Feedback for improvement. About feedback or critique on art.

water lily

About feedback or critique on art.
The artists of the DS106 dailycreate do add comments (on Flickr) to art of fellow dailycreate’ers. Some of the comments are:

  • “nicely done”
  • “very nice comp and detail.”
  • “I love it”

This kind of comment is nice, but something more constructive is missing.
The DS106 Shrink wrote about feedback on art work. She starts a project for better feedback on DS106 dailycreate and other art.
Rules for constructive way of feedback or comments: feedback [pdf]:

  • 1. If you can’t think of a constructive purpose for giving feedback, don’t give it at all.
  • 2. Focus on description rather than judgement.
  • 3. Focus on observation rather than inference.

You are not a teacher, nor the angry art critique from a magazine, so be kind. Negative comments are for trolls. “I love it”, or “interesting” is kind, but not constructive.
The constructive power of just writing down what you see is great. Description may seem foolish, but it is a powerful tool to improve your skills.  And the artist involved will be grateful, because you gave time and attention to the work and you did respect the work as it is.

The use of language in online teaching

lichaamstaalIn therapy language is very important. .
BANDLER, RICHARD & GRINDER, JOHN; SATIR, VIRGINIA & BATESON, GREGORY etc.  The Structure Of Magic I: A Book About Language And Therapy..Is an example of this connection.

In my opinion language in online courses needs a lot of thinking.

In online teaching many aspects of communication are lost. Most non-verbal communication is not possible. Even a teacher talking on video is not a quality replacement for F2F communication.
The teacher cannot watch the students, cannot see body language of students. Students cannot see each other and no teacher.

In my opinion this lack of important aspects of communication has to be taken care of. Online teaching needs careful communication.
We have to think and experiment about our language in online teaching. How could we use language to improve connections in online teaching?

Do we need to use words like: we, I or you, when we write texts for online courses?
Do we use passive or active verbal form or passive voice?

What is Learning / Wat is leren?


I want to know what rhizomatic learning is.

We could start thinking about a definition and  explanations of learning.

Start at Wikipedia (often a good start for a search, as it gives links for sources):
Mmm, I do not know, Wikipedia? That is not very scientific, well for a start we could look at it. i guess that will not do harm.
What does Wikipedia tell you about learning?

It is here: Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines….[Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert, Daniel M. Wegner (2009, 2011). Psychology, 2nd edition. Worth Publishers. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-4292-3719-2, via wikipedia]

What is this synthesizing different types of information? Is it learning? I would agree on the word ,knowledge, but not on ,information,!  What is the difference between knowledge and information?

Well this is only a start,

Learning is not only for little children. Most teachers seem to connect learning with children. But we humans do learn always. I doubt if it possible not to learn.
It (Rhizomatic Learning) freely admits the beautiful complexity of the human experience, and thus, by proximity, the sheer craziness of the learning process. This idea, not so much a learning theory as it is a clever and accurate metaphor, describes learning as having no beginning nor an end.
School is not the only place to learn. Think of all knowledge skills; behaviors; believes you learn after you left school. Humans do learn everywhere.

My conclusion of a quick search for an answer “what is learning” (and what I think I do know about learning): Question unsolved. We do know learning, and we cannot tell what it is. Would that mean learning is a rhizomatic concept?

Image: Most images about learning have arrows. A search for an image to explain and illustrate learning is disappointing. The image in this blogpost maybe it is nothing to do with learning. I made it.

Pluralism Monism

scientificpluralismTzvetan Todorov  writes that the  most important democratic value is pluralism. Monistic societies and governments as are communism and national socialism are not democratic.  In education we should give pluralism an important place.

Maha Bali   begins her blogpost with the students need for different ways of teaching, for variety in structure of courses, and adapting to students preferences and needs.
But she the most valuable text of Maha is about cultural pluralism and respect. In Maha Bali’s blog about education she says:  But it’s in allowing the diverse voices within us to have a space (even if it’s an English-speaking space because it’s the only language we have in common) and voice, that alone helps to enrich the online space with the diversity that’s in it. Pluralism is a ways to foster learning and creativity and innovation.

Pluralism in education is a movement  that does not ask for teaching to the test and standard testing. It is about learning to live with differences in methods of teaching, about democracy and about pluralism as a key to research and learning.
Proposed Changes in Education (this is in a wiki about citizenship & diversity)

  • from formal to informal
  • from exclusive to inclusive
  • from restrictive to experiential
  • from instructionist to constructivist
  • promotion of knowledge building, lifelong learning
  • promotion of inter-generational knowledge exchange

I am not writing about religious pluralism. In the USA pluralism also is used to talk about racial matters. Both are important issues.

Community my curriculum? #rhizo14

hurkendeman(Hurkende man, Antony Gormley, Lelystad, 25 meter hoog)

Just to start with some questions on the subject of this week of rhizo14.

Now i am thinking about Bricolage and deconstruction and de-noun-ification of the question. But that need some time.

Is the Community or the  individual the client for a MOOC or Course?  Do We  Groupe Rhizo14 have a curriculum, do sub-groups have one, or has every participant a curriculum? Do we make our own group- or individual- curriculum?
Is an online course a group or community? Is a  classroom with students a group or community?  Why define a number of participants in an educational setting as a  group/community? Heli Nurmi will write about community. In #rhizo14 we did discuss the community in depth:

now, i get that even two students who sit next to each other in a f2f course may have completely different perceptions, mental maps, and experiences of the class and who and what counts in that class, and may never speak to each other. but still that proximity marks them as members of the same thing. what i’m wondering is, without a single common space by which to mark off belonging or to become familiar with each other, at least nominally, can we call #rhizo14 a community? i’ve seen a number of you use the term community…do you mean the course, or the FB group? does your answer vary depending on how distributed your own engagement is? (Bonnie Steward FB)

What social contract do we have? What are our expectations, what do we want? How do we support? What do we need? (Mariana Funes).

