[[CCK11]] – Machines and knowledge

This is a dailog that happened on our FaceBook CCK11 group:

Katy: Maybe I am looking at PLNs a different way, as a newcomer to the idea – I think that a PLN is mostly people. People who make up the network, whose expertise or viewpoint or experience “rubs off on you” as you interact and connect and communicate with them. Yes, some nodes are one-way (as with a website that shows a presentation from an expert) but most nodes are two-way, like colleague who points you toward the site with the presentation and who you get into discussion with about the presentation and whose other friend disagrees with the expert and gets into the discussion.
Me: ‎@Kate: you are right, but not in the CCK11 context. In connectivism, knowledge resides with people as well as machines… so, we cannot limit it to people only! Unorthodox, I know!

Katy: ‎@Anas: So the site where the expert’s presentation is housed is part of the PLN as well as the expert and the friend who tells you about the site? That makes sense. But it’s not just the sites – a collection of site bookmarks on someone’s computer doesn’t tell you about the connections between them and -more importantly- how the human people in that person’s PLN have made sense of the sites and connections between the sites and the people and the problems needing to be solved.

Me: @Katy: like you, I am still trying to make peace with this concept. This is what Connectivism advocates, not me, at least not yet 🙂 Machines as machines contribute to the knowledge. The closest example is Google: the information generated by google is collected, collated and compiled by some creepy entities (called bots or spiders) that sniff the whole world wide web and present them to us in a format we understand. Some of this information is created by other bots! Similarly Wikipedia, bots contribute to the creation of its articles. So, the machine started to contribute to our knowledge, not people only… creepy. Right?

Katy: @Anas – maybe by the end of the course I will see more eye-to-eye with Connectivism on this idea! Machines contributing to the knowledge is easier for me to deal with than the idea of machines ‘creating’ the knowledge = information is not the same as knowledge, is it>?

Jaap: @Katy What do you think of this example? a machine can make a diagram of your contacts in Linkedin, this machine creates information/knowledge that was not there before.

Me: @Katy: mhmm… Good point. To me, information is different from knowledge. Information is public, while knowledge is personal. The moment I communicate my knowledge to you, it becomes information to you. How you interpret it becomes your knowledge. We might end up having different knowledge although we “consumed” the same information. At this end, I should agree with you: machine creates “information” and we create our “knowledge”. This makes me think: does the machine has its own “knowledge”? Can we call it knowledge? I like this mooc thing. Thank you for drifting my attention to a real issue.

Katy: @Jaap- yes, the machine creates patterns from information. Those patterns, that new information can open our eyes to new possibilities. But I don’t think that we can equate information with knowledge @Anas- good point about ‘consuming’ the same information, yet generation different knowledge. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, prior information that cause us each to process the connections between information bits differently= each of us make unique knowledge of the world. And the different, unique knowledge is what our PLNs are exploring, right? If we just wanted to hear the same opinions and information over and over again, we’d go to a faculty meeting or a family reunion (joke) instead of investing time in cultivating a PLN to broaden and deepen our knowledge.

The Question is: if Knowledge is personalized information, can we use the term “machine knowledge”? Consequently, can we say the distributed knowledge may reside in machines as well?

[Check the group for complete transcript and context.]

[CCK11] A scholar in Connectivism

Below is a summary of my contribution to the question “What makes you a scholar in digital environments” posted on Facebook CCK11 group (join the group):

A digital scholar is yet to be defined. Traditionally, scholars are those who received formal education, recognized by a group of scholars and, to some degree, “retain the knowledge in their brain”. I advocate to leave the term “scholar” …to the traditional school system and device a new descriptor for the digital arena. I suggest something like “connected”.

Don’t forget, in connectivism, you will not retain the knowledge yourself, but you master the skill to mine for it when needed.

then I added:

Google “invisible college” which is the precursor to “scholarship”. You will discover that connectivity for the sake of creation of knowledge outside academia is very old and is still popular till today. Even between distant individuals. Technology just made it instantaneous and more accessible to the layperson.

Just thought to share. Any reactions?

Information Explosion, CCK11

I have just finished the second Webinar about CCK11… and just discovered that I have to change the ways I do things… integrally.

In the last years, I had 4 main emails I manage periodically, subscribed to few interesting list services and social media. I have created an environment to manage the overflow of information I face everyday. I was successful on tracking the daily changes on FaceBook, the few hundred emails I get everyday, the twitts, RSS, summaries I get and had enough time to contribute to them and to Wikipedia. I was happy and well informed and evolving at a comfortable way.

