stephen downes

stephen downes
been following Stephen for some time. first intro made a huge impression (see below) especially in regard to the web.. the dimensionality/exponentiality/rhizomatic ness of the web.
a recent interview:
july 2013:
1. what are the most important cognitive skills in the information overload society?
  • selection
  • pattern recognition (intuitive/empathetic responses)
2. for people who are used to social media, information overload can be challenging. what would you suggest to someone who is just getting into this information overload?

how to prepare – practice and reflect

(give people a hope, a model to emulate – model and demonstrate)

ie: mooc is not trying to get content into people, it’s about model your practice, the process of thinking like… whoever is leading the mooc.. 

3. how do you foresee the future of schools, businesses and governments in the web 2.0 society?
i’d like to think they’ll change.. but we kept kings long after they were useful
some companies are moving toward decentralization..
when people are pursuing their own interests, they’ll find help, they’ll try again and again, and they’ll figure it out. That’s not unusual or innate:

that’s true of every person.

find/follow Stephen:
link twitter
link facebook
wikipedia small
wikipedia here
find/follow him here:
stephen downes site
And Stephen Downes:
But that said, as more and more of a person’s life becomes available online, the need for certification will diminish, as people acquire reputations of their own. A person’s standing in a community can be recognized by members of that community, and is acquired through months and years of participation in the work of that community. Where certification is granted, people presenting certification without having acquired a reputation for work in the community will be viewed with suspicion.  – (Downes 2008)

interesting on moocs & change

In the case of informal learning, however, the structure is much looser. People pursue their own objectives in their own way, while at the same time initiating and sustaining an ongoing dialogue with others pursuing similar objectives. Learning and discussion is not structured, but rather, is determined by the needs and interests of the participants. There is no leader; each person participates as they deem appropriate. There are no boundaries; people drift into and out of the conversation as their knowledge and interests change.

the following as posted in p2p foundation

In an ecology and in a network, the properties of the whole are not created from the sameness of the components, but rather, as a result of the interactions of the components. Consequently, the /properties/ of the network are not contained in any one individual in the network. The network is not some big copy of an individual of the network. Nor does it operate under the guidance and direction of one entity in the network. If we think of a forest, for example. It is made up of a mixture of trees and shrubs and birds and bears. There is no one part of the forest that the rest copies. There is no ‘sameness’ in a forest, except at very superficial levels. And the forest isn’t governed in any sense by any of its members, or by anything. The forest becomes what it is as a result of the interactions of its members, such that /every/ entity in the forest contributes to what the forest becomes.

These are properties of the /individuals/ in a network – and I think, we can see, that the combination of these four properties, adds up not only to a formula for successful networks, but also as a formula describing the basic dignity of each member in society.

First, diversity. A successful network fosters difference, not sameness.  Diversity is what Richard Florida writes about when he talks about the ‘Creative Class’, the most productive element of society.

sounds like: prejudice quote

Second, and related, autonomy. Where the individual knowers contributing of their own accord, according to their own knowledge, values and decisions, rather than at the behest of some external agency seeking to magnify a certain point of view through quantity rather than reason and reflection. Without autonomy, diversity is impossible and sameness becomes the predominate value of society. Autonomy is fundamental to human dignity, for without it, a person is unable to contribute in any meaningful way to the social fabric.

Third, interactivity. Knowledge is the product of an interaction between the members, not a mere aggregation of the members’ perspectives.

Fourth, and again related, openness.

These principles offers us some sort of hope in society, a hope that we as a whole can be better than the best of us, but also with the understanding that this is made possible, not through repression and control, but only through raising each and every one of us to the highest level possible, to participate most fully and most wholeheartedly, in society.”


posted 2010:


the web affords connections we’ve not been afforded before.
connections afford:
1) access to all
2) personalization (topic, method, time)
3) learn from multiple voices

paraphrased from this keen insight:
1. As a form of open learning, it provides access to everyone
2. It allows learners to set their own priorities and styles of learning
3. It enables learners to be informed by many voices, thus creating a more complete and balanced picture
— Stephen Downes

that changes pedagogy…
we can still try to get the most bang for our buck – who’s the most like this…
but is that a we expect too much, are we trying to manage too much?
can’t we just trust more (people, art, thinking) and let new learning happen….

