Knowing Knowledge: January 10 - 30, 2007

Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Paul Stacey -
Number of replies: 29

Hi everyone.

George, thanks for participating in our chaotic Elluminate session. Your ability to speak to such divergent questions was amazing. I probably should have reined the session in a bit and ensured you had a chance to present the fundamental concepts of knowing knowledge before getting in to the many deep questions that were asked but your book encourages embracing chaos, confusion, emotion and not knowing as part of the learning ecology so I let it go. And you did great – albeit speaking at warp speed!

I noticed in the Elluminate session, and its probably true here in this discussion forum too, that some are very familiar with your work and have read your book Knowing Knowledge, while others are less familiar with your work and may not yet have read your book.

I thought it might be useful as a foundation piece for discussion to reference what you describe as the five broad purposes of your Knowing Knowledge book which are:

1. To conceptualize learning and knowing as connection based processes.
2. To explore the nature of change in the context in which knowledge exists.
3. To explore the change in the characteristics of knowledge itself.
4. To present knowledge as a context game.
5. To present a model for the spaces and structures which will serve the needs of our organizations (schools, universities, and corporations) for tomorrow.

It might be useful to explore each of these a bit so to get that started I have a few questions related to each purpose. It would be great to hear what you and others have to say about each of these as we all learn together about knowing knowledge.

1. Knowing Knowledge argues that capacity for connection forming lies at the heart of knowledge exchange today and that design of methods, organizations, and systems benefit most by allowing greatest opportunity for connectivity. I love the way this shifts learning away from content consumption to interaction. It seems to me this corresponds to the old adage “Its not what you know its who you know.” If knowledge is based on connecting with people how should our schools and universities adjust their methods of teaching?
2. The context for knowledge is related to our own personal context - our physical state, our spiritual beliefs, our social context, our cognitive abilities. We all have our own perspective. Your book suggests that learning is like opening a door to a new way of perceiving and knowing – adopting a different perspective. Should we transition formal education from localized activities happening within defined geographic boundaries to more global activities in order to benefit from diversity of world views?
3. The preface to Knowing Knowledge states that knowledge has changed from categorization and hierarchies to networks and ecologies. I think I can see the relationship of networks to connectivism but ecologies is a bit tougher. How is knowledge an ecology? In biological terms I understand an ecology to be the abundance, distribution and interactions between organisms and their environment. I don’t quite see how knowledge is an ecology.
4. See question 2.
5. I’m very interested in the implications of knowing knowledge and connectivism on educational structures and spaces. Technology and online learning environments are changing the education habitat from being a physical classroom and school to that of a virtual environment involving interactions with others outside the physical habitat. This seems in keeping with connectivism but suggests virtual habitat needs as much attention as the physical one. What suggestions do people have for both the design of these virtual spaces as well as the redesign of existing physical spaces to be connectivist friendly?

Paul

In reply to Paul Stacey

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Deleted user -
Paul, you said:
How is knowledge an ecology? In biological terms I understand an ecology to be the abundance, distribution and interactions between organisms and their environment. I don’t quite see how knowledge is an ecology.

now, just to start with a first wild guess, shouldn't we consider the "ecology of knowledge" as the complex system (ecosistema is the Italian for ecology) that the abome mentioned "context" represent? If we agree on the assumptions made in point n.2, and we agree also that in other terms the same concept of context could very well describe all the potential knowledge sources in an informal learning framework, we are basically saying that the ecology of knowledge is the entire range of potential imput variables that build the specific context X rather than context Y.
(I hope I'm clear enough, my english is sometimes not quite fluent..)

Jan
In reply to Deleted user

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Paul Stacey -

Jan:

Oh OK, I think I'm starting to get it. An ecology tends to reference not the internal state of individuals but the inter-relationships between co-inhabitants. If, as you suggest, we consider all the potential knowledge sources in an informal learning framework then an individuals knowledge ecology might be thought of as the connections and relationships they have with others.

Hmmm, in the ecological context we often hear about the detrimental effect humans have on the environment and the importance of conservation and biodiversity. I wonder if there is a comparable concern with knowledge ecologies?

Paul

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by George Siemens -
Hi Jan - your English is just fine!

I'm going to side step context questions slightly - I want to explore that concept separately over the net few weeks.

A knowledge ecology is simply a space, like a classroom. The ecology in which we exist (and context does play a role) is a blend of a) the environment b) the resources c) the people d) the architecture e) the zeitgeist, etc. For example - Apple has a certain spirit. Innovations like iphone and ipod emerge from the ecology of innovation. On page 86-98 of the book, I present ecologies as "a knowledge sharing environment" - informal, tool-rich, trust, fostered, tolerance of failure,...and, almost in contradiction,  a space of structure, connection-forming, debate, etc. An ecology shares many of the elements of an effective community...but more specifically, is the space in which communities can form. A knowledge ecology shares many elements of a physical ecology - weeds, flowers, birds, insects all exist. Certain ecologies are well suited for certain types of plant and animal life. The arctic is more friendly to polar bears than the sahara. The soil of Saskatchewan is more friendly to wheat than the Canadian shield.

In a similar sense, the type of ecologies we create in our companies or  in our courses indicates what will grow. If we opt for command and control, we may encounter difficulties with innovation. If we value secrecy, we may have trouble with knowledge sharing. "Changed spaces change practice"
In reply to Paul Stacey

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Derek Chirnside -
I was a bit undecided where to go after the talk last week, and then the blog posts, but I'll give this 40 minutes tonight and see where things go.

From Paul:
2. The context for knowledge is related to our own personal context - our physical state, our spiritual beliefs, our social context, our cognitive abilities. We all have our own perspective.

OK.  I think however I am a little conservative here.  Is knowledge itself context related?  I must have a look and see what the book says on this.

2. cont. Your book suggests that learning is like opening a door to a new way of perceiving and knowing – adopting a different perspective. Should we transition formal education from localized activities happening within defined geographic boundaries to more global activities in order to benefit from diversity of world views?

Transition may be the wrong word.  Broaden the local to include the global maybe.  Too global and you loose context.  As I listened to George last week, and have pondered again this little discussion we are having here, I realise again one of my strong thoughts is the question "OK, where to now?" or "So what?".  Enmeshed as I am again this week in some course design I like to see these hypothetical students in the future (ie next month) with a nice home base to start from and the world to dabble out into.

