Schooling is unbundling into the global commons of what is known

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Posted on 2nd September 2010 by Judy Breck in Findability | Mobiles | Next | Schools we now have

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Network laws are causing schooling to unbundle, just as they have been doing to other sectors: music, journalism, merchandising and more. The image above mashes a traditional school that is breaking into little pieces as it engages the Map of Science which reflects online networking of academic subjects.

The force behind school unbundling is the network out there which the Map of Science depicts. The map of academics subjects is not an illustration; it is the plotting of real data and relationships among the nodes of the network that emerges from the data.

Unbundling of schooling allows the individual student to connect directly to individual knowledge nodes. In spite of years of standing back, and then of pushing hard against it by established education, schooling is being broken apart and reconfigured to individual students by the spontaneous online academic knowledge network.

Brick and mortar of buildings or of curriculum cannot for much longer systematically keep the student from connecting directly. A mobile internet browser is all it takes for a student to be able to become a node who links and learns individually to the global commons of what is known by humankind.

Watch what a network does

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Posted on 20th March 2010 by Judy Breck in Learnode | Next

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This animation shows you everything that a network is and everything it can do. It is made up of just two kinds of things: nodes and links. Everything a network does emerges from the patterns made by the linking of the nodes.

Not until the end of the 20th century was it realized that networks are not just regular (like fishnets) or random (with no rhyme or reason). Networks, it is now known can express any conceivable reason or rhyme.

Come to think of it, living brains are the same way: they are networks. The internet is the first network medium into which we have been able to place all our human reasons and rhymes. A book is linear — though it can get your brain to network ideas as you read it.

The rhymes and reasons — math, sciences, humanities and the rest — that are used in education should be used by teachers and students from the new networked medium. You have probably noticed that in the animation above, you can think of the nodes as individual people. Social networking emerges patterns of people. Education should be reconfigured around making sure a person who is a learning node can link to a node in the online pattern of what she is studying.

Will the content of the internet become a living brain?

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Posted on 18th March 2010 by Judy Breck in Findability | General | Next

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A concept came up today in my email discourse that I quoted in my last post. My friend asked me what I thought about this concern, which is quoted from a New York Review of Books article: “the digital cloud will merge or be merged — will  ‘mash up’— to form a single, communal, autonomous intelligence.”

What follows was my response that I wrote to my friend. It is relevant in a major way to handschooling and the connection it provides to students to what is known by humankind, now networking in the digital cloud.

As to the cloud turning in a brain, I have never seen how folks make that leap. I have been challenged with the idea for decades. When I was a child, my science prodigy older brother assured me that robots would reproduce themselves and take us over. The AI people have been trying to make a fundamental step that has eluded them for a very long time. But I do not see how any of that is even an issue in relocation of “the sum total of what is known by humankind” (from a Webster’s definition of knowledge) into the open internet. That sum total can be expected to elegantly organize itself online as the network it is — rejecting junk and exhibiting idea patterns using the best nodes.

If you were to take the knowledge bits now embedded in every curriculum, textbook, library, specialized human brain — breaking everything into separate bits — and dumping them all into the open internet, what do you think would happen? Would they mash themselves together in weird ways and begin thinking on their own? How can anyone suppose something like that? There is no basis and no mechanism given.

What is absolutely amazing is that in the past 20 years, that dump has actually happened! The relocation continues to greater and greater levels of detail — such as now the contents of thousands of printed book flowing online as searchable hypertext. The contents of the enormous virtual dumping ground are not turning into a thinking giant. What are they doing? Ted Nelson put best: “Everything intertwingles.

The result is a complexity in which emergence causes the best bits of, for example, algebra to link to each other and rise to the top of search engines. Order out of chaos is what to expect from intertwingling — not autonomous intelligence. The junk falls away as networks of the best nodes link into meaningful patterns.

The blogosphere is a clear demonstration of these network vetting laws at work. There are millions upon millions of blogs, with only a few gorillas in any topic (note the long tail effect). The fact that this natural network vetting is not how educational resources are selected is scandalous. (Contrast ongoing Texas textbook wars).

Online knowledge organizes itself better than educators can do it

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Posted on 25th January 2010 by Judy Breck in Findability

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mirrorToBrainA recent GoldenSwamp.com post posits how knowledge for learning is growing as a superorganism from which everyone on earth can learn. That superorganism is a network that lives within the open internet. The first image (above) sketches how the learning mind, which is a network, can directly apprehend patterns of knowledge from the network that forms the superorganism online of what is known by humankind. That apprehending can be thought of as the mind mirroring patterns it encounters on the internet.

If the learning mind can apprehend knowledge patterns from the emergent knowledge online, why then is it that we spend $$ billions every year on systems of knowledge delivery to education that look something like the second image (below)? Would it not make more sense to curate the online knowledge nodes and network, refining them to signal among themselves to create cognitive patterns to mirror directly into learning minds?
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The education establishment has assumed from the beginning of the internet era that it was they who should judge, select, and organize knowledge to be learned that is located on the internet. There is a fatal flaw in those assumptions: in the open internet, the knowledge self-judges, self-selects, and organizes itself better than those things can be done by educators because human knowledge is itself a network and obeys network laws. My statement here is radical, I know. It is also a fact of the internet that is morphing learning resources into the superorganism of what is known by humankind. It is a truth too beautiful not to be true and enormously hopeful for the global future.

The subject networks in the images above are from the Map of Science, which is described in PLoS One.  The networking — linking — among subjects has occurred naturally. When you look at the map you are seeing real world online cognitive connectivity.