Sunday, February 24, 2013

#edcmooc Final Assignment, Thoughts & Artefact

For my final assignment I resurrected and finished an old project, which sadly had been parked on my unfinished projects graveyard. I am happy to finally give it a life!
For me it represents my thoughts about technology, learning and the future. I think technology drives history and social change, but still we decide the ultimate direction. We are not helpless and technology is not pressured on us by an "alien" force, because without us there wouldn't be technology in the first place. It's important to encourage a lively public discussion about what all these innovations mean for humanity in a very large and wide context. Only through this public discussion will we be able to decide which unwanted consequences we are prepared to pay and which not. Science and technology can be incredible useful for humanity, but all the controversies of today also remind me of a poem by Goethe called:

"Der Zauberlehrling" (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)

You can read The Sorcerer's Apprentice , as well as other all encompassing technologies like genetics or an internet that destroys every safe place for our privacy, in two ways:
Some things are too powerful to mess with, if you don't have mastery about them - meaning having thought about all the consequences and what to do about them.
And Second:
Lying can be seen as willingly obscuring half of of the truth, but if you call this magical power you can never be sure or get rid of the consequences. (which reminds me of metaphors and how science and advertisement often encourage one sided ways to think about certain topics)

I think technology can solve a lot of humanities problems, but we have to stop closing our eyes for the not so beautiful consequences. Only if we can ponder and discuss the whole big picture, we can over come our fears, find solutions and work in the right direction. Utopia for me still is the right direction, but to pursue it we have to dream consciously, knowing about the problems we need to solve, which is actually quite hard work and not easy at all.

Please press the HD button and head over to vimeo to see the video in High Definition!

#edcmooc, #videos, #utopia,

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Transhumanism & Eugenics

I am sick and I am too tired to read or write much, but I think it's important to mention Eugenics. In my post about Humanism I already wrote that I doubt that Transhumanism will bring equality, because the rich will have access to new technology and the poor will not. I am German and because of history I am critical of anything claiming to be the "solution" for all. The fanatic Atheists of today scare me as much as religious fundamentalists. I don't see the difference. I always wonder how come that scientists, whose profession is to doubt everything, can end up making the same mistake all humans are prone to: believing in something and being unable to let go of it even if it is proven wrong. I am not saying that all the promises of Transhumanism couldn't work out for the greater human good. But shouldn't then already all our technology have done the same for all humanity?
It didn't because we live in a system that is not made to benefit all, no new technology will change that. So much progress where did it lead us? Not to a world with less poverty and no children dying of hunger. Even if now these deaths seem unnecessary.

In my first Mooc "Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Human Mind" the topic of Eugenics came up too. First it showed up in reading "Herland"by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and everybody seemed to hate her utopian vision of an all female community in unisono because it implemented Eugenics. I didn't because I think it was a feminist thought experiment in the context of her times, which were strongly pro Eugenics. The weird thing is, nobody cared for H.G. Wells Eugenic background ( H.G. Wells’s Eugenic Thinking 1892-1944 ) (2 - H. G. Wells and Population Control: From a EugenicPublic Policy to the Eugenics of Personal Choice)  at all, everybody loved him and people didn't want to know about it. What scared me most was that in discussing this topic my peers were convinced that something like Eugenics could never ever happen today.
I believe this is the only mindset that makes it possible that it can...

Did you know who coined the term "Transhumanism"? It was Julian Huxley the brother of Aldous trying to find a new friendlier word for Eugenics after the war (1957). Julian was also the first director of the UNESCO (and many more institutions!*), and in this position he wrote a paper entitled "UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy" in 1946. Remember that is after the second world war endend and the Concentration Camps and Dr. Mengele's Experiments were exposed.

Here are some hair raising excerpts of this paper:

“There are instances of biological inequality which are so gross that they cannot be reconciled at all with the principle of equal opportunity. Thus low-grade mental defectives cannot be offered equality of educational opportunity, nor are the insane equal with the sane before the law or in respect of most freedoms. However, the full implications of the fact of human inequality have not often been drawn and certainly need to be brought out here, as they are very relevant to Unesco’s task. [...]"

"This has quite other implications; for, whereas variety is in itself desirable, the existence of weaklings, fools, and moral deficients cannot but be bad. It is also much harder to reconcile politically with the current democratic doctrine of equality. In face of it, indeed, the principle of equality of opportunity must be amended to read “equality of opportunity within the limits of aptitude.