I note the quote in the other thread in this discussion "In a recent online seminar discussing the book (I won't cite it), participants were asking how Connectivism can influence their instructional design. The answer is that Connectivism prescribes that learning shouldn't be designed at all--instruction is futile!"
I assumed this was NOT George's response or us (since it didn't sound like the George I'd heard . . .  ) but I now have read the blog and found out it WAS us, and read a post from George (saying "Could you elaborate a bit more on the online session? I don't feel instruction is futile. I don't believe design is a waste. I believe strongly in contexts where instruction and structured learning are important") and the reply to the comment from Ron ("Oh, and yes I did overstate the futility of instruction! This says more about where I have come from, producing corporate elearning resources....") so maybe we can now make some progress . . .

None of this stuff does away with structure.  I run some way out courses, but sometimes I tell students things.  I may not know which theorist we will be on in week 5, but I know there is a good chance it will be one of 4 - but I allow for the fact that I am wrong, and we may not be discussing theory.  :-)    Nor does it do away with design.  It's just different.

This little interaction is also an illustration of the importance of context.  In my blended life some e-learning in the business realm HAS been seriously influenced by some of the kinds of thoughts George puts forward.  I've hung around business conferences in 2004-5 a bit (cause I had some PD money to spare) and the list on p65 would almost always feature in some shape or form in a keynote, just with a few different images, and maybe not QUITE so left field . . .   the world is changing, knowledge and it's nature is changing, learning has had some extra facets added, and so even some corporate e-learning is changing.  I've taken part in a project where we went from 2.5 inch binders as ''the workshop resource'' and "talk" as the delivery to some way cool fun things that involved talking and sharing.  I should complete the story by saying they did not move anywehere hear as much as I'd like . . .  But . . .

We could not have done it or sold it to the bosses without some change in our/their ideas about knowledge/learning.  And some new sorts of terms and metaphors and images and stories.  The ecological image is probably a buzz word, but I have noted it's effectiveness in undoing some straightjacketed thinking.  (Paul, your question does deserve and answer "How is knowledge an ecology . . .?")  I think as poorly referenced in the traditional sense as it is, it is helpful.

(Ron: Probably the moral of the story is "stay away from producing corperate e-learning resources . . . it's bad for your brain")

With our course design, and our structure, where to now George?  I've kind of struggled through the second part of your book.  I'd like to think I am on the right track about as much as possible in my institution.  If you were sitting around the filter coffee machine or a wine bottle here I'd take you into a few courses and say 'here is what we are doing, how can we improve?'  and also ask "Where can you take me where they are trying this more connective approach and things are OK?" - anywhere in the world.

Ramble mode off, my time is up.  Nice to be here and have a place to chat that's not totally public.

-Derek
[As a little aside, shouldn't a cut and paste bring with it the reference due to the wonders of Marginalia?]
In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Smart Copy

by Sylvia Currie -
Derek -- question noted about "smart copy" which references the source when you copy/paste here in SCoPE. I do remember some discussion about a feature to turn it off and on, but I can't recall/locate the outcome. I'll look into it and report back.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Toggle Smartcopy with Shift-Ctrl-S

by Geoffrey Glass -

Thank you for emailing me the question, Sylvia.

Press Shift-Ctrl-S to switch Smartcopy on or off. A message will appear briefly in the lower right of your browser window to let you know the feature's status. The site should then remember your preference next time you visit. I believe the feature is off by default because its behavior was unexpected and troublesome for some people.  This way, you have to deliberately choose to use it (in which case you also know how to deactivate it). Oh, and it's Firefox-only.

In reply to Geoffrey Glass

Re: Toggle Smartcopy with Shift-Ctrl-S

by Emma Duke-Williams -
Once you've turned it on - how does it work?
I've been experimenting & it's only possible to turn it on (and off!) when you haven't (or, rather I haven't!) got the reply window open.
I've not yet figured out though how to select the material that I want to copy.

While I'm at  it, does anyone use the "Annotation Summary"  feature? That's where I first read how to turn smart copy on & off, but as I was using Flock at the time, rather than firefox, it just had the effect of setting the style to "no style" (don't quite understand why, as it's not the short cut that's listed to do it!).

In Firefox, therefore, I've been able to get smart copy turned on, but now I don't know what to do with it.

Emma

In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Toggle Smartcopy with Shift-Ctrl-S

by Sylvia Currie -
Emma asks:

From Re: Toggle Smartcopy with Shift-Ctrl-S by emmadw on Fri Jan 19 04:24:00 2007:
Once you've turned it on - how does it work?

This is what smart copy looks like. I tend to read and contribute to seminar discussions with more than one browser window open. So in this case I had the discussion thread where Emma posted in one window, then I selected some text and copied it into a reply in a second window. (I have found that smart copy doesn't work if I copy and reply on the same page.)

For the annotation tool (Marginalia) Firefox is the recommended browser. I hope to organize a SCoPE seminar where we can focus in on the value of this tool for online facilitation. It has so much potential for supporting collaborative dialogue.

Note for George and the upcoming Connectivism Online Conference: You may want to install Marginalia for your conference discussions in Moodle.

In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by George Siemens -
Hi Derek - great questions and comments.

First - nice to know that you didn't hear me condemn all structure as futile! Sometimes while presenting I say things that are held only in the context of my mind. When someone asks a question, I have to pause and think "Did I really say that?!?"
I'm really more of a learner than a teacher. Being a teacher assumes knowing. Being a learner assumes wanting to know. I'm more comfortable with the latter.

Where to now...hmm.

Here is how I would design a course or program today (this is a large scale revision - not small scale like an instructor incorporating a blog in a class - a conversation that is probably more relevant than what I'm pursuing. However, when we trace an idea to it's logical outcome, we often find it holds an unanticipated form. I'm trying to avoid that by exploring a large-scale implementation). I will be publishing a presentation online in this spirit shortly, I'm presenting to a university and IBM on this model of design in the next few weeks. After that, it will be available (with all IP concerns of respective entities removed, of course :)).