1) give resources
2) get out of the way
3) watch/facilitate self construction of learner

this all boils down to trust
we have to begin with = we all want good.
and keep flushing that out…
yet – ish.

not about competition – about choices…

my first intro to Stephen


sunday, october 31, 2010


the web affords connections we’ve not been afforded before.
connections afford:
1) access to all
2) personalization (topic, method, time)
3) learn from multiple voices

paraphrased from this keen insight:
1. As a form of open learning, it provides access to everyone
2. It allows learners to set their own priorities and styles of learning
3. It enables learners to be informed by many voices, thus creating a more complete and balanced picture
— Stephen Downes

it’s not about content it’s about connections
content doubles every 3 days last i heard… we are limiting kids’ potential if we think it’s about content.
content begs memorization.
connections beg conversation. which beg community. which beg personalization.that changes pedagogy…
we can still try to get the most bang for our buck – who’s the most like this…
but is that a we expect too much, are we trying to manage too much?
can’t we just trust more (people, art, thinking) and let new learning happen….1) give resources
2) get out of the way
3) watch/facilitate self construction of learnerthis all boils down to trust
we have to begin with = we all want good.
and keep flushing that out…
yet – ish.not about competition – about choices…________________


If we were a commercial enterprise we could focus on sales. Then we could focus an ad campaign on  the actual reasons people take MOOCs – but we wouldn’t need to worry about whether they were met, only about whether our advertising enticed people to pay the fee. But I think that’s a pretty narrow criterion for success.

My own response treats a MOOC for what it is: a network. ..

process: autonomy, diversity, openness, and interactivity

outcomes: emergent properties

MOOC success, in other words, is not individual success. We each have our own motivations for participating in a MOOC, and our own rewards, which may be more or less satisfied. But MOOC success emerges as a consequence of individual experiences. It is not a combination or a sum of those experiences – taking a poll won’t tell us about them – but rather a result of how those experiences combined or meshed together.

This may not reflect what institutional funders want to hear. But my thinking and hope is that over th long term MOOCs will be self-sustaining, able to draw participants who can see the value of a MOOC for what it is, without needing to support narrow and specific commercial or personal learning objectives.

more on process and outcome:


For a MOOC to be ‘online’ entails that (and I’ll be careful with my wording here) no required element of
the course is required to take place at any particular physical location.


high recommend to read entire pdf referenced just above:

stephens pdf april 2013

Autonomy – this is essentially the assertion that members of the network (in this case, participants
employ their own goals and objectives, judgments and assessment of success in the process of
interaction with others  ….   Without autonomy, a MOOC is not able to adapt to the environment.

Diversity – ..While we typically think of diversity in terms of language, ethnicity or culture, for us diversity applied to a broad range of criteria, including location and time zone, technology of choice, pedagogy, learning style, and more…. The major concern with diversity so broadly construed is that some people might be seen as ‘doing it wrong’. We were, for example, criticized for offering lectures, because it did not follow good constructivist pedagogy; our response was that connectivism is not constructivism, and that it was up to those who preferred to learn through constructivist methods to do so, but not appropriate that they would require that all other participants learn in the same way. Additionally, it should be noted that it 
did not matter whether some particular pedagogical choice was in some respects a failure, since the 
perceptual recognition that it is a failure constitutes success in its own right.

The free flow of people and information through a MOOC is as important as the organization of the people therein….An interesting side-effect of openness is that there is no clear line dividing those who are in the course and those who are not.

Interactivity – .. It is not simply that members of the network are connected with each other, and that interaction takes places through these connections. It is rather the idea that new learning occurs as a result of this connectedness and interactivity, it emerges from the network as a whole, rather than being transmitted or distributed by one or a few more powerful members.

numbers know no context.
Properties like autonomy, diversity, openness and interactivity are not properly discerned by counting,

but by being recognized.