"At the moment, it is probable that the indirect effect of civilisation is dysgenic instead of eugenic; and in any case it seems likely that the dead weight of genetic stupidity, physical weakness, mental instability, and disease-proneness, which already exist in the human species, will prove too great a burden for real progress to be achieved. Thus even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for Unesco to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable."

“The Age of the Common Man: the Voice of the People: majority rule: the importance of a large population: – ideas and slogans such as these form the background of much of our thinking, and tend, unless we are careful, towards the promotion of mediocrity, even if mediocrity in abundance, and at the same time, towards the discouragement of high and unusual quality."

Indeed some seem to see themselves always more equal than others...

This is just a small excerpt, but I guess it's enough to show why I am concerned.
I don't believe in any one solution not even science. Science can be incredibly cruel.
And people seem to somehow forget: Science is not infallible! Quite the opposite. It might be more reliable than believe systems but it is not always right and has been rewritten a million times.
For me to be human is to think with your head and your heart.
If Science and Technology are used and judged with this as a guiding light in mind then and only then can they be hugely beneficial for all humankind.

I really wonder why the BBC and Stephen Hawkins and all the other scientists (who probably had no influence in this anyway) called the documentary I posted under Transhumanism and Humanoids "Brave New World", when they are talking about supposed to be great innovations for humanity?
I also realized that people start to categorize "Brave New World" not as a dystopian novel anymore but a dystopian/utopian novel...

Aldous Huxley author of Brave New World speaking at U.C. Berkeley in 1962.

"Aldous Huxley uses this speaking opportunity to outline his vision for the 'ultimate revolution', a scientific dictatorship where people will be conditioned to enjoy their servitude, and will pose little opposition to the 'ruling oligarchy', as he puts it. He also takes a moment to compare his book, "Brave New World," to George Orwell's "1984" and considers the technique in the latter too outdated for actual implementation. "There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution." -- Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961"

*now that I know about Julian Huxley being also deeply involved in the Humanist movement I find it hard to know what to think anymore...

"Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS[1] (22 June 1887 – 14 February 1975) was an English evolutionary biologist, eugenicist and internationalist. He was a proponent of natural selection, and a leading figure in the mid-twentieth century evolutionary synthesis. He was Secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935–1942), the first Director of UNESCO, and a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund. Huxley was well known for his presentation of science in books and articles, and on radio and television. He directed an Oscar-winning wildlife film. He was awarded UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for the popularisation of science in 1953, the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society in 1956,[1] and the Darwin–Wallace Medal of the Linnaean Society in 1958. He was also knighted in that same year, 1958, a hundred years after Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace announced the theory of evolution by natural selection. In 1959 he received a Special Award of the Lasker Foundation in the category Planned Parenthood – World Population. Huxley was a prominent member of the British Eugenics Society and its president from 1959–1962."wiki

I found the documentary I wanted to post before:
Homo Sapiens 1900
I found it to be full of information I didn't know about...
It covers the history of Eugenics in the US, Sweden, Germany and the Soviet Union.

#edcmooc, #Transhumanism, #dystopia, #Eugenics, #JulianHuxley, #AldousHuxley, #SocialDarwinism

Monday, February 18, 2013

Transhumanism and Humanoids

So far I have only watched episode one, which fits this weeks topic: Transhumanism.
The best bits:

- Steering a wheel chair with your brain starts at 12.30
- A baby-like robot called iCub, which learns like a child! starts at 23.30

This one is incredible!!! Still can't wrap my head around it, if you want to learn more about iCub please visit: - an open source cognitive humanoid robotic platform

"Professor Stephen Hawking presents a global exploration of the scientific breakthroughs that are transforming our lives in the 21st century.

With the help of some of the world's leading scientific figures - including Sir David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Aarathi Prasad, Lord Winston and Maggie Aderin-Pocock - this five-part series reveals how science is striving for humankind's next leap forward."

Episode 01: 

 "The team showcase breakthroughs in technology and engineering that are creating a new generation of machines.

Mark Evans fuses his brain with a computer in Switzerland to test a new breed of machine.

Kathy Sykes hits the streets of San Francisco to have the ride of her life as she experiences the future of transport in a driverless car.

In Italy Jim Alei-Khalili comes face to face with a remarkable, baby-like robot called iCub, which learns like a child.

Joy Reidenberg discovers the extraordinary exoskeleton that can make the paralysed walk and give one man the strength of three.

In the Canary Islands Maggie Aderin-Pocock visits one of the world's biggest telescopes, where they're searching for new planets in the furthest reaches of the universe - planets that we could one day colonise."

