Archive for May 5th, 2011
Like social movements, business fads have a limited lifespan. Hunter Thompson’s immortal description of the end of the 1960s springs to mind when taking a look back at the rush to integrate Web 2.o tools and science, with that “five years” timeline immediately leaping out.
The Nature Network launched in 2006, organized around researchers in Boston, then went global in 2007, five years ago. It perhaps offered the high-water mark in terms of the irrational exuberance by publishers and other companies in building big Web 2.0 tools for scientists. For a time, the widespread adoption of these tools seemed inevitable, and business models were an afterthought when investing in revolutionary new technologies.
Five years on, reality has reared its ugly head, and, as is often repeated here at the Scholarly Kitchen, culture has trumped technology. It turns out that what works well for some cultures does not immediately translate into success in others. Rather than focusing on the needs of the research community, much of what passed for Science 2.0 was an attempt to force science to change — to make the culture adapt to the tools rather than the other way around.
Professor Thomas Baker wrote an insightful blog post recently about why the Finnish education system rocks, and included 5 YouTube videos sharing more insights and secrets behind their success. I did share some secrets about the Finnish education system way back in 2009, and although I have discovered more interesting things about this awesome learning ecosystem, I am going to refrain from spilling it out here, and have decided to dedicate this post to harvest a juicy collection of videos providing more authentic insights. This collection will hopefully be useful for you (and me), as the craze around the world to discover the Finnish education system is increasingly becoming a (wrestle) mania.
The volume addresses the hybridisation of knowledge production in space-related research. In contrast with interdisciplinary knowledge, which is primarily located in scholarly environments, transdisciplinary knowledge production entails a fusion of academic and non-academic knowledge, theory and practice, discipline and profession. Architecture (and urbanism), operating as both a discipline and a profession, seems to form a particularly receptive ground for transdisciplinary research. However, this specificity has not yet been developed into a full-fledged, unique mode of knowledge production.
In order to dedicate specific attention to transdisciplinary knowledge production, this book aims to explore (new) hybrid modes of inquiry that allow many of architecture’s longstanding schisms to be overcome: such as between theory/history and practice, critical theory and projective design, the adoption of an external viewpoint and a view-from-within (often under the guise of bottom-up vs. top-down). It therefore offers the reader a mix of contributions that elaborate on knowledge production that is situated in the (architectural and urban) profession or practice, and on practice-based approaches in theory.
Real global e-learning is when the world is empowered to collaboratively teach itself. This vision and opinion paper is based on the principles of the Global Learning Framework™. For years, the contrast of traditional e-learning’s top-down approach has clashed with the vast wave of collaborative learning that takes place every second and everywhere on the global Internet. Understanding the sharp contrast of academic dictatorial colonial learning management system (LMS) architecture with the public’s collaborative “search learning” practices of everyday Web learning helps us recognize the issues that e-learning silos created and then drives us into a new collaborative world.
Democratic learning (“search learning,” Web-based learning) is common people using the Internet to solve problems, discovering solutions, collaborating with students, and publishing results. All of this goes on while reshaping the knowledge base of the entire planet dynamically and in real-time. It is free, fast, liberating, massively scalable, and unstoppable. In democratic Web education, it is the free flow of the creative talent of the globe currently running through over 300,000 education Web sites that are ever growing, beyond the control of any LMS or industry standard.
One of the most significant epistemological events in recent years is the growing importance of historical questions in the ongoing reconceptualization of the hard sciences. I believe it is not an exaggeration to say that in the last two or three decades, history has almost completely infiltrated physics, chemistry and biology. It is true that nineteenth century thermodynamics had already introduced an arrow of time into physics, and hence the idea of irreversible historical processes. It is also true that the theory of evolution had already shown that animals and plants were not embodiments of eternal essences but piecemeal historical constructions, slow accumulations of adaptive traits cemented together via reproductive isolation. However, the classical versions of these two theories incorporated a rather weak notion of history into their conceptual machinery: both thermodynamics and Darwinism admitted only one possible historical outcome, the reaching of thermal equilibrium or of the fittest design. In both cases, once this point was reached, historical processes ceased to count. For these theories, optimal design or optimal distribution of energy represented, in a sense, an end of history.
Knowledge workers in any organization have a wealth of insights that are available to their organization to address the difficult issues the organization is facing. Drawing out those insights requires bringing knowledge workers together in meetings that are expressly designed to take advantage of collective knowledge. Over the years, as I have designed such meetings, I have come to rely on seven principles that work together to make the most of collective knowledge in conference settings as well as in-house meetings. The principles have been assembled from the work of many researchers and thought leaders. Where possible I have identified the sources.
Systems as diverse as the World Wide Web, Internet or the cell are described by highly interconnected networks with amazingly complex topology. Recent studies indicate that these networks are the result of self-organizing processes governed by simple but generic laws.