Thinking and Language as social and connected events

babyThinking is a social event: No thinking without words, no words without language, no language without humans around us. This is a very short answer to my reading of Putnam. He uses the Brains in a Vat story to defend his statements about meaning outside the head. Putnam and others try to find the connection of words and meaning of the words. Is meaning in your head or outside?
The short answer of Putnam, Meaning is experimental and outside), it is not in your head.
I want to argue that meaning has a strong social aspect. Listen to and watch young children, they learn by asking “Why??” they want to see and hear and use things to learn. Children want to see what is inside things to get to know them.
Think of the way little children learn words and meaning. They experience the world and try to add words to their experiences. They do need time and practical experiences for learning to use the right words.
Their thinking grows with the acquisition of language and experience in a social context.

Teaching/learning machine takes over some teacher roles?

worktweetlisaThe subject is getting more and more interesting. Questions do multiply.
As more learning takes place online, the question of how to establish and maintain social presence–the perception that participants are interacting with other human beings, not with just a well-designed interface–becomes increasingly important. (Robert D. Wright in a call for proposals) Do we always need human interaction when learning?
Would a bad teacher be better than a good “teaching/learning machine” ?
Is a mooc a teaching machine?
Will moocs develop into very good teaching instruments that equal some or all qualities of a good teacher? (A MOOC with a talking head in video-colleges is not a “human presence” in an online course, a talking head is a pain in the eye)
Will “learning/teaching instruments” be cheaper than brick and mortar colleges? We did a MOOC almost at no cost at all. Some MOOCs are very expensive, but that is not necessary.
Is the human touch necessary for all kinds of schooling?
Can “learning/teaching machines” be a solution of the very high demand for education in Asia and Africa?
Could teacher-to-student communication be replaced with student-to-student communication in learning? Distribute teaching roles among everyone in the school. Instead of a few highly trained teachers (who still may be bad at teaching), encourage a true form of peer to peer teaching.
Books and video did replace teachers as sole sources and providers of academic knowledge, will teaching/learning machines replace another role of the teacher?
What roles of a teacher could be done by a teaching/learning-machine?

” won’t there always be a back-of-the-mind barrier in the receiver that interacting with a machine is different than with a human.”
“I wonder if we might need to distinguish people who are machine taught over those who aren’t? ”
(Scott Johnson, email)


Teaching Machines? (I)

320px-Skinner_teaching_machine_01Could teaching machines be real ?
How could teaching machines teach academic mastery; problem solving; collaboration; self directed learning; effective communication; an academic mindset; critical thinking; mastery of core academic content?
As teaching is expensive and millions of people want to learn, teaching machines could be a solution for this problem.
The immage is a teaching machine of Skinner (programmed instruction).
Reasons to be happy to end teaching
Discussion on teaching machines on Mirandanet

Some MOOCs are kind of teaching machines, not only the MMOOC (mechanical MOOC) but these “video-college-quiz”-MOOCs as well.

(image: wikipedia)

MOOC only from for-profit educational institutions?

networkMost MOOCs are made by persons in educational institutions, like universities or commercial for-profit firms.
One questions keeps being asked: What is your business model with MOOCs?
In my opinion this commercial view on MOOCs is only one possibility. Not for profit MOOCs do have a great future.  (profit in a commercial MOOC system is a problem)
Commercial MOOCs  do make expensive courses in a more or less old-school way, with lessons and tests, investing a lot of money and work in their  for-profit MOOCs. They try to invent a good MOOC format, and I think that is good. IT will improve  MOOCs.
To organize a Not for profit MOOCs one does not need a lot of money and most of the work is been done by the participants.  (I do not belittle the work or the level of non-commercial MOOCs for the not-for-profit MOOCs I know of  are done in a very smart and dedicated way)

People do  not understand the need for Massive in a MOOC.  A DOCC feminism and technology wants to be a non-massive course,. It will be a course with a lot of teachers and facilitators. A MOOC needs to be massive to become diverse . Diversity in knowledge, attention, communication style, learning habits etc. By being diverse the network in the MOOC will be powerful, and the participants will be able to connect in a fruitful way.


