Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pinball machine.

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, we have lift off...

We launch ourselves with a high initial velocity, to be thrust into space.

Our trajectory is unpredictable...

Not all of the players will enjoy the ride.

Not all of the players get anywhere.

We strike lucky.

We get past the initial obstacles, we fly around the play space.

We touch unexpected energy sources which send us off in unimaginable directions.

As we rebound off key accelerators, we are dazed by unforeseen illuminations.

We ourselves become accelerators of the machine, driving it, driving others, driving ourselves.

At first, the experience is both destabilising and exhilarating. 

Woah, hang on, help!!

Multimodality of expression: 
  • music, 
  • text
  • poetry
  • comics
  • academic articles
  • sound 
  • video
  • dance
  • electric paper
[the list is long]

reveal unfamiliar juxtapositions of meaning.

Remixing, repurposing, reordering, rebooting, revolution.

Multicultural participants met randomly from across continents reveal unfamiliar interpretations of meaning.

The colour, sound, and whoops of excitement attracts others who gather around. 

They point out new means to play, new ways of seeing things,  they show us expert hacks...

A neon cloud lights up.

Pinball is an image which came to me yesterday.

I was thinking about my experience of connected learning in 2014.

  • Rhizomatic Learning. #rhizo14
  • Digital Storytelling #ds106
  • Connected Learning MOOC #clmooc
  • Connected Courses #ccourses
  • Digital Writing Month #digiwrimo
  • Rhizomatic Learning #rhizo15

So many hashtags, so many people, so many ideas...

I started playing around with a new version of one of my favourite apps #Picplaypost which I use for collages. 

I discovered new features which enabled me to add music, to create slideshows within the collage frame.  

I discovered new integration of Giphy for animated gifs, and Soundcloud.  

I played around with Strip Design to add text layers over the image. 

With each step of the process, a new tool came to the fore.  

With each new tool, a new way of expressing emotion, ideas became possible.

Maybe I should Zeega the pinball idea, I thought. 

I switched to the PC, I generally use it for blogging but not images or sound. 

I put together a Zeega and tweeted it out to friends in #ccourses, #rhizo14 and #clmooc.  

None of this activity would have happened in 2013 before I started #rhizo14. 

I had no idea how to make an animated gif. 
I had never heard of Giphy. 
I had never seen Zeega. 
I had never met a large number of friends that now enrich my life.  
I had no idea about Wordpress. 
I had never played around with Martin Hawksey's Tag Explorer.
I had never organised a Google Hangout on Air. 
I had never studied Deleuze and Guattari.
I had never spent much time studying learning theory. 
I had never written a haiku.
I had never had any feedback for my artwork.
I had never seen a make bank.
I had virtually never spent any time blogging...

I could go on...

Yes of course, you need to have the courage, and desire to launch yourself. 
Yes of course, you need to to choose the type of connected course you are starting with.
Yes of course, you need to have some start up competences to get yourself connected.
Yes of course, it takes time, openness and luck to hit the right combinations.

If somebody were to ask me about the learning outcomes of connected learning, I could provide them with some hard data. 

I could show them quantitative and qualitative data demonstrating an exponential increase in my knowledge and competences, and introduce them to valued members of my personal learning network.  

I could show them traces of this development over a long period. 

I could show them the knock-on effects on my professional work.

  • on the CLAVIER project  
  • on my colleagues
  • on my students
  • on my institution. 

I could also explain in quite a lot of detail, how I learn, how learning is unpredictable, how learning is unlinear, how learning is exponential when we are placed in an environment where we are valued for our difference, encouraged in our experiments, and challenged in our analysis. 

Does connected learning work?

Yes, my conclusions are clear, it works.

Does connected learning work in the same way without the internet without digital tools?

No, my conclusions are clear, learning is accelerated and transformed by the internet and digital tools.

I suppose this will underline what Alan Levine or @cogdog was going on about yesterday on this blog in his comments.  

Learning on and off the web, learning in the company of a network of widely distributed caring, creative, co-learners is learning pinball. 

One, two, three, four...hit it.

Where will I be in a year from now?


  1. He's got crazy Zeega fingers
    Never seen him fall...
    That poetic thinker Simon
    Sure blogs a connected pin ball!

    I love this top to bottom, all the stuff people can get out of connected teaching/learning/being and none of it that registers in any kind of assessable big data.

    This says so much "Yes of course, you need to have the courage, and desire to launch yourself." I'm a bit curious, if you can identify, what it was that tipped you over the barriers of inertia.

    I for one am glad. Bonus points for something Who related. Next year? Your pinball game still in motion, in a bonus bonus round, and all the lights spinning.

    PS- what's the source of that version of Pinball Wizard. Would like to see Zeega better provide citation of media (it's a requirement of my students in their blogged media)

    1. Thank you Mr PB Wizard Cogdog, you are indeed an accelerator of learning. Apparent inertia is misleading - as is much data which is visible, I have blogged quite a bit over some of the factors for visible participation (think Compagnie d'apprenants goes on about that) but if pushed to give an answer I would say that I have (had) considerable resilience in dealing with stuff which was pulling me back. If you have a solid spring it means there was a lot of potential energy built up. After it was a conjunction of conditions which meant
      I was just interested in enjoying myself - no expectations which meant that I was going to develop quickly given fertile environment.

