Commonplace book (or commonplace)

Doug Belshaw discovered a treasure trove of Commonplace Books on Pinterest this week. (He wrote about this in his newsletter)

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. (And on a computer or in a blog) Such (paper) books were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator’s particular interests.

I do write a (paper) commonplace book. And blogging to me is commonplacing too.


Like the blogpost of Whitney Kilgore about connectivism and constructivism. Maybe her emphasis on connections is an answer to SuiFaJohnMak. “Study blogging in decline as social media takes over”. Blogging should be connecting and sharing. Do all bloggers share and comment? Or do bloggers stop blogging because nobody does ever comment on their blog?

Sheri Edwards did deliver a Storify publication about #etmooc. I my view storify is just a collection of links, without much of a story. I did a try on making a storify thing, but I did not save it, because did not think it good enough.

Tech Ed-dy But then I started looking at a few Tweets. I recognised quite a few of the names as people I had learned from in the past. That is what connections do.

I do read #introphil on Twitter, but until now it only shows preformatted texts about joining. Not much connections visible until now. Bonnie Stewart did join the #intorphil and she is surprised about it network-focused-ness.

picture: drawing for a landart project near Vasse (NL) of Paul de Kort, Mander Cirkels.

Short post on #mobimooc #mlearning

” … But life goes on and this course is directly relevant to my day job, so I’ll just jump in and see what happens! … [after thought: I’ve always been a bit unsure about the use of terms like e-Learning and m-Learning and whether there is anything distinctively different about them from just plain old learning. …”  (Phil Marston )

My opinion is they are all kinds of learning, but I prefer the mobile forms. Colleges and presentations make me sleepy or wanting to leave the room.

“… You see, I already engage in mlearning every day. I just didn’t know I was doing it! I use my mobile phone to talk, to send & receive messages, and to take photos which I sometimes use in class. I use my i-Pod Touch to access the internet via wi-fi, to manage my contacts and my diary, to keep notes, and to listen to podcasts and share them with my students. I use my laptop to do everything else, including to write my blog. All of these things, I now understand, are mlearning! …” (World Teacher ). First  step in the course will be learning the language of mlearning. My way of learning the language is diving into it and use it.

In researching which phone to purchase (ie. asking everybody I know, who has a mobile phone, what they like about their phone) I was surprised to find that there is an ‘in-balance’ of information, if this is the right way to express it. (KIM’s Thinking). Second step in the course will be analyzing known information and remaining questions.

One of next steps is thinking about a mlearning project and the boundaries of it.

And somewhere in my mind some little voice is saying a new mobile device is needed for this course, isn’t it?


Get it #cck11 Light Bulb Experience

We have ample evidence that a proportion of students do eventually “get it”. And once they complete their course and get into practice, a substantial majority get it.  But it’s not clear how we get them to get it, if you see what I mean.  We seem to be trying to teach the unteachable (the ideas, not the students). Atherton J S (2011).  Jenny Mackness blogged about this research on light bulb experiences.

I wonder if networks do make students ‘get it’ better or sooner than teachers in a classic setting? “Sitting next to Nellie” is a way of connecting to people who know and to knowledge.

For Etienne Wenger, learning is central to human identity. A primary focus of Wenger’s more recent work is on  the individual as an active participant in the practices of social communities, and in the construction of his/her identity through these communities (Wenger et. al 2004). In this context, a community of practice is a group of individuals participating in communal activity, and experiencing/continuously creating their shared identity through engaging in and contributing to the practices of their communities.

A Community of Practice  is a tight-knit social construct, and the concept of network has challenged the concept of a tight-knit social construct. Networks are loosely organized structures in which people do not necessarily collaborate or communicate directly. However, the question is what role networks play in relation to learning. A conclusion of this debate is that there exists a form of social interaction – social networking – that learning theories have difficulty explaining. More questions arise: What kind of relations support learning, and, specifically, how do networks support learning?  … Learning takes place through problem-oriented activities, in which students are directed at solving a problem or achieving a goal.

“…Within cooperative online learning a central challenge is to enable students to follow the work of their colleagues. If students are unaware of the activities of fellow students, they might not make use of each other. This problem is reinforced within online education, where students do not meet face-to-face….”  This problem in network learning has to be solved in the network. The network exists thanks to technical possibilities like social media. The possibilities of social media have to be used by students in the network to foster transparency and awareness. This is still a problem  “… Discourse and interaction won’t happen that easily if course participants are too dispersed over different spaces. …” .The problem is not the dispersion, the problem is students did not learn to connect. A forum is not the solution, people connecting  to people is the solution.

One practical and technical solution is to make use of pingback to connect blogging  students.

In cooperative online learning  students must be encouraged to share. “If you don’t share you don’t cooperate, you don’t learn”. Learning is not reading a text twice. Learning is to manipulate information, play with information, until the  the light is shining, a connection is emerging, knowledge is being made.

Participate, cooperate, engage, connect are verbs #cck11

pindakaas peanut butter

The blog  Jenny Connected inspired to look at and add some improvements to the article on Connectivism.

Internet basically is a set of connections. The URL (the blue underlined text you find in this blogpost)  is a connection to a file somewhere on internet.  And some of us know what peanut butter has to do with that.

To participate on internet in a discussion one has to add connections to ones publications. Without connections (addresses, URL’s) a publication is painting in the dark, useless like screaming in a storm on the beach. (Both are funny in themselves, but no communication)

Cooperation and engagement and connecting has need of adding addresses and tags and hashtags and URL’s. Like adding peanut butter to a sandwich. To make it sticky.

Connectivism needs engagement, and cooperation, and participation. These three cannot exist without connecting to people and to ideas.  And that is why I suggested we should add addresses to our comments.

Some of us use Facebook as a discussion forum. And for a short discussion that could be. But writing a blog or a webpage about a question or a subject,  and after that announce it on Twitter or Facebook is my way of publishing.

“We create a relevant online discussion when we post our reactions to other people’s points of view. These connections link their content to our perspectives and by sharing my understanding I increase my own capacity. It’s important to let your own feelings, images and ideas of concepts create a more integrated comprehension of your experiences! [Aggregation from Stephen Downes article on “Seven Habits of Highly Connected People”] ”  (Schwedinbalchik)