Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Powerless during Power week

I shouldn't’t be doing this. I should be writing my paper and making sure to answer the questions. Last week I was off line, I was powerless, with no energy or power to move. I was bed ridden for days with bronchitis. I logged in to last Friday live session to find out that I arrived an hour late so… powerless, unable to connect.
This is my answer to Ken’s lasts posts about success, failure, power, groups and more.

Hi Ken!

I am glad to be back here, I enjoy very much your readings. I came here from today's daily and what attracted my attention was your post title "I made the news".
Congratulations!!! Did you write home about it as you mention? What did they say?
This is a response to your last three posts so if you don't have time now please skip it and keep the “Congrats” part.

This applies to you too kind reader. :-)

Thanks for pointing out that Stephen's readings are difficult, it thought I lacked "proper background" (whatever that is) to understand them. Now I see I'm not alone. I'm stupid in some areas, as many people are, but I thought that understanding "deep philosophical readings" was not one of them until I found Stephen's readings and videos which made me ask myself similar questions than yours. After reading your last three posts I guess they are the exception that confirms the rule, I'm not so stupid in that area.
If I don't get meaning is because they are meaningless to me, I cannot connect with them, I'm a "doer", I didn't find practical application on those readings and I have been living in a "connectivist" way for more than 20 years. Don't misunderstand me, I rather clarify.

I have been, as mankind has done for centuries, connecting with experienced nodes to learn from them or to pay them to exercise their expertise in my benefit.
In my practice I work with multidisciplinary forces or nodes, it's in that sense that I stated that I work in a "connectivist" way. From that point of view I can happily agree with the sanctum sanctorum connectivist phrase: "knowledge is in the network". As I've told you before, that way of learning is not new, I'm not buying the "theory" bit either, time will tell in that sense.

Regarding Stephen's "illusion of power" exercise: It amused me.
Why? Because for the first time he stood up and exercised his power OPENLY. As you mention in this post, he had used his power from the beginning; in a covered and clever way for me. From my point of view, this last move was not clever, it didn't empower the learners.

Rather, he is modeling his "theory":
"The pipe is not important".
He did not think about the havoc he created to some that use their employers’ hardware and software to connect, he has said so several times on the live sessions:
"I don't care if you are learning, I'm learning!".
On the other hand, let me tell you that as a "teacher" in an open non-authoritarian system you have to find ways to push your students towards the content you expect them to learn so to use your power is valid in that context. It's an effective behaviour.

Your question about the success or failure of the experiment is one that voices many participants' concerns, as you have measured with your visitors’ blog counter and comments, the question is lying there and they can easily say and justify that it was a success. Again, time will tell. But as participant you can define if it was a success for you or not. Was it a success for me? Though I cannot tell yet in a broad sense, I'm learning and I've met some valuable people not nodes. That’s for sure. Did I learn what connectivism is? It seems I didn't, I learned a new name to christen what I do.

I joined for the feedback that non-credit participants believe we, the credit ones, are getting. I have not "earned" a direct email, tweet, or comment in my blog from the "teachers". Here is an account of "my feedback".
I have not opened a thread in Moodle; I got two answers from SD in the Importance of Context thread. I got one comment back from GS on all the live sessions I've listened, one of the 10 or so times I have dared to write something "valuable" in the chat box. I got an A, also from GS, for not answering the main question on my first paper. That's all. For me, that's not clear feedback but I have not participated much as you can see, maybe I have not given them a chance (?) What it tells me so far is that in a connectivist view I am a "dependent learner" who has not received clear feedback from the "teacher" who doesn't care in the first place if I learn or not.

Turning to the alternate places where CCK08 network gathers, I just can tell you what I've seen which is not much.
I've gone just to two SL cohort sessions, the first one was on a Sunday, and no one was there. The second was on Tuesday and there was a text chat going with 5 participants including myself; I was told that there was more participation on Tuesdays, that they did not use voice to keep records of their meetings and as none of us had done the readings of the week the meeting was cancelled. To be at SL to use only the chat box did not appeal to me and then I started having problems with my graphic card and then I got sick so... I will go back next Tuesday.
The Connectivitas site in Spanish has very low participation; the Connectivitas SL weekly meeting gathers also 5 or 6 participants using voice, not keeping records and voicing questions, discomforts, positions, RL activities, etc. Some of the members (3) formed a group to do the final project. Guess... Who is one of those 3? Who started those meetings? :-)
I have not seen blogs in Spanish about connectivism; I've seen blogs posts tagged as CCK08 where the conversation is about something else. I wish I had more time to search more blogs.
In Moodle I've seen and then talked live to one participant that chose the forums to promote himself, openly as a marketing strategy to get the teacher's recognition. Admittedly not doing the readings, nor visiting blogs, nor blogging about connectivism. He opens threads and posts his papers in his blog due to lack of time. He has followed SD and GS work for 3 years or so. It's working for him, every one of his threads has SD or GS postings and some have made the Daily news.

As for your assertion that CCK08 is a group and not a network I, again, can only tell you my position. A sense of belonging is one of the main aspects that identify a group, right? If you don't feel you belong then it's not your group or you pay a high price to remain there.
For me, if I don't feel I belong, if I don't get feedback then it's a network not a group. I can abandon and no one will notice. In my groups, if I abandon without giving notice, they ask about me and fortunately they get concerned about my health or my situation. I did that just once many years ago and learned my lesson. When I logged in and found the worried messages in several venues I decided that it was not fair to worry people just because I did not think about it, one member called me home from Korea to ask about my silence, he was going to call my parents first!

Regardless of what Stephen and George learn, or how many papers or thesis or whatever they get out of this experiment; I honestly believe that they deserve it. By putting this experiment together, by keeping it going with one or 2000 survivors, they have placed and keep placing every day great effort. They are modeling and giving an example on online team work; they are very different, have opposite views in some areas and have accommodated their differences publicly. George strives to engage students while Stephen enrages them easily, the bad cop vs. good cop routine. That effort should and will be compensated somehow. Besides, they are putting themselves in the firing line, exposing their work and ideas to a vast audience. If I agree with their views or not that's my business. What they are doing is very brave and I salute them for that. = deep bow.

I did not find the "rabid mob of connectivists" here trying to set you right as before, have they gone too? Where are the non-connectivists cheerleaders?

I have used up today's fuel, I started to feel dizzy again so...
Si tienen tele... ahi se ven! :-)