With the CCK11 course, my exposure to knowledge has already multiplied by 10… and I did not start interacting yet… I think once I start “artifacting”, or as the mooc video suggest: network, my daily intake of information will multiply unimaginably.

My old way of interacting with the information will not work. I need a new way. I hope I can figure out something soon to make good use of this experience… I will post it here once I know.

But hey, this is evolution.

One second: could this be considered my “artificat”? Is my topic “How to survive (manage) the overflow of information that connectivism create”? Maybe! Let me digest this mooc concept first before I commit. Reading time.

Detect language » Arabic

About me

My introduction for the CCK11 course. A brief blurb about me.

My Name: Anas Eljamal. In the cyber world, I am known as Aboluay.

My Location: I live in the cold Fort McMurray, Northern Alberta where Oil Sand fields makes it a boom town, with all the good and the bad.

My Job: I work at Keyano College as Director of Learning Innovation and my objectives for this year is introduce measures and standards of excellence that promotes effective learning methodologies.

My Family: I am married to Sana and have one son, Luay, who is touring Europe now.

My Present Courses: I am presently enrolled in Mobile Learning course with University of Manitoba and the EdD with University of Liverpool.

My Passion: Be a catalyst for the people around me to grow professionally and personally. Defy the obvious to understand reality. Develop my inner peace so that I believe in what everyone else believes in.

My present hobby: contribute to Wikipedia in English, Simple English and Arabic (so far, I contributed with more that 15,000 edits and initiated 1300 topics).

My Contact Details:

FaceBook: Anas Eljamal (add me to your list of friends)
Skype and MSN and Wikiepdia: Aboluay
Blog: aboluay.eljamal.com

Disclaimer: this is me as of NOW (17 June 2011, 9 am, Mountain Time). I reserve the right to change myself whenever I find a better belief.

، وحتى الآن (19 يناير 2011 ، 09:00 ، التوقيت الجبلي).
 

Detect language » Arabic
 

Detect language » Arabic
 

Detect language » Arabic
 

Detect language » Arabic
هو “العالم في المدينة اليوم. فالى من تيمبي ،
 

Detect language » Arabic
 

Detect language » Arabic


Detect language » Arabic

Oops… we did an adventure

We always plan a “sunny” trip in December and March to run from the harsh snowy winter of Fort McMurray. Our December trip was supposed to be a beach relaxing trip in Cancun. While my son’s trip would be a real adventure touring Europe with a friend for6 months. Our trip turned out to be more adventure than we really expected!

CBC TV ArticleFirst, Air Canada did its part. Our flight that was supposed to leave Fort Mac to Calgary at 5 got delayed till 9:45. We were told we should report to the airport at 9:30. When we did, they told us the flight already left. Waiting for the next available flight means missing the Cancun flight which is around 9 hours away. As a family, we decided to drive to Calgary. On Highway 63, otherwise known as Alberta Deadliest Highway It was 10 pm. The temperature was -25C. The 700 Km road we are supposed to cross are filled with snow. Only foolish people would do that. They were right… we have not encountered anyone else on the road. Not a single car! We decided to continue. My wife trying to contact our 24/7 tour agent with no avail. My son used his tech wits to see if we can book flights from Edmonton to Calgary and save 300 km from the trip. Nothing materialized. We decided to enjoy the trip.

The first obstacle was I got a sever stomach aches. No stops on the way for the first 300 Km. I had to supress it. We couldn’t find any open petrol station around the airport to fill gas. We had to go back to town and fill it in Fort Mac. With a cup of coffee, my son iPad and his entertaining company. I enjoyed the best trip I ever had with him… although I had to drive at a speed of 30km/hr for more than 50Km because of the heavy fog. My wife slept in the back seat, and my son on my side. He was great copilot! Without him, I would not be able to make it. He was a great DJ. Putting the right songs through his iPod to the car stereo. And opening interesting topics to keep me awake. He offered to drive and I was hoping to switch with him once we reached Edmonton. But his eyes dozed off on Hendey Avenue. I did not wanted to wake him up, although I was a bit too tired!

Later I discovered that what we have done is rarely done by anyone else… ever! We twitted and facebooked our progress through my BB to ensure that our friends are tracking our trip. Fida and Amen in Calgary were keeping an eye on our progress. Our family were on the stand by if they needed to interfere… but everything went well.