      It is not an accident.

      So inertia was only apparent.

      The source for music is here

      I am starting to be a bit less cavalier with media insertion - so I take the note about Zeega...

      What citation requirements do u ask of your students?

      I may well make more time to make more of my own media but I shall still outsource stuff as it inspires creativity.

      Next year. No idea...

  2. Yes, yes.
    This says what I, too, feel.

    Mostly I just watched, but I did do a Zeega and a gif, and a meme, and occasionally reflected on a blog. I've experience the vibe through #rhizo14, #clmooc, and #ccourses.
    I will follow this tribe faithfully
    Next, to practice more making.
    Thank you for your modeling and mentoring.

    1. Hi there u are - was wondering where u had been :-) we have to picnic!!
      Not sure about mentoring - am good at modeling messin'
      look forward to making together!!

  3. Ahhhh ... so many points scored in this one ... love the pinball metaphor and the way the connections lay out a path forward, even as it still allows us to reflect on backward to where we've been ... nicely done.

    1. Ahhh! Kevin thank you! How instrumental are u in all of this! I can put qute a lot of data out to demonstrate your key role in my development. I am (like so many others) so lucky to have bounced into an amazing points generator. U know the ones that make the guy launching the ball look like a wizard - (no it's the machine which kids everyone that the player is responsible). I am of course talking about the daily creator himself Mr PB Wizard @Dogtrax. Thank you. I am very lucky.

  4. Thanks for the link to The Who Numbers; their version of Can't Explain is top.

    I just ask my students to provide a source (name/link) for any media they find on the internet.

    1. How do you source a gif? They are among the most ephemeral of modes. And what if you make you own from your own vids or from others vids. Who owns a gif? I teach sourcing, too. One of the reasons zeega doesn't use YouTube (and they did try in a very early iteration) is the attribution issue. Zeegas are cloud creatures. Not sure of a simple, good way to record and distribute them so I guess they use Soundcloud and Giphy as their copyright muscle. Winter project is to find alts to zeega as they appear to be doing notta lotta with platform. Thanks for suggesting a few alts.

  5. Hi Terry and Alan it strikes me the whole remix, meme, youtube, souncloud, gif, world is massively present, impossible to control and I would also like some answers as to how u guys deal with this attribution/rights question

    I just left a comment on Cogdogblog here


    Thanks for your thoughts

  6. I don't aim to make a required method of citing sources, leave it up to the creator/remixer. We should figure out the way that works best to give credit.

    I'm not much fixated that attribution needs to be "proper" or even be in the media itself.

    I encourage / require (latter in my classes) when students produce something, they not only the THING (video, zeega, rhumba, doodah) on their blog, but they write about how it was made- not just the software, but maybe some of the techniques, etc. When they do audio or video, I ask for a screenshot so I can get a sense if they are using layers, etc. I want the blog equivalent of DVD extras.

    This includes a reference to all media they incorporated that was not their own creation, with a link back to where they found it. I like to see people track this as they are assembling media for a project, keep a scratch pad or something with notes to sources.

    It's good habit. You see good things happen when students use each other's media. You find later when you do another project, you are saying "I remember that clip I used in a project 3 months ago, but forget where I found it..." and boom you have it.

    Mostly it says, implicitly to someone else- "I liked that ________ so much I wanted to use it for my project". Is there anything that can promote sharing more?

    And I aim to demo it myself as much as possible,

    Most people see it as too much work, or extra book keeping.

    I see it was pay it forward thanks.

    1. So if I understand rightly your interest is first in encouraging sharing of process and co-creation more than a concern over whether Disney would be happy to have Mary Poppins turned into a horror movie?

  7. Correct.

    Youtube is a funny place right now. If Disney did not want it there, it would not be there. There are some things they are looking aside too.

    Here's my thing. If I make a pure copy of a scene from Mary Poppins, it's not only a copyright issue-- I'm not doing anything interesting or new.

    If I put Mary Poppins singing inside the Jaws shark while they ride Apollo 13 with Furby, well it's not Mary Poppins story any more.

    I assert my rights to do so, even if in court I would lose.

    Boundaries need pushing,

  8. Yes It's all a bit frontier land out here. That reminds me of Margaret Gould Stewart talk on TEd about copyright https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_stewart_how_youtube_thinks_about_copyright/

  9. Thanks for that link, Simon. I get an odd sensation from her, like she is a smooth cyborg slipping into the uncanny valley.

    It almost seems like -rights holders, you can be generous with remix IF the person makes something viral (profit awaits). Do they care about the stuff that has 11 views?

    There is also something devilishly delightful in the message from Google "YOU, TIGHTFISTED STUDIOS, HAND ALL YOUR IP OVEAR TO US SO WE CAN MANAGE RIGHTS FOR YOU" It's like those old dinosaur movies where the stegosaurus rakes on the T-Rex...

  10. I love the poetic take on pnball machines. I sense a different kind of excitement while reading this blog. Thanks for sharing it with your readers!