Is the curriculum growing and changing, or is it static? Has it to be? Should it be? Where is the end?

the or one? the curriculum or one in  a collection, a list of subjects, questions?

Curriculum a guide to a future or a log of our travels? Map into unknown lands or our history put on a map? In Dutch we use ‘leerplan’.
Is it made by the power of the majority? Is it a menu and I can just choose the nice bits? Is a curriculum necessary for teaching or is it a must for learning? What do we expect to learn from rhizo14?

Currriculum vitea?

Culture and language


Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory has in my opinion a connection with language. (answer for @Chris2B in comment on previous post.)

  • Power distance. In the Netherlands teacher and student are not in different worlds. If the teacher is wrong, students will tell him. Language differences as a sign of class differences do not fit into low power distance culture. Spoken language and written language are not very divergent. Dutch students do not need to learn ‘upper-class academic’ language to write an essay.
  • Individualism. Being different is not a (big) problem. Teacher could admit not to know an answer. Dutch students are not afraid to try to speak foreign languages. They are not afraid of mistakes. (I am an example of that)
  • Masculinity/femininity. Feminity  is  about care and not about masculine competition according to Hofstede. Trying to be the best is not a common trait in Dutch students.

In culture with low power distance and high individualism rules do change almost at will.
Members of different cultures have divergent views on Incidents and differences of opinion in a community.
Rules on how to write an essay are very important and common in USA (and other countries). In the Netherlands content and process are more important than format and style.
Should a blogger need to know more about Cultural Competences or CQ?

Independence and scaffolding to autonomy. #rhizo14

Image copied from  Giulia Forsythe’s visual notes from Cormiers talk at connect 2013.
Read: Dave Cormier blogpost on self-assessment-and-self-remediation.

Central theme is the independence of the learner. The learner  is responsible for learning and is free and autonomous.  How to solve this paradox? Who is responsible in a teaching situation?

Scaffolding towards independence: Ask the learner to write a paper on ‘My road to independency’.  Could You write a paper, map “my road to independency”?

Learning with help of peers and teachers could lead to independency. How to help teachers and peers to not steer toward dependency?

Teacher is not the authority but a kind of a nurse. A good nurse wants you to leave the hospital as soon as possible because the hospital will hospitalize you and make you dependent on help. Did you manage to prevent your students from helplessness and hospitalization and dependency?






Knowledge, or merchandise?

The increasingly transitory nature of what is lauded as current or accurate in new and developing fields, as well as the pace of change in Western culture more broadly, has made it difficult for society in general and education in particular to define what counts as knowledge.

Is it true that in old days knowledge was more certain and sure?
The definition of knowledge is a matter of ongoing debate among philosophers in the field of epistemology.
The philosopher Plato defined knowledge as “justified true belief.”
Spinoza had to introduce ‘god’ as a foundation of knowledge to avoid uncertainty. (and doing so cheated uncertainty into his philosophy)
Popper wanted to replace the question “How do you know?” with “I do not know, how can I improve my guess?” (Out of error, Ashgate Publishing, David Miller, 2006, page 31)
Maybe ‘What is knowledge?’ always was a difficult question?

Epistemology is a game with a lot of controversies about what is knowledge and about the way we could distinguish true knowledge from unjustified knowledge. Deleuze is only one party in the struggle for intellectual responsibility and honesty inside epistemology.

There is a gap in the argument of transitioning verified knowledge into curriculum:
The expert translation of data into verified knowledge is the central process guiding traditional curriculum development.

For verified knowledge does not exist according to Plato, Popper and many other philosophers.
Here we could introduce cheating as a strategy.
In the curriculum people (experts and stake holders) do introduce so called ‘verified knowledge’. But ‘verified logic’ is very doubtful. Experts are powerful people and that is why doubt is not tolerated in the curriculum. But education and knowledge have lost their innocence. Education is an industry and knowledge is big business.
Alarmingly, education appears to be acquiring the pathological bad habits of the Catholic Church. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. But neither should we be surprised when Martin Luther pops up!

Because education is an industry now, fairness and delivering real quality in education is becoming to be a problem. Jenny Mackness ask the question
Does living in a digitally networked world, a world of rhizomatic learners change what we commonly understand to be the basic moral principles that govern behaviour between learners?

But the world is bigger than relations between learners, these learners do live in a changing world and their knowledge is merchandised.
I do not know if cheating really is a feature of rhizomatic learning.

Text of the song:

After this a came across cheating in arts You need to know a camera obscura .

Teaching machine III

mechmoocI do have a teaching machine. It is a program on CD for learning Bulgarian. Why did I use a machine to learn? It is cheap, it is available and it does the job. No Bulgarian teacher here. One hour with a real life teacher (if she was here) costs a much as my CD-rom with the whole course. The real life teacher would have been nice, maybe better, but that is not the point.
So when teachers are not available, a teaching machine is a solution.
These CD-roms with a course for learning a language really do the job.
When I was a student I was the only student in the course Methodology. I had a teacher of my own. Never did try to calculate the costs of those hours with my “private” teacher. I liked talking to my private teacher about the books I was reading. Would it be possible just to read the books and learn as much as I did these hours with the teacher? Could a discussion with some peers do the same?
Of course costs of education and utility should not be the most important elements in a narrative about education, but administrators and managers often do not agree on that.
The Mechanical Mooc is an experiment: “Well, with previous MOOCs, there’s still been a professor who offers the course. Our course has no instructor. Our theory is that online learning tools have become robust enough with a light amount of coordination, learners can move through them together and support each other’s learning without a central authority.” Look at to see the mechanics of the Mechanical Mooc.

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)