I switched driving the car with my Wife at Red Deer (200 km away from destination) around  5 am. I slept in the back seat for the last 2 hours of the trip. We got to the airport 2 hours before our Cancun flight. We checked my son in the airport hotel (for his flight to London was in the afternoon) and we rushed to the airport becuase we were worried that if we slept for few minutes, we will never wake up to catch our flight.

I slept 3 hours on the plane to Cancun. Total sleeping time in the last 32 hours were 5 hours only!

The start of a planned relaxing trip turned out to be an unplanned adventure We did not recognize the adventure until we shared it with our friends and we were desribed as fools and crazy and that no one would do such a trip at night  in December!…

The last leg of our trip was even more adventure than expected. But this is another blog!

Adaptive Cruise Control

Lincoln MKX 2011Due to an adventure that I might explain in another post, I experienced Adaptive Cruise Control in a refreshing way.

My wife and I were forced to drive separate cars for more than 700 Km in a very bad winter weather. She drove Luay’s Ford Focus while I drove my brand new 2011 MKX (showing off!) from Calgary to Fort McMurray during the worst weather conditions Alberta has seen. We were able to get home in 16 hours for a trip that usually takes 8 hours. However, my wife drove for both of us.

I drove the MKX because I do not fit in my son’s car. She drove in front of me to keep an eye on her for the Focus is not reliable to drive in the bad weather. So I set my cruise control on 120km/hr (yes, on the Lincol, you can specify the cruise speed digitally) then enabled the adaptive cruise control (that is, you tell the car to follow the speed of the car in front of yours.) In this way, my car followed the speed of my wife’s car for the whole trip. I mean all I had to do is steer it… no decisions what so ever about breaking or accelerating… my left foot enjoyed the whole trip… the first time it drove 700 km without feeling tired!

An amazing experience! I am looking forward for the day that the car will do its own steering… Would it happen in my days?

Detect language » Arabic

Why I chose Aboluay

In my parents’ culture, it is customary to change a person’s name after the birth of the first boy. A father will add “abo” to the name of his first born son, while the mother adds “Um”. My first born (and only) son is Luay. So, I become Aboluay. My wife is Umluay!

I have rejected many of my ancestors’ traditions and myths. I kept few of them that suited me. This is one of them. Think about it, your name is one of the few things you own that you never choose. With this nice traditional trick, you have a chance to rename your self to a name you choose. Although I like my original name, Anas (which is the name of Adam’s grandson, Anosh), but many of my western acquaintances mispronounce it. So, Aboluay, is a convenient solutions!

Detect language » Arabic

Connectivism

This is the first post I do on the topic. Mainly to check if my new layout works and how it behaves. But the other reason is to set my starting point to see the learning I will gather during this experience.

My first understanding about the connectivism (as og 1:50 pm on 12 January 2010) is that following:

(1) It is a theory the complement traditional pedagogical theories (Behaviourism, Cognitive and Constructivism).

(2) It ensures that learning extends beyond traditional methods to include the use of the new Internet explosion of knowledge.

(3) There has been some criticism that this is not a new theory but an application to previous theories.

Beyond that, my knowledge is very limited. Let’s see how my knowledge will evolve during this course.

The mark has been set! 🙂

Detect language » Arabic

Updated PLE (Dec 2010)

I have chosen to divide my third attempt on my PLE into 3 branches:

(1) My Learning: Sites or Internet Activities that helps me learn. It is part of my lifelong learning activities. You may call this branch: lifelong learning.

(2) Future Learning: The activities I would like to learn in the next 3-6 months.

(3) Trouble Shooting, or what I like to describe as Knowledge-On-Demand. In general, this type of activities does not require me “to learn” as such, but it is essential for my day to day operation.

Details

(1) “My Learning” branch

I recognize the I have 3 levels of learning: the cognitive (i.e. the information I have to retain), Behavioral (i.e. learning that changes my habits and behavior) and Paradigm Shift (i.e learning that changes my values). In my PLE, I havr outlined SOME of the web sites that helps me in each level. For example, playing SIMS helped me (and helps me) analyze daily routines and social interaction that, after playing for a while, help me develop new habits or behavior. As you may have noticed, my life is filled with online cognitive opportunities. This is the real purpose of the internet. Isn’t it?

(2) “My Future Learning” branch

In the next 6 months, I need to learn about mLearning (=Learning using the mobile devices), developing audio-visual materian for online courses (this course gave the push for it) and about Avatars and 2nd Life (my next online course).

