism restricts the discovery to certain areas, where a well-defined outcome at the end can be expected, or is wished for (i.e. formal education, commercial transactions, hard sciences etc.)?
What is the role of digital mechanisms – like search algorithms, knowledge agents, or datamining processes – in discovering ‘the’ meaning, compared to the role of humans? How does a connectivistic paradigma thus change our view on truth, identity and the real?

Owen Kelly greatly helped in asking further questions also concerning the connectivistic handling of culturally independent, objective truths, as did Arie Noordzij, who mentioned Paul Feyerabend’s theories on scientific methodology and progress.
Some outcomes crossed my mind before the discusssion, and I was hoping for a clarification by Siemens:

1.) It’s Siemens’ personal, and therefore intangible position on objective truth, which he had worked into his theories, maybe to counter some deficits in former theories. For example constructivism can’t deliver the learner from irritation and aporia, a serious drawback in the face of an exponential growing dataverse. Although a turn to objectivism is thus understandable, this is from my point of view quite disputable, maybe even risky, at least in the humanities.
After Siemens remarks on discussing objective and subjective truths, this seems to me to be the most likely explanation, because “This discussion leads us away from the path of happiness.” (Siemens).
At some point of the discussion, it reminded me on a very influential political speech from 2002 – though not by Siemens – where there was stated: “Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place.”

2.) It’s a result of a rationalistic and teleological view on the subject of a digitally networked society, a turning to the heyday of cybernetics and information theory, when it was proposed that not only communications, but also ethics could – and should – be expressed in mathematical formulas, to find the one common ground of action every rational human would share. This would seem to be on the one hand a bit old-fashioned, but on the other hand quite viable for a “learning theory for the digital age” when viewed from the actual biologistic turn learning theories are taking (see Christoph Bardtke’s lecture on Manfred Spitzer’s neurochemical/neurophysiological approach).
Personally, I’m a huge fan of the concept of a technological singularity, as Vernor Vinge described it, though it seems to conflict with some of the base tenets of radical constrcutivism.
I ruled this out, since Siemens stressed the importance of human diversity too much for this option, though I can’t be entirely sure.

3.) It’s a near-religious belief of ‘the truth’ being buried in the white noise of networking, to be found by digital means. This is an interesting idea I think William Gibson first turned up with in his Neuromancer Trilogy, where there are several people (for example Gentry) who try to find a godlike Gestalt in the background noise of the cyberspace; a kind of modernized version of the cabbalistic art of Gematria.
This would have been an idea very exciting to discuss in it’s shrewdness, but was certainly out of question.

I’d liked to have the remaining two topics seen discussed, but the time was just too short:

About the role of new technology:

“Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environments. These theories, however, were developed in a time when learning was not impacted through technology.” (Siemens 2004)
Does the relationship between digital processes and human cognition differ from what has been proposed by the ‘cybernetic turn’ in the 70ies? Back then, individual, social, and technical ‘cognitive’ processes were seen as compatible, interconnectible and utopically symbiotic, too.
Is the main difference to cybernetics/cognitivism the letting be of individual human cognition to be fuzzy – and then to harvest this fuzzyness statistically by digital means to find meaning?

About the idea of learning organisations:

“These theories (note: behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism) do not address learning that occurs outside of people (i.e. learning that is stored and manipulated by technology). They also fail to describe how learning happens within organizations.” (Siemens 2004)
How do digitally organized groups and communities ‘learn’? Is the process the same – but faster – as the one called tradition and transmission, meaning evolutive mutation and selection of social knowledge over time?
Is the digitally organized form of social knowledge the key difference to a constructivist viewpoint that learning is embedded in and situative to a culture (for example Brown et al. (1989), „Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning“), which stores it ‘knowledge’ in form of narratives, habitus, architecture etc.?

I hope these questions will pop up sometimes in our future discussions or lectures.


Working Group 1: Envisioning new interfaces in cooperative media culture

June 11th, 2007

During the recent Helsinki international seminar the participants formed 3 working groups based on their preference of 3 different discussion topics to brainstorm the issues and possibilities within these topics and to ultimately come up with a research topic proposal.

In Working Group 1, Wey-han, Arie, Antti, Ville, Lynda, and myself, with Martti’s assistance, had the pleasure of engaging and brainstorming the topic titled, “Envisioning new interfaces in cooperative media culture”.

Arie introduced an interface problem encountered by the medieval scholars when operating the new interface of the “Book” (as presented in the short sketch Medieval Helpdesk on the Norwegian show “Øystein og jeg”).

Interfaces Brainstorming map

We developed a stronger understanding for what an interface is and potential problems surrounding the interface, as presented in the brainstorming map linked to the image at the right. Most importantly we identified that when engaging the topic of interfaces there are a number of visual, conceptual and metaphorical aspects which need consideration. During discussion in the working group and following our presentation we identified that there may be two approaches to considering this topic, from the perspective of the physical interface (buttons, keyboards, mouse, etc) and also the virtual interface (windows, browsers, web interface etc).

We identified and presented our research proposal, however we understand that it will require further discussion and fine-tuning in the coming weeks:

“To consider the visual, conceptual and metaphorical elements of interfaces in a learning context for inexperienced user groups.”


Reporting from the 4th int. Seminar

June 8th, 2007

Hi Folks out there! For all you sad guys that cant participate (full time) in our seminar I just want to let you know that we’re using the Tag epedagogyhelsinki2007 at Flickr. Just click to see the slideshow of pictures which are uploaded yet and don’t forget to tag your photos 😉
I hope Presentations will come online…