While partaking in this course I've been led along different paths and thought it would be productive to record some of the 'learnings' that have occurred at different signposts. I have to consciously choose at some time to retrace my steps back onto the MOOC path because I've been so motivated by 'serendipitous' learnings.

SIGNPOST 1- Second Life
This destination is a 'returner' for me. Initial exposure some four years ago led me to reject it for a number of reasons. However my exposure to it again as a subset of this course has generated an enthusiasm I've not felt in my professional life for some time, and it offers a gigantic learning curve to be negotiated. I'll continue this post later......then again, upon reflection. I deem Second Life worthy of its own page ! It may not happen overnight but it will happen(or that's the intention)

 SIGNPOST 2 -Critical Literacy SKills (a prerequisite)
The following video a 'Vision of Students Today'  presents a compelling case for the importance of providing students with the critical literacy skills(+technological skills) necessary for effectively functioning in both personal and professional networks at a sophisticated level. I believe this mentoring should begin at the earliest level of schooling (if not before). What we're seeking is engagement of the learner and that will not occur by using outmoded methods of instruction/facilitation.


SIGNPOST 3 - Digital Ethnography
Following a link from the YouTube video above led to some interesting videos on a page on the Kansas State University website which explores a study project which explores how we experience ourselves in new media environments, identity online and its opposite, anonymity, and how it shapes our experience - (the fight for significance in the age of micro celebrities e.g Twitter). 

Listen to the entire web conference here

What was of great interest was the fact that there was no syllabus for the class project but rather a research schedule editable on the group wiki by any member with updates of all content aggregated via Netvibes. Diigo was selected in preference to Delicious as highlighted webpages and sticky notes could be shared with the group. 
The project co ordinator is Dr. Michael Wesch, who is described thus:
".....Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the impact of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the impact of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media...."
The "Information Revolution" explores the changes in the way information is located, stored, critiqued, created and shared.

SIGNPOST 4 -The Quaker Effect
 ..............important but other signposts have taken priority...............
A memory prompt 

SIGNPOST 5 - Rhizomatic Learning
Now this signpost generated an afternoon's wanderings in cyberspace. Began investigating images of rhizomes for my visual PLE/PLN and came across the following :
A rhizome is the horizontal stem of a plant that sends out roots from its nodes. This develops a network of roots that is not dependent on a central structure or organisation, can spread out far-afield, and is linked horizontally to other plants. The term has also been applied to education, where, instead of the more common expert-centred system, in a rhizomatic model, knowledge is negotiated and the learning experience is a social as well as a personal knowledge creation process with mutable goals and constantly negotiated premises.

What is probably most relevant is that the structure is non hierarchial

How does that old saying go- everything old is new again ? Still didn't find an adequate image of a rhizome, however it clarified for me  my appreciation of the Connectivist analogy. Guess I wasn't paying too much attention when there was discussion on the forum about the subject so it's comforting to know that I had a second chance at internalising this concept.

Now this search led me on to an illustration which depicted an adventitious root, and I reasoned that adventitious is akin to serendipitous, a word I've loved but fear is becoming overused and has therefore lost some of its appeal for me. I was prompted to contribute to a discussion on the forum following this discovery. The topic was "Challenges to learning in online networks" initiated by Rita Kop. As I formulated my response to Jim Stauffer it occurred to me that my post belonged in the adventitious category however provided me with an insight which I'd not have experienced had I not looked for that rhizome.

SIGNPOST 6 Collective Intelligence
..............still processing...............
SIGNPOST 7 The Myers/Briggs/Keirsey Factor
The Myers/Briggs Type Identification is a forced-choice questionnaire which classifies individuals according to four distinct scales bounded by polar opposites. Its basis is the assumption that each person uses both poles at some time but responds in the first instance and more frequently according to personal preferences. Since taking the MBTI test over 30 years ago, I am convinced that it has great relevance to interactions within a network.  It is criticised by detractors as pigeonholing people, but based on Jung's theory concerning human behaviour,is one that I'm happy to accept and my barometer is significant life experience and exposure to over 200 teachers, 2000 students (and their approx. 4000 parents) during my teaching career. I don't possess the language to debate it - but I accept it. It's no different from describing someone as competitive or empathetic. We apply labels during our lives, to ourselves and to others in order to make sense of our world or to understand or explain a person's actions or behaviour. They can be flawed, but then again, none of the Keirsey_Bates preferences are seen as carrying negative connotations and they encourage an acceptance of people as individuals.

Jung claimed that much of what is understood to be seemingly random variations in human behavior can in reality be quite consistent and orderly. This is determined by basic differences in the way people prefer to use their perception and judgement. The definition of perception here involves “all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings, or ideas,” and judgement involves “all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived.

An intriguing explanation of the four temperaments organises types into the following categories. 
The 4 Temperaments
What's got me thinking about this yet again was a post by a fellow Plenker (can't locate it now) which suggested using the Typealyzer to analyse our blog postings. I was one of a number who tried it out and was intrigued to find that different blogs generated different results. Over the years I've consistently been categorised as an INFJ (Idealist), while my blogs classified me as either INTP and INTJ (Rational). I'm assuming that if I were to paste the content of my spoken interactions with friends into the search box the results may be quite different and lean much more to the Idealist than the rational.  Written and spoken language differ markedly in structure with the written generally employing far more formal phraseology. I've also been conscious of the fact I am generally far more guarded and formal in what I am publishing online, ever conscious of the digital impact. I imagine if I were to create a personal private blog, the Typeapyzer may produce a different result yet again. I'd like to have the time to try it out, but can't see it happening in the near future.

SIGNPOST 8 Socratic Questioning
Chris Jobling 'opened a can of worms' when he posted a discussion topic concerning Socratic questioning. His question was prompted following his participation in a discussion with Maria Anderson about her personal learning idea titled Learn This which he defined as inspiring. I intend listening to the Elluminate recording in the very near future (Hmmm)
No doubt it will generate even more signposts. The first one has already reared its head.

 ..............still refining..............

SIGNPOST 8: Games as 'Educators'
Prompted to learn more about Maria Anderson I uncovered a wonderful Prezi related to games and their effectiveness as learning tools. 

This is currently of particularly relevance for 'Early Learning' enthusiasts. Intriguingly, this was also the case back in the 1970s when I first began teaching.I wonder what happened in the interim ? Everything old is new again ?
There is a second Elluminate recording of 'Playing to Learn' from the 2010 Symposium which I also hope to access.(all in good time)

 A few cartoons to recall the forum fun !

A Socrates of ones own to manipulate. 
SIGNPOST 9 Deschooling Society
SIGNPOST 10  Epistemology
Don't currently have time for this one now, but its relevance to the 'what is knowledge debate' and in order to resove whether knowledge resides in the network I am in earnest need of refreshing my 'perspective' on these.

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