#edcmooc, #Transhumanism, #opensource, #robotics, #documentary

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What is Plagiarism When Everything is a Remix?

pic via Brainpickings

"The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement." wiki

Is it time to rethink what Plagiarism is? If you ask me: Yes!

I just listened to the EDC week 03 Hangout and I think +Jeremy Knox touched on a very important topic concerning the digital artefact assignment. I have been seeing posts popping up discussing plagiarism and cheating. Quite frankly I've been avoiding them. To be honest to me as an artist / musician the notion of "original" is almost ridiculous. I don't think there are any ideas in this world, which are not build on other ideas. I think everybody copies and in fact copying is how we learn (something I posted earlier

The really important thing for me is, if there is synthesis in a piece of art / work.
I don't care if somebody (like I like to do) just puts a bunch of quotes together on a page, if the combination of these quotes trigger new thoughts and connections in the people who read them, in my opinion that is completely valid. Even if I am not explicit in making a  a conclusion and telling everybody what to think of it. For me if a new question emerges, that is synthesis enough.

There is only one thing I call plagiarism and that is not naming your sources.

But even here there are exceptions (traditionals even!) like in a art or music: nobody writes down sources in painting - who was the first expressionist? Who wrote the first I-V-vi-IV Progression?

Fun intermisson:

I think our new digital tools are actually providing us with something earlier scholars and artists would have died for: diving in an incredible vast pool of knowledge and being able to create through learning (copying and referencing) at this scale!

I am afraid that in this MOOC, because of the high percentage of people working in education enrolled, "the old ways" are creeping in all too easily. I was very happy when during the Hang Out +Hamish MacLeod mentioned that we don't know yet what MOOCs are. We really shouldn't press MOOCs into a certain box, that most of us are maybe used to and because of that convinced that this should be a guide. People working in education are still forced to assess and mark all of their students, and this constant assessment and marking people decides about the future of these people. I think the resulting responsibility causes a weird short circuit, and the consequence is that most of the teachers, like a lot of their students, are happy about a certain guiding principle they can rely on = at least students shouldn't cheat, that's the worst!  Because if this test decides about a student's future (which is an injustice and can never be fair) at least the conditions of the test should be just and everybody should have the same bottom-line to start off from (which also never is true). If it wasn't enough that this school system is unfair already, this approach also makes it really hard to see and acknowledge creativity and new ideas. I am not saying it's the fault of teachers, because like I said they are caught up in a bad system. I'm only saying that this bad system has more bad consequences than obvious at first glance. But for sure loosing creativity is a very sad price to pay, especially in a world that is now changing daily and where coming up with creative solutions and learning without a top down and previous set goal is essential.

My wish would be that first of all, we skip the grading completely and just turn the final assessment into a huge open peer to peer review/discussion, where everybody can join in and see all the artefacts. I think that would be so much more interesting. 
And second of all, I would recommend that to understand the new culture of remixing and creative commons, everybody should probably watch *Everything is a Remix* or at least Kirby Ferguson's TED talk (posted below). It is a well done documentary, which in my opinion, explains very nicely today's realization of the impossibility of a "original" following the new access to knowledge via the internet and the resulting paradigm shift in culture taking place right now.

Some other things I would like to mention:

I liked it very much when +Jen Ross was talking about, that coursera's platform is restrictive and I interpret that as a desire in part of the teachers to even more experimentation and openness. Love that!

Thanks for also mentioning that everything (forums,material etc) will stay up after the course ends as long as it is in the power of the teachers team. That's great! I hated that in my last MOOC, all the information students collected was thrown into the trash bin. That hurt.

+Christine Sinclair said something super important too: don't define everything because people sometimes are surprised, that they could fall in love with something they never thought they would.

The last thing I would like to mention is concerning the 'talking heads' lectures:
I love freedom of choice and talking heads, can't we have both? I mean everybody is different and needs different things for optimal learning. MOOCs and the digital platform could make taking what you need and finding your own way possible. Why not use MOOCs for exploring individual learning preferences? Digital makes it possible to provide material without restrictions of storing space even time, maybe students just have to learn that they don't have to read/watch all of the material? And that they should choose what keeps them most engaged? Like it was already done so nicely in this course:
There could be a core of material for each session for everyone to start off from and a lot of additional material in different forms. Maybe some rather read, some others rather watch or listen and some rather directly start discussing things together to run warm and get interested to learn more. I think what has to be highlighted again and again is that in the digital universe there is no limit on space. There could be all kinds of material to choose according to your preference.That could mean more work for the teachers (yes teachers will always be needed even when we start to learn from each other), but actually don't teachers always have so much more information to give than fits in "official schedules "?
(By the way I tried to google for Helena Petterson? No luck, did I get the name wrong? Can I get a link to the articles?)