In this way they are a lot like other properties, like freedom, love and obscenity. A variety of factors – not just number, but context, placement, relevance and salience – come into play (that is why we need neural networks (aka., people)to perceive them, and can’t simply use machines to count them.

 et al


learning chaos

interview on moocs feb 2014:
interview with juergen and stephen
And I think I think a better model would be something like a town square where you have a lot of people in the same area, and there is an organisation apparent, but and and there’s a lot of interaction and it looks like the group, but if you analyse the behaviour of each person is acting independently and autonomously, and they’re not acting without purpose. They have a sense of what they are trying to do and what their goals are. There is no common or a shared purpose or none that is obvious except by perhaps, analysing emergant properties but certainly not a common or shared purpose that is intentionally followed by the individual actors in the square. And and that’s more the kind of picture of have of a MOOC. It’s not a group of people trying to reach some destination together. It’s a place where individuals pursuing their own interest and objectives can interact in a way that mutually supports each other. 
in the city. as the day.
You know, just kind of a mental image of what is it like to get an education, what is it like to be educated? And I understate the importance of this. I think that for a lot of people, certainly people coming from a non-academic background – and like myself, I came from a non-academic background – it’s a big shock when you get to university. And you know the way you’re seeing the world is different. People coming from academic backgrounds you know from homes that value books and learning and and to have complete a university education there’s less of a jump because people have grown up in that culture. But for people who haven’t grown up in that culture there is this significant jump.This opens that door. This lets you look at that culture. And then you can decide for yourself whether you want to do it or not, right? You can decide for yourself you you might want to be that sort of person to whom postmodernism as important. Do I wanna be the sort of person who uses the word “whom” in a sentence? A lot of people say that all of that is perfectly fine. That’s good. I have no problem with that. But before, the opportunity wasn’t there. We couldn’t study postmodernism unless we were at university. It wasn’t even a thing, unless you went into a university environment.
like the whole audit idea… dabble/whimsy/wander ability ness
For example, grammar, syntax, semantics, meaning and pragmatics would be sufficient for a basis of literacy in a traditional environment. In an online environment, the context becomes a lot more important. Context well beyond the normal range of pragmatics as well. Generalised pattern recognition becomes important for communication forms in non-linguistic forms such as the memes, the images, the map that you see, in a very visual and animated environment.An understanding of change becomes more important, and the processes and ways of recognising change. In the classroom, things are pretty static. The content is the content. Online, the content in week one is different from the content in what in week 12 because the online world changes in those 12 weeks. It may have changed really significantly. and and so you’ll need to be able to understand the chaotic flow of things. These are hard literacies, you know. Mathematics even: before online, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, these are the important mathematics. After online, now, you’re getting into computability and decidability, Turing machines and things like that. They’re they’re not even concepts in traditional mathematics – I mean, they were advanced form of mathematics, but now they’re basic literacies. The idea of computability is a basic literacy. It’s not what you can do with computers, it’s what you can do with the concept of computing.
zooming way out (or way in) to the limit of infinity (either way) as the platform becomes more and more the individual.. and the courses become more and more 24/7 ness.
Before the internet, all of these things were still necessary to function in high society, right? You needed these things, you still need them. But now there’s the possibility that you can get them and that’s what’s changed.
necessary? high society?
Just as an aside my my current work is focused on distributed personal learning networks. And the idea here is to create the technology and the infrastructure that allows one person to access multiple streams of learning and to organise and manage their own learning in their own personal learning environment.
c dot app  via the brain ness
So, the concept of MOOCs is open online learning in a networks kind of infrastructure. This is not simply a teaching mechanism. This is a social perceptual mechanism. A MOOC is a perceptual device for recognising whether a person is capable and competent in that subject area.
“I want and visualize and aspire towards a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumbrance where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics and invention ”
the robot teachers

Want to be known as supporting ‘free education’? Support the commercialization of educational resources. Want Shuttleworth or Hewlett money for your educational support or research project? Support the commercialized approach.

There is an ongoing and incessant campaign afoot to privatize education. In the United States, education is almost the last bastion of public expenditure. In Canada, both health care and education face the forces of privatization and commercialization.

The results are wholly predictable. In all cases, the result will be a system that favours a small moneyed elite and leaves the rest of the population struggling to obtain whatever health and education they can obtain with their meagre holdings. As more wealth accumulates in the hands of the corporations and the wealthy, the worse health and education outcomes become for the less well-off in society.

But here’s where the challenge arises for the education and university system: it was designed to support income inequality and designed to favour the wealthy.

– –

We have to stop thinking of education as a delivery system.

We have to start thinking of an overall publicly-accessible and supportive educational environment.

It’s not about duplicating the success of the private school approach that has characterized the design of ‘the best’ education through the last century.

It’s about making that advantage irrelevant. 

We must develop the educational system outside the traditional system because the traditional system is designed to support the position of the wealthy and powerful.

I have spoken in the past about treating educational reosurces as a utility like water or power; we need to begin building this utility and putting it to work in hospitals, courts, manufacturing plants, parks and museums, and any other place people get together to work or play.

– – –
fitting with regulatory state – Kevin Carson ch 3:

..the cultural reproduction apparatus – the media and schools – is designed to produce a public which accepts the organization of society around such institutions as the only possible way of doing things….. et al

june 2014
fb experiments as clever
oct 25, 2014
people ripping on Brand (on fb) and Stephen posts this:
 If people felt as free to criticize government and industry as they are to criticize Russell Brand, we wouldn’t need Russell Brand.
april 2015 – what is innovation in ed
starts about 34 min
40ish – on innovation when there’s really nothing new.. so why do we listen to some people
45 min – replicable at an economical cost… in business dictionary – captures idea that for something to be an innovation – has to be more than newg/creative.. has to exist and has to serve an actual need
46 min – what i’m coming to understand – the mindset is – that money, or willingness to pay – is used by business.. as a proxy for value. value = willingness to pay.. i don’t go for that. but another concept.. value as defined by benefits..
concept of innovation… that drives value.. produces benefits of some kind…
benefit is in the eye of the beholder
53 min – why has technology been so relentless.. because it lets us do stuff that we could not do before
57 min – keeping benefit distinct for the idea of push and from the idea of what you will pay for
typically – recognition of a benefit comes with identification of a problem.. ie: what keeps you up at night
58 min – chomsky‘s manufacturing consent – the idea of creating a need
i’ll stick with benefit being psychological
measurement comes in – in seeing if/how you solved the problem you were trying to solve
the essential thing isn’t the measurement.. the essential thing is knowing that your innovation actually addresses the need…
benefit is distinct from resolution of problem, ie: overall improvement to body of users… your innovation could solve a problem… but the results could be too big to bare..
1:02 – what are the benefits – what problems were moocs solving..
1:03 – i’m trying to create networks of people, they (thrun et al) are trying to broadcast info.. 2 very different things.. i think what i did was innovative… and what they did is not.. not because what i did was new.. but what i did creates a benefit to learning.. make it more accessible/sustainable.. they attempted to replicate an existing model in order to make money from it..
(on thrun moocs et al in video): they still have not found ways to make this sustainable.. still haven’t found a business mode.. rather than how it solves a problem….
1:06 – why are we doing this whole education thing in the first place…  not just because they want to produce people that know things…  something that reformers of ed don’t always recognize, ie: impact – lower crime rate, better health, more stability,
1:08 – when i think about technology – not usually thinking about product… et al.. but thinking about the impact..
1:09 – tutoring in math reduces crime rate.. increases test scores..
oh my.
1:13 – charter schools innovation to private companies – because they get access to that money.. for parents.. could be…
1:14 – very common to criticize things for a set of standards.. when that thing was not intended for those benefits.. ie: mooc dropouts.. when for me… one benefit of mooc was that people could drop out..
1:16 – we don’t even know what the knowledge is before the mooc – so certification and test scores are meaningless
1:31 – the nature of benefits.. inconsistent.. benefits are non-rational..
1:39 – think big and stand in the future.. larry keeley (?) – not so much thinking big and standing in the future but rather to avoid thinking about what the situation is today.. i get this a lot.. when someone starts a sentence with – but the reality is.. that tells me they are about to give me an opinion why something can’t be done
1:40 – prototyping a compelling model solution – the model is intended to show what innovation will produce.. and model is never the reality.. and is so not the reality.. that what you produce won’t be the benefits you were hoping for. often the benefits of tech are people using it in ways they were not designed to use..
1:42 – stigmergy – creation of knowledge by working on a common project – to get all different reactions… build in a public place in order to get stigmergic response.. so you are better able to anticipate.. but careful on that.. because sometimes things wouldn’t be invented if you knew responses..
1:44 – avoid central control – it typically does not work – as he models result of centralized control. (lag) – it’s based on thinking a person/system knows the needs/benefits of a person …
sept 2015  – the mooc ecosystem
20 min – on people wanting moocs to deliver culture… they found it better to learn a language/culture was to emphasize and incorporate diversity rather than commonality with the people…
24 min – lost on what unit i am using now.. but it doesn’t matter..
25 min – there is a life time of learning material already on the net… anything you think of you want to learn… there is something on the web that will help you learn it.. triangulate between several
the open resource network –
52 min – to haptics and wearables and neuro network… learning is a whole body kind of thing… each of us has a different neuro network.. can’t just throw facts at it.. have to be immersed in it..
neuro synapse… proper domain of learning theories… study structure of connectivists.. what fires together wires together..
the bit… the tiny signal that connects us/neurons… variables: strength of connections/ties, degree of affinity, activation value – what prompts connection.. tweak the algorithms… changing parameters of communication…
56 min – as we zoom out we increase the complexity.. we don’t just add more…
zoom dance ness
a course isn’t just a bunch of competences… class isn’t just a bunch of grades… reductionism is false..
2 fundamental principles for moving between levels: 1\ emergence (going up levels) – creation of whole based on organization of something smaller  2\ recognition (going down levels)
58 min – understanding that it’s a horrible mess… (blend/merge/interact)… is what gets us out of trying to understand education/learning/cognition at any one of these levels… we have to go up to mooc a verse and down to synapse
fitting with network ness and chaos –

