Looking Forward to CCK09

With the holiday here in Canada I’ve spent some time doing exciting things like laundry, mowing lawns and other domestic duties that I’ve been lax in doing lately. While I was matching up socks, I was thinking about my participation in CCK09, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2009, which is essentially a course but has a real expansive social element to it. I participated last year as a registered student, so my writing and bits were rewarded with marks.

This year will be different for me, so it’ll be interesting to take a second kick at the can without the “pressure” of marked submissions. Participation for me will be a little less, I’m up to teaching three different courses in the Fall Continuing Education semester (XML, Fireworks, Searching The Internet Effectively), and two for Distance Education (XML and Searching The Internet Effectively). Plus the e-Learning work and completing a degree. Busy? Yeah.

I’m very interested in seeing how my ideas about well designed educational spaces match up with Connectivism. We know that good design lends credibility to sources. We also know that good design can manipulate people’s opinions about things. Considering that Connectivism accepts “knowledge” from multiple sources – can you game a network into altering the “truth”? Truth,  in my opinion is mostly subjectively agreed upon by groups of people based on their experiences – and that I need to define what I mean by truth backs up my belief. There is a sense that somehow the Internet is killing knowledge, but I don’t think that’s the case. It’s a case of setting priorities straight – I don’t need to know how to get somewhere – Google Maps will do it for me. Of course, this only works if it’s right.

This is an important piece to education: educators used to rely on books as a symbol of truth. “Hey, someone published thousands of books, and we’re using it in school, so it must be true!” Schools used to be the gateway of that knowledge. The yang to that yin, is that you have to have enough of a crap detector to understand when it goes wrong. Now that knowledge has moved out of books and into online spaces, or into devices like your cellphone, it’s easier to fake people out. Never mind that it’s easier to publish a book now than it ever has been in the history of the human race…

When the Simon Wiesenthal Centre came and spoke to the College last year, they illustrated that point where a hate group had bought martinlutherking.org – and essentially put together a fairly slick website to defame Martin Luther King.  It only came to their attention after a student had used some of the “material” for a class project. If the design of the site had been cruder, maybe some alarm bells would’ve sounded sooner.

Good design, good looking designs, add credibility. And it’s not hard to get good looking stuff, especially when we’re all playing a credibility game to get our voices above the noise.

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