I'm in the #medialabcourse too and I like that their syllabus is open to change and they keep adding material. I think there could be even much more open syllabus and adding!
In my opinion collecting and linking knowledge is the most fascinating and exciting project humanity is embarking on right now. It would be wonderful to have that reflected in MOOCs. Maybe there could be, apart from the forums, a hub for links to articles and material posted to all the sessions? I mean that apart from posting links into the forums, twitter, google+,  there would be another place without the discussions (to confusing but they could be referenced). Just a link list, with maybe one sentence describing what it is. Maybe a regular community clean up team could be necessary, because I think a simple organization would be helpful like 'scholar articles','lectures','blogposts','pop culture reference' or something like that. Sure there could be a "star" feature to highlight the most liked items but in a link list all the other interesting stuff wouldn't be buried completely like they always do in forums.Wouldn't it be wonderful to have all these links to material about the topic on one page like a summary?

Have fun watching: *Everything is a Remix*

"Remixing is a folk art but the techniques are the same ones used at any level of creation: copy, transform, and combine. You could even say that everything is a remix."
Kirby Ferguson

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix / Kirby Ferguson Website


I just had to add two more links posted by my peers.

+Amy Burvall's awesome resources:  Remix Culture

and +Irma Walter posted a movie I had completely forgotten about:

Steal This Film!

#edcmooc #plagiarism #copyright #creativecommons #remix #digitalartefact #mooc #music #art #medialabcourse

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Steve Fuller & Isaac Asimov / What is Humanism?

My answers to the questions posed for this weeks talk by Professor Steve Fuller:

1.Why does Professor Fuller say (almost as a joke) that education is ‘a dying art’?

I think the answer to this question might lie in him referring to disciplin and the top down idea of education. The more knowledge is available on the net for free the less power old institutions have to enforce a certain goal. They also aren't able anymore to decide who deserves to be educated and transformed to be 'human'.

2.He talks about the ‘modern artifice’ of enhancement: how might this notion of becoming more ‘fully human’ via enhancement impact on the project of education?

If humans and especially their brains can be enhanced old elites are in danger of loosing their right of existence, although this might be argued, because probably the rich will be more able to pay for these enhancements. Equality always seems to cause fear of losing your identity and order, even people who could profit from a change of a situation often prefer no change.
Also imagine teachers and pupils being equally able and maybe just separated by how much time they put into their studies. This would definitely mean: learning together and old hierarchies breaking down.

3. Professor Fuller argues that there’s historical precedent for considering only some homo sapiens to be ‘human’: what are the political implications of this in contemporary times? And how might such a notion position education?

For an answer to this please go and read Seth Godin's post: Those People

4. He suggests that we are questioning the very existence of the ‘human’ because we have failed in the humanist project (for example, we are far from achieving racial, gender or class equality): do you believe this?

I hope we haven't failed it and we are just not there yet...

5.In claiming that ‘the old humanistic project should not be dropped’, Professor Fuller links his talk to our key theme of re-asserting the human. His stance seems to be that ‘you can only be morally credible’ if you are addressing issues of human freedom and equality. Thinking about education specifically, might we see MOOCs as an example of an ‘old humanistic project’, particularly in the promise they appear to offer for democratisation, equality of access and so on?

If we don't mess it up ( and there are some possibilities) I would say: Yes!

Humanity 2.0: defining humanity - Steve Fuller’s TEDx Warwick talk 

Come on...Listen to Isaac Asimov! How could we ever drop such a project?

Humanism: Making Bigger Circles with Isaac Asimov

Humanism: Making Bigger Circles with Isaac Asimov from American Humanist Association on Vimeo.

Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in satisfying human needs and serving human interests.

Among the best-known Humanists are:
Isaac Asimov
Margaret Atwood
Arthur C. Clarke
Albert Einstein
Jean-Paul Sartre
Terry Pratchett
Gene Roddenberry
Carl Sagan
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Peter Ustinov
Kurt Vonnegut
Joss Whedon
Richard Dawkins
A. C. Grayling
Henry Morgentaler
Jonas E. Salk
Gore Vidal
Piers Anthony
Rod Serling
Steve Allen
Jane Asher
Oliver Stone
B. F. Skinner
R. Buckminster Fuller

 "Humanism, in all its simplicity, is the only genuine spirituality."