share via stephen on fb
One of the best papers on connectivism I’ve ever seen.
knowledge as network… learning as (chaotic/structured) whimsy about that network.
in the city.
as the day.
april 2015 – My Viva – on phd oral exam

1. What are the most original (or value-added) parts of your thesis?

The semantics of distributed cognition. In distributed cognition, there is no single location in memory where we might find an idea or concept. Rather, it is distributed across a set of connections between entities (a graph theorist might say it is constituted of a set of edges between nodes).

2. Which propositions or findings would you say are distinctively your own?
If you take the theory I’ve just outlined above seriously, you see that..

 it would be inconsistent for me to say that everything is connected, and then for me to say that some proposition or finding is distinctively my own.

love this.

3. How do you think your work takes forward or develops the literature in this field?

Honestly, this question is just the same as the previous question, except that it refers to the localization of those propositions or findings.

My contribution, if we must identify one, is that I see it differently from everyone else (of course,everyone sees it differently from everyone else).
This general structure – what I called ‘Learning Networks’ and George Siemens called (more successfully) connectivism – calls into question even the concept of ‘literature in the field’, because knowledge is not divided between some privileged set of writings, ‘literature’, and everything else.  

At best, the ‘literature’ might be thought of as some stigmergic activity enabling each of us to contribute our own perspectives to a common object – a human intellectual anthill, of you will.

…….(keeping in mind that if it weren’t me, it would surely have been someone).


4. What are the ‘bottom line’ conclusions of your research? How innovative or valuable are they? What does your work tell us that we did not know before?

This is the same question again, but with a slightly different presupposition about the nature of enquiry. ……
Both presuppose a directionality to research. Both suppose that research works toward an outcome. And both, in their own way, focus on the utility or value of the research.

….the idea that these lead anywhere is surely a matter of opinion.

Because of my background in computers, I knew that logic is arbitrary,

As a consequence, through most of my career I have found myself in conflict with those who have very specific theories about what we know, and (therefore) how we know it. They depict these knowledge claims as givens and construct and derive theories of learning and pedagogy based on this.

For example, a common line of argument runs as follows: we understand scientific principles, therefore we have knowledge of abstract universals, therefore these must be codified in a physical symbol system, so learning is a process of acquiring and codifying these statements. This creates a view of knowledge and learning that is content-based and focused on the assimilation of a set of these statements by the most efficient means possible.

This is the dominant view, and the position I advocate meets opposition at each stage of the inference.

