Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reality has become a commodity

I just stumble upon one of the older "Words" from ingenious Stephen Colbert . Stephen has a long history of making fun of Wikipedia, he even created spoof version of Wikipedia, Wikiality., the Truthiness Encyclopedia. The new place to be on The Internets. Unlike Wikipedia, entries here are judged on their truthiness; if it feels right it's probably truthy.
One more time Colbert in his twisted way is reminding us that we have to be critical consumers and don't believe everything that is pushed upon us via mass-media. Use your brain people! But enough from me, just listen to the master :-)

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Wikilobbying
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

BTW: There is still no definition of wikilobbying in the Wikipedia, but the term found it's place in the Urban Dictionary

O, and there is no Colbert proposed Wikipedia entry under Reality :-(

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Panta rei- never more true Mr.Heraclitus

Ah it was so nice to escape for a day form university and... well visit another university haha. I guess my private universe revolves around the universities :-)

Yesterday we went to Iowa State University to attend Get Connected: ComETS Spring 2009 Symposium. ComETS stands for Community of Educational Technology Support. Mission of this new group, is bring together all ISU people interested in technology, and to promote dialog focused on technology in learning & teaching . We were invited by Travis Kramer as a guests.

Morning workshop was led by George Siemens from the University of Manitoba. Siemens is a scholar, writes and international speaker and consultant, assisting organizations to develop integrated learning structures and changes that they must make in order to address the challenges of an increasingly complex and overload with information world. Workshops were filled with interesting academic discussions traditionally not leading to any bigger conclusions. As much as I enjoyed listening to Siemens presentation and my colleagues exchange of thoughts, I could also see it being held in the nice bar with beers in our hands :-) But I had fun even sans beer :-)

Siemens was also a keynote speaker opening afternoon events. His presentation "The Impact of Connectivism and Networked Learning" was really interesting. His main idea was based on the fact that learning is a social process and knowledge is based on creating connections, the meanings between various external sources of information and our own knowledge base. This preached by Siemens idea of connectivism have four major principals:
1. Knowledge is networked and distributed.
2. The experience of learning is one of forming new neural, conceptual, and external networks.
3. Occurs in complex, chaotic, shifting spaces.
4 Increasingly aided by technology

The symposium was toped with "Lightning Strikes"- a ten minute presentations about emerging technologies and its usefulness in academia. I really enjoyed the Scott McLeod's (on a picture) presentation about Twitter. Hi presented the case for Twitter in academics in series of captured Twits.

What I took from that all day event? The main change in the perception of education is to realize that teacher is no longer be a gatekeeper to the information and with the information overload and complexity of the fast changing world it is impossible to be an expert in everything. Often students have more knowledge in some aspects (i.e. technology) than a teacher and a teacher must be prepared to embrace that and use it to support students learning (making connections). The concept of the teacher as a facilitator rather than disseminator is not new, but changing the models of teaching-learning never felt so urgent. These days we are getting knew knowledge from many resources we are creating our personal learning networks (PLN) that may include peers, parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, but also not-human resources like blogs, websites, TV, radio, books, magazines... It is important to realize how we choose elements of information to connect them to create meaning for ourselves. How to critically sort through all the information? We are constructing our knowledge through the matrix of our own experience, hence we are more receptive to see connections with something that we already know. Since teacher theoretically should has larger knowledge base than student, his or her role is to help students to make the connections with knew information.

Panta rei - Everything is in a state of flux, said famously Heraclitus the Ephesian some two and a half thousand years ago. World is changing, technology is changing, deal with it!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Twitter experiment

I am a co writer of the next best selling novel! OK, maybe not quite the best selling and not quite a novel yet :-) Let me start from the beginning:

Twitter user dcannell announced:
Feel like helping, we need your next 140 characters, your creativity, together writing the next best seller
A story built 140 characters at a time. If you are a twitter users...log on and add your line...add a hashmark #tothesky and I will add your line to the story.
So I did :-)
In case you have no idea what I am writing about, Twitter is another form of social networking and micro-blogging that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Here you can find a great video explaining it in "plain English"

Are you ready to pick up the challenge? Hop on Twitter and add your 140 words to the story.

See below the Twitter challenge announced via YouTube video. I think that this kind of fun, collective and creative writing could be a cool activity in the classroom.

PS. To better see all the people I follow on Twitter I am using Twitterrific, twitter app for Mac OS, iPhone and iPod touch. You can download it here: