Daily Bookmarks 10/06/2008

  • Transcript of a talk about the differences between groups and networks. Downes situates networks between individuals and groups, as a place where individuals are associated and connected but more diverse than groups. Interesting ideas for assessment and supporting diversity.

    tags: connectivism, cck08, networks, learning, assessment, diversity

    • Those of you who’ve taken political science know that all of human history in political science is the division between the individual and the state. Right? The person and the group, right? And these are the two divides. And the whole purpose of politics is to find some sort of accommodation for them or if you’re Ayn Rand, to favor the individual and ignore the group.

      And it seems to me that networks offers that middle way. Networks offers that path that isn’t the individual and isn’t the group, doesn’t force you to choose between the individual and the group.

    • But more or less, a group is a collection of entities or members according to their nature or their feature or their properties or whatever, their essential nature, maybe, their accidental nature, maybe, whatever, but according to their nature. What defines a group is the quality the members possess in common and then the number of members in that group. Groups are about nature, they’re about quality, they’re about mass. They’re about number.A network, by contrast, is an association – I use that word very precisely – an association of entities or members where this association is facilitated or created by a set of connections between those entities. And if you say, “Well what is a connection?” A connection is merely some conduit along which a signal can run. Well, that clarified it, didn’t it? What defines a network is the nature and the extent of this connectivity. The nature and the extent to which these individuals are connected together.
    • I want to change the system of assessment in schools because right now we have tests and things like that that are scrupulously fair, particularly distance learning where we outline the objectives the performance metrics and the outcomes and all of that. I want to scrap that system. I want testing to be done by at random by comments from your peers and other people and strangers based on no criteria whatsoever and applied unequally and unfairly.

    • Networks are almost defined by the opposite, defined by their diversity. A network thrives on diversity. It wouldn’t be a network without diversity.
    • Internet technology that encourages diversity rather than conformity includes things like personal home pages or these days, blogs. I should add to this slide MySpace profiles and things like that, your account on Flickr. All of these things that allows the individual to express themselves rather than the individual being part of some larger entity.

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