Friday, November 8, 2013

[VERY] Long Ago and [NOT SO] far, far away… - a STEM reflection with some personal bias thrown in

This is a story about my experiences with ‘flipped classrooms’ and STEM education. It also is a tale about Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development and ‘scaffolding’. And, ultimately, it relates how I overcame my ‘fear of math’.

I was in 7th grade when the Soviet Union sent Sputnik 1 into Earth orbit in 1957. [That’s when the ‘space race’ officially commenced. Before that date, US education had resembled the hare in Æsop’s fable.] And so began my journey into “accelerated learning”[i]

Aesop's Fables with an Introduction
by Marcus Sedgwick
Puffin; Reprint edition (2013)
8th grade found me in Algebra class with Mr. Bozzo [I kid you not – that WAS his name!], who believed that the way to teach Algebra was to assign homework from the text (without providing any instruction) and then to review questions students had in class the next day. I guess Bozzo’s ‘flipped classroom’ approach worked for most of my classmates  – they were going to be engineers or scientists when they grew up - but I didn't have their innate affinity toward ‘non-numerical mathematical objects’ (AKA unknowns or variables).

In addition, like most math texts, ours was poorly written and did not provide intelligible directions for solving problems. Also, since only one of my parents had graduated from college and had only received a D in her college algebra course, I had no help from my folks[ii]. [WAS I in a ZPD but my teacher just didn't provide the scaffolding that I required at the time?]

Over the Christmas break, Mr. Bozzo assigned a take-home exam. Suffice it to say, I spent most of my vacation in the Hempstead Public Library, pouring over whatever Algebra texts I could find on the shelves and trying to understand HOW to do the take-home problems. My bedroom floor became littered with wads of crumpled notebook paper that represented several weeks of unsuccessful attempts at solving the assigned problems. I think I finally figured out how to do the exam problems and probably passed the mid-term. In retrospect, G-d knows how I survived both Algebra I and II!

But in sophomore year I encountered the Chair of our high school’s Math department AND was faced with Plane & Solid Geometry & Trigonometry[iii]
[I am NOT
casting aspersions
My journey into the joy of mathematics was short-lived. 

At the first parent-teacher conference of the year, Dr. Toner asked my mother:

“Mrs. Simpson, is your daughter going to be a doctor or an engineer? [You can guess her answer.] Then WHY is she taking up space in my class?” [I kid you not!]

Suffice it to say, I dropped his ‘honors’ course ASAP and transferred into Regents Geometry. I COULD handle ‘proofs’, ‘theorems’, and ‘postulates’! And, although I couldn't draw free-hand, I COULD use a protractor, compass, and ruler! And I never took another math course again! [And I never DID learn how to use a slide rule!] [iv]

Fast forward 40 years – I am a solo librarian at a 2-year proprietary college. Students in our college algebra course are having trouble with solving quadratic equations. Just about the ONLY thing I remember from high school Algebra IS the quadratic formula:

Say it 10x fast!
I dare you
[While I CAN understand remembering Mnemonics like PEMDAS and SOHCAHTOA, I’m still unable to determine HOW that quadratic formula stayed with me!] 

And so began my career as a math tutor.

Some things never change – math books are still being poorly written! Luckily, they now come with Student Solution Manuals that provide step-by-step instructions on how to solve the odd numbered problems. By back-engineering the odd-numbered problems, I was able to help students figure out how to solve their even-numbered homework problems.

And some things have changed with the times. I couldn't find a table of trigonometric functions at the back of any math book in my library and had to learn how to use a scientific calculator. I, also, had to teach myself logarithms. [“Look, Ma, no slide rule!” and thank heaven for PurpleMath.]

First there were video tutorials on VHS, then on CD and then DVD. There were software tools you could use online that would provide practice problems, grade your results, and even show little video clips explaining how to do the problems or show step-by-step solution instructions. But these were prepared by the same people whose textbooks were so difficult to follow in the first place! These tools even provided pre-assessments and used a form of AI to develop a sequence of modules to follow. But often, the same problem was just repeated and varied only by supplying different units or values. You’d rush to get through ten of them correctly just to advance to the next module!

Despite a plethora of tools like Khan Academy videos, some students just didn't get it. Over the years, I found myself showing numerous students how to calculate and graph trigonometric functions, how to solve logs, and how to understand things like ∑ummation notation. To keep from writing the same notes by hand day after day and quarter after quarter, I ended up developing little study guides for them to use. [Oh yeah, you caught me – I just created another tool!]

Technology is great. Technology is good. Technology provides us with a plethora - a veritable cornucopia of tools. However, technology should NOT be used in lieu of one’s brain. When I tutored, if a student reached for a calculator to do a simple addition or multiplication problem, I’d slap his hand. Technology can help us deal with large numbers, or crunch data, or simulate experiments by changing variables and observing (or graphing) the results. 

Technology is NOT Teachology and, while tech provides a vast array of supplemental tools that appeal to a variety of learning styles, in the end Learning involves a synergy between a teacher (be s/he F2F or remote and reachable via email, texting, video chatting, webinars …) and a learner. Even P2P (Peer-to-Peer) or PBL (Project-Based Learning) usually require facilitation by a teacher to achieve the desired learning objectives.

[i] The gist of 'acceleration' was to get students into AP classes to earn credit toward college prerequisites before entering college. [Advanced Placement tests had just started being administered by The College Board in 1955.]

[ii] My mother was a whiz with numbers but just couldn't wrap her mind around the concept of variables. She religiously attended each class and struggled to submit each homework assignment and only received a passing grade from her instructor because she was going to teach 2nd graders and, therefore, would NOT have to teach algebra. Her instructor said: “Mrs. Simpson, I’ll pass you only because I don’t want to see you in my class again!”

[iii] Back in those days, there were NO calculators. You used slide rules and tables of trigonometric functions, from which you often had to extrapolate answers to a certain number of significant digits. [I won't launch into a chorus of 'Those were the days, my friend'!]

[iv] My fear of math was so great that I opted to take Biology as a college freshman to fulfill my science/math distribution requirement and spent two semesters pithing frogs for my classmates and trying to draw what I saw under the microscope. That's when I really could have used the technology! [Yes, that really is using a smartphone as a microscope!]

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Caveat Lector – Let the Reader BEWARE!

Caveat Lector

Now here’s a really scary thought brought up by a blog post by Donald Clark (11-7-13): "When Big Data goes bad:6 epic fails". 

Clark notes that “Data, in the wrong hands, whether malicious, manipulative or naïve can be downright dangerous. Indeed, when big data goes bad it can be lethal. Unfortunately the learning game is no stranger to both the abuse of data.” 

He provides 6 examples and concludes with : “Big Data in the hands of little brains is downright dangerous.”

Clark’s blog post ties in with Topic 4:  Connecting Visual Literacy to Metaliteracy and reiterates my call for “due diligence” (10-18-13), based upon Catherine Lombardozzi’s “Perils of Popular Science” (10-17-13).

Question: Are you ever going to believe what you read again?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hello, Is There Anybody Out There? - What Message Are You Sending Me?

OK, fellow Metiliteracy MOOCers, I don’t get it.

I was a little worried after I posted my survey and no one responded to it. So, I tested it myself. [Granted, it didn’t seem to work as an embedded form using my Chrome browser, but it DID in IE and my stats show that 52% of my views were done using Internet Explorer!] Therefore, I quickly added a direct link to the Google Form on my blog post.

I just wanted to thank the one librarian who DID take the survey. You validated the fact that it IS functional.

But I’m just wondering WHY no one else has responded. The survey IS anonymous. And, if you have any questions about the survey questions, you could always email me ( or use Blogger’s ‘comments’ feature.

If you ‘getMetaliteracy, then you understand that one of its key principles is the ability to engage in dialogue, and, perhaps even to engage in collaboration. It’s all about Getting the MESSAGE OUT and GettingMESSAGES BACK and STARTING/CONTINUING/DEVELOPING CONVERSATIONS.

With apologies to Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' I ask:

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?