It’s not that I think that science is random. It’s rather that, in the words of Paul Feyerabend, scientific method is whatever works.
People assume that because we use the same words we mean the same things, while experience suggests that this is often not the case.
So when we ask what the sources of the evidence are, and whether they sustain the conclusion, we are asking what is, in my mind, an incomprehensible question, or more accurately, one that embodies incorrect presuppositions about the nature of knowledge. Similarly, if one asks about the correctness of the evidence and the conclusion, we reach the same conclusion, that the question presupposes an incorrect epistemology.
As a stigmergic activity, as I discussed above, I can comprehend it. But not as a theory of learning.
And the reason it is not a theory of learning is simply this: in a person (in a network, etc) there is no third party to do the constructing.

…the network theory I’ve described, if taken seriously, entails the following:

  • the network is self-organizing; we do not ‘create’ sets of connections, these result naturally from input and from the characteristics of the entities and connections
  • the network does not ‘represent’ some external reality; ‘evidence’ and ‘conclusion’ are one and the same; the network itself is both the perceptual device and the inferring device
  • learning isn’t about creating, it’s about becoming



I have several things in mind, though life may be too short for all of them:

  • …I want to see the various ways in which a learning network can grow and develop and help real people address real needs and make their lives better.
  • I…
  • I would like to see the principles of self-organizing knowledge applied to wider domains and to society at large, as (shall we say) a new understanding of democracy, one based not on power and control and collaboration and conformity, but one based on autonomy and diversity and cooperation and emergence. Society itself will have to do this; I can but point the way.


Each experience that I have, each society that I see, each new city and each new bike ride adds a nuance and a subtlety to my understanding of the world. It is a beautiful life and my greatest contribution to the future would be, I think, to continue living it.


No small part of what I say on learning today is based on reading people like Patricia Smith Churchland 25 years ago

Original Tweet:

Patricia Churchland

The Banality Of Death #oldaily

How many Syrian dead does it take for their deaths to become as meaningful as those in France, or here in Casselman? What is the calculus of death?


Today we talk about the morality of accepting refugees, as though there were actually a moral question regarding the desirability of allowing people to be bombed, starved, beaten or drowned into submission.

The existence of borders blocking the flight of people to safety is an affront. The waste of human lives in the name of a nation, a religion, or an idea is offensive to the sight and mind.

No matter how pointless or meaningful we are told that it is, each death is to someone the ultimate tragedy. All deaths are the same. Once we come to realize this, together, we can begin thinking about how we can live together, work together, and begin to cherish this most beautiful thing in the world: life.


april 2016 – hangout w george

#NRC01PL Personal Learning MOOC Live Hangout you won’t want to miss – – 12 noon eastern – in 40 minutes! @gsiemens

Original Tweet:

i want the drudge work out of the way – but personal to me – sd

article – no time to think (article) – so a system that would enable us to do a better job… every time we click a trump/kardashian article we perpetuate it – gs

do the interventions.. enable human choice… agency/confidence/future capabilities… sometimes facing array of options.. best choice today is one that gives you more choices tomorrow.. all of ed is really a big if-then statement… so learning analytics a bit antithetical to that frame.. if all of a sudden metric becomes goal… bunch will engage to game system et al…   even more frustrating.. heavy emphasis on dashboard…  when it’s actually confusing to many .. so removed from learning experience… instead of dashboard.. send an email.. tie the feedback to a next step.. if we could do that.. learning analytics could play a big roll- gs

? perhaps even better/freer… like you said before.. free time up…

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

so if targets moving all over place .. how do we do analytics beyond what we’ve done to take us to what we should do – sd

? maybe that’s the problem..? maybe we shouldn’t know what’s next.. be told what’s next.. maybe that’s our prep/life.. ie :antifragile, live/embrace entropy/uncertainty

next big start ups will adopt machine learning.. in ed.. it’s going to make a lot of people wealthy.. if this behavior… then next step… gs

automated agents in ed system… problem – we’re meeting ai half way… meeting in the middle.. by making us replace-able.. by making ai something that can be modeled… (not sure who gs was quoting)

on problem i’ve had is getting people to move off topic of data being pre scripted… – sd

how do you take data from 100 000 users of platform when don’t have access to data w/o permission… makes collab a challenge… – sd

need to redo life.. redo data..

we need to re architect.. if we could have everyone writing html’s we’d have a great internet… problem.. we’re trying to architect social platforms just like another layer.. when .. one layer… we want predictability.. need a completely diff framework..  layer we build on top.. social: want ambiguity.. … we’re bringing important arch engineering mindsets we need at a platform layer to bear on things we’re building on top of layer.. mismatch of method to need..  – gs

yeah.. maybe bag the predicable piece… till we get back to us/humans.. with time to think.. no?



