I can't help myself, for a reason I can't explain I keep hearing the little bird's trill from Peter and the Wolf.
Can you hear it?
There it goes again.
No doubt about it, it's that trill again.
I didn't listen to all of Peter and the Wolf, there was just that little bird's refrain.
Strange isn't it?
To be frank this is a bit of a messy flock of a post.
It all started with a comment on a blog.
Just a moment I shall go and find the link.
Ah yes here it is... on an Alan Levine Blog.
"It's all about the Do."
This got me to comment the following:
(empty comment box)
Oops; the blog or a dog ate my comment in reply to Jon Becker. That is my excuse anyway.
Now for something completely different.
Well actually, that is a lie.
All of this is connected.
I have a thing about statistics. I worry about them.
Participation statistics make me want to laugh or cry according to the moment.
A particular bug bear is 'Completion Statistics'.
I don't know about you but the word 'completion' worries me.
COMPLETE. FINAL. TOTAL. ONE. ZERO.
You only have to say those words and I am a cowering Wreck.
There is a W.... There is a W... There is a Wolf.?
They remind me of Wagner.
They remind me of a Woody Allen quote.
“I just can't listen to any more Wagner, you know...I'm starting to get the urge to conquer Poland.”
There goes that little bird again.
Irritating isn't it?
We never get the whole piece that Prokofiev wrote, all the Woody Allen films, all the Wagner Opus, just the damned bird.
I am sorry.
I remember a few years ago, working with what was called by some people e-learning or distance learning.
The computer guys spent hours poring over statistics.
They looked very seriously mathematical to me.
God this was power, this was 'learning management'.
To be honest they spent hours poring over clicks, numbers of clicks.
They presented the clicks at conferences.
The clicks looked marvellous on Powerpoint graphs.
The numbers of participants in the e-learning course were massive.
To be honest, and the computer guys were, the statistics couldn't tell the whole story.
If a 'learner' had clicked to log in and then spent nine hours watching trash on TV, we were lulled into the possible and erroneous impression that they had spent nine hours working on English grammar.
We all know the limits of the stats, but what the hell, they sure look good at a conference.
Massive numbers speak.
People looking for justification to invest heavily in computer engineers, recording studios, and the whole e-learning kaboosh had all they needed to get financial investment.
So they did, the story clicked with people who were looking for 'learning management', hurrah!!
Massive Open Online Courses
Having followed Stephen Downes and crew since about 2007, I was aware that MOOC's or at least Connectivist courses were going on.
If I remember rightly, I signed onto a first MOOC CCKO8 , a second PLENK10, a third Change11, hovered around ETMOOC, and then landed in Rhizo14, before continuing with CLMOOC, and CCourses.
I logged in, I lurked, I pecked, I picked, I reflected, I lurked, I pecked, I picked and put stuff in my nest for another day.
Darn there goes that little bird again.
All of this brings me to school, Greek Mythology and Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ?
How many people sailed in the Argonaut, hid in the horse of Troy?
How many people followed Jesus Christ around to all his parable gigs?
How many details of what you learnt at school (which you 'completed') do you remember?
How many people do you need connected to spread a virus?
How do social networks influence behaviour and to what extent are people aware of their connections?
To what extent are people aware of how a piece of a MOOC affects people outside a MOOC?
This is all brings me back to a book of Nicolas Christakis. There is a conference of his here.
Sorry I digress.
Massive Open Online Courses
It appears that the story of Massive had resonance for some people who envisioned Massive profits or at least Massive investment in their start ups.
You only need to sell a cool story and you get a rush of investor adrenaline.
I love a good X, it hides forbidden, sexy, fatal, treasure, or a target.
Of course to make MASSIVE profits you need a big CHEST. A Coursera chest will do lovely.
Pesky completion statistics....
Where was I?
I have been learning much over the past few years online even when this is invisible.
What is completion of learning?
Ah yes completion of Learning is like when I get a driving licence - I am recognised as having the ability to drive. I have to go to a recognised driving school for a set number of lessons before I can go to take a driving test.
It makes L profits for people who are RECOGNISED to be able to give you a CERTIFICATE.
Where am I?
I am in France, I miraculously speak and write and understand French.
I work for the French National Education system. HO HO.
I never took a course. I have no certification in French.
When I first started 'reading' French, I looked at the pictures. I recognised the pictures. If a text was too difficult I found one with pictures. Gradually I was able to see words and expressions and gestures repeated in a variety of different contexts.
The blur, the din became comprehensible to me.
I can clearly hear a little bird singing.
A course would have been completely inefficient for me because in a course they give you one text to concentrate on while the 'teacher' dissects it and gives you lists of words to learn.
That would have been hopeless for me.
I would have perhaps in the eyes of the teacher 'completed the text, the course'.
I have not completed my French learning...or my English learning for that matter.
I have not completed my learning about or in connectivist MOOC's.
Those two learning situations are connected...
I pick different things which interest me I turn them around, I connect them, I stock them for another day.
I speak with people, I map connections, I gradually get a clearer picture of networks in which I am living.
If we go back and read this blog post over, maybe we will get a clearer picture of how it is connected.
Franky writing it at the moment it feels a bit of a jumble.
Brilliant idea. Why didn't I think about it before? I shall run courses to understand this shifting network of nodes to reduce it down to one singular, standard, officially stampted interpretation and make money.
I could even train people to write this crap. (No that is a bad idea.)
Chicken Tikka Massala
Did you know this is the most popular dish in Britain today?
It is an adaptation of Indian cuisine to British tastes. It is in no way authentic Indian cuisine. The British have picked one dish among thousands to cherish. They have not taken a complete course in Indian cuisine tasting to choose one that they identify with.
Chicken Tikka Massala tells a story about the transformation of British culture.
Maybe the image below tells a different story?
Thank God that I am er completely English...
There is a X which says so.
A little bird is singing, warning us about a wolf.
Statistics generally nourish someone's story.
Massive movements, odds, heroic deeds.
A chirp, a click, a cross, a slash, a smash, a yell, a shot, a word, a splash of an oar, a mouthful.
How did I write this swarming mess of a story?
A little bird told me to...