• All students enrolled in the program enter a virtual space (not LMS necessarily) where they can manage and control their digital identity. i.e. if you already blog, keep blogging. If you podcast, keep doing that. In your space, not ours. We assume learners have to come to our space for content. Our content should be available to them in their space...but more importantly, the conversation should occur as the students would like it (i.e. their blog)
• The learning ecology would consist of the elements listed on p.90: a place for self-expression, gurus to connect with learners, place to debate, place for structured learning, place for dialogue, archived knowledge, etc.
• Learners entering a certificate program (as an example) would enter the space and as a result of existing within the ecology, would move beyond simple memorized knowledge and written papers, to the more complete knowledge characteristics listed on page 9 - namely learning "to be", not simply "to know about". (This links to what JSB has referred to as studio or atelier learning). By existing in the space (ecology), the learner will acquire not only explicit, but also tacit, cultural, and field-based knowledge, understanding, sensemaking, and contextual knowledge.
• Learners can hold discussions in forums based on personal interest - the "I have a problem" type of questions where we need "just in time" knowledge. As the entire space is a fish bowl (at least the public discussion area), learners benefit from mentorship and guidance from members who have been in the space for a year, or even alumni of the certificate.
• Formal, structured knowledge (because accreditation is a concern...in order for a certificate to have value, it must produce an individual with a certain level of knowledge and understanding in a certain discipline) is provided through a series of "learning activities". Each learning activity is tied to an assessment method - the learner can demonstrate competence, be tested, write an essay, record a podcast, or whatever satisfies the criteria for competence or mastery. Prior learning is considered and assessed as well.
• Due to the joys of procrastination - and that it is far more rewarding to dialogue with colleagues than to write an essay or demonstrate a competence - a certain percentage of learning activities must be completed each quarter. If I'm in a one-year certificate program, with 40 pre-defined learning activities/competencies, I must complete 25% each quarter
• I choose which learning activities I want to complete - i.e. sequencing is under my control, hopefully resulting in greater relevance to those who are directly applying concepts to work. By the same account, if I am a fulltime student, a "suggested structure" will be made available by instructors.
• Instructors are facilitators of the conversation. Instead of having to teach content - the learning activities do this - the instructors mentor, guide, direct, provoke thought, etc. As so called "experts", instructors can provide practical, experience-based insight...and help to shape the learner in a manner the learner wishes to go (or industry requires).
• The "knowledge artifacts" of blogging, creating podcasts, etc. of all community members exist as content "co-created" for and with earlier and subsequent learners. By using a wiki, as an example, learners themselves help to shape the field of knowledge. The more thorough resources can then be moved into the structured resource (or learning activity) section.
• Learners are able to evaluate and annotate formal learning resources. The "amazon style" evaluation ensure that learning is reflective of the experiences of learners...
This is of course, a very off-the-cuff response, but we can flesh out at length if interested.
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Emma Duke-Williams -
All students enrolled in the program enter a virtual space (not LMS necessarily) where they can manage and control their digital identity. i.e. if you already blog, keep blogging. If you podcast, keep doing that. In your space, not ours. We assume learners have to come to our space for content. Our content should be available to them in their space...but more importantly, the conversation should occur as the students would like it (i.e. their blog)

Hi George
Good points, however, the first thing that I saw when I saw your first point was something we've talked about quite a lot at work.
If we're going to get students to use the blog/podcast tool that they already have - clearly some are going to think that others have a "better" tool & get an account there. But, what's the best way to help those students who have nothing to start with - would you provide some space for them to experiment with, or just give them pointers to places to get going?
How would one manage two students in the same class - one who is dsylexic & thus prefers to use podcasts, and another who has hearing difficulties & therefore prefers text? Should those students be expected to ensure their material is accessible to the other, or should the institution provide the staff to do the accessifying?

Emma
In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by E.A. Draffan -
This is where I suddenly prick up my ears as this is one of the issues I have been thinking about as we set up new types of interactions.

They all have to be accessible in their various ways to not only those with a variety of learning styles but also difficulties that require support from assistive technologies such as screen reading as well as issues of speed of access. Do we advise on the tools and the space or allow students to use their own and just ask them to provide links to their contributions? Fragmentation? lack of synergy? communicaiton failure? or exciting and liberating?

Best wishes E.A.
In reply to E.A. Draffan

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by George Siemens -
Hi E.A., I'd like to hear the thoughts of others on this as well. I posted indirectly on this to my response to Emma...but the balance between "come to us" vs "we come to you in your space" is one that needs careful consideration. While we can advice learners on different tools to use (assuming they don't have one in particular they are using now), we are faced with inevitable support issues. What if the learner wants help in using the tool? What if, as mentioned by someone in a different post, hearing or vision concerns exist?

Many software designers are now creating tools that most people can use with ease - i.e. don't have to worry about checking the manual - the design is quite intuitive. And, spaces have a certain feel. Universities buzz with energy, enthusiasm, a sense of knowledge, of becoming. If we distribute everything online - in the learners own space - will we lose that feel? Like many of the vexing problems of learning and technology, we require much more research on this.

The ideas I've put forward about distributed networks of learning are reflective of how I learn informally...daily. How well do these concepts translate into formal, structured learning? My above response on what a certificate level program could look like is an attempt to include formal, informal, clear objectives, content-based, conversation-based, etc. elements in learning. And once we start making progress on this front, we need to determine how we will research if it's working - i.e. what are our metrics? After all, we are a society of measurement...
In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by George Siemens -
Hi Emma, my interest in "having our content come to the students, rather than students coming to our space" is based on what I see learners doing. In the physical world, we can obviously only exist in one space at a time. i.e. we are in a classroom, are in a car, etc. So, when we take a f2f course, we "enter a classroom". I think this notion of learning as an institution controlled space stems from carrying our understanding of the physical world into virtual worlds. We think we need to be where the institution created the learning materials. But, obviously, if we are already blogging or forming a virtual identity, it is easy enough to port content into our space (if the learning institution has created it in an appropriate format). Plus, as we begin creating our digital portfolios, it's nice to have continual access to our learning materials, comments, assignments, etc.