Downes (@Downes) tweeted at 8:47 AM on Sun, Jul 15, 2018:
Connectivism is not constructivism and not derived from constructivism at all. I’ve argued that constructivism is based on cognitivist foundations while connectivism is noncognitivist. Constructivism is based on creating representations while connectivism is non-representational.


yong zhao

Stephen Downes (@oldaily) tweeted at 5:37 AM – 13 Sep 2018 :
The Side Effects of Education: Research and Practice #oldaily The author considers the use of scientific evidence in education research in the light of Yong Zhao’s  new book: What Works May Hurt – The Side Effects of Education. (


author of “What Works May Hurt” and “Reach For Greatness,” is the opening guest for the 2018-19 MURSDleads season.

38 min – wanted to see children create personalized learning

listen to their daily cure ios city and facil that.. tech as it could be..


on community

Downes (@Downes) tweeted at 7:29 AM – 5 Dec 2018 :
I’ve started on this week’s E-Learning 3.0 #el30 article, ‘Community’ – still is pretty rough form – as usual, anyone is welcome to view, comment and edit – (

When we look at (what I’ll call) natural communities (as opposed to organized communities) they have two major features: lack of trust, and lack of mutual engagement, shared repertoire and joint enterprise.

hmm.. i see opposite.. ie: natural community 100% trust (in my mind redundant as am seeing trust as all or nothing)

Think of your average city. There may be a lot of what we call ‘trust’ (eg. people stopping at stop signs) but in nearly all cases there’s also an enforcement mechanism, because we don’t actually trust people (eg. to actually stop).

seeing that more as a symptom of our not trusting by putting up stop signs – thinking naked streets ness..

The challenge (indeed, maybe even the challenge of our times) is how to understand and improve communities were people are *not* engaged in the same enterprise as everyone else

that’s a huge plus in my view.. and the challenge could perhaps be met via ie: cure ios city

Wenger – communities of practice

Community is consensus.

The definition of a community is the means employed to *reach consensus

i’m thinking.. public consensus always oppresses someone(s).. so perhaps.. either we don’t define community as consensus.. or we stick with a consensus only on something deep enough that 7bn people would resonate with today (ie: missing pieces).. not something we *reach .. but something that is already there

The traditional concept of community was built on *sameness, on collections of people from the same family, speaking the same language, living in the same place, believing the same things.

i would suggest *sameness only in the global sense of ie: nationality: human – anything more/less .. i’d see as a coercive environ – rather than a community..

i think more of commonin\ing than speaking same language et al (ie: i see idio-jargon as common language – which is as diverse as all of us)

i don’t think community could ever work if we weren’t all ie: diff parts of same one body

This makes the mechanisms we use to interact and reach consensus particularly important.

still prefer not calling it consensus.. ie: believe the mech begs to be a means to listen to every voice (tech as it could be) .. every day.. no consensus (other than we all agree to ie: 3 and 30 ness of 2 convers as infra).. rather.. augmenting (our currently messed up) interconnectedness

What is required for a community to work is not merely control, but agreement on the part of the members of the community. Underlying this is a respect for law, institutions and processes, and when these break down, and when consensus is lost, it is very difficult to restore.

i think our main problem is that we have convoluted the humanity problem.. ie: rather than focusing on very basic needs.. we went all institution/law/proof/authority/validation.. et al

Fostering an understanding the importance of these processes, and the costs of not being able to establish them, is a fundamental goal of education. This can be accomplished best (and maybe only) through the process of engaging in them and developing community and consensus in the classroom.

wow.. i’d say in the city/world sans consensus/engaging

The critical literacies in a society run deeper than reading, mathematics and science. They include pattern recognition, perspective and context, inference and reasoning, and practical application and communication. They include not just being able to communicate with each other, but to be able to build and create.

let’s just facil daily curiosity  ie: cure ios city

Consensus, ultimately, is a question of stigmergy, and we will look not only how it is created, but also how it is undermined (think, for example, of ‘dark patterns’).