So here's hoping that the 21 people who viewed my survey WILL take a few minutes to respond to it. This is your opportunity to express your preference about how these communications are shared among Metaliteracy MOOC participants and, in addition, providing valuable feedback to future MOOC offerings.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beware online "filter bubbles" - Eli Pariser's TED Talk

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles" (filmed March 2011)

I hope you will agree that Pariser's TED Talk ties in with this week's topic: TOPIC 5: MEDIA AND NEWS LITERACY 
"Pioneering online organizer Eli Pariser is the author of "The Filter Bubble," talks about how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview. 
Abstract: As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy."
Pariser reminds us that we are seeing a Web based upon 'invisible algorithmic editing' of relevance. Yes, the algorithms are created by humans but the resultant 'personalization' leads to what Pariser calls "filter bubbles". And he calls for a return to the 'civic responsibility' displayed by the human gatekeepers of our past (the role that newspapers and other media provided us). "...We need the new gatekeepers to encode that kind of responsibility into the code that they're writing."

"So if algorithms are going to curate the world for us, if they're going to decide what we get to see and what we don't get to see, then we need to make sure that they're not just keyed to relevance. We need to make sure that they also show us things that are uncomfortable or challenging or important -- this is what TED does -- other points of view."

Points worth considering as we reframe our own information literacy.

The Whole Student: Cognition, Emotion, and Information Literacy - a C&RL preprint of interest

This article, "The Whole Student: Cognition, Emotion, and Information Literacy" by Miriam L. Matteson (Kent State), was accepted for publication in September [but won't actually be published by College and Research Libraries until January, 2015]. Luckily, those of us who are working on a Metaliteracy action agenda can read the preprint.

Information literacy skill acquisition is a form of learning that is influenced by cognitive, emotional, and social processes. This research studied how two emotional constructs (emotional intelligence and dispositional affect) and two cognitive constructs (motivation and coping skills) interacted with students’ information literacy scores. Two studies were carried out with a group of undergraduate students. Correlation and regression analyses revealed that emotional intelligence and motivation significantly predicted students’ information literacy scores. Instruction librarians may consider incorporating greater awareness of the emotional and cognitive aspects of IL skill acquisition in their instructional content and delivery.

Wouldn't you agree that this research is directly related to our agenda?

Friday, October 18, 2013

On the Need for "Due Diligence" in 21st Century Critical Literacy Skills

A post from Catherine Lombardozzi, one of the thought leaders I follow as part of my PLN RSS feed, popped for me and I just had to share it with other members of the MetaliteracyMOOC and readers of my blog.

The blog post, Perils of popular science (October 17, 2013) raises questions about the increased need for 'due diligence' in 21st century research and scholarship.

Since my response to her post is awaiting moderation, I'll share it with you here:

Catherine, this is a great example of why those of us in the library profession make such a big deal about the concept of “information literacy” or ‘Metaliteracy,’ as some are suggesting we call it in the 21st century. With the advent of OERs – with the plethora of curation tools and the ‘noise’ they can generate – with self-publication AND self-promotion being so readily available and accessible, critical literacy becomes increasingly important. Caveat emptor!

Are your ideas about critical evaluation changed or sparked by Lombardozzi's blog post?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Metaliteracy: “Liquidity” and “Fluidity” and the Game of Lifelong Learning

These are the thought-leaders I chose from among the works Prinsloo offered in his presentation

In Prinsloo’s Beta (β), critical literacy (as Freire observed) involves reading both the world and the word in a nonlinear fashion:

Reading is no longer a passive linear act in which we follow the author's lead from page to page, from idea to idea, from topic to topic. The nature of authority is that it dictates the direction of a text. In even the most basic hypertext document, the reader begins to have more control than with the printed book. The reader can make choices about which direction to go, paths to follow, and which to ignore or put off until later. In some hypertexts the reader is encouraged to contribute, to add nodes or comments to the existing text, or even to alter it. In this format, traditional definitions of the author are no longer valid, but must give way to a postmodern sense that text is created in both the writing and the reading. Even more, the acts of reading and writing become intellectually and physically intertwined. (Wahlstrom) [Note: bolding is mine.]

