Archive for September, 2006

Learning spaces for real

Will ever a topdown, structure-oriented, hypocrite “no-better-solution-but-democracy” system meet bottomup, network-oriented, face-value organizations?

I remember being 16 years old when we started to hang out with my friends at a so-called Youth Office in my hometown. It was a typical topdown “service” where youngsters could find some work or so, if there were any for them, but for sure there wasn’t – as officials can grasp youth politics. A twentysomething girl and boy maintained the office and as they were teachers by profession who didn’t like that much the feel of being in a teacher community in the school, they choose this work to stay close to their interests: kids. Fortunately they let us hang out, edit our newspaper there, and soon we started to organize art events for/with kids in the official Youth House that housed the office, and sure, it resisted hard against any “unprofessional”, however inclusive programmes. Some generations of kids, named thereafter as Artery Creative Group, managed to organize Arts Week for the High Schools for more than five years, sometimes with no money, sometimes from some small grants – for the fun of it.

Nowadays I receive occasional spam from a typical waterheaded European project called CompTrain. I get very annoyed because so-called experts (should-be multimedia experts) who can’t even make a decent website for themselves call out for declaring “Competence Needs for Formation and Training in Multimedia Jobs”.

On the other side I remember a Hungarian web-community called inertia (now defunct), that was educating via fourms and so even in 1999, using pocket money published an art book of print works of worldwide known webdesigners called 800×600 Inertia VisualCulture in 2002.

More memories: one of the best webbuilder companies (friends) of Hungary founded on IRC back in 1997 or 1998, members not met IRL before, got bought by internet consulting company (us), they ran the webdivision, and got burnt out by the industry, leaving to be perhaps a carpenter and a porn photographer in 2006.

European Union, I know that you cover your ass spending money on people in suits plus you can trust only in the similar type, but again, thanks for a project just in time with the suitable experts. 🙂

(More addition to the tyranny of the European population armed with design-squary glasses: I was wondering if keeping the aesthetics our game a bit not so glossy can help inclusion of people like hanging out forums like this: Webpage of Amateur Artists. Copycats meet teenage depression, sure, but at least creation takes place not just roaming in mall as expressed in lots of Myspace selfportraits. However also interesting to see teenagers perfecting their photoshooting skills while maintaining the inside-out braveness of mediated self-exposition. I wonder when will an artist-teacher venture to such a forum to be a master, not a hypocrite, authoritan “artist”.)

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Learning spaces

I browsed through only the seemingly interested chapters of the book craving something inspiring to print on neat, doublesided, doublepaged papers.

Unbelieavable amount of characters, nothing new, I got no clue who should be reading this lot? Sorry, this one is anti-Siemens, the opposite of the diagram-spectrum, not one included. Self-evident eureka, that people actually learn something while talking to each other informally at informal spaces. Still having the nightmare that people actually could be taught? Let’s call it a doctrine.

Tom Standage just reminded me of the institution of symposium. Libraries still need beer. (Also worth noting: café culture via newfocus.)

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Holy Grail Part 2

Aaron Swartz’s foundings on Wikipedia are more than interesting.

While Wales makes the claim that “50% of all the edits are done by just .7% of the users … 524 people. … And in fact the most active 2%, which is 1400 people, have done 73.4% of all the edits”, Swartz adds that “Almost every time I saw a substantive edit, I found the user who had contributed it was not an active user of the site. They generally had made less than 50 edits (typically around 10), usually on related pages. Most never even bothered to create an account.”

What more? Swartz says: “Instead of counting edits, as Wales did, I counted the number of letters a user actually contributed to the present article.” More: “few of the contributors (2 out of the top 10) are even registered and most (6 out of the top 10) have made less than 25 edits to the entire site … I ran it on several more randomly-selected articles and the results were much the same.”

Summarized: “an outsider makes one edit to add a chunk of information, then insiders make several edits tweaking and reformatting it. … insiders account for the vast majority of the edits. But it’s the outsiders who provide nearly all of the content.”

I share the experience of two commenters who say: “got fed up of the self-appointed officious jobsworths who would come along minutes later and revert your contribution or substantially modify it (so that it lost the important detail), in order that things would fit “their vision” for the sections they “patrol” and have “made their own”. My time is too valuable to argue with these people, sit monitoring discussion pages, or fight for ages to wrestle control back” and “I wrote several wikipedia articles, where I wrote an entire article up out of nothing. In each case, the article was then “edited” — without any notification to me — by some super-editors, who removed content, and turned what I thought was gosh-darn good writing into crap. I tried to explain to friends my frustrations, and they told me Why do you even bother? Of course it’s just a bunch of self-important snobs. So I went and looked at the people who “edited” my contributions, and saw that my friends were right.”

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Motivation and feedback

My favourite words.

First is chased by educators after they’ve managed to make their students lose it. I was wondering whether we should make our games for even younger than 12 year olds. They still have their built-in curiosity unkilled. Yeah, the big misconceptions, “we can motivate or we can teach”.

Second is promoted by all who does not receive it at all. Mostly by teachers (I’m talking of the situation in my home country), but should not we forget other state administrators (when did you see anyone actually got caught doing something in a wrong way) and most importantly politicians (if democracy comes up in your mind as the smallest possible bad thing, read more history). Key points on the latter at Downes, again.

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On the way to the actual learning environment

Web 2.0 is getting tired, thanks God, so I was quite amazed browsing the tacky screencaptures of Diigo.

This is a bookmarking/annotation plug-in best integrated to Firefox that realizes the highlighter pen function, handles tags and automatically submits findings even to del.icio.us, publishes to the important blog engines, generates RSS.

Big up, wiser than most LMSes.

Update: other contestants include Clipmarks, the bit more conversation-oriented Stickis, Fleck, Trailfire and Blinklist Spaces.

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