I just saw another excellent interview that @hopkinsdavid posted on his blog
and I will add it here too:

The Future of Education with Isaac Asimov, 1988 

#edcmooc, #Humanism, #IsaacAsimov, #Steve Fuller, #talks, #documentary  #LifeLongLearning

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gardner Campbell - Yearning, A Sense of Wonder & How to Invent the Future

pic cogdogblog

“Ecologies of Yearning and the Future of Open Education”

My initial reaction after watching this keynote posted on the #edcmooc google+ stream:

"Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love; close enough on the surface but, to the nonsucker, not exactly the same thing."
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Don't miss listening to Gardner Campbell! As described on the #edcmooc resource page:

"(This lecture)...serves as a warning that what we really want - our utopia - is not necessarily to be found in the structures we are putting in place (or finding ourselves within)."

Love it.

"At what point do we become like the global open access brothel of non learning?"

Also love the part where he talks about how teachers now specify how students have to interact with their blogs and how many comments to write to get through class. It's just crazy how these "old ways" creep up everywhere. Really don't miss this lecture!

So do I need to repeat it? Don't miss this lecture! :)
After watching, I wanted to read more so I googled and found his twitter @GardnerCampbell and his website (subscribe why don't you!). There I found a seven part series named:
The Road to Digital Citizenshipwhich I highly recommend reading.
I put the links of all the parts here, so it's easier to find them all:

Gardner Campbell - The Road to Digital Citizenship

The Road to Digital Citizenship I: Invent the Future

The Road to Digital Citizenship II: The Case for Change

The Road to Digital Citizenship III: Awakening the Digital Imagination

The Road to Digital Citizenship IV: Fluency, Curriculum, Development

The Road to Digital Citizenship V: The Case for Digital Citizenship

The Road to Digital Citizenship VI: Organization: Small Pieces Loosely Joined

The Road to Digital Citizenship VII: Patterns and Understanding

Quotes from The Road to Digital Citizenship:

"What used to be supplemental devices are becoming as fluid and essential as language itself. Indeed, it is not too fanciful to say that we are witnessing the emergence of a new language, metaphorically speaking, a new meta-mode of representation as important as the emergence of the phonetic alphabet."

"The promise is that we can build a future together. We are not simply the victims of technological determinism. The warning is that the future we get is only as good as the future we invent. The warning is that the future we get is only as good as the future we invent. In other words, we must nurture our powers of invention, powers that depend on the depth and strength of our imaginations."

I never heard this quote before, but Gardner mentions it a couple times, and it's incredibly beautiful:

“A Computer is an Instrument Whose Music is Ideas.” Alan Kay

"We should learn from the Internet itself what a learning community can be like. When a small dialogue box inviting 140 characters of commentary, an affordance introduced in 2006 called “Twitter,” can play an integral role in global events ranging from a U.S. President’s State of the Union Address (Twitter hashtag #sotu) to ongoing revolutions in the Middle East beginning with Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, we are witnessing a symbiosis of creation and learning that far outstrips any vision of academic transformation based on quadrupling class sizes and outsourcing grading and instruction to poorly-compensated adjuncts and paraprofessionals."

"To quote Clay Shirky, it’s as if every book came with a free printing press. Just as in the days of the printing press, there are many worries about authority, authenticity, intellectual property, and sheer volume of information. These complaints emerged within a few decades of Gutenberg’s invention. Yet we do not rely on a National Committee To Screen And Filter Books for our self-directed learning within this abundance of conversation. We educate our youth and ourselves to read and write with facility and discernment. Likewise, we must empower our students as digital citizens to make their contributions to the global conversations, and to establish the corner of the global network that will be their “Speaker’s Corner,” just like the corner in London’s Hyde Park where by tradition anyone can have their turn to speak—and thus to lead the next phase of the conversation."

" The best, most prescient, most effective inventions will likely not be completely understood or even understandable when they are begun. The true innovators among our digital citizens who invent the future will need the patronage and courage of leaders who are not afraid to confront their own lack of understanding and who can live with the paradoxical certainty that the “unknown unknown” is where the richest innovations will come from."

"As a thought experiment, imagine explaining to a medieval king who prides himself on not needing to know how to read that a day will come when mass literacy empowers citizens worldwide. Imagine explaining to an alpha-male executive in the early 1960s that a day will come when not knowing at least the rudiments of typing will likely disqualify an applicant from obtaining an executive position. Imagine explaining Twitter, or YouTube, or blogging, to the world of 1995, a time when many people loudly insisted that no one would ever do something as foolish as enter a credit card number in a form on a Web page."