And, to return to Bourdieu’s playing field analogy discussed in my previous post, “The habitus is therefore a generative rather than a fixed system: a basis from which endless improvisations can derive; a 'practical mastery' of skills, routines, aptitudes and assumptions which leave the individual free to make (albeit limited) choices in the encounter with new environments or fields. As in a sport or jazz, in Bourdieu's favoured analogies, mastery of the rules or an instrument gives a 'feel for the game' which enables individuals to improvise in response to the circumstances of the moment.”[i] (Behler) [Note: underlining is mine.][ii]

I couldn’t find any Synonyms for the concept of Nonlinearity
Against this background, Prinsloo tries to make sense of the 21st century: “Our understanding of the scope and function of literacies is influenced by our understanding of the major discourses of the current (and future) age.” (slide 11) He then gives us James Martin’s view of the 21st century as potentially “The New Dark Age” and asks: “How does such a view of the world shape my view of the scope, definition and function of literacy?” (slide 12)

The Liquidity of Discourse: The Relativity of Truth and its Effect/Impact upon the Game

“What players can do, and where they can go during the game, depends on their field position. The actual physical condition of the field (whether it is wet, dry, well grassed or full of potholes), also has an effect on what players can do and this how the game is played” (Thompson, 2012, p. 66). (slide 18)

Pablo Picasso Girl Before a Mirror 1932 Oil on canvas

Relativity, a lithograph print by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, first printed in December 1953
Being of a philosophical bent, I asked Paul to what extent one’s ‘location’ affected one’s perspective or perception – in other words, whether the Thompson quote alluded to “the relativity of truth”.[iii] In responding, Prinsloo admitted that there ARE some universal truths (like the Laws of Physics, which we can’t argue since they hold true from any perspective we might view them).

To further ‘muddy the field’ [and I know this is a terrible pun], Prinsloo introduced us to Bauman’s concept of liquid modernity.[iv] This was used by Area and Pessoa as the foundation for “a model for developing new literacies of citizenship in the digital society…. we contrast the 'solid' culture of the 19th and 20th centuries to the ‘liquid’ information culture of the 21st century in which Web 2.0 plays a fundamental role and affects many aspects of our culture.” (p.13)

Area and Pessoa review the main features of Web 2.0, which they see as having six major dimensions: as a universal library, global market, as a giant hypertext jigsaw puzzle, a public space for social communities, a territory for multimedia and audiovisual expression, and as a space for multiple virtual interactive environments. [include web 2.0 dimensions pic here] I love the way the authors refer to the overabundance of the universal library of the Web as “infoxication”![v]

Prinsloo attempts to align the competencies these dimensions require with those proposed by Mackey and Jacobson
and expands their Metaliteracy Wheel to include the competencies required in a Metaliterate environment.
My takeaway from Prinsloo’s presentation: Knowledge is no longer a ‘production line’, where each individual expands upon (or refines) the original concept; knowledge in the 21st century is developing into a canvas where ideas can be taken and transformed (by the cultural, philosophical, intellectual, and creative perspectives of the player [be s/he reader, listener, participant or ‘player’) into an array of thoughts, shared by the individual with whomever cares to ‘taste’ them and re-use, revise, or re-invent them into new artifacts that can, in turn, be sampled by others and re-used, revised, or re-invented in a vast array of formats and etc. 

So Lifelong Learning is a “Make (rather than Choose) Your Own Adventure”! And I, for one, am enjoying the adventure immensely!
You never can tell where your metaliterate adventure might lead!


Bauman, Zygmunt. "Education in Liquid Modernity." Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies 27.4 (2005): 303-317. Education Source. Web. 9 Oct. 2013.

Behler, Constantin. "Habitus." CB's Glossary for Students. N.p., 27 Oct. 2001. Web. 11 Oct. 2013. <>

Freire, Paulo and Donaldo Macedo. 1987. Literacy: Reading the Word and the World. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey

"Linear." Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Philip Lief Group 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <>.

Martin, James. The Meaning of The 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint for Ensuring Our Future. London, UK: Transworld Publishers, 2007. Print

Prinsloo, Paul. "Metaliteracy in beta: A Personal View from the South." SlideShare. 23 p., 7 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Oct. 2013. <>.

Thompson, Pat. "Field." Pierre Bourdieu: Key Concepts. Ed. Michael Grenfell. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing, 2012. 65-82. Print.