Make Avatar story with Map

My Avatar
My Avatar

Make an avatar, using software or make it with scissors and glue.
Cooperate to make a map with a place for your avatar and all other avatars.
Write the story of an avatar that lives on the map.

Helping questions:

Is your avatar an animal, sign, person from a book or televison or film,
Is the avatar a mask, occupation, face, body?

How do the avatars connect?
Where does your avatar live, boat, harbour, mountain, city, farm, tree,
cage, zoo?

Map in 2D or 3D
use large paper, floor and paint.
use garden or some place outside.

Make a Map

Look for a map ( Washington Metro)
Copy with Snagit or printscreen and save.


Edit the map with Gimp: copy a part, delete it an past a new part in the same place, with name of metro station or part of line.



You could write down names of stations that would show on your map.

Value assumptions in clMooc

First some vocabulary. Equity might be ownership, educational equity , fairness in distribution of resources. Or just fairness or justice.

Manuscript Illustration Depicting the Taking of Damietta During the Fifth Crusade

First:  Try to understand why this equity value is so important in clmooc.  Is it something like equal rights? Is it about equal admission and access for all?  Is this  value important in USA, in education in USA?
In the declaration of human rights access to education is mentioned, is this what you mean by equity? in a Discussion of connection learning values it is explained. I think Open, as in open source is living next-door equity. I do value Open, that is why I am not very pleased with Google+ as a central place in this MOOC.

The other value is called  Full Participation. Is that a value that expresses the duty to do as much as you can? Or is it a value like (my understanding of) equity, is it the value of equal access? Is this one of the values of democracy?  Is it what feminist value in equal rights? CLMOOC has some problem with full participation, because it is rather ‘creator-centered’

Social embeddedes-ness. I have a feeling I do understand this word. But I do not know what the value is behind this word? Does it mean that in a Mooc and in connected learning one has to be connected to other people?  If this is so, is this social embedded-ness  a form, a way of doing learning?  Part of being human is connectedness and is social embeddedness in my view. But why call it  a value? What do I read wrong in this value?

My values are things like curiosity and freedom. Education is the way to guard freedom and curiosity is why I am learning.

We could talk about values, but credo’s are not my  favorite texts. (Look at the picture why) So I will just ask questions about values this week.

(image Emyoku project)

Is Online education a real part of serious study?

BurundiBlindLameMaybe we fail somehow to identify online education as within the domain of serious study and see it as noise suggestive of education, but not the real thing? The mention of limits and viability in 1 to 1 tutoring of students “Obviously this is a limit, it is socially and economically un-viable instructional system that can sustain a tutor for a student” cause me to wonder if we can get past the barrier of economics to reach another level in education? Will technology enhanced teaching allow us to leap into another domain of learning? What could technology leverage that exceeds close, direct and responsive tutoring human to human? Or are we mistaken to speak of technology as somehow unconnected to us humans who imagine and build it?
Interesting question from my friend Scott about human teachers and online teachers.
I did search (as Gordon does) on human tutoring and found this study: Human tutoring is a bit overestimated (The Relative Effectiveness of Human Tutoring, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, and Other Tutoring Systems)
Do we call it  1 to 1 tutoring when participants in a (connectivist) MOOCs ask questions and give feedback to participants?
Is connectivism an educational theory that avoids this need for teacher tutoring? Social connections are very useful and fun for learning. An automated system could help learning, but laughing and having some fun while learning needs a human touch.
I did a Mechanical Mooc on learning a computer language and programming, this is a computer tutoring students. And I think it will become a handy tool for learning languages, computer programming and this kind of skills and knowledge.

Learning to create with these new tools is essential not only because the world is an increasingly wired place, but because connecting increases the breadth and depth of what we can do with these tools.  Working with children to connect with technology, rather than isolate, is a big take-away for me so far.

( did you ever use the Make a MOOC site of Alan Levine? )
In the MOOCs I did I did meet a lot of participants willing to learn beyond doing the course and receiving a good mark or a badge. They are good tutors to their fellow participants, because they connect and interact. The names of some of them are mentioned in posts and comments of this blog. I think this MOOCs are a new level of education.