Openness matters or not ?

Still three days going on fslt12 studies with other students. We Finns have Midsummer Eve on Friday, it begins on Thursday and then comes the Midsummer weekend – no studies allowed, only celebrating our beautiful nature and warm weather. So, how do I use these days? I read the Moodle discussions already and the guiding material given to this evaluation week. But first I’ll write here some thoughts about last Wednesday, the session with David White. Jenny Mackness has blogged about all themes David presented, I focus following my interests just now.

David works in the University of Oxford, Technically assisted Lifelong learning. When he speaks I can fill the gap between technology and human mind, psychological knowledge about learning. I have a feeling that we have many years studies technical devices and been happy about every new gadget or widget or whatever they are. We have forgotten the knowledge about learning which we already had. Theories of learning have stopped to develop, no time to them, only easy solutions. But when David asks “content or contact?, learning vs. academic?, gratis or libre?, learning black market?” and comes to pedagogy of questions – I begin thinking again. So thanks for that moment. I can refer to some points in this blog post.

Content: quality of it is forgotten too often. We admire TED videos which are more like Hollywood superstars with no academic background. I believe that becoming a researcher in an university with credibility – it is a good way to careful critical thinking. Open learning is assumed to be always better than institutional, academic and we are ready to throw away the excellent principles that have been invented long time ago. Then we begin to re-invent those principles and name them to be new. Where comes the credibility of information quality? You cannot apply new literacies in a knowledge domain if you have no  expertise in it. This result has been found many times but we ignore it and recommend to dive in the flow and wait serendipity. We should know better, there are many ways to proceed. Blind doing is overestimated nowadays.

How to cite in multimedia – this is interesting. How to deal with the big elephant, Wikipedia. When I was a young student, we pretended that we knew the original sources albeit we had not. Now students learn not to refer to Wikipedia but to the sources it gives. It makes it easy to find the beginning points and gives answers very quickly. Remix = plagiarism? Copy-paste culture? Digital literacy means, however, making good questions, not finding answers. Learning needs effort and engagement. This is the old truth, welcome back 🙂 Careful search, value uncertainty and admit complexity in the study of all things.

It was a thought-provoking session, time well spent. I could observe new literacies in-action: many old moocers as Brainysmurf, Mark, Lindsay and Cris (with the facilitators and David) had very intensive chat discussions. They shared new links and arouse serious questions – and had fun doing it all. Some newcomers learned to participate in that way, using many channels. I agree that it is a skill learned in practice: to articulate your initial thoughts quickly, and confidence  comes with success (Thanks, Lindsay for giving these words). It is nice to participate with a lower pace, too. I don’t even try to chat in a quick tempo in English.

A core moment in online participating is that when you begin to contribute after only following, observing or consuming. This post is my humble contribution. Confidence comes not only from success, it needs self-acceptance as well (becomes easier with age 🙂 )



From local to global participation

Facebook gives a social graph of all my connections. The visualized network inspired me to think about my web life, FB is only a part of it. Blogs and tweets are as important as FB. I leave my private life outside and present here only my “work life” relations. Actually I am retired from working life but I don’t know a better heading for this graph. My professional networks perhaps –  meaning development projects and discussions.


I have moved towards the global level during last years. Locally I still have friends in FB who are working (or have worked earlier) in Teacher Education, my last workplace. No one of these friends writes a blog and only few use Twitter – one is writing every day, others very seldom. So I have to meet these people f2f and drink coffee with them 🙂

In Finland I know many active developers and follow ten blogs actively and about 40 via rss when the blog headings seem interesting. Tweets are important also, I get useful information via tweets. It was interesting to notice that all my Finnish FB contacts are connected to each other, less or more. When I looked the graph first time, some were separated.

The global level is broadening and changing all the time. Blogs and tweets connect about hundred people and I already have problems in following. I don’t know well many of them, perhaps ten, but it is easy to find new interesting blogs and tweeters.

I was inspired about the talk of David White, tools become places in web, it is very true. Earlier David gave a presentation about residents and visitors – it opened my eyes and helped my self reflection. I live my professional life in web in both ways, as a resident and as a visitor, seeking new possibilities all the time. I began my international participation in CCK08 and have got most of my web friends in following open courses. I am not working in online teaching practice any more and turn my interest to basic questions in web communities. The world is open and I have free time – this is a great situation!