Wahlstrom, Ralph. "Approaching The Paideia: an Advanced Composition Model - The Triad; The Paideia." N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <>.

[i] This leads me to wonder: At what point does our improvisation actually create a new game and/or playing field?

[ii] Our chat discussion looked at ideas of:
·         empowerment (or embodiment or encouragement),
·         the ability of Web 2.0 to give a voice to those who might NOT otherwise have a platform to express their ideas or opinions,
·         the lack of Internet access that still exists in places around the globe that keeps some people from being able to participate
·         the neutrality of the platform/hardware (but maybe not of the hosts) of the Web as a platform

[iii] Nazik Roufaiel commented: “I am not sure about reading the world! From which perspective, culture, economic, social, technology and infrastructure... Also how do we interpret what we read, do we do it from OUR perspective, or the writer’s perspective, or background?” I noted “It is philosophical and ties in with content creation by individual users and the evaluation of same by the 'reader'/'viewer' as well as the manipulation by re-posting”; to which Joyce McKnight responded “Key is to keep in mind that nothing is ever neutral.” Tor Loney added “Understanding what we are NOT seeing is also a key part of critical consciousness - both in the sense of knowing one's own personal blocks and also actual existing blocks or absences.” And David Brown summarized “I think understanding that everything is biased really brings ultimate understanding.”

[iv] Bauman discusses the impact of liquid modernity:..” society is being transformed by the passage from the ‘solid’ to the ‘liquid’ phases of modernity, in which all social forms melt faster than the new ones can be cast. They are not given enough time to solidify and cannot serve as the frame of reference for human actions and long-term life-strategies because their allegedly short life expectation undermines efforts to develop a strategy that would require the consistent fulfillment of a ‘life-project.’” (p.303)

[v] Since I am an avowed “informavore” (AKA ‘consumer of information’), do I, therefore, run the risk of becoming “infoxicated”? Maybe I already AM too ‘infoxicated’ to recognize the signs!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Metaliteracy: Learning How to Play the Field

I hope the other participants in Dr. Paul Prinsloo’s Metaliteracy MOOC talk: “Metaliteracy in Beta” (7 October) came away as excited by his webinar’s insights/perspectives as I was.[i] The title of Prinsloo’s presentation is significant - I agree with his use of the concept Beta (β), a term implying prototype rather than final product. Many computer programs are released in beta and are modified based upon user experiences. So, too, with Metaliteracy, which is continuously evolving as technologies are introduced/modified and as user skills develop or as her information needs/environments change.

Life in Perpetual Beta[ii]

Discourse: Playing the game[iii]

According to Prinsloo, Metaliteracy deals with discourses not just static information. The discourses take place on a field “with different players, and different agendas, rules, power-relations, inclusion and exclusion… In order to be literate/ a player in the 21st century I need to understand the field, the game, and my position, and my skills… How does the field in which I find myself in, shape me? What/who shapes the field? Who are the (other) players in the field: Who are they? How come they are shapers? What are the rules? Who are the referees?”

On the playing field:

  • Players have set/ predetermined positions
  • Rules are predetermined
  • Players have different skills
  • What players can do is determined by their position on the field
  • The physical condition of the field impacts play
Although the image I’d have chosen doesn’t delineate the size of the field, it DOES show the initial placement of the members of both teams. And a most important person on the field: the referee!

[During the webinar, several of the participants engaged in a chat on the playing field metaphor and other aspects of the game that this metaphor brought to our minds.][iv]

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Did you miss me?...I’ve been MOOCing…and more

David Hopkins

In conjunction with trying to actively participate in this Metaliteracy MOOC, I joined the Leadership forReal MOOC, two weeks into its start. This joint experience has provided additional insights into the skills required of a Metaliterate individual. [Or should I say Metaliterate learner, since, if we are not learning, we are not living?]

I’m a great ‘juggler’ (or multitasker) – it was one of the requirements of my various librarian positions. However, a successful ‘juggling’ act requires time management (or project management) skills. [And I must admit that I’m not the world’s greatest time manager! I compensate by starting early in the morning, by staying at work until I complete the task, or by taking work home with me and doing it on my own personal time, thus putting off some of the things I should have been doing in terms of personal responsibilities. “Do as I say, NOT as I do.”]