?.. i don’t see consensus as a part of stigmergy.. i see stigmergy more as meadows undisturbed ecosystem..


via lainie fb share:

we need to move beyond the idea that an education is something provided for us, and toward the idea that an education is something that we create for ourselves – stephen downes

indeed.. everyday.. a new.. from w/in.. ie: curiosity


I’m appearing on Bryan Alexander’s Future Trends Forum in about 10 minutes… you can join the live webcast here:…#ftte

looking into blockchain tech more seriously.. i’m a healthy skeptic .. but .. it set in me a bunch of thoughts/motion.. lost behind it (blockchain).. distributive leverage tech.. hash cryptography; census mech; context indication; open ed; et al..

hash cryptography.. used to create content based addressing – rather than location

ie: label via daily curiosity

so where is the location then.. the resource..?  you have a network of connected individuals..  diff criteria for membership.. topologies.. you send to closest person to you on that network.. that person either has it and sends it or doesn’t..  and if not.. goes to someone else.. so resource no longer needs to be in one place

like 2 convers as infra – where resource is a local person w same daily curiosity

another system that uses this tech is github

you can put contracts into a blockchain such as ethereum.. and org – dao – what would putting contracts into self org learning do/solve? what would the point be.. any place you need to reach an agreement.. you’d have something related to a contract

(on creative commons) licensing destroys sharing

if you create something you want to share.. give it a content based address and throw it into network.. nobody can enclose/commercialize.. can’t hide it.. if it’s in the network.. you can use it.. don’t worry about the licensing.. everybody creates.. everybody uses

bryan: so a pure hash world.. w/o addresses/licenses

to make this work we need an easy interface

if use math as mech for econ.. miss out on people (paraphrase).. and these mechs have become the entire story.. ie: ‘what is the value of life’.. that’s what ed/reason have done to our society.. how do you fix that? decentralization.. have to address it structurally.. not thru policy.. so that to as much a degree as possible the importance of each person is realized in as great of extent as possible..

tech as it could be.. listening to every voice everyday

thinking about community as consensus.. consensus is something we can get a handle on.. i’ve been arguing about community as counting.. group (sameness, counting) vs networks (consensus).. decision making mechs are very diff

public consensus always oppresses someone.. begs we facil daily curiosity over/beyond ie: decision-making/consensus

ultimately w 7b can’t have argument and reach a conclusions.. we have to have the human and the structural that takes account of the human

2 convers as infra

mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh


So long as open education is something that is ‘provided’ to people or ‘given’ to people, it will be unsustainable (and ineffective). It’s only when we see it as, and help it do be, something people create and provide for themselves, that we see the potential realized.

Original Tweet:

begs we just facil daily curiosity.. w 2 convers as infra


An introduction to Social Listening #oldaily It could be said that what I do here is a type of social listening, but from that perspective I would say that this article is a very superficial introduction to what is a much deeper practice.

Original Tweet:

links/refers to this post – an intro to social listening:

with sub title: Social listening is vital to understanding your consumer base and tracking trends. 

which is indeed what rest of article refers to..  figuring out how to make more money.. figuring out what people want in order to sell more things..

problems: 1\ selling is not listening  2\ if listening to whales in sea world (which all of us are currently like.. have been forever).. very good for business.. but not what legit free people need/want.. (which we have no idea about that)

need: a means to undo our hierarchical listening.. to self/others/nature

@oldaily: Can you say more about hierarchical listening and the alternatives? Where did the idea come from?

for me (and surely am not the only one).. came from last 10+ yrs experimentation for alt ways for all of us to live..

hope 15 slides on top of this page will say more.. hierarchical-listening

10 days later.. and i’m pretty sure he hasn’t looked at the page.. and he hasn’t asked me anything more.. wondering what happened to his curiosity.. too busy, forgot, was just looking for academic research/papers..? whatever.. dang.. he’s his own ie of hierarchical listening..


grazie sir