"As for my confidence that higher education can rise with these challenges–well, it depends on the day you ask me."

"MIT’s Seymour Papert devoted his career to the idea that interactive computing offered a new mode of experiential learning. In 1993, he published a book titled The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School In The Age Of The Computer. In this magisterial and also deeply personal work, Papert distinguishes “Schoolers” from “Yearners.” “Schoolers” are surprised and even indignant about the need for “megachange.” By contrast, Papert writes, Yearners “do not say, ‘I can’t imagine what you could possibly be looking for,’ because they have themselves felt the yearning for something different.”

In II: The Case for Change he mentions Norman Doidge “The Brain That Changes Itself”
You can watch a lecture by Norman Doidge over here:

and the whole documentary “The Brain That Changes Itself” is up for watching too:

I saw the documentary a couple weeks ago and it's great!
Plus here are some more of Gardner Campbell's videos he recommends on his page:

“No Digital Facelifts: Thinking the Unthinkable about Open Educational Experiences”

A serious topic but a very funny talk!
The name of the lecture is a reference to the movie Brazil.

"We are living in the middle of the largest increase in expressive capability 
in the history of the human race."
Clay Shirky

Higher education is the place where we train people to be able to take advantage of this to the fullest and surprise us with the things we haven't discovered, about what this can mean. But whatever it means and we may disagree over what it means look at that. I believe that that is true. It makes me do what I do and yet everyday I say, I have a bag of gold would you like to have a bag of gold?
And people say: "Where do you find time for bags of gold? Oh no another currency to master! Gold? Is that sustainable?" No, you spend it. "What would you spend it on?" What would you like to spend it on?
"I don't have time for your philosophical questions Gardner."

“Teaching, Learning, and the Digital Imagination”

In this one Campbell finds some more analogies in how we falsely think about the internet and the movie Brazil. He also shows some great examples of internet collaboration.

"The internet…is not tubes, it's not a document delivery system. This is actually one of the most exciting and intriguing global learning systems that I have seen."

Seems this virtual choir mentioned by Campbell now has 3746 members singing, but the #!x#!! GEMA wants me to put my VPN on for listening and I am just too tired right now. So just go to youtube and find it yourself.

The Symphony of Science is a musical project created by John D Boswell, designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form.

#edcmooc, #medialabcourse, #documentary, #GardnerCampbell, #openedu, #SeymourPapert, #talks

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Digital Artifact No.02: Digital Viking! #edcmooc #digitalviking #scratch

Another Digital Viking inspired by +Amy Burvall's blog post: Why We Need Digital Vikings
I am trying to get ready for the Learning Creative Learning course that starts tomorrow.
So here is my first ever project programmed in Scratch ! It's a little animation with sound.
Hope you like it.

(you have to click the little green flag)

"Scratch is a graphical programming environment that makes it easier for kids (ages 8 and up) to create their own interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations -- and share their creations with one another online. To create programs in Scratch, kids snap together graphical programming blocks, much like LEGO bricks or puzzle pieces. As kids create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational concepts, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Since its launch in 2007, the Scratch website has become a vibrant online community, with thousands of people sharing, discussing, and remixing projects. Each day, about 1500 new projects are shared on the site -- roughly one new project every minute."
Lifelong Kindergarten

Credit for the two photos used goes to:
brownhorse and wikicommons

#edcmooc #digitalviking #meme #scratch #medialabcourse

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Looking Back to the Future! Seymour Papert - Learning vs. Teaching

Education with an Emphasis on LEARNING not Teaching!
Seymour Papert the Teacher Activist. :)

"Nothing enrages me more than when people criticize my criticism of school by telling me that schools are not just places to learn math and spelling, they are places where children learn a vaguely defined thing called socialization. I know. I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities."

“The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.”

"I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge..."

"What would happen if children who can't do math grew up in Mathland, a place that is to math what France is to French? "

“Our interest is really in Third World development. I believe that it's essential to solving the problems of poverty, violence, and environment, to have better education.” 

"[the children] become producers instead of consumers of educational software."

Have you listened to the wonderful Keynote by @Gardner Campbell 'Ecologies of Yearning' we were supposed to watch for #edcmooc? I highly recommend it! And I was pleased to hear him mention  Seymour Papert who is also my hero. Some years ago by accident I stumbled one night on the documentary below and instantly was mesmerized. Here was somebody who understood why I had hated school. If this is the first time for you are hearing Papert, I hope you will enjoy it and be as touched by it as I was. If you already know him, I hope you will havce fun revisiting his powerful ideas. I still can't believe that suddenly I will be able to participate in the #medialabcourse "Learning Creative Learning" that starts tomorrow. ( #medialabcourse is open even if you missed the sign up deadline. visit the Google+ communityThe Lifelong Kindergarden Group and Mitchell Resnick took Papert's ideas and created Scratch, but I will make a post about that soon too. So for now: Enjoy Seymour Papert!