The management of identity is still a concern to be addressed- if I post a comment on someone else's blog, or if we host this discussion in Moodle (as we are), we scatter our identity across the web. I'm fine with my comments being posted here. I would, however, like to be able to pull them into a tool under my control so that I don't lose my work when a site closes...or if I know I commented on someone's blog, I would like to be able to search all instances of my identity in one spot - i.e. to search my digital work in its entirety, without relying on google to add additional resources not of my origin. It's the concept of personal knowledge management. Whether we blog an item, post  it in furl, tag it in del.icio.us, digg it, or whatever, we have access to all instances of our thought in a networked manner.

In a sense, we centralize to make sense for ourselves. We take the distributed, decentralized conversation (the web-like nature of knowing and understanding) and centralize it to ourselves. Consider the book we are discussing - knowing knowledge. People who have followed my blogs for years, probably aren't surprised at much I've written. But as a centering point, it's something more concrete to point toward. The process of knowing is decentralized. The point of knowing is centralized (personally).

Anyway, on to your question the students involved should be responsible in making their identity available to the institution. eportfolio software often enables varying levels of sharing information (i.e. you can create a group, and then make certain artifacts available to that group).

I'm raising far more issues than I'm answering. For example, what about clinical-based learning where we are discussing patient information online? Obviously that cannot be held distributed - it needs to be secured and centralized. What about the headaches that arise when an instructor encounters students with systems not based on open standards (i.e. and instructor may not be able to access a students RSS feed - a problem I often encounter for a few days/weeks with bloggers I read)? What about finding? What if we want to search a whole class (the search in WebCT isn't that bad, actually)? How do we search a distributed network for only a particular group of people (Rollyo, btw, is an option here)?

In terms of spaces - I would provide pointers, not create the space itself. Or, I would get very active in the development community of tools like Elgg. Years ago, organizations created their own LMS. Today, we would conclude that's a rather futile undertaking. Use Moodle. Similarly, we can provide open-source tools for learners to use (especially, as mentioned above, when the subject matter is sensitive)...i.e. hosted services. As companies like google and oracle offer more and more free services to educators, I imagine we will sell our souls for the convenience. And that raises another question. What about the company hosting our identity. Educators are starting to heavily rely on Google. Google is a corporate entity. It's first mandate exists to its shareholders, not society. In response, I would say we should consider the value of open public spaces...like projects by some states (Minnesota, I think) to provide learners with a portfolio for life. The service of the public good, however, fails in the service of profit and personal gain.

A final note - context is everything. The process of "work in your own space, but allow us to aggregate" won't work all the time. Each context will determine the best approach. Context evaluation, not templated solutions, is the most practical way forward (and to add one final contradicting thought: to what degree should we as educators attempt to adopt trends in larger society, and to what degree should we be influencing and creating a certain society based on ideals, not trends? The answer to this determines much of how we approach technology inclusion in the learning process. If society is decentralizing, and information and knowledge is becoming more and more distributed, are we as educators then tasked with reacting to this? or resisting it? and if we resist too strongly, do we lose relevance?)
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Emma Duke-Williams -
Hi George,
Thanks for such a long answer!
if I post a comment on someone else's blog, or if we host this discussion in Moodle (as we are), we scatter our identity across the web. I'm fine with my comments being posted here. I would, however, like to be able to pull them into a tool under my control so that I don't lose my work when a site closes

Yes, I know what you mean by that! I use CoComment - but it doesn't always work, or I forget to login to it on the particular PC I'm using at the time, or I'm using a different PC that it's not installed on, or...

Or, I would get very active in the development community of tools like Elgg.
That's one of the tools that we're investigating quite closely at the moment - and Moodle which you've also mentioned. The problem I've found so far with Elgg though is that if you've got a post that's just to one group/community (perhaps for privacy reasons - perhaps not quite as sensitive as the patient material you mentioned, but good enough reasons for restriction), then it's not possible for users who have the permissions to see the RSS feed for it (or, if it is, I've not figured out how!)

Re. the points about Google, I know what you mean. I still have screenshots of Google in Beta from my MSc project - when I was looking at Search Techniques & all my peers were using Yahoo - they thought I was odd to be using this new, strange search engine (though impressed with the results!). Now I get looked at in the same way when I try to encourage my students to use other Search Engines!

The process of "work in your own space, but allow us to aggregate" won't work all the time
Another problem related to that - which is one that I think that Terry Freedman raised in his Web 2.0 booklet, is that in the past we were looking for a needle in a haystack. With so many feeds it's often a needle in a field of haystacks, so many students really need help to filter out what's important to them.

Emma

In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Mark Berthelemy -
Hi George & everyone,

Forgive me coming in so late in the day. I'm glad the discussion has turned to more practical/implementation issues. The theories are fine, but thinking about how we actually make use of them is most important to me at the moment.

There are three issues that I see coming to the fore at the moment:
1. How do we design centrally-driven learning experiences that incorporate connectivist principles?
2. How do we make the process of collecting together our personal learning conversations easier.
3. How do we encourage individuals to take responsibility for their place within their own learning network?
When I think about the first question I am considering the centre as any organisation (or even another person) that is setting assessment criteria or objectives. Perhaps the answer is that centrally-driven learning doesn't have a place within a learner-centred learning ecology? But that won't fit well with any organisation that I know... My feeling is that organisations need to treat learning experiences more as marketing opportunities. Marketeers try to change behaviour through a range of mechanisms, which include spreading messages & ideas through networks. I think we (as learning professionals) could learn a lot from that.

Regarding the second question, I think about my own experiences of writing responses to things on my blog, or as comments on other people's blogs, or in forums like this. I also have bookmarks kept in Diigo; three email clients where I keep archives of conversations; as well as various file storage mechanisms. Is the search engine really the only way we can try to keep track of things? What about content and conversations that are hidden behind a login? The concept of the Personal Learning Environment seems beguiling, but for the moment do we need to live with the fact that our online lives are not very easily connected? What happens then to those people who find working online difficult to start with?

Which leads on to the third question... which is the critical one. All the time individuals treat learning as something external; the responsibility of the organisation to which they belong, then it will be next to impossible to implement connectivist ideas. As someone said somewhere (I've a terrible memory for quotes!) you only realise the benefit of networked learning ideas when you experience it for yourself. So do we wait for the idea to spread organically, or is there a way of pump-priming networked learning. (I've a vested interest in the answer to this... as it's the subject of my Masters dissertation!)

All the best,

Mark
In reply to Mark Berthelemy

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by George Siemens -

Hi Mark - I share your desire for practicality. While spending some time in the theoretical aspects of learning theories can be interesting, theory is thick...and from my experience, a quick way to empty a room.

In terms of your three broad questions:
1. I've used the statement before that our challenge today is one of "achieving clear aims through decentralized means". It's a reality for businesses (global distributed teams), marketing (how do we control our message when everyone has a say), and education (how do we achieve the outcomes mandated by our industry/advisory board/curriculum committee, etc). I tried to tackle this indirectly in KK simply because we don't yet see a workable answer. The still see a dualism: control or freedom. In reality, we do need to add an additional dimension to the flow of learning, corporate messages, etc. I imagine it will end up being a blend. I relied on the notion of context games to reflect this - it is not what we conclude in advance that makes the most sense. It's what we do when we are in a particular context that influences our actions - i.e. knowledge is not predefined where we shape it to our needs. We engage in a "dance" with knowledge where we try and understand what "it" is before we move forward with our solution.

This approach (of not pre-defining to too great a degree) enables individuals to personalize their own exploration of mandated knowledge (they can come to a centralized position via decentralized means). In terms of connectivism, and our online conference will tackle this, the emphasis on creating diverse networks (which continue to serve learners after the course or program is complete) are central to learning. While it is unfashionable to criticize a prevailing academic mindset (constructivism), I find that my learning is much more about connecting than constructing. I connect to knowledge sources in order to understand what is happening in different fields. When I need to know something, I connect to information via Google (no construction there - I get the piece of knowledge/info I want and I move on). (while I imagine someone could build the case that a network is a construct,  I'm going to happily by-pass that for now). Design becomes a point of attempting to create the greatest potential for access to relevant information sources...while serving both needs of institution and learner.

2. I'm not completely sure how we can go about collecting our personal learning conversations. I currently rely on Google, technorati, ice rocket, feedster, etc. to find out what I've said and what others have said. I've also read about "personal recording vests" that capture what we do on a daily basis. The challenge here is only partly intellectual. It is primarily about a) technology/software, b) ethics, c) personal identity. Google made life much easier. Everything is put in the "bucket", and intelligence is applied at the point of need (Google, in this case, applying the intelligence of finding what we need...even though they apply this intelligence based on what others have stated as being valuable through linking, well in advance of our search. But as far as we are concerned, we don't care what's in the bucket until we need it...and from an experiential sense, we hardly care that Google's bots have been happily chugging away 24 hours a day).

In terms of our personal learning conversations, we are seeing the emergence of next generation search through social-based search (i.e. search within networks that we have identified for future references). We have social bookmarking tools, tags, and page flakes, etc. But for many (as you mention), the tools are overwhelming. If you haven't followed the the tools (i.e. if you already have a base of 100 known tools, adding 2 new ones is manageable...if you don't have experience with any of the tools, 102 is unmanageable), it's touch to get started. Newer tools - like jotspot for wikis - are so simply that individuals can learn them in a matter of minutes. At this point, however, the complex language and functionality of the tools is intimidating. And, more frustrating, the tools still retain too much of our physical world. The software parallels the physical space, rather than recreating in line with the affordances of the virtual space.

I imagine it will take a company (looks like it will be Google) that can roll out all these services without the complex individual pieces element most innovators enjoy. Already, Google provides for educators what I used to have distributed across half a doze or more tools: blogs, wikis, video, blog search, aggregators, instant messaging, voice over ip, online documents (used to be writely), etc.

3. How do individuals learn to take responsibility...hmm, this is the perennial problem faced by educators. And the answer is the same as always: we don't. This is the type of work that is personally rewarding, and therefore requires personal motivation. We can certainly build awareness into existing curriculum, talk about digital literacy skills, promote the value of learning networks in our workplace...but in the end, responsibility can only be held by one person - the learner. But, we are able to get people online more quickly than in the past. People have now heard of blogs. and podcasts. and wikis. The language is not as foreign to many as it used to be. We have moved from evangelizing these approaches to teaching people how to work with the tools. That's progress :).

In terms of your main question: how do we jump-start networked learning: well, I suggest that it involves people seeing value in what they are doing. When people are involved in the rapid flow of knowledge - and who isn't - using tools that save time, improve recall, add in sense of understanding, etc. provide value themselves. A low barrier tool like Google doesn't require much convincing for people to use. They use it once. Find what they want. and they're hooked. Once individuals have tools with similar levels of ease (and networking) for connectivist learning, the usage won't need to be mandated. The freedom of choice - to achieve our own ends - is a defining nature of the web. We can belong to communities based on interest, not geography. We can connect in small online groups (educational technologists, for example) where we have no support in our own organizations. We can connect with other researchers...with other ideologies...and in the process, gain a more complete world view (and thereby knowledge and understanding for whatever aim we seek - personal satisfaction, value to an organization, etc.).

I recall, as many on this forum will, the early days of search...blogs...wikis...podcasts. Search didn't work well. Blogs required html knowledge. Wikis required a server on which to download the software. Podcasts required the ability to record, edit, and upload audio. Essentially, the value of the tools was buried in the access barriers to use. The lower the barrier, the sooner we realize the value. As software companies (it should really be educators, but we are a decade or two behind) lower barriers, everyone can become a publisher, a DJ, a collaborator. Unfortunately, we are moving forward in this space without a theoretical background required. We are moving forward based on what is possible, not on what is best. Perhaps I'm getting old, but it's the equivalent sometimes of a sugar rush, instead of the broccoli we really need. Businesses and society are doing their part (i.e. innovating, creating what's possible)...education is not doing its part - evaluating, thinking critically, guiding, etc.

I'd like to hear some of your thoughts on this Mark (and others)...