(3) Troubleshooting branch

In my life, I face a lot of problems that I need to solve immediately. Due to the nature of my field, most of this knowledge is obsolete and worth learning (eg: programming languages… the moment you learn it, it become obsolete, so spend time learning languages is a life killer.) so, I revert to online friends or resources to find solutions either by searching previous cases, or asking in forums. This is what I like to call Knowledge on Demand.

The PLE (Bubbl.us disabled embedding their chart, so I replaced it with a static image.)

Anas PLN Jan 2011

Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic

Horses, Oxen and Education

This excerpt was a rely to one of my colleagues who shed some doubt about the effectiveness of online courses in regulated courses:

Doug: This is so very true. We have a dilemma. Trying to use the wrong tools for the solution. It is the curse of living at the verge of change.

This reminds me of an Australian movie about something that happened in 1920’s. The scene shows a farmer who owns a lot of horses and oxen that he use to plow and harvest his field. His young son, who just graduated, came back to the farm driving one of those newly invented cars. He told his father that this machine is the future and it will replace the animals in the field work. His father rode on a horse and told him “show me”. Obviously, the horse was much faster running on the field terrain and the car got stuck in the mud after few yards. The father sat triumphantly on his rocking chair and cynically asked his son: “It will never replace my animals. How do you feed hay to this machine?”
Obviously the car was the wrong tool for the period. Few years down the load, the car evolved into a tractor and replaced the animals and changing the farming industry and proved Malthus wrong. The son was right, but the father did not see at the time.
We are in a similar situation. Online courses and technology are not the solution for everything yet. We still have to use the horses until online courses and education evolves to become suitable. Until then, we have to use the “cars” where they are applicable. Like driving from the city to the farm and not more.

Autopilot Mode

We live our life in Autopilot mode. This is when we allow our subconscious to take the lead. Some call it gut feeling. Other call it irrational behaviour. But most of us spend 90% of our life in the mode.

What is the other mode? The conscious mode. The reflective move. I call it, the Learning Mode. It is when our brain is analyzing and reflecting on a concept using brain power.

The autopilot mode is driven by controlling instincts. Like an airoplane that is in autopilot mode, is driven bu software and external triggers. Our learning should be a chance to program the drivers of the autopilot mode… what I call controlling instincts.

Learning Desire

I was asked:

For learning to take place do we have to have a teacher? Customized teaching or customized presentation of information for student acquisition?

I replied:

No… we do not need a teacher to learn. Learning is an individualized process. Except for Pavlov approaches, there is nothing that can make us learn except us. This is why I believe that the only thing a teacher can do is ignite the desire to learn (i.e switch to learning mode) and offer the right environment for the individual to learn on their own (i.e the experience and information). Once the student becomes in the “learning mode”, she will interact with the teacher and other individuals to clarify the vague idea while building up her knowledge.

Igniting the desire to learn happens instantaneously when the topic aligns with the individual’s personal intelligence, talent and values. This is what happens with life-long learners!

Knowledge, Talent and Intelligence

In my last article, I mentioned that learning is the process of creating knowledge through personalizing information. Then I touched on talent and intelligence. This morning, I was thinking if the created knowledge persevere. I though not. Then, I started thinking about knowledge on demand which is creating the knowledge as needed and discarding it when it is not! This lead me to think: what is the knowledge that is retained. Reflecting on myself, I discovered that I retain the knowledge that interests me. I discard the other. Then I thought what interests me. I concluded that my talent (set of strengths) and the set of my intelligence (according to MI) determines my interest. Then I recognized that my values and controling instincts have roles to play. This made me come up with the following theory:

Learning is the process of converting information to knowledge. Retaining knowledge is another process that relates to intelligence and talent. It requires a name. Applying the retained knowledge requires a third process (that needs to be named!). Consistently applying the knowledge is the geniusity!

Data > Information > Knowledge > *retained knowledge* > *applied knowledge* > *the knowledge becomes controlling*

This theory needs more work. I need to find terms for the missing names from the literature. I need to relate talent/intelligence/values to it. I need more readings.

Regulated Online Courses

This was my reply to a post about “difficulty in creating online courses for regulated courses and programs”.

Doug: This is so very true. We have a dilemma. Trying to use the wrong tools for the solution. It is the curse of living at the verge of change.