Among the week’s activities were webinars for both MOOCs on Wednesday (10-2), a webinar on Social Networking, and one on Instructional Design on Thursday (10-3) [these are personal research interests]; numerous discussion posts to read (and possibly respond to); and a host of RSS feeds and aggregator emails to investigate [from sites I’m monitoring/following as part of my PKN].

EVERNOTE: Bookmarking? Downloading/Saving? Finding it Again!

I’ve just started using Evernote and have 15 folders and 193 notes created since downloading this tool to my laptop on 19 September! I’m overawed by the plethora of tools that the 21st century offers us. But I definitely recommend Evernote if you’re looking for a way to save and tag emails, webpages, and even ‘to do’ lists in one consolidated format. Rather than bookmarking, this tool allows me to include an image prompt (taken from the image on the blog page or website) in addition to ‘tagging’ items. Since I’m an ‘informavore’ (consumer of information), you should not take this recommendation lightly!


It’s all about ‘Professional Development’. [And for those of you who are still in school, it’s never too early to initiate your PD plan. I found a great set of goals on a blog post by CatherineLombardozzi (a ‎Learning and Development Consultant and founder of Learning 4 Learning Professionals). I’m trying to follow her recommendations:

  • Declare your intentions. [Identify what you want to learn.]
  • Follow the leaders. [Identify them then look for their blogs, tweets, online presentations, journal articles, and conference appearances.]
  • Make friends. [Classmates, colleagues, mentors, or role models can help accelerate your learning.]
  • Read. [Books, if you can afford to buy them or have the time to find them in your library, professional journals, blogs, or articles that ‘pop’ from your RSS feeds or aggregators.]
  • Write it down. [Blog your insights... “capture electronic articles and your comments on them on a bookmarking site…” For some ideas, look at Steve Wheeler’s “Blogging asConversation”.
  • Take a vacation. [I’ll be going to Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving and to Israel at the end of the year.]


Lombardozzi, Catherine. "13 Resolutions for Professional Development in 2013." Learning Journal: The Learning 4 Learning Professionals Blog. N.p., 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <>.

Wheeler, Steve. "Blogging as conversation." Learning with 'e's. N.p., 14 Sept. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <>.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tools for Learning [Thanks to Jane Hart's efforts]

Today, Jane Hart released her 7th annual Top 100 Tools for Learning (2013), the results of votes of over 500 learning professionals in workplace learning and education from 48 countries worldwide. 

[“A learning tool is a tool for your own personal learning or one that you use for teaching or training.” Hart’s definition of Learning Tools]

This overview can inform your own concept of tools you can utilize as part of your own metaliteracy quest.

I’d suggest you look at Hart’s analysis (a revealing look at major changes) as well as at her historical overview of Top 100 Tools 2007-2013 (an alphabetic list of all tools that have been on the list over its 7-year history).

Where do your current favorites show up on this list? 

Is it time you investigate (and, more importantly, start using) other tools?

Thursday, September 26, 2013


To continue my previous post Getting the MESSAGE OUT and Getting MESSAGES BACK – About Blogging as a Tool and Tools in General [i], I’d like to tell you a story about a PKN (Personal Knowledge Network) journey I recently took.

To frame this PKN experience, I should preface it by giving you some context: I am interested in Learning in Organizations, both “Learning Organizations” AND “Organizational Learning”. In researching the topic, I found/discovered Jane Hart, Collaboration Consultant and founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), one of the world’s most visited learning sites on the Web.[ii] A webinar ‘junkie’, I attended a GoToTraining Webinar on Social and Collaborative Learning in the Workplace given by Jane Hart (August 2012)[iii] and added her blog, Learning in the Social Workplace, to my Outlook RSS feed reader.