Seymour Papert 1983 - Talking Turtles Documentary:

Go visit for more!

Seymour Papert on Online Learning and Universities
During the summer of 2000, Dr. Seymour Papert prepared a short keynote address on the future of higher education for a conference in Italy.

Seymour Papert on Online Learning and Universities from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Seymour Papert at Bates College - 2000

Seymour Papert at Bates College - 2000 from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Seymour Papert in Sydney, Australia 2004

Seymour Papert in Sydney, Australia 2004 from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Freire and Papert
The following discussion between Seymour Papert and the Brazilian philosopher and educator Paolo Freire took place in Brazil during the late 1980s. It was sponsored by Pontifícia Universidade Católica, the Catholic University of São Paulo; and the Afternoon Journal TV show. It was broadcast in Brazil by TV PUC São Paulo and KTV Solucoes.

Freire and Papert from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Seymour Papert's CUE Conference Keynote Address (2000)
This one I couldn't embed so here is what Gary Stager the uploader write about it:
"In May 2000, Seymour Papert delivered a barn-burner of a keynote address at the California Computer Using Educators Conference in Palm Springs, CA. The venue was a tent with large fans blowing and planes flying overhead. The organization made no attempt to record the speech professionally, so what you have here is an amateur attempt to capture history with the gear I had with me. The audio quality is often hard to deal with. I hope to improve it in the future. Fortunately, a transcript of this important address is now online at"

I will repost two comments of mine that I made talking to +Sandra Sinfield on a post, where she asks the great question if "lurkers" could be just learners doing it their way.
I don't have much time right now, but I would love to share with you my learning experience and why I am so in love by Papert's approach to learning. In these comments I try to explain:

"When I want to learn something I do what most teachers (especially in music) despise: I listen to and watch a lot of different teachers/people explain what I want to learn and usually I am lucky and pretty soon it klicks. I do spend time with the ones whose "language" doesn't speak to me, but I never despair and move on if it doesn't fit.

I don't think it's always the case that some people are better at explaining, it's more like my brain is focused on something in particular and theirs on something else. Sometimes I am lucky and I find somebody who explains it the way I need it in that moment, but more often I find some who explain one part of the problem perfectly and somebody else in a different context/tutorial who suddenly (or is it me?) can explain what was missing in a single sentence.

I think it might be that for me looking at things from different perspectives really helps me understanding things. I think personally I would be bored to death or despairing if I had to read a lot about other students approaches in learning, the moment when I try to understand a certain problem/topic. But (like here in this mooc) I love to "surf their streams", read about their approaches and find new tools and advice when I don't have to = time to fool around. That really helps and I have to say that sometimes I hear better explanations from students who are not perfect than from accomplished teachers.

So yes I believe learning from each other is great and makes it easier. Sharing knowledge always is. I also found that you learn best trying to explain something to somebody. I think you have that totally right, the 'lurker' should be seen as a learner doing it their way and there are so many ways! Some people really need a framework, I need a lot of info and freedom to follow my thoughts. There are also people who like to start with baby steps and the easy parts, I always want the big picture first and get confused when I have to start with little bits and pieces.


"Learning ended up to be the topic most dear to my heart, because school was so horrible for me and the realization that I love learning came so late (I was 25...). I so wish I could change this experience for other people, especially children. I hate that so many people come out of school, knowing only one thing for sure: what they supposedly can't ever learn and don't have a talent for. Makes me so angry. I think school is made for very linear people and so mostly only these people succeed. Others I guess don't have a chance or the endurance to live with that linearity to become teachers....

Did you see the Learning Creative Learning course? It's the last day to sign up today, but you could also just follow the lectures and readings - a really open course! When I saw the "Talking Turtels " documentary on youtube a couple years ago and read about the Life Long Kindergaden Group, that was the first time I ever felt somebody understands how I need to learn. Falling passionately in love with something and creating things being able to choose how freely. I think Papert got it so right and I can't believe 30 years later this still hasn't taken over classrooms. So sad... And through my experience I know that this works for grown ups too. If you don't know about this and If you have some time I highly recommend to check it out.