This reminds me of an Australian movie about something that happened in 1920’s. The scene shows a farmer who owns a lot of horses and oxen that he use to plow and harvest his field. His young son, who just graduated, came back to the farm driving one of those newly invented cars. He told his father that this machine is the future and it will replace the animals in the field work. His father rode on a horse and told him “show me”. Obviously, the horse was much faster running on the field terrain and the car got stuck in the mud after few yards. The father sat triumphantly on his rocking chair and cynically asked his son: “It will never replace my animals. How do you feed hay to this machine?”

Obviously the car was the wrong tool for the period. Few years down the load, the car evolved into a tractor and replaced the animals and changing the farming industry and proved Malthus wrong. The son was right, but the father did not see at the time.

We are in a similar situation. Online courses and technology are not the solution for everything yet. We still have to use the horses until online courses and education evolves to become suitable. Until then, we have to use the “cars” where they are applicable. Like driving from the city to the farm and not more.

Dialogue about Subways and Mac’s

The below is a dicussion that happened around my “Subways and Mac’s” post on another blog. I thought to copy it over here for the records. Oxana commented:

Anas, I like your analogy. It shows some of your goals you are striving to achieve. Did you think of the “counter”/delivery people? Who will serve your course, you alone or other tutors ? Are you aiming to franchise it and give other people to run it with consistent quality and outcome? Cheers

Then Doug posted:

Anas: Its a daydream because like Oxana pointed out the servers will be in control. As you must realize the objectives and outcome system is to satisty government requirements and once the funding is in place the who knows what the assessment process will provide. Teachers like MDs are controlled by a government bureaucracy. Just calculate how much is paid to institutional Presidents for X universities in Alberta…why not have X-y and put the money into back into teaching and instruction? have fun Doug
PS its all about the beef.

Then I replied:

@Oxana: (1) no servers. Learners pick and choose. There will be the cooks who are usually invisible that prepare the material, and support staff who keeps cleaning stuff and answering odd questions. (2) no franchise. It GNU based.

@Doug: (1) Servers will never be in control. Look at our course, are our Facilitators in Control? They just ensure we adhere to goals and give us support if we ask for it. Beyond that, they are almost invisible… right? (2) This is the beauty of dreaming: You don’t have to worry about what would go wrong. I understand where you come from about regulated studies. This is why I believe there must be other “restaurants” to cater for these cases. I, myself, will always avoid creating online courses for them, although in my heart, I am sure we can use the Subway method as well… but it is headache… and as Dawnn suggested in her video, I want to be happy!

Oxen, cars and Education

This excerpt was a rely to one of my colleagues who shed some doubt about the effectiveness of online courses in regulated courses:

Doug: This is so very true. We have a dilemma. Trying to use the wrong tools for the solution. It is the curse of living at the verge of change.

This reminds me of an Australian movie about something that happened in 1920’s. The scene shows a farmer who owns a lot of horses and oxen that he use to plow and harvest his field. His young son, who just graduated, came back to the farm driving one of those newly invented cars. He told his father that this machine is the future and it will replace the animals in the field work. His father rode on a horse and told him “show me”. Obviously, the horse was much faster running on the field terrain and the car got stuck in the mud after few yards. The father sat triumphantly on his rocking chair and cynically asked his son: “It will never replace my animals. How do you feed hay to this machine?”
Obviously the car was the wrong tool for the period. Few years down the load, the car evolved into a tractor and replaced the animals and changing the farming industry and proved Malthus wrong. The son was right, but the father did not see at the time.
We are in a similar situation. Online courses and technology are not the solution for everything yet. We still have to use the horses until online courses and education evolves to become suitable. Until then, we have to use the “cars” where they are applicable. Like driving from the city to the farm and not more.

W1Q1: Assessment

I know that Question 1 asked for “the single most significant difference between teaching and learning online as compared to in a face-to-face environment”and I replied: Learning Ownership. But I believe there are more than one significant difference. So, in the name of “changing my mind and evolving my thought”, I want to retract my initial answer and say that it is the “Assessment”.

The Face to face assessment is reliable in the sense that we have certainty about who is doing the work. While, with online courses, there is no way to know who is the person doing the work. For example, I might be my son taking the course on behalf of my father so he can have advanced credential in a topic that he is not competent with it. Right?

This imposes a serious doubt about the validity of the online credentials. Your thoughts!


PS: Sorry I gave two “single most significant difference”, but I could not keep my mouth shut!