In reply to George Siemens

PLEs

by Sylvia Currie -
I just want to mention here that Derek Chirnside and Derek Wenmoth from New Zealand will be facilitating a SCoPE seminar discussion on Personal Learning Environments. We haven't worked out the schedule yet but it will be a nice follow up to this and other discussions.  How to collect and manage all the bits and pieces is certainly a common theme these days!
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Nancy White -
Over the past week I've kept intending to jump in, but most everything I would have added has been eloquently brought up here by others.

Two of the themes I've been muddling about seem to be close to 2 our of 3 of your thoughts, Mark and George. I think I have slightly different labels for them based on some paralell work in communities of practice, rather than in education per se.

On #1 - which in another post, George, you referred to as a dualism, lines up with some work Etienne Wenger, John Smith and I are doing around technologies for communities of practice. We have slowly been having an extended (3 year!) conversation about this and one of the key things that has surfaced is that communities are always dealing with tensions, or polarities as we've come to call them. Often we think of these as things we must resolve. OUr conclusion is they are things to be aware of and make choices through practices and technologies to use them productively in our communities. I think this resonates with this idea of working with both some of the requirements for centralization and the possibilities of decentralization. It comes up again when we think of how we design for both the individual and the group. This idea what we go to where the learners are coming from, but construct just enough shared experience to benefit from the group as well as the individual, and to allow the individual to experience/see different perspectives and thus walk away with not just new external knowledge, but also increased self awareness/knowledge.

On the second item about collecting our personal learning, we have been grappling with the nuances of integration and interoperability from the perspective of enabling us to manage our multimembership in many communities. Technology has afforded us this heaven/hell scenarion: participation in a huge variety of groups, communities and networks. Most use differring technologies. Different norms and agreements/expectations. Managing more than a few is not realistic for many people who either don't have the ability to synthesize across all kinds of boundaries, don't have/aren't interested in geekery as a bridging aid, or are working themselves into an early grave by packing too much into a day.

Another polarity.

So it is really interesting to see similar patterns emerging in the conversation here. I think if I were to identify some of the key areas for learning in 2007 around this, it would be in these areas: multimembership and creatively working with polarities. (I suspect this has a lot to do with complexity and emergence!)

I hope that made sense. ;-)
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Bill Kerr -
hi George,

Thanks for outlining a possible course design. This is the sort of thing I've been looking for in your writings.

I did something a bit similar to this last year, using blogs and wikis to teach programming and multimedia using GameMaker. I've written it up here

The ideas of connectivism are fine for suggesting that we use blogs, wikis etc. to open open new channels of communication or connection between students. It works well IMO. But to be honest I didn't really need a new learning theory to work that out. Joi Ito's paper on emergence convinced me that blogging was important and my thoughts developed from there. It was more a matter of paying attention to new developments on the web, that web apps were the new big thing.

I'm not worried if others get the idea from your writings but I can't see the need for a new learning theory to describe the importance of web apps, RSS feeds, aggregation and the like. Emergence will do, as in Joi's paper, interesting and difficult concept in its own right.

Furthermore, when it comes to me as an instructor working out how to best teach programming skills (not easy, higher order thinking) I don't think connectivism helps much.

The idea that "connection is good" is ubiquitous, as you say, but I had to make other decisions as well - whether or when, how much to use challenges, demonstrations, tutorials or "just in time" instruction. Decisions about what I thought the students had to have, compared with what I could give them later, if they asked. Whether to model (eat your own dogfood) myself the process of what I wanted my students to do, reasons for doing that and what I expected to get out of it.  I don't see how the theory of connectivism informs higher order thinking.

I finished the course thinking that using blogs and wikis is a great idea but that I still has to improve in my skill and knowledge of how to teach programming.  The pipe wasn't more important than the content. There was a new pipe and old content but they were both important. The old content, the best way to teach programming, remains the bigger puzzle in my mind.
In reply to Bill Kerr

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by George Siemens -
Hi Bill - I provide this long post with apologies (based on criticism you leveled at my response to Plon Verhagen for lengthy resonses being an improper way to debate/dialogue).

First, I don't think anyone actually "needs" a learning theory. or a philosophy. I think we adopt and use theories as a means of sharing in discussion, framing understanding, reflecting what's happening, predicting what might happen, open up our ideas for critique, etc. We all have them - some very informal (i.e. if the conservative government comes into power, certain groups will lose rights...or if liberals come into power, we'll be soft on crime). These micro-level theories are not consequential because we keep them in a small circle - i.e. my friends, family know my theories about government, finance, the role of human beings, etc. Occasionally, theorists arise that capture a particular spirit of an age (consider Voltaire, Spencer)...and their micro-theories gain traction because they resonate with what others are feeling/thinking/experiencing.

As these theories move into a large scale...and presumably about more significant concepts (i.e. how does consciousness arise from matter), we require greater levels of authority - through research, experience, the practice-theory spiral you stated in my connectivism blog, etc. We have essentially externalized the internal (i.e. our thoughts/feelings), and in so doing, we open ourselves to the possibility of debate. Some conversations of this nature span generations - Plato, Kant, Darwin, and others. In the end, however, whether rationalist or empiricist (or any other "ist") in our "orientation", our philosophies and theories are continuously revised and retested. What was at one time (turn of last century) considered solid research - i.e. Pavlov, Skinner, Watson, Thordike - has since given way to more sophisticated ways of understanding - largely based on research in other fields - namely biology and neuroscience. (Put another way - through the connections formed between different fields, researchers, ideas, and science...the connections enabled the construction (or, perhaps more accurately, the networking) of new knowledge. These fields were constructed by creating connections...i.e. the construction is the by-product of the connections in many cases - how we personally understand "content" may well be of a similar nature - i.e. the constructs are connections (connectionism (not of Thorndikes formulation, but what we are seeing occur in cognitive nuerosciences today) serves to better detail the neurological aspect of learning in this manner).

Other times, theories and philosophies are refuted simply because they fail to work in practice (communism as implemented in USSR is an example - a system that failed due to many variables, part of which stemmed from human nature and individualism, partly from not aligning to the market-economy present elsewhere). Sometimes, as Kant presents - it is the realignment of our views that shapes what exists. Namely, a priori synthetic knowledge exists in that a priori is a function of what exists in ourselves at the time we approach knowledge (not the object itself that we are considering).  So, what exists in my mindset of learning influences what I see when I approach a learning situation (i.e. it is my view that is a priori, not knowledge itself). If one has been informed by constructivism, we see constructivism. If by behaviourism, then behaviourism.