This story demonstrates how discovery doesn't necessarily occur in chronological order.
  1. It starts with Hart’s blog post “How do we deal with unwilling corporate learners?” (September 22nd), which responds to Schlenker’s blog comment:  The truth is, there are no learning problems in corporate settings. There are only people unwilling to learn” (September 20th). Hart’s post develops a wonderful matrix of self-directed/directed and willing/unwilling learners, which I just had to share with the Metaliteracy MOOC.
  2. My blogging juices get flowing and I write my “Getting the MESSAGE OUT” post (September 25th) which is fueled by Hart’s ideas. I agree with Schlenker’s other blog statement:Learning is about People, NOT technology” and need to follow up on his observation that “people still don't take advantage of new technologies for learning” and that “so many workers choose to leave their learning in the hands of others.”
  3. More on the topic from Clark Quinn (another blogger in my RSS feed and, like Hart, a member of the Internet Time Alliance): “Being explicit about corporate learning” (September 25th) [unfortunately, AFTER I had posted mine]. Quinn observes that “the ability to be a self-directed learning is a skill issue” and that “learning-to-learn or meta-learning skills may or may not exist in any particular individual” which can be explicitly developed while willingness to learn is a question of responsibility and attitude. [The issue of attitude is one Quinn addressed back in April 2006 and he hyperlinks back to that earlier blog post.] He concludes by coupling learning environment with culture: “Learning has to be explicit, safe, valued, modeled, and expected. Learners need to be empowered with tools, coached, and formatively evaluated.
  4. I now feel the need to chronicle the way ideas are shared, thoughts are developed and connected in an asynchronous environment through blogs. And, knowing that an image helps, put this mindmeld into a graphic.

The end of the saga leading to this post.

So, dear readers, I ask you: 
  • Is it the technologies? 
  • Is it attitude? 
  • Is it willingness? 
  • Do you see yourself in some of these observations? 
  • Do you feel the tools are empowering? 
  • Or overwhelming? 
  • Are you comfortable with asynchronicity? 
  • Do you agree that this is part of metaliteracy?


Hart, Jane. "How do we deal with unwilling corporate learners?." Learning in the Social Workplace. N.p., 22 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <>.
Herzog, Kate S. "Getting the MESSAGE OUT and Getting MESSAGES BACK – About Blogging as a Tool and Tools in General." Beyond Information Literacy. N.p., 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <>.
Quinn, Clark. "Attitudinal Change." Learnlets. N.p., 20 Apr. 2006. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <>.
Quinn, Clark. "Being explicit about corporate learning." Learnlets. N.p., 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <>.
Schlenker, Brent. "Welcome back..." Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development. N.p., 20 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <>.

[i] Herzog, Kate S. “Getting the MESSAGE OUT and Getting MESSAGES BACK – About Blogging as a Tool and Tools in General

[ii] Hart is a prodigious and knowledgeable blogger [see her “Quick Guide to Blogging Tools”],  author of the Social Learning Handbook, surveyor of “The Top 100 Tools for Learning” (results of results of the 7th Annual Learning Tools survey will be released 9-30-13) and author of “A Practical Guide to the Top 100 Tools for Learning,” which describes the essential features of each tool. I could go on extolling her accomplishments…but it suffices to say she IS one of my role models.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Getting the MESSAGE OUT and Getting MESSAGES BACK – About Blogging as a Tool and Tools in General

The topic I’m currently pondering is Blogging, a tool that provides a platform on which you can crystalize your thoughts, opinions, or views into an Internet post. If your purpose is to do only that – to create an artifact (perhaps because it is required for your course), you probably don’t care about “What happens then?” But every guide to blogging I’ve read says that its goal is to engage the reader – in contemplation and/or in conversation – to grow and develop the thought and to get feedback from your readers. Blogging is a way of finding a virtual community.

So I wanted to say how much I appreciate the Metaliteracy MOOC Daily Newsletter, which serves as an aggregator of Participants' Blog Posts, New Discussion Threads, Comments, Diigo Posts, and Twitter Posts. However, this MOOC’s aggregation software DOES frustrate me – it does NOT collocate materials. Comments on Blog Posts and New Threads don’t sit with the materials that spawned them. And the software leads one to comment, not on the page where the post resides (where is WOULD be collocated as a thread) but in a chronological stream of comments. Does anyone else find this frustrating? Have you considered posting your comment directly on the blog, rather than (or in addition to) doing so using the MOOC’s comment link?