I am so excited that I can be part of this! Reading about his approach gave me a lot of back up, when after my first success in free learning (My friend encouraged me to switch from drawing comics to make an animation movie, so I learned a computer program while doing just that) I decided to also give it a try and learn something I thought I would never be able to do: making music with an instrument! Learning and creating for sure is the what makes me happiest in life , and I almost missed it.

I am sure you maybe already know about Papert and Resnick but just in case you don't and feel curious :) here is one chapter of Paperts book: "Mindstorms" online: "

#edcmooc,  #medialabcourse , #utopia, #autodidacticism, #peer2peer, #documentary, #talks

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Utopia / Chris Anderson's Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

"But I do know that, when you give a kid a 3D printer and they have access to Thingiverse and easy tools to customize, that the imagination runs riot.
And what these kids know is that anything they could imagine they can make real.

Right now, they can make it real in plastic in one color. Soon it'll be plastic and multicolors. Soon it will be much higher resolution. Soon it'll be multi-material. Then they'll be able to integrate the electronics into it. They'll be able to print in metal. We can see the way this is going. It's not going to take 20 years to get professional quality manufacturing on your desktop."

"Now there is nothing standing between ideas and practice."
I so want a 3d printer!!!

Chris Anderson (formally of WIRED) speaks about his new book:
Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

"The technology is there and easy and in place. And now we can just fill it with our ideas.
And the nice thing about hardware is that there's no crazy debate over the business model.
The business model is you sell products for more than they cost. Period. That's it. Business school professors keep saying, explain your business model. It's like, we sell products for more than they cost. We made money on Day 1. We actually sell it at 2.6 times the actual cost. 2.6, that cost is the Bill of Materials plus labor. And 2.6 is like this magic number. It's basically two 40% margins, one for us, and one for our distribution partners, a wholesale and a retail margin, if you will, 2.6. 2.6 times the Bill of Materials is like an order of magnitude cheaper than closed-source, sometimes two orders of magnitude cheaper. It's not rocket science. We learned it from other people in the Open Hardware Movement."

I read Free: The Future of a Radical Price last year and found it to be equal parts scary and incredibly hopeful. I haven't had the chance to read Makers yet, but I will.
All I can say: after watching this talk is: "WHOA!"
If you are a creative person there is no way you are not going to root for 3D printer utopia.

Chris Anderson, the groundbreaking author of the Long Tail visits the RSA to outline a dramatic new change in the way our economy functions.

picture credit: wiki commons

#edcmooc, #3Dprinter, #ChrisAnderson, #makers, #opensource, #utopia,

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Metaphors and Magic / Alan Moore and Rebecca Johnston

Today I read Rebecca Johnston: "Salvation or destruction: Metaphors of the internet".

It was very interesting to think about our word choices and the consequences they entail.
I loved this part of the paper most:

"When individuals chose the metaphors they used to describe the Internet, they also selected a filter for viewing the Internet. This result makes it vital for us to reflect on our metaphors and select them with care. 

In these example editorials, the most–used metaphors surrounded ideas of destruction. 
If theInternet is destruction metaphor becomes the predominant schema for reflecting on online experiences, how might this impact the future of the Internet? Could this metaphor encourage censorship and oppression online? What other metaphors better convey the future and potential of the Internet?"

It reminded me of an Alan Moore quote that touched me. The quote is about what it means to be an artist, but I think it fits to what Johnston is writing about:

"There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look
at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”.
 I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events.

A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar.
Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness.

And I believe that this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a Shaman. I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the faucets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the Shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation, is, I think a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using Shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up, their Shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everyone in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly the same moment.

In all of magic there is an incredibly large linguistic component.
The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot. If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates;
it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes.
 And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. Then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you
and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die. It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants.

If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. 
They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need."

-Alan Moore

The quote is taken from the documentary: The Mindscape of Alan Moore

                                                                        photo credit: wiki commons

Here is also a the guardian interview from last december including a link to the video interview
where this awesome screen capture is taken of:

Alan Moore: Why I turned my back on Hollywood

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Text by Céline Keller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Files, Pictures and Videos might not be.

#edcmooc, #videos, #documentary, #AlanMoore, #comics, #utopia, #art, #language

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Digital Artifact No.01: Digital Vikings! #edcmooc #digitalviking

I got inspired by +Amy Burvall' blog post: Why We Need Digital Vikings :)

Photo Credit: the brownhorse and Ran Yaniv Hartstein
I found the gif on nerdcore.
The original picture comes from a book called: Internet (First Discovery Books), so this might not be entirely legal... but it was just too tempting and fun.

#edcmooc #digitalviking #meme

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