Simply put, ideas and theories are used to make sense. To explain. To jointly dialogue. They are supported and justified through some combination of research, logic, experience. And even then, we can't ignore the power of belief - we can easily ignore research and empirical evidence if a personal belief is assaulted. If we individually construct...but don't connect, what is the value of learning? Learning today is significantly about socialization (Vygotsky, Bruner, Bandura). What does it mean to socialize if not to "connect" with others?

With that as a background, what you are suggesting - i.e. that you understand emergence from reading a paper by Joi Ito is fine. But as emergence grows, someone will come along and theorize - trying to create a common language to explain what is happening. And no one needs to believe the theory. They can ignore it if it fails to meet their personal criteria.

In terms of higher order thinking - I'm not entirely convinced "higher order" (in the spirit of Blooms) exist. While I'm not fully in agreement with Gardner's multiple intelligence, it is more accurate - i.e. we have different, but not graded intellectual traits (i.e. mathematical, linguistic, etc.). Bereiter (in education and mind in the knowledge age - p.96) criticizes taxonomic views of cognition by function (i.e. knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, etc.) suggesting that the key challenge is one of depth of understanding. It is understanding that is a gradient, not thinking (i.e. higher order skills). Your students, in my eyes, will have different levels of understanding. Understanding (in terms of depth) is a function of being "well connected". i.e. if an educator understands technology, learning theory, psychology, etc. she is likely to be more "intelligent" and well-rounded than colleagues who have only read Gagne.

Being connected to disparate fields is critical today. Your students - who are learning programming - benefit from time on task, challenges, tutorials, etc. it is a multi-mode experience (i.e. in line with this image from KK)...the concept of holistic/integral education - different approaches, models, strategies). however, that's formal education. They may well construct (intentionally chosen word) their learning. What happens when they leave your classroom is where the limitations of mind-as-container (Bereiter's term) are evident. The connections they form - not the learning the construct now - are what will serve them well in the future. The knowledge they constructed (I prefer the term connected :)) while under your instruction is becoming obsolete as they finish your course. How will they continue to stay current? By the connections you have the learners create to existing forums, programming resources, listservs, communities, etc. The connections are what enables on going learning.

You conclude by suggesting "best way to teach" is old content. I don't see that as content at all. I would see it as a "meta" element...i.e. much more of a process. Content is an element or an object. "How to best teach" is a process or a way of understanding (I guess I could say, that content is a process that has stopped - i.e. once we have discovered how to best conduct ourselves in the act of teaching, someone with turn it into content (a book) and the content piece will slowly become obsolete while the rest of the world advances in understanding of the act of teaching by theorizing, practicing, dialoguing, forming connections between disciplines, etc.)

In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Bill Kerr -
hi George,

thanks for reply

Your initial assertion that we don't "need" a learning theory or philosophy is surprising for me given that you have actively created a new learning theory - and then proceed to mention several philosophers! At any rate, my take on that is the opposite, that it would be a step up if more educators became active in discussing learning theory and philosophy.

Thanks for reference to Bereiter's critique of Bloom. I wasn't aware of that and it sounds interesting.

One of my criticisms has been that connectivism doesn't provide a basis for explaining higher order thinking, or call it learning how to learn or meta-cognition. You take Bereiter's depth of understanding and then turn that into being "well connected". I think that needs more work

You misrepresented what I said about content in your final paragraph. I didn't say " 'the best way to teach' is old content". I am saying that the new pipe (read/write web, blogs, wikis) is important and that also the content of the course is important. The only way to learn programming is to study the practice and theory of programming. The only way for me to improve my teaching of programming is to try a variety of approaches (gleaned from my study of programming) and evaluate them. eg. I might try UML diagrams of pedagogical patterns. I keep up to date by being connected and I encourage my students to do the same by using blogs, wikis as well as other conversations but there is still the specific content of programming that is essential to the enterprise.

I think there comes a point where saying that everything is connected and connection is everything turns the concept into a meaningless phrase.
In reply to Bill Kerr

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Corrie Bergeron -
Been lurking asynchronously, but my activation threshold has been reached and I have to jump in with some desultory comments.

Dave Merrill has a great story about theory.  In college he had to take a class on "Theory of Mathematics."  Everyone in the class was totally lost.  Neither the slim text nor the instructor made much sense.  No one passed the midterm.  But Dave kept re-reading the text.  He finally decided that he either understood the notion of theory, or not.  The final exam was one item:  "Design a system of mathematics."  Dave opend his Blue Book and began, "Let there be an oar and a rubber boot..." and then laid out all the various mathematical operations you could perform on those taken-as-given objects.

He concludes by saying, "Any theory of instruction or learning or cognition is just an oar and a rubber boot.  If it's useful, use it.  If not, don't.  If you can come up with a better oar and rubber boot, please do so."

Bill said, "The only way to learn programming is to study the practice and theory of programming."

Surely, no!  The way to learn programming is to write, run and debug programs. Studying practice and theory can teach you a lot *about* programming, but not *how* to program.  Ideally, you're exposed to a lot of good practice and pick up the theory along the way.  "Oh, I see. A loop is a loop regardless of language."  But you don't learn to program by studying theory any more than you learn to kiss by reading romance novels.

Bill also said, "The only way for me to improve my teaching of programming is to try a variety of approaches (gleaned from my study of programming) and evaluate them. "

Absolutely.  That's true of almost any endeavor in which we engage reflectively and deliberately.  "Hmm. THAT was a spectacular flop.  Better try something different."

The key is trying new things reflectively rather than reflexively.  Adding a blog or wiki activity with no thought for what it brings to the party is a repeat of what we saw couple of decades ago when PC-based multimedia became available.  Developers of educational and training programs stuck in gratuitous images, sounds and video simply because they could.  I called it "MalloryMedia."

Bill concluded, "I think there comes a point where saying that everything is connected and connection is everything turns the concept into a meaningless phrase. "

I tend to agree, but some folks feel there's a universe of meaning in "Ommmm...."  ;-)

Several months ago, George and I went back and forth on the relative value of the connections and the nodes.  Connections are important, but they have to connect something.  Or as Bill said, there has to be something in the pipe.

George, I'm looking forward to meeting you in Columbus in March at the ODCE conference.
In reply to Corrie Bergeron

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Bill Kerr -
hi Corrie,

I agree with what you say about the way to learn programming: "to write, run and debug programs", in response to what I said: "The only way to learn programming is to study the practice and theory of programming."

I was trying to be brief and thought by putting "practice" first I had your point covered, but I can see now that "study the practice" is definitely a confusing bug. Thanks for pointing it out.

In an earlier reply on this thread I linked to a presentation about a course I taught where  I wanted my year 11 students to do these things:
• improve their game maker programming skills
• design, make and critique their own game
• work productively in a group
• use a wiki to plan, document their progress and collaborate with others
The additional idea of "eat your own dogfood" then emerged. I decided to do something similar myself and developed a map game about africa. This process had multiple benefits which I discuss in my talk.

This is "thinking about thinking" (or metacognition or learning to learn etc.) and I don't see how it is informed by the connectivism theory.
In reply to Bill Kerr

Connections to Connectivism online conference

by Sylvia Currie -
Bill, I just want to clarify something for participants reading along here. You mentioned that you'll be discussing the process of eating your own dogfood in your "talk". You mean during the upcoming Connectivism online conference, right? I imagine archives for the Elluminate sessions will be archived and available later for those who aren't able to attend. The conference is now fully booked, but I noticed people from this session are popping up on the conference list.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Connections to Connectivism online conference

by Bill Kerr -
hi Sylvia,
I was referring to an earlier talk or presentation I gave at the Cairns Australian Conference in Educational Computing, in October last year. That talk was linked to in the earlier post. "Eat your own dogfood" isn't currently part of my connectivism conference presentation.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Connections to Connectivism online conference

by George Siemens -
Hi Sylvia - yes, the online connectivism conference is now booked for the live session...but individulas can still contribute to the asynchronous discussion via moodle - http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/login/index.php. If individuals want to be informed when the archives are ready (about 15 minutes after the presentation is finished) , they can register their email address  at the bottom of this page - http://umanitoba.ca/learning_technologies/connectivisim/
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Derek Chirnside -
George I was a bit startled to come back to this thread now and find nothing from me.  I thought I'd posted to say something to the effect "Thanks for this reply, seems a nice blend of practical and theory and many of these features you describe are part of some of our courses"

Especially these bit:
• Due to the joys of procrastination - and that it is far more rewarding to dialogue with colleagues than to write an essay or demonstrate a competence - a certain percentage of learning activities must be completed each quarter. If I'm in a one-year certificate program, with 40 pre-defined learning activities/competencies, I must complete 25% each quarter
Aside: wouldn't it be nice to have a plugin that tracks this in a clear, transparent way?
• I choose which learning activities I want to complete - i.e. sequencing is under my control, hopefully resulting in greater relevance to those who are directly applying concepts to work. By the same account, if I am a fulltime student, a "suggested structure" will be made available by instructors.
We use a three fold option approach:
1. Here's how you can do it.
2. Adapt our suggestion if you like.
3. Roll your own.
This last term, the metaphor was vetoed, but the idea remained.

At the risk of discovering this in other posts as I trawl through other posts this question occurs to me:

You say:
"The "knowledge artifacts" of blogging, creating podcasts, etc. of all community members exist as content "co-created" for and with earlier and subsequent learners. By using a wiki, as an example, learners themselves help to shape the field of knowledge. The more thorough resources can then be moved into the structured resource (or learning activity) section."
This is currently a point of debate here.  What about the learner moving into an area where they may not be so confident or secure . .  they do some serious thinking aloud . .  blog posts, wiki content etc - -  and two things:
a) later feel a little chagrined at the fact they may have missed the point, been a little quick off the mark, and maybe they don't want this hanging around later . . .
I have done this.  There are some posts out on the internet I regret.  :-)
b) they never really feel confident anyway and don't post . . .  I had the memorable comment "I don't say much, but I think carefully about things and when I do speak, I know I am right"  :-)
We do a few things to try to ameliorate like providing multiple options to try to head towards the fringes of comfort zones.

In T4T4T a big (80 plus) lecturer Prof Dev project we had a secure/private space but had some protocols to try to do what you refer to as "The more thorough resources can then be moved into the structured resource (or learning activity) section."  It got too unwieldy, and we ended up aiming for perfection.  Our protocols were **too** robust, and adademia (paranoia) took over.  Mind you we had no wikis and only a few blogs.  Plus we were rank amateurs.

Also you say:
"Learners are able to evaluate and annotate formal learning resources. The "amazon style" evaluation ensure that learning is reflective of the experiences of learners..."
Hmm, I like this.

Tanks George.   - Derek
In reply to Paul Stacey

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by George Siemens -
Hi Paul - I had mixed feelings after the online session. Partly because it was a bit chaotic...but more so because I was unable to respond appropriately to questions due to the hurried pace.

I will comment on the discussions of structure in this thread shortly, but for now, I would simply state that it's very interesting how our sense of activity determines structure. For example, we go into a classroom, and we have less tolerance for free flow (ok, that's a generalization...but reflective of my experience with students). In an online session, as we had last Wednesday, we are missing many of the structural cues that anchor us to an environment. An environment, after all, presents affordances, much like tools do.

When we lack the "give and take" of an informal conversation, structure seems to provide comfort and security. And, beyond environment, it's worth thinking about intention. A few individuals commented at the end of the session that they attended "to hear George speak". Obviously, individuals with this frame of reference have expectations that aren't amenable to the structure of the presentation.

I'm going to review other responses to your questions before I jump in on each (I'm hoping we can move to some level of dialogue) :)
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Knowing Knowledge - Foundation/Purpose Questions

by Nancy White -
I realized how much I have come to love Chaos. I appreciated the side chats, the chance to bump into friends, to multitask, to let different senses be engaged.

When I design stuff for others, I have to really rein myself in because I appreciate that others don't feel the same way about these kinds of experiences